Savory Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

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By Nancy Buchanan



by Nancy Buchanan on May 1, 2011

There is a lot to be said for simplicity – especially right now.

Right now it seems my life is moving at a breakneck pace. It’s all good, but it’s hectic.

My brain is stuffed full and anything that requires complex thought or concentration will, I fear, short out all the circuits. This is not where you want to be when developing and experimenting with recipes for upcoming events. But on second thought, maybe it is. Because  if this panna cotta is any indication of what happens when my brain is overloaded then I may just have to work at a breakneck pace more often.

As I said – simplicity has a lot going for it.

6 ingredients.

20 minutes or less to make with a couple of hours to chill.

The result? A cool, creamy and tangy first course or salad  that can be served with infinite variations  (and yes, I am going to tell you all about them!). This one will definitely be on my menus this spring and summer… and definitely should be on yours!!

Savory Panna Cotta 2 Savory Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta – For an appetizer serving, I made these in 2 oz. ramekins. If you don’t have 2 oz. ramekins you could make these in a mini muffin tin or even in 4 oz. ramekins. If using the 4 oz. ramekins, fill about 1/2 inch full which will make approximately 2 servings. This is the basic recipe but experiment with garlic, herbs and spices. To infuse the panna cottas with garlic and/or herbs, place 2 peeled cloves of garlic or 3 sprigs of a fresh herb (thyme, rosemary or oregano would all work well)  in a small sauce pan with the milk and warm over low heat. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes and then strain out. Proceed with recipe.

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin (or agar agar for vegetarian version)
  • 2/3 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • ground white pepper
  • kosher salt
  • red, orange and yellow tomatoes – 1 each
  • 1 small bunch of chives, sliced 1/8th inch wide
  • Good quality olive oil (for drizzling)


  1. Brush the ramekins with a good extra virgin olive oil.
  2. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk over medium high heat. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk.
  3. Let gelatin stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Rewarm the milk over low heat for about 1 – 2 minutes, stirring to dissolve the gelatin.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the goat cheese. Stirring until the goat cheese is fully incorporated and no lumps remain.
  6. Evenly divide the mixture between the ramekins. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  7. To serve, run the tip of a small knife around the edge of the ramekin and invert onto a plate. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil, chives and tomatoes.


PinExt Savory Goat Cheese Panna Cotta


{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen May 2, 2011 at 12:07 am

What a great idea! I’ve never made a savory panna cotta before, it sounds like a great starter.


Nancy May 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Hi Sylvie! Thank you so much for coming by the Table!!I really enjoyed this – the 2 oz. size means its not overwhelming and they are so simple to make!!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) May 2, 2011 at 3:20 am

Nancy, beautiful!!!!! photography. And the recipe isn’t half bad either :)

Hope your life slows down, my friend. I am with you on the hectic and chaos life stuff!


Nancy May 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Thanks Averie!! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train, thank goodness!! So glad you liked the pics – I think I am getting the hang of this photography stuff!!


lisaiscooking May 2, 2011 at 11:54 am

They’re so pretty with the tomatoes and chives! This is a great idea for a dinner party starter, and the garlic infusion option sounds delicious too.


Nancy May 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I can’t wait to make some with garlic and then try some other herbs… think I will be having this a lot this summer!!


averagebetty May 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Absolutely beautiful! Looks so simple too. My stomach is calling out for tomato, basil and a drizzle of olive oil!


Nancy May 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Me too!! I am so ready for “real” tomatoes and fresh basil!!


Kristen May 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Simplicity is where it’s at, that’s for sure, and this looks incredible! Gorgeous pics too :)


Nancy May 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Thanks Kristen!! I am a huge admirer of your photography so your compliment truly made my day!!


Magic of Spice May 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I agree that simplicity has a lot going for it…but this is anything but simple…elegant and gorgeous is more my frame of mind viewing this. Love it and want some!


Nancy May 2, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Thank you!! I think that is one of the things I like about it – it looks like it takes a long time but couldn’t be simpler!


Maris (In Good Taste) May 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm

This looks so exquisite. Bookmarked!!!


