Espresso con panna, also known as espresso with cream, is a classic Italian drink featuring a beautiful blend of bold espresso and sweet, fluffy cream. For this version, we made a few simple swaps to create a dairy free recipe with all the same taste and texture you know and love!
What Is Espresso Con Panna?
An Italian drink, espresso con panna consists of a single or double shot of espresso topped with whipped cream typically served in a demitasse cup or small glass. Popular throughout Europe, the drink has spread to the United States and can now be found in pretty much any coffee shop or café.
While we love the taste of the original drink, we know that it’s not always an option for those who may need to avoid dairy or refined sugar in their diet. So, to help bring the comfort of warm caffeine right to your home, we created our own dairy free espresso con panna recipe! With just a few simple swaps and substitutions, we were able to emulate all of the original flavor with just a handful of pantry staples. Quick and easy to make, it’s the perfect budget-friendly way to start your day!
What Does It Taste Like?
Incredible! Seriously, the bold, bitter taste of espresso blends with sweet whipped cream for an almost dessert-like drink that’s well-rounded, smooth, and creamy.
Ingredients You’ll Need
To make an authentic con panna recipe, you’ll just need 3 ingredients. However, we took the traditional recipe up a notch with a few special additions for a sweet coffee cocktail. No matter how you make it, it’s always delicious!
- Coconut Whip Cream (see whipped cream option) – True con panna recipes use dairy whipped cream. However, to keep this dairy-free, we swapped out our coconut whip cream instead and dolloped it on top for sweet, fluffy deliciousness.
- Espresso or Instant Espresso – If you have a Nespresso or espresso machine, go ahead and brew up a fresh shot! Or, for a shortcut that’s just as tasty, we love DeLallo’s instant espresso. It’s just as tasty and super quick to make.
Feel free to experiment with this espresso con panna recipe to make it your own! For instance, you could try variations like:
- Coffee Con Panna – Use a strong brewed coffee if you don’t have espresso.
- Maple Syrup – Used to sweeten the espresso con panna without the need for refined sugars.
- Adding a dash of cinnamon.
- Stirring in syrups for extra flavor like amaretto, caramel, vanilla, or whatever you like best!
- Amaretto – An Italian liqueur that adds a warm, sweetness and just a little extra punch. Feel free to omit it completely to keep this recipe alcohol-free.
- Replacing the amaretto with Kahlua, rum, butterscotch schnapps, hazelnut liqueur, or any gluten-free alcohol you have on hand.
- Non-Dairy Milk (almond, oat, coconut, cashew, etc.) – Stirred into the drink for more volume, a smoother texture, and a creamier taste.
How to Make Dairy Free Espresso Con Panna
Skip the coffee line, and make dairy free con panna at home instead! It’s super easy to make and will have you feeling like a fancy barista.
Make the Whipped Topping
- Chill. Place your entire can of coconut milk in the very back of your fridge to solidify.
Pro-Tip: Chill 1 or 2 extra cans just to ensure you have enough cream. Also, make sure to use canned coconut milk and not the boxed varieties in the dairy section.
- Whip It Good. (You got that reference, right?) Transfer the thickened cream portion of the coconut milk, and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer or just a standard mixing bowl. Feel free to save the leftover liquid to use in smoothies! Then, whip the cream on high until it is light and fluffy.
- Flavor option!! Make it big and bold by mixing a bit of instant espresso into the whipped cream for a stronger flavor.
Create the Con Panna
- Brew Your Espresso. Whether you’re making your espresso with a fancy machine or whisking an instant powder, you’ll want to make sure you start with a strong base.
- Combine the Ingredients. Slowly stir your water (and any additional ingredients if you feel like getting creative) into the espresso until they are well combined and smooth.
- Top It Off. Dollop your coconut whip on top or Make it Fancy, which is optional. But if you’re up to it, add a little coconut sugar on top then use a blow torch to help it caramelize, making your beverage truly gourmet.
Treat yourself to a decadent breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up when you pair your dairy free espresso con panna with one of the treats below!
Do you have questions, feedback, or tips about this recipe? Leave a comment below with any questions or feedback you’d like to share!