Orange Vegan Panna Cotta with Blackberries

Panna cotta is a light Italian custard that pairs perfectly with fruity flavors. Traditionally made with loads of dairy, our vegan version relies on orange-scented plant milk and warming vanilla extract to create a scrumptiously smooth dessert. Agar powder works as a setting agent similar to gelatin and is derived from seaweed (don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like it!), which gives each serving a pleasant jiggly texture. The sweet custard is divided into pretty wine glasses before chilling and topped with fresh berries and juicy citrus supremes for an eye-catching finish. Feel free to use your favorite fruit or get creative by adding a sprinkle of nuts on top as well.

Tip: To supreme oranges, using a small, sharp knife, slice off ends of oranges. Stand one orange on a flat end on a cutting board. Cut away peel and white pith, working from top to bottom. You will be able to see the membranes that separate each segment. Tip the orange on its side, and slice each segment on either side to free from the membranes. Repeat with remaining oranges.

For more fruity vegan desserts, check out these tasty ideas:

By Ellen Boeke,


  • 3 oranges
  • 4 cups unsweetened, unflavored plant milk
  • ¼ cup pure cane sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons agar powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries


  • Use a vegetable peeler to remove strips of peel from oranges. Do not include any of the white pith, which is bitter. Set strips aside. Cut supremes from oranges (see tip in recipe intro). Cover and chill until serving time.
  • In a medium saucepan heat milk to a simmer. Remove from heat; add orange peel strips. Cover; let steep 30 minutes. Remove orange peel using a slotted spoon. In a small bowl stir together sugar, agar powder, and salt. Add the boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar and soften agar powder. Add agar mixture to milk. Bring to boiling over medium; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vanilla.
  • Transfer milk mixture to a 4-cup glass measure. Cover and chill 30 minutes. (Mixture will look separated.) Whisk mixture until smooth. Pour into six stemless wineglasses or small serving dishes. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or until set.
  • Top panna cotta with orange supremes and blackberries.

Comments (6)

(4 from 2 votes)

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So I try my best to not remove any of the white pith when I peeled the oranges, but there was still a small amount on each peel. So after steeping the peels, the mixture was bitter. I could have added extra sugar to counteract it, but I feel like that is what we are trying to avoid... extra sugar. The texture was like plantmilk jello, which is not bad, but would be nice if there was something to make it richer... blended cashews or something? I won't be making this recipe again.


"remove strips of peel" - is this the same as zesting? Or is zesting more fine? Do you use all the peel from all 3 oranges? That would be a LOT of zesting! Thanks!


I think that zesting won’t create the smooth Panna Cotta texture. The recipe calls to remove the orange peel, which you wouldn’t be able to if you zested.


Orange supremes? Do you think this should be sections?


They are slightly different preparation techniques. Supremes is cutting all the white membrane off and opening the citrus sections so no pith remains, which will release some juice. Sectioning separates the orange into pieces but maintains the membranes around each piece, some people think this leaves the citrus tasting bitter but I don't find it affects the flavor.


There are videos on you tube showing how to cut the "supremes".

About the Author

Ellen Boeke headshot

About the Author

Ellen Boeke

Ellen Boeke has more than 25 years of experience as a recipe developer and food editor. She holds Bachelor's of Science degrees in consumer food science and journalism from Iowa State University and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. Find her on LinkedIn.
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