Espresso con panna or “espresso with cream” is an irresistible drink: the perfect meld of rich whipped cream and bitter coffee.
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!
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!
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 Illy, Starbucks or Intelligentsia espresso roast). Here are our top espresso methods:
- Espresso machine: A countertop espresso machine makes for the best flavor! Go to How to Make Espresso for instructions. But if you don’t have an espresso machine, try one of the machine-free options below.
- Portable espresso maker: The next best option? Try a manual espresso maker: it’s easy, affordable, and makes good espresso.
- French press: Or, make French press espresso! It makes a decent cup with a coffee tool you may already have on hand.
- Moka Pot: You can also make strong espresso-like coffee in a Moka Pot (Bialetti).
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:
- Opt for a Cafe Au Lait or Cafe con Leche
- Grab a Gibraltar, Cortado, Breve, Ristretto or Lungo
- Go for a Classic Latte or Vanilla Latte
- Try an Americano, Macchiato, Cappuccino, Flat White, Mocha or Iced Latte
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream*
- ½ tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 dash vanilla extract
- 2 doubleshots espresso
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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
Keywords: Espresso con panna