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Sep 17, 2021

Sweet Tea Panna Cotta

This Sweet Tea Panna Cotta, topped with a sweet lemony sauce, is an easy and elegant make-ahead dessert. 

Sweet Tea Panna Cotta with vanilla bean paste.


I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of #FallFlavors recipes. All opinions are mine.

To celebrate fall flavors, this tea is flavored with vanilla bean paste and apple cider tea, and topped with a sweet and tart lemon dessert sauce. 

I used three of our event sponsor ingredients in this recipe, sugar from Dixie Crystals, vanilla bean paste from Taylor & Colledge, and Apple Cider Tea from Republic of Tea. All three companies contributed generous prizes for this event, so be sure to enter to win. 

Panna Cotta is one of my favorite desserts to make for when we have another couple over for dinner, or for small dinner gatherings. You can make it ahead (in fact, you have to make it ahead), it's so elegant, simple, and it's such a treat! Your guests will never suspect that you barely broke a sweat making it. 

Panna cotta with lemon sauce.

To make this dessert, I adapted a vanilla panna cotta recipe by steeping the tea in the cream and sugar mixture before chilling it to gel. You can use any kind of tea you like. I really like this apple cider tea for the apple flavor and the fact that it is caffeine free. 

Just as traditional Southern sweet tea is garnished with lemon, this tea is topped with an easy-to-make and delicious lemon sauce that you'll be tempted to eat with a spoon on its own. While I used Meyer lemons for the sauce, any type of lemon will work. 

What is panna cotta?

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert typically made with cream, sugar, flavorings, and gelatin. The ingredients are briefly warmed, and then chilled in the refrigerator. The name actually translates to "cooked cream." 

You can top it with berries or sauces, or pour the panna cotta mixture over chilled caramel, fudge sauce, or a gelled fruit sauce. 

You can also pour it into molds that have pretty shapes and turn them out before serving. 

Sweet Tea Panna Cotta with lemon sauce.

More panna cotta recipes:

Yogurt Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Coconut Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries

How to Make this Sweet Tea Panna Cotta:

First, soften gelatin in water, and the heat the mixture to dissolve the gelatin. 

Next, bring cream, milk, and sugar just barely to a boil. Add some tea bags and let the mixture steep off heat for about 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags, stir in the vanilla bean paste and the gelatin mixture, and pour into serving glasses and chill for at least six hours, preferably over night.

Serve topped with the lemon sauce. 

Sweet Tea Panna Cotta in glasses.

More #FallFlavors Recipes Below:


Breakfast and Baked Goods

Side Dishes

Main Dishes


Welcome to #FallFlavors where more than 25 food bloggers are sharing recipes with favorite Fall flavors. Our sponsors, Millican Pecan, Dixie Crystals, Melissa’s Produce, Taylor & Colledge, Nairn’s, and Republic of Tea, have furnished participating bloggers with complimentary product to use in their recipe creations that they will be sharing this week. These same sponsors have generously offered prizes for our giveaway so be sure to enter and share with your friends so they can enter too. Be sure to follow our Fall Flavors Pinterest account for more inspiration.

Prize 1: Texas Pecan Candy Basket from Millican Pecan

Millican Pecan Texas Shaped Gift Basket

The Millican Pecan Texas Pecan Candy Basket is loaded with a variety of pecan gifts. Includes 6 Milk Chocolate Pecan Clusters, 6 Milk Chocolate Caramillicans (similar to Turtles), 6 White Chocolate Caramillicans, 6 Pecan Pralines, and a 1/2 lb. Bag of Flavored Pecans! Every bit DELICIOUS! A $75 value.

Prize 2: Williams Sonoma Cleartouch Nonstick 6-Piece Bakeware Set from Dixie Crystals

Bakeware set

Perfect for the occasional baker, our entry-level collection features a sturdy nonstick silicone coating at a great value. Aluminized steel, the material of choice for professional bakers, provides excellent heat transfer for even baking, so food turns out beautifully and releases easily, every time. 6-Piece Set includes: Half-sheet pan, 12-cup muffin pan, round cake pan, square cake pan, rectangular cake pan, loaf pan. An $80 value.

