Lemon Posset (The Easiest Dessert Ever!)

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Have you ever heard of Lemon Posset? Run, don’t walk to the nearest grocery store pick up some cream…and some lemons!

lemon posset

That’s it, seriously…well and a bit of sugar. I kid you not, Lemon Posset is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. It’s DEFINITELY the easiest and fastest.

(This post was originally published on July 31st, 2013. As an Amazon Affiliate, I may earn commission on qualifying purchases.) 

Lemon Posset on white tray

A few years ago I was researching pub food for a catering company. Not traditional pub food, like cottage pie or sausage rolls, but fancier gastro pub food. I stumbled across the website of a gastropub just outside of London and was a bit taken back by the menu. Scanning down to the puddings, (desserts) out popped….Posset! “What IS this posset?” 

Lemons on a plate

What is posset?

Possets were originally used for medicinal purposes, as the The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as a, “drink made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or other alcoholic liquor and typically flavored with spices, drunk as a delicacy or as a remedy for colds.” While the Folger Shakespeare Library describes it as having eggs and being similar to our modern day eggnog. We do know that posset has been around for hundreds of years and that Shakespeare refers to possets in several of his plays, including this line from The Merry Wives of Windsor…

“yet be cheerful knight: thou shalt eat a posset to-night at my house; Where I will desire thee to laugh at my wife.”

After researching several posset recipes online, my head was swimming in disbelief!

What is posset made from?

While old versions of posset used ale or wine to instead of citrus, most modern possets use citrus. Lemon, sugar and cream. Could a dessert with just THREE ingredients really be THAT good? Yep, that’s it. I was still a bit skeptical…no cornstarch…no flour…no eggs? While this recipe is made with Eureka lemons, you can easily make a Meyer lemon posset. If you’re using Meyer lemons, which tend to be sweeter, you can reduce the sugar slightly if you wish.

lemon zest

How does a posset set?

Well, that’s where the citrus comes in!  After boiling the sugar and the cream together, you add the lemon juice and zest. The lemon juice causes a reaction with the cream resulting in it setting up. The resulting texture is smooth and creamy very similar to a panna cotta.

What’s the difference between panna cotta and posset?

Panna cotta means “cooked cream” in Italian. The difference between panna cotta and posset is that panna cotta uses gelatin, and posset relies on the acid in citrus to help it set. Here’s a recipe for Vanilla Panna Cotta.

Can a posset be made ahead of time?

Absolutely! In fact, while posset only takes a few minutes on the stove, it does require at least an hour or two in the fridge to set. It can even be made the day or night before you are going to serve it.

lemon posset in crystal glass

How long does lemon posset last?

While it only lasts about 3 days in the refrigerator, it never lasts that long around here, as the portions are small, and the recipe only makes 6 servings. This is a rich dessert. So you can also make the portions a bit smaller and serve 8, especially if you add a bit of fruit on top of each serving.

How do You Make Posset?

First zest one lemon. You should get about 2 teaspoons. Next, juice the lemon. You should get about 5 Tablespoons of lemon juice.

lemon juice

Bring the cream and sugar to a boil over a medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue stirring cream and sugar for 3 minutes, watch the heat and lower if needed to avoid the cream boiling over. Remove cream mixture from heat. Add zest and juice and let cool for about 10 minutes. (This is especially important if you are going to be transferring the Lemon Posset into crystal glasses.)

zest into cream

Can you make sugar free posset?

Absolutely! I wondered if a dessert this easy could be made sugar free! For a sugar free posset which is also low carb and keto friendly, I just substitute erythritol for the sugar. There is virtually no taste difference! Here’s my low-carb posset recipe.

sugar free pudding
Low-carb, keto friendly lemon posset.

What Can You Serve With Posset?

Lemon posset with fresh blueberries.

Lemon Posset is the perfect backdrop for just about anything! Top each serving with a sliver of lemon, a few raspberries, blueberries or blackberries and a spring of fresh mint, or perhaps a shortbread biscuit!

Lemon posset top shot

I hope you enjoy the delicious simplicity this Lemon Posset soon!

Here’s my Lavender, Honey and Orange Posset for a deliciously floral take on the original recipe.

Lavender posset

Love lime? Try Lime Posset with graham cracker crumbs!

Lime posset in glass.

A note about sugar!

Two or three readers have commented that it’s “too sweet” with 3/4 cup of sugar. If you prefer a tarter dessert, try 1/2 cup or 2/3 cup!

lemon posset.