Maria May 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Love the flavors and presentation!


Nancy May 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Thanks Maria!!


Roots+Platters May 3, 2011 at 7:58 am

I have never even thought of doing a savory panna cotta – but this looks delicious! Can’t wait to pick the first fresh tomato out of my garden this summer so I can use it in such a beautiful dish… because I’m betting my husband and I will be having this one a lot! Thanks for the inspiration, and it was SO nice to meet you this weekend!


Nancy May 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Hi Emily,

It was great to meet you too!! I am with you – can’t wait for truly fresh tomatoes!! If you make this in the 2 oz. size you can definitely splurge more often!


Jen (The Domestic Diva) May 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Wow, this looks spectacular! I can’t wait to try the recipe for my next dinner party, and it will be amazing when tomatoes come into season. Such needed inspiration… lovely meeting you at Camp Blogaway! Hope we can stay in touch.


Nancy May 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm

It was wonderful to meet you too Jen – hope you enjoy this little starter! I agree, Camp Blogaway provided some much needed inspiration!!


Lori May 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

What a gorgeous little prelude to summer! The colors are beckoning, and with the sizzle that is going on outside right now, I think summer is ready to burst forth!

I wish goat cheese and I could get along. It’s been a difficult relationship for us thus far. I seem to like it more than it likes me.


Nancy May 3, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Hi Lori!!

Thanks you!! So sorry you and goat cheese don’t get along!! You could try this with a creme fraiche instead of the goat cheese. Wouldn’t be quite as tangy but it would be good!!


Stacy (Little Blue Hen) May 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm

This looks beautiful and I was so excited — until I read the ingredients. Gelatin isn’t vegetarian since it’s made from collagen. It’s one of those sneaky ingredients that ruins recipes for me. =(


Nancy May 4, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Hi Stacy,

You can substitute Agar Agar for the gelatin.


Kelly May 4, 2011 at 3:51 am

So what types of variations do you have on this? I’m so excited to try it out!


Nancy May 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Hi Kelly,

Wow, the possibilities are truly endless!! You can sub creme fraiche for the goat cheese and/or infuse the mixture with thyme, rosemary, garlic or even tarragon. I served it with the diced tomatoes but you could easily add baby greens dressed with your favorite vinaigrette.


Julia May 4, 2011 at 9:52 am

Oh my word. My love for goat cheese knows no bounds. I can not WAIT to make this!!!!


Nancy May 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Hi Julia!! So happy to meet a fellow goat cheese lover and I hope you enjoy this. Thanks for stopping by the Table!!


Kim May 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Checking in – any less hectic now than you were a week ago?! :)

I’m a goat cheese LOVER. If I were making this, it’d be strictly for myself. Dangerous!!!



Glenda August 27, 2011 at 11:32 am

911! Just got all the ingredients out and am ready but your method DOES NOT SPEAK TO HOW TO USE THE YOGURT! Have people coming for dinner, please respond ASAP!


Nancy August 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

You add the yogurt in with the goat cheese!! Sorry about that – I definitely need an editor!!


Chuck August 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

How/where do you use the yogurt?


Nancy August 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

Hi Chuck!!

This is a great example as to why I need an editor!! Sorry about that! You add the yogurt in with the goat cheese!!! Hope this clears up the confusion!!


sally cameron August 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm

This looks fantastic Nancy. Will have to try it. Anything with goat cheese works for us. And beautiful photo too!


Nancy August 29, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Thanks Sally!!! These make a lovely appetizer in the summer and they look so pretty (and are incredibly easy!!)


William November 23, 2011 at 7:14 am

Hmmm… I tried making this recipe and I thought I followed the instructions to the T but the panna cotta came out with a pretty weird texture. Almost powdery or gritty if you will… Any idea where I may have screwed up?


Nancy November 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

Hi William!!
I am so sorry that it didn’t turn out – the only thing I can think of is that you may have heated the milk too much. It just needs to be warm to dissolve the gelatin and then the goat cheese , no need to bring it to a simmer!


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