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Lemon Posset (Easy 3-Ingredient Dessert!)

Lemon Posset is cool, creamy, sweet, tart, and made with just 3 ingredients. Very similar to pudding, it’s a super simple and delicious no-bake dessert that’s sure to become a favorite!

Friends, this may just be one of the best and easiest desserts you’ll ever make. It takes only about 15 minutes to put together and a few hours in the fridge to chill and set (which makes it perfect for making ahead)!

So, the fall vibes might be starting to kick in (back-to-school time always does that), but we still have 3 whole weeks of summer left. And I want to enjoy the flavors of summer for as long as I can.

For me, anything lemony or citrusy feels summery, and this lemon posset is no exception.

BUT that doesn’t mean that you can only make it in the summer. It’s also a wonderful dessert to make in the fall and winter when you want a little taste of summer to brighten your taste buds and your day!

What is Lemon Posset?

Lemon Posset is a popular British dessert that is similar to pudding (in fact, it’s said that it was one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite desserts and was even served at her wedding!).

It’s made with just 3 ingredients: heavy cream, sugar and lemons.

The thing about posset is that it doesn’t require any other ingredients like eggs, cornstarch or gelatin to make it thicken. The acid in the lemon juice reacts with the cream, which causes it to set but not curdle…like magic!

Posset can be traced back hundreds of years to the Middle Ages. Originally, it was a drink of hot spiced milk that was curdled with ale or wine, and it was often used to treat minor ailments. It’s even mentioned in a few of Shakespeare’s works.

Somewhere around the 19th century, posset was reinvented to be the cold, pudding-like dessert that we know today.

If you’re a lemon lover, this recipe is a must-try. It’s one that you’ll come back to again and again!

6 lemon possets in white ramekins on a clear serving tray with spoons and a cut lemon on the side

Ingredients You Need

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Sugar
  • Lemons (for zest and juice)

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the end of the post.

How to Make Lemon Posset

1: Put the heavy whipping cream, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan.

2: Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved.

2 numbered images, number 1 is of heavy cream, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepot on the stove top, and number 2 is of the mixture in the post with a whisk and being heated to a boil

3: As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

4: Allow the mixture to cool for 20 minutes.

2 numbered images, number 3 is of lemon juice being added to the cream mixture in the saucepan, and number 4 is of the saucepan on a counter cooling

5: Give the cooled mixture a quick stir.

6: Evenly divide the mixture among six 4-ounce (½-cup) ramekins or dessert cups.

2 numbered images, number 5 is of a whisk stirring the cooled cream mixture in the saucepan, and number 6 is of the cream mixture in 6 white ramekins

7: Place the ramekins in the refrigerator and chill, uncovered, for 3 hours or until set. After 3 hours, cover them with plastic wrap if you won’t be serving them right away.

8: Garnish the possets, if desired. Serve and enjoy!

2 numbered images, number 7 is a graphic of a refrigerator, and number 8 is of one serving of the finished lemon posset garnished with lemon, blackberries and mint and with a spoonful being lifted out and with text that says enjoy

Note: This is just a brief overview of the steps. For the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and detailed instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the end of the post.

Recipe Tips & Tidbits

  • Fresh lemons are key to this recipe; don’t substitute bottled lemon juice. You want both the zest and juice of the lemons for that great flavor.
  • Be sure your lemons are super fresh. Older lemons may be less acidic, which could cause your posset to not set properly.
  • When zesting the lemons, only take off the yellow part of the skin. The white pith underneath can be bitter. Also, always zest your lemons before juicing them (it’s much harder to zest a juiced lemon!).
    • I use a Microplane to zest my lemons. Other options are a lemon zester (this usually gives you longer strips of zest, so be sure to chop them into smaller, fine pieces) or a box grater (use the smallest holes).
  • As written, I think this recipe has the perfect balance of sweet and tart. But feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to suit your own personal tastes.
  • I don’t find it necessary to pass the posset mixture through a sieve before pouring it into the ramekins; the zest is very fine, and I prefer to leave it in there.
    • You can strain it if you’d like; just be sure to do it while the mixture is still hot so it is easier.
  • When chilling the possets in the refrigerator, keep them uncovered for the full 3 hours (if you cover them while they are still slightly warm, this could cause condensation to form which could drip down into the posset).
    • After they have been in the refrigerator for 3 hours, if you don’t plan to serve them right away, then go ahead and cover them with plastic wrap.
  • If you don’t have ramekins, you can use dessert cups, small glasses, espresso cups, wine or martini glasses, etc. Get creative!
3 lemon possets in white ramekins garnished with lemon wedges, blackberries and mint leaves with spoons on the side

Substitutions & Variations

  • Try other citrus fruits like limes, oranges or grapefruit in place of the lemons.
  • A dash of vanilla or almond extract would be a delicious addition (add either along with the lemon juice).

Make Ahead, Storage & Freezing

Make Ahead

This is a perfect make-ahead dessert because it needs at least 3 hours in the refrigerator to set before serving. You can make it several hours ahead or even a day ahead of time (I often make it the day before and let it set overnight). Just be sure to cover it after 3 hours.

Storage

Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 to 4 days. If making ahead, always remember to start counting from the day you made it and not the day you first served it.

Freezing

I don’t recommend freezing lemon posset, as the texture may change. This dessert is best when made fresh!

2 lemon possets on a napkin in front of a small cutting board with more lemon possets on it, one of the possets on the napkin has a spoonful taken out and the spoonful of posset is on the napkin next to the ramekin

How to Serve Lemon Posset

Serve your lemon posset as-is or top it with garnishes such as lemon wedges and/or zest, fruit such as blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries, or some fresh mint.

It’s also great with a dollop of whipped cream!

Shortbread cookies, almond cookies or even vanilla wafer cookies are fantastic as an accompaniment (try dipping them right into the posset…YUM!).

I hope you try this Lemon Posset recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Recipes To Try

If you try this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

lemon posset in a white ramekin garnished with lemon, blackberries and mint and with a spoonful being taken out

Lemon Posset

Lemon Posset is cool, creamy, sweet, tart, and made with just 3 ingredients. Very similar to pudding, it's a super simple and delicious no-bake dessert that's sure to become a favorite!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cool and Chill Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 6 (about ½ cup each)
Estimated Calories: 350

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Place the heavy cream, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan (I use a 3-quart saucepan).
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved.
  • As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  • Allow the mixture to cool in the saucepan for 20 minutes.
  • Give the mixture a quick stir and then divide it evenly among six 4-ounce (½-cup) ramekins or dessert cups.
  • Place the ramekins in the refrigerator and chill, uncovered, for 3 hours or until set (they should be fully set at 3 hours).
    Keeping them uncovered for the 3 hours will prevent any condensation from forming which could drip down onto the posset. After the 3 hours, cover them with plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge if you won't be serving them right away (you can make them up to a day ahead).
  • Garnish, if desired; serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Fresh lemons are key to this recipe; don’t substitute bottled lemon juice. You want both the zest and juice of the lemons for that great flavor.
  • Be sure your lemons are super fresh. Older lemons may be less acidic, which could cause your posset to not set properly.
  • When zesting the lemons, only take off the yellow part of the skin. The white pith underneath can be bitter. Also, always zest your lemons before juicing them (it’s much harder to zest a juiced lemon!).
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to suit your own personal tastes.
  • Garnish/topping ideas: lemon slices and/or zest, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mint leaves, whipped cream.
  • Keep posset stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • Estimated calories shown do not include any garnishes/toppings.
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