Lemon Posset

Cynthia
This delicious and easy English dessert is made from just three ingredients!
4.99 from 200 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
chill 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 6 servings
Calories 357 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 16 ounces heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar (5.25 ounces)
  • 5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice and zest about one large lemon

Instructions
 

  • Bring cream and sugar to boil over a medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium, and boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly, adjusting heat as needed to prevent mixture from boiling over. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in lemon juice and zest and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.
  • Stir mixture again and divide among six ramekins or glasses.
  • Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and chill until set, 1 hour or overnight.
  • Allow to set completely before garnishing Garnish with fresh berries or mint.

Video

Notes

  • Note: a few readers have said that it is "too sweet" with 3/4 cup. If you prefer a tarter flavor, I'd suggest cutting the sugar back to 1/2 cup.
  • Meyer lemons can be used when they are in season.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 357kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 2gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 21mgPotassium: 89mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 1114IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 0.2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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256 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Cynthia, I have made your delicious dessert “Posset” we all enjoy it so much, thank you for sharing the recipe, and the beautiful photo presentations.

  2. I tried it but when I added the lemon juice the cream immediately curdled , it did set well but was not a smooth texture but grainy… What did I do Wrong?

    1. hmmm, that’s interesting. It is supposed to curdle, because that’s how it sets up. Was the sugar dissolved completely before you added the lemon juice? That’s the only thing I can think of that would make it grainy?

  3. These looks absolutely delicious! I’ve mever heard of posset before and couldn’t wait to try it. I tried making the Orange Honey Lavender Posset, but it didn’t set. Only a top layer set and the rest was completely liquid. 🙁 Any suggestions? I’m going to try it a second time, so any tips are greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Kay,
      I’ve never had it not set up. Did you use heavy cream or half and half? It’s pretty much just heating the sugar and cream together until the sugar dissolves, then adding the citrus zest and juice to curdle the cream. It usually takes an hour to set up in the fridge.

  4. Ooh I have never heard of lemon possets before, but they do look easy to make and delicious. I’ll have to try it out!

    1. Hi Joyce! I’ve been meaning to try it with Swerve because it would be a great low-carb dessert! I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t work. Report back to me if you try it.

  5. 5 stars
    AMAZINGLY easy and delicious! Naturally gluten free. I followed the recipe exactly. Added fresh blueberries on top. Our whole family loved it. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    This dessert is divine and super easy to make! It only has 3 ingredients and is so California, with all the lemon trees around. I highly recommend this recipe. I think it tastes better the longer it sets so I suggest giving it more than an hour, maybe 2 or 3.

    1. That’s a great question! I’ve been meaning to try it with swerve for a low-carb, sugar free version! I believe it will since the process that firms up the posset is the curdling action between the cream and the citrus! Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

  7. 5 stars
    This is brilliant! And, like all good things, it’s so simple. I’ll be trying this over the weekend. Thank you, Cynthia.

  8. Loved this! So easy and delicious. I can’t believe it only took 3 ingredients. Spring and summer staple in my house from now on.

  9. 5 stars
    I have been making this for years from your recipe, and when I first saw it yours was the only one I found. Now it seems that there are so many others which seem to have taken a page from your book! I know yours is the “original” to me and I have shared it with so many others who all love it as well.

  10. 5 stars
    Wow! So much to learn in this very interesting post – I loved learning the history of the recipe. So easy & elegant and perfect for spring and summer! Yum!

  11. 5 stars
    What a cool recipe and I’ve never actually heard of posset before! Love the traditional recipes and I’ll definitely be giving this one a try. I’d be so tempted to add a splash of limoncello though not authentic haha.

    Keep up the great work!

  12. 5 stars
    so easy to make and tastes so good! I always have to make a couple extra because my guests always want seconds. Melt in your mouth good. My new favorite go-to dessert!

  13. 5 stars
    Living in Arizona, I am the thankful recipient of many lemons every Spring. I was scouring the web looking for new recipes for cakes and found one at Christina’s Cucina, in which she linked this recipe! It was so easy and delicious! Will definitely make again!

  14. 5 stars
    This is a staple in my repertoire of desserts, especially when I’m entertaining. It truly is the easiest dessert ever and absolutely foolproof! Everyone is always impressed when I serve posset and I’ve given your recipe to many friends!

4.99 from 200 votes (103 ratings without comment)

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