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Espresso con panna or “espresso with cream” is an irresistible drink: the perfect meld of rich whipped cream and bitter coffee.

Espresso Con Panna
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Here’s a caffeinated treat that works any time of the day: though it almost passes as dessert! Try Espresso Con Panna: a shot of espresso topped with a rich dollop of whipped cream. The two ingredients are the ideal match: the indulgent frothy cream against the bitter, nutty coffee is a true delight. It’s a tiny serving: just the right bite-sized pick me up for a long afternoon or an after dinner treat.

What is espresso con panna?

Espresso con panna (‘espresso with cream’ in Italian) is a coffee drink with a single or double shot of espresso topped with a dollop of whipped cream. It’s often served in a demitasse cup or small glass. Popular in Europe, you can order it at most coffee shops in the US, including Starbucks.

While you can make espresso con panna with a single shot of espresso, we prefer it with a double shot to make a larger drink. But even so, it’s just ¼ cup of coffee with 2 tablespoons whipped cream. This mini drink is the perfect small treat (especially compared to all the calories loaded into those massive Starbucks lattes).

Skip to the recipe now: or read more about the components to this drink!

Espresso Con Panna

Make it with homemade whipped cream

Espresso con panna is such a treat because it’s made with real whipped cream: not the kind that comes from a can! If you’re making it at home, you’ve got to make the real stuff. (In fact, we’ve given up on the can entirely because it’s so easy to whip up your own.) Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Make enough for two. You can’t make a single serving of whipped cream because it’s too hard to whip only 2 tablespoons (there’s not enough liquid). Save the extra cream refrigerated for up to 2 days if you’re making only one drink.
  • Whip the cream with a whisk: It takes a little muscle, but it’s easy! In a medium bowl, combine ¼ cup heavy whipping cream with ½ tablespoon powdered sugar and 1 dash vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until it becomes thick and creamy!
Espresso Con Panna

Making the espresso

The essential part of making espresso con panna at home? A great espresso method. Whatever method you choose, use an espresso roast coffee: it’s important for achieving the robust, rich flavor (we like IllyStarbucks or Intelligentsia espresso roast). Here are our top espresso methods:

And that’s it! Make a double shot of espresso and top it with 2 tablespoons of whipped cream. You’ll be amazed at the rich, creamy flavor in this tiny drink! Scroll down to the recipe for the full details.

More espresso drinks

Love to make espresso drinks at home? Here are some favorites you might enjoy:

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Espresso Con Panna

Espresso Con Panna

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 drinks 1x


  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream*
  • ½ tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 2 doubleshots espresso


  1. Make the whipped cream: In a medium bowl, combine the heavy whipping cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk until thick and creamy. (Makes enough for two; you can save the extra cream refrigerated for up to 2 days if you’re making only one drink.)
  2. Make the espresso: Make the espresso using an espresso machine, manual espresso maker, French press, or Moka Pot. Go to How to Make Espresso for instructions.
  3. Serve: Top each doubleshot of espresso with 2 tablespoons whipped cream and serve.


Or, substitute ¼ cup purchased whipped cream for the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Espresso
  • Cuisine: Coffee
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Kevin Sellar says:

    I find it’s easier to make the whipped cream with a Boston shaker and the spring off a strainer take between 30seconds and a minute and a half depending on how much your making and how are your shake

  2. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!