Overhead shot of buttermilk panna cotta topped with rhubarb compote.

On Tuesday a few friends joined us for taco night and for dessert, I made buttermilk panna cotta, which I haven’t made in years, and I’m not sure why because it’s delicious and easy and light (tasting, at least). It also found purpose for the rhubarb I had picked up last week: a sweet-tart lemony compote, a perfect spring lily-gilding condiment.

Have a wonderful weekend, Everyone.

PS: Rhubarb BuckleRhubarb SchnappsRhubarb Cornmeal CakeRhubarb JamRhubarb Ice Cream

rhubarb on a board
A pot with rhubarb, sugar, and lemon zest.
Jarred rhubarb compote.
Jarred rhubarb compote.

Buttermilk panna cotta takes 5 minutes to make:
Buttermilk-cream mixture in a liquid measure.

Pour the buttermilk-cream mixture into ramekins or cups and chill until ready to serve, at least 3 hours:
Panna cotta in glasses.

Overhead shot of panna cotta and children reaching in.
Overhead shot of buttermilk panna cotta with rhubarb compote and spoons.
Rhubarb compote with a spoon.
Three glasses of buttermilk panna cotta topped with rhubarb compote.
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Buttermilk panna cotta with rhubarb compote.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Simple Rhubarb Compote

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Alexandra Stafford
  • Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings (depending on vessel)
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Source of panna cotta: Claudia Fleming via Saveur

Compote: used this Epicurious recipe as a guide, yield = about 4 cups


for the panna cotta:

  • 1½ tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • 7 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ vanilla pod, split lengthwise
  • 1¾ cups buttermilk

for the rhubarb compote:

  • lbs. rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 to cups sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon


  1. For the panda cotta: Soften gelatin in 1 tbsp. cold water in a medium bowl for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put cream and sugar into a small saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla pod into pan, then add pod. Heat cream over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, 3–5 minutes, then stir into bowl with gelatin. Stir in buttermilk, then strain into another bowl.
  2. Divide custard between six 8-oz. ramekins (or whatever small vessels you have) and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, make the compote: combine rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, and zest in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Uncover, stir, and taste. And lemon lemon juice to taste and more sugar if necessary — I added the juice of the entire lemon and another ¼ cup sugar, but rhubarb’s tartness will vary, so add sugar and lemon to taste. Transfer rhubarb mixture to a bowl or jar. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. Keep refrigerated.
  4. Serve with raspberries or other fruit or rhubarb compote on the side, if you wish.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop/Refrigerator
  • Cuisine: Italian