Skip to content

Key Lime Panna Cotta

    Love Key Lime Pie, but hate all the work, try this easy no-bake Key Lime Panna Cotta instead. Let it sit overnight for the best dessert this spring!

    Love Key Lime Pie, but hate all the work, try this easy no-bake Key Lime Panna Cotta instead. Let it sit overnight for the best dessert this spring!

    Key Lime Panna Cotta

    Are you in the mood for something creamy and delicious? Key Lime Panna Cotta is a fun twist on a favorite flavor of dessert. Let’s not forget to mention that it’s incredibly easy to make and it also looks quite impressive! This panna cotta recipe is worth making!

    Many of you may be hearing the word “panna cotta” for the first time. This dessert sounds super fancy, but I have made it several times in my kitchen. I love what panna cotta means in Italian, it simply means cooked cream. I think many families would be delighted to enjoy this recipe on a regular basis because it doesn’t take many ingredients at all.

    This Key Lime Panna Cotta recipe is going to be one of the smoothest desserts you’ve ever made. Adults and children love it because they can enjoy it without it being too heavy of a dessert. Sometimes you just want to enjoy a light dessert. If that’s the case, then you will LOVE this sweet treat recipe option.

    A horizontal view of the finished key lime panna cotta recipe on a plate ready to eat.

    Panna Cotta Recipe

    When I’m asked to make a dessert for a gathering, I always try and think outside of the box. I’ve also learned that not all desserts need to put super heavy and sweet. In fact, this Key lime panna cotta has the perfect mixture of ingredients!

    Panna cotta is actually a very popular dessert offered in restaurants too. Just think, you are going to learn how to make something that’s considered a fancy dessert in dining establishments. Once your friends realize that you know how to make this, they are going to ask you to make it again and again. This is okay by me because it’s by far one of the easiest desserts to make with the best return on taste! It’s so yummy.

    Still, wondering what Panna cotta tastes like? When you put it in your mouth you get a very silky flavor and taste. The consistency is sort of like custard. I still think it’s a smoother feel than custard gives, but it’s still amazing.

    How to Make Panna Cotta

    We’re about to dive into making this yummy dessert. Once you figure out how to make panna cotta, you’ll be making it more often. We will start by talking about the ingredients and then dive more into how you make this amazingly sweet, but not too sweet dessert.

    One of the servings of key lime panna cotta with a spoonful out and ready to be devoured.

    Ingredients for Key Lime Panna Cotta

    • Half and half
    • Low fat sweetened condensed milk
    • Grated Key lime rind
    • Salt
    • Reduced-fat milk
    • Gelatin
    • Key lime juice
    • Honey
    • Unsalted butter
    • Low fat graham cracker sheet

    Key Limes vs. Regular Limes

    Key  limes are smaller but sweeter limes when compared to traditional limes that are available year-round in the stores. You’ll want to look for Key Limes in the late winter and early spring. For every 1 regular lime you’ll need about 3 key limes to get the same amount of juice. If you can’t get fresh key limes where you are, you can also use Nelly & Joe’s Key Lime Juice. No need to wait for the right season now.

    What is Gelatin?

    Since most of the time, pudding or custard isn’t made from scratch, some of you may not know what gelatin actually is. Essentially, gelatin is made by boiling the bones, skin, and cartilage from animals. Gelatin is odorless and tasteless. So, you don’t need to worry about it bringing a weird flavor to the panna cotta.

    A close up view of the final product of our how to make panna cotta tutorial ready to be eaten.

    Is Key Lime Panna Cotta Like Flan?

    If you were to ask someone from Italy what panna cotta tastes like, they may say it’s very similar to flan. Just keep in mind that panna cotta is designed to be a much lighter dessert. It’s not heavy at all.

    How Long Do I Store Panna Cotta in the Fridge?

    If you have made a panna cotta recipe and you want to keep the leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure you cover it up with plastic wrap and keep it covered while it’s stored in the fridge.


    Do you have the ingredients on hand to make Key Lime Panna Cotta? If so, you should totally go for it. Your guests are going to love the familiar key lime flavor with the panna cotta approach. This recipe is also super versatile, which means you can switch things up if you’d like. Have you ever tried panna cotta? What do you think about it?

    This is a photo showing the end result for how to make panna cotta!

    More Key Lime Recipes

    I bet you love the sweet flavor of Key Lime as much as I do, so here’s a few great ways to use up that juice:

    Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

    Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Recipe

    Cherry Lime Tart

    A cherry lime tart that is for all citrus lovers. Lime curd, a lime crust and homemade maraschino cherries. Totally worth the work!
    A collage and title for the Key Lime Panna Cotta dessert.
    Yield: 4

    Key Lime Panna Cotta

    Love Key Lime Pie, but hate all the work, try this easy no-bake Key Lime Panna Cotta instead. Let it sit overnight for the best dessert this spring!

    Love Key Lime Pie, but hate all the work, try this easy no-bake Key Lime Panna Cotta instead. Let it sit overnight for the best dessert this spring!

    Prep Time 25 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Additional Time 12 hours
    Total Time 12 hours 35 minutes


    • ½ cup half-and half
    • ½ cup low-fat sweetened condensed milk
    • 2 tablespoons grated Key lime rind
    • ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
    • 1 ¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
    • 2 tablespoons Key lime juice, divided (about 4)
    • Cooking spray
    • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
    • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
    • 1 low-fat graham cracker sheet, crushed into coarse crumbs


      1. Combine the first 3 ingredients and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat; cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
      2. Place ¼ cup 2% milk in a medium bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over milk; let stand 10 minutes.
      3. Return pan to medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Add hot milk mixture to gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Add remaining ¾ cup 2% milk. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids. Stir in 1 tablespoon Key lime juice. Divided mixture evenly among 4 (4-ounces) ramekins or custard cups lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
      4. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon juice and honey.
      5. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add crumbs and remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt. Cook 1 minute or until lightly toasted, stirring constantly. Cool completely.
      6. To serve loosen edges of panna cotta with a knife or rubber spatula. Invert ramekins onto dessert plates. Drizzle each with about 2 teaspoons honey mixture, and top with about 2 teaspoons graham cracker crumbs.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    Images, text and all other content Copyrighted©Karyn Granrud, Susanne Queck and Wunderlander Verlag LLC, or ©Pro Stock Media via Unlicensed republishing permitted. As an Amazon affiliate, we earn on qualified purchases.

    Karyn Granrud

    Karyn Granrud

    I'm Karyn, a mom and wife, and I founded this little baking blog. Baking and making desserts have been my passion since I was a kid. I love experimenting with different flavors and sharing delicious recipes with all of you. Read more.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Skip to Recipe