Prize 3: 3 Month Melissa's Produce Gift Subscription

A stunning selection of the most delicious produce will be delivered once a month for 3 months. At Melissa's, the produce is selected at their peak of perfection and packed by hand to ensure safe arrival. A $124 value.

Prize 4: A Red Dancing Leaves Teapot and a tin of Hot Apple Cider Tea from The Republic of Tea

Let the aroma of fresh apple and mulled cider spices envelop you as you sip this golden infusion. The crisp, lingering finish will leave you wanting more! A naturally-caffeine free blend of apples, cinnamon cloves and ginger. Reminiscent of apple cider, with the luscious aroma of cinnamon and cloves, make this cup the perfect accompaniment to the colors of the harvest season.

Embossed, windswept leaves whirl across this 20 oz ceramic teapot. Includes a stainless steel infuser. An exclusive design by The Republic of Tea. A $44 value.

Prize 5: A selection of six flavors of Oat Crackers from Nairn's

One winner will receive a box of each Nairn's Original, Chocolate Chip, Stem Ginger Oat Grahams, Caramelized Onions, Rosemary & Sea Salt Flatbreads, and Oat Cracker. Nairn's has been baking oats since 1896. They use simple, natural, and wholesome ingredients in their products. Minimum $25 value

Prize 6: A Selection of extracts from Taylor and Colledge.

One winner will receive a selection of extracts to include vanilla bean, almond, lemon, and lavender. In 1897, Taylor & Colledge won its first award for excellence in vanilla. Since then, the Taylor & Colledge commitment for unsurpassed quality has earned its reputation as one of the world’s finest producers of vanilla. Minimum of $25 value.

Six (6) winners will be randomly selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. Bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners have 24 hours to respond once notified by email, or they forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be chosen. The #FallFlavors bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members living in the household cannot enter or win the giveaway. Entries will be verified. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter giveaway and the contest is open only to US residents. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #FallFlavors posts or entries. Thank you to our sponsors Millican Pecan Company, Dixie Crystals, Melissa’s Produce, Taylor & Colledge, Republic of Tea, and Nairn’s for providing prizes.

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Sweet Tea Panna Cotta

Sweet Tea Panna Cotta
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 35 Min
This Sweet Tea Panna Cotta, topped with a sweet lemony sauce, is an easy and elegant make-ahead dessert.


For the Panna Cotta
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 to 8 apple cider tea teabags (or other tea)
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the Lemon Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice


To Make the Panna Cotta
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the cream, milk, and sugar just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, cover the pan, and set aside to steep for 5 minutes. 
  2. While the tea steeps, in a small saucepan, add the water and gelatin and let sit for one minute. Heat over low heat until gelatin has dissolve. Remove from the heat. 
  3. Remove the tea bags from the cream mixture, and stir in the gelatin mixture and the vanilla bean paste. 
  4. Divide the mixture among 8 ramekins, let cool to room temperature, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, and preferably overnight. 
To Make the Lemon Sauce
  1. Bring lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. 
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, until thickened. 
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange juice. 
  4. Can be served warm, room temperature, or chilled. 

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panna cotta, sweet tea
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Recipe for Lemon Sauce adapted from Call me Pmc. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. I've never made panna cotta at home but this sure makes me want to try!

  2. I really am inspired by the use of the apple cider tea in this panna cotta. It is a fantastic flavor.

  3. I love your panna cotta's and this one is no different, the infusion of the apple cider tea and the complimentary lemon sauce, soo delicious!

  4. Such a unique fall dessert! I love panna cotta too!

  5. Such a creative recipe, Karen! These look so elegant and delicious.

  6. This was such a beautiful treat! The lemon zest and orange juice made it fruity and delicious!

  7. Yum! WHat an interesting pairing of the apples and lemon but I bet it tastes amazing.

  8. We love panna cotta and I can't wait to try this version! It's so creamy and delicious!

  9. What a delicious and stunning dessert! love the flavors!

  10. I love that you made panna cotta! It's so underrated! That lemon topping sounds amazing.


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