This velvety, coconut panna cotta may sound like a complex dish, but it's actually so simple to make. It's sure to be high on your keto and low-FODMAP desserts list. I’ve put together a healthy low carb ‘pudding’ with pina colada flavored electrolytes that make a silky, festive no-bake dessert!
It’s hard to describe just how creamy and perfect this pina colada dessert is. Made with super healthy ingredients and I take no issue with having it for breakfast.
If you love sugar-free desserts and keto sweet snacks, this is going to make you very happy. And, it fits perfectly with a low-FODMAP, paleo or Whole30 diet plan. This dairy-free dessert is made with coconut milk and toasted coconut that will bring about feelings of tropical paradise.
Why this recipe works
This recipe is for you if you love pineapple and coconut! It’s like a pina colada mocktail all wrapped up in a silky smooth, rich and creamy glass of bliss - not at all like pina colada jello. We’re talking smooth, sweet custard-like low-carb pudding.
And, my favorite brand of electrolytes (Ultima Replenisher) happens to have Mocktini flavors that include pina colada flavored electrolytes – I don’t think anyone else sells electrolytes that are so good you can cook with them. The Mocktini flavors are so unique! I got excited and decided to create this stellar ‘coconut-fat bomb-meets-sweet-pineapple-salsa’ healthy dessert recipe.
Looking for more low-carb desserts? Check out my Dessert category for some sweet inspiration!
What is panna cotta?
In Italian, panna cotta translates to ‘cooked cream’. It’s often served chilled, either straight from the dessert cups or unmolded and inverted onto dessert plates.
Traditionally, this is a popular Italian sweet dessert made with thickened cream and gelatin. Enhance it with fruit, coffee, vanilla or other flavors, then mold or serve in dessert glasses.
What does panna cotta taste like?
To me, it’s a cross between jello and custard. It’s slightly sweet and has a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth consistency that makes it very challenging to have just one serving.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- First of all, it’s a really, really delicious and easy keto ‘pudding’ recipe
- This dessert is dairy-free and sugar-free
- If you're looking for low-FODMAP vegan recipes, I include a variation for you!
- Looking for keto fat bomb recipes? This is a perfect high fat, low carb snack
- It’s a low-carb and paleo dessert recipe, with only 3g net carbs per serving
- The addition of electrolytes make this a super healthy treat!
- This is a simple, no bake dessert perfect for anytime - from summer holidays to keto Christmas desserts
Is pineapple keto friendly?
Yes, but in small quantities. There are 19g of net carbs in one cup of fresh pineapple. This recipe calls for only ½ cup, which is divided into 4 servings. That makes each portion of the low carb salsa less than 3g of net carbs.
With the pineapple cut into small pieces, you get to enjoy the bright, fresh citrus without worrying about your macros.
Is pineapple low-FODMAP?
Yes, fresh pineapple is considered a low-FODMAP fruit in portions of 1 cup or less, according to Monash University. Dried pineapple contains high amounts of oligo-fructans, which changes the serving size to only ½ a slice. The drying process increases the sugar content per serving, raising the levels of FODMAPS.
You only need a handful of basic ingredients and a packet of delicious electrolytes:
- Full-fat coconut milk
- Sweetener of choice - I use stevia, but any sweetener will work well
- Ultima Replenisher Coconut Pina Colada flavored electrolytes - these give this recipe an amazing pina colada flavor, while enhancing the dessert with vital minerals
- Gelatin (see below for substitutes for gelatin for a vegan option)
- Water to bloom the gelatin - cold or room temperature
- Fresh pineapple, chopped into ½ inch cubes
- Lime juice and zest
- Fresh mint - finely sliced leaves are best
- Rum (optional) - I like to use spiced or Malibu rum
- Shredded coconut or flakes - I use coconut flakes in this recipe, but shredded is also a good option
The best coconut milk to use
It’s important to use the right kind of coconut milk. I use full fat canned coconut milk from a brand where the coconut cream doesn’t separate from the milk. Thai Kitchen’s coconut milk stays homogenous and is perfect for pretty much any recipe.
If you use a coconut milk that has separated in the can, it is likely to separate when the custard chills.
Substitutes for gelatin
To make a vegan panna cotta, there are a couple of very popular options to use in place of regular gelatin:
To make this recipe with agar agar, the steps are similar to using gelatin.
Agar agar is a jelly-like product that is made from the cell walls of algae. It’s a very popular ingredient in vegan pudding, jellies and custards. Available in flakes or powdered, use it in a 1:1 ratio as a gelatin replacement.
However, agar agar sets more firmly than gelatin and is less ‘jiggly’. Consider using a little less than the 2 teaspoons of gelatin this recipe calls for if you want the end result to be softer and more like a custard.
Agar agar needs to be simmered to allow it to set. It’s best to follow the instructions on the packaging for best results.
Vegan gelatin often contains several ingredients, such as vegetable gum and tapioca dextrin. The ingredients vary by manufacturer, so it’s best to follow the directions on the package for preparation. Typically, the powder is mixed with cold water until its dissolved.
How to bloom gelatin
This easy step is what gives this dessert a smooth, silky texture.
Simply sprinkle the gelatin into a small amount of cold water (or other liquid) in a shallow bowl, whisk, and let it sit for 5 minutes. It will start to swell in size and absorb the liquid almost immediately. If left to sit for longer, it will completely set and may not dissolve evenly. This step should be done just before adding it to your recipe.
When the mixture is heated, the gelatin will completely dissolve.
First, prepare the coconut milk mixture:
Heat the coconut milk and sweetener: Over medium heat, add the coconut milk to a small saucepan and whisk in the sweetener.
Bloom the gelatin: While the coconut milk is heating, bloom the gelatin in a small, shallow bowl (see How to Bloom Gelatin, above).
Melt the gelatin in the coconut mixture: When the coconut milk reaches approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit, add the bloomed gelatin mixture to the saucepan and turn off the heat. Gently whisk until thoroughly dissolved.
TIP: The best way to gage the temperature of the coconut milk is to use a thermometer to test the temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can estimate the temperature. The coconut milk should not be boiling. When you start seeing gentle bubbles forming on the side of the pot or a light steam, it’s hot enough.
TIP: Gelatin loses its ability to set if boiled. The maximum temperature of your liquid should be no higher than 150 degrees Fahrenheit or your finished recipe may not set appropriately.
Add the Ultima Replenisher: Add one Coconut Pina Colada electrolytes stickpack (or 1 teaspoon) and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Pouring the mixture
Pour the mixture into dessert cups, verrine glasses or mold of choice.
TIP: If using molds, be sure to lightly oil the inside of the mold to prevent the pudding from sticking to the sides.
Chill until set: Cover and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.
TIP: Depending on the cups or glasses being used, it may be best to cool the mixture before pouring into the glasses. You can let it cool in the pan or place the saucepan in an ice bath until cool to the touch.
Preparing the topping
While the pudding is chilling, make the pineapple salsa and toasted coconut. Both of these can be made ahead of time and stored separately until serving.
For the pineapple salsa
In a small sauté pan, add the lime juice, rum and pineapple.
Simmer on medium heat for about 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pineapple chunks are slightly soft.
Turn off the heat and add the finely sliced mint leaves and lime zest, reserving a small amount of each for garnish.
If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use. I use any leftover pineapple to make a delicious Pineapple Habanero Salsa.
How to toast coconut
In a small un-oiled sauté pan, add the shaved coconut.
Sauté on medium heat until slightly browned, stirring frequently.
Coconut toasts very quickly, so don’t leave the pan unattended!
Once cooled, store in a sealed container at room temperature until ready to use.
How to unmold the dessert
When using dessert cups or glasses, you can serve directly from the cups.
If you’ve used a mold or ramekin and want to serve on a plate:
- Dip the mold or ramekin in hot water for about 10 seconds, making sure no water flows over the top.
- Gently use your fingertip to pull the panna cotta away from the sides.
- Invert onto a dessert plate and gently tap the sides to unmold.
How to assemble
Once set, it's ready to serve:
- Spoon ¼ of the pineapple salsa into the cups or glasses or spoon on top of your unmolded dessert
- Top with toasted coconut and sprinkle with some reserved sliced mint leaves and lime zest for garnish.
- To make a more traditional panna cotta with coconut milk, you can eliminate the Coconut Pina Colada electrolytes in the mixture and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon of vanilla bean paste and a pinch of salt.
- For a vegan recipe without gelatin, replace the gelatin with agar agar or another gelatin substitute for a vegan gelatin replacement.
- To make an AIP dessert – Since electrolyte supplements typically aren’t included in a paleo AIP diet plan, these can be eliminated. Follow the directions above, without the electrolyte powder and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or caviar from vanilla bean.
- Try a passionfruit panna cotta! Ultima Replenisher has a new passionfruit electrolyte powder that’s perfect for this recipe. Simply use it in place of the Coconut Pina Colada variety.
- If you like a little (or a lot) of spice, try adding some very finely chopped aji pineapple, jalapeno or habanero peppers to the salsa. Pineapple habanero salsa would be amazing with the sweet creamy texture of the dessert.
- Add less gelatin to make a decadent softer pina colada coconut pudding or custard.
More helpful tips
- Don’t skip blooming the gelatin. In order to get a perfect, silky consistency, it must be soaked in water first.
- Don’t add the gelatin if your mixture is too hot. If gelatin is overheated or boiled, it will not set properly. Overheating weakens its setting strength.
- Avoid speeding up the setting process in the freezer. The setting process is time dependent rather than just temperature dependent.
- Store your dessert in the refrigerator until ready to serve. As it warms up, the consistency will soften.
Coconut milk has a very low glycemic load. It is very low in carbohydrates and has a high fat content, making blood sugar spikes unlikely.
Gelatin is high in amino acids and is almost a complete protein by itself. When hydrated, it is an excellent source of bioavailable protein, which means it takes almost no energy to digest. It is a great source of amino acids and collagen, which is beneficial for the skin, joints, bone health and digestion.
Gelatin should be bloomed in cold or room temperature water. If it’s bloomed in hot water, the outside of the granules swell too quickly, which prevents water from penetrating the center. Its strength declines when bloomed in liquids that exceed temperatures above about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. After it’s bloomed, it can be added to hot water, but may lose its gelling capacity if boiled.
That’s totally up to you! Dessert glasses or verrine glasses give a classy and elegant look to any dessert.
It depends on the recipe. Try freezing a small portion and defrosting before freezing an entire batch. The liquids and solids may separate when defrosting, so it’s best to test the recipe by initially freezing only a small amount.
Make sure you freeze your dessert in a freezer-safe container, as dessert glasses may not hold up to freezing temperatures.
You can prepare your dessert up to 3 days before serving. Be sure to store it covered so it doesn't absorb odors in the refrigerator.
Other recipes you might like
- Flourless Keto Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Almond Flour Mug Cake
- Keto Strawberry Clafoutis
- Pineapple Habanero Salsa
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Pina Colada Panna Cotta with Pineapple and Lime
- 2 cups full fat coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons stevia sweetener (use sweetener of choice)
- 1 teaspoon Ultima Replenisher Coconut Pina Colada electrolyte powder (or 1 stickpack)
- 2 teaspoons gelatin (see notes)
- ¼ cup cold water
- ½ cup pineapple (cut into ½ inch cubes)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon rum (optional)
- 2 teaspoons mint leaves (finely sliced)
- 1 lime (zest only)
- ¼ cup dried flaked coconut (or shredded coconut)
To prepare the pudding mixture:
- In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk over medium heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon sweetener until dissolved.
- Add the cold water to a small, shallow bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Whisk until all granules are moistened and let sit for 5 minutes.
- When the coconut milk is hot, not boiling (about 120-150 degrees F), add the bloomed gelatin to the saucepan and turn off the heat. Gently whisk until thoroughly dissolved.
- Add the Coconut Pina Colada electrolyte powder and whisk until dissolved.
- Pour the mixture into 4 dessert glasses, cups or molds.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until set.
To prepare the pineapple salsa topping:
- In a small saute pan, add the lime juice, rum and pineapple.
- Simmer on medium heat for about 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pineapple chunks are slightly soft.
- Turn off the heat and add the finely sliced mint leaves and lime zest, reserving a few pinches of each for garnish.
- If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use.
Toast the coconut:
- In a small un-oiled sauté pan, add the shaved coconut.
- Sauté on medium heat until slightly browned, stirring frequently.
Assemble the dessert:
- Spoon ¼ of the pineapple into the cups or glasses or spoon on top of your unmolded dessert.
- Top with toasted coconut.
*Net carbs = carbohydrates - fiber
Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools and does not include optional ingredients unless otherwise indicated.