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!
4.98 from 206 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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273 Comments

      1. That recipe calls for exactly the same amount of sweetener. If she had followed the linked recipe, she’d be in the same boat. Also, you call the other one a custard, but there are no eggs….quite confusing.

        1. Sorry, I’m not sure what “that recipe” is? The reason I call the other one “sugar free custard” is because no one is searching for “sugar free posset”, but I could add, “egg free custard” for more clarity. Your comment is confusing, what “She” are you referring to?

  1. 5 stars
    I read about lemon posset in a book and had to google it because I had never heard about it. Since then I’ve made it several times whenever I’ve heavy cream left over and I simply love it. A friend of mine gets always gets their share and raves about it. So thank you for the recipe!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this delicious recipe.
    As I grew up with Italian cuisine, I can only confirm that its texture is similar to that of the panna cotta.
    But only when the panna cotta is prepared the traditional way, without gelatin.

  3. What would happen if I use 1/2 and 1/2 instead of heavy cream? That’s what I have on hand, and the temperature outside is -14, so I don’t want to venture out! We had lemon posset at our local British bakery yesterday, and it was amazing!

      1. Thank you! I waited till I could venture out to the store, and did it correctly, so no update about 1/2 and 1/2.

  4. We first had it at our new British bakery, and loved it! So I googled and found your recipe….just as good! Thank you so much!

  5. 5 stars
    OMG, this is orgasmic! Thank you. I had never heard of posset and needed a gluten free dessert for a dinner party. This elevated the whole meal. I cut the sugar back marginally as I prefer things a bit more tart. Thank you for this recipe that will now be my ‘company’ dessert.

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve never heard of possett dessert before so I made this and I served it. omg it was amazing, then I did add berry coulis to it also; It was so good!!

  7. 5 stars
    Made for the first time tonight. Doubled the recipe and I love it. However, I am sharing it with some British friends tomorrow and I am looking forward to their comments!!!

    1. Thank you rachel! So awesome you made it for a Shakespeare project! I’ll bet everyone was impressed! I’d love it if you could give it a star rating too! Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    Five stars because I love lemon, and it’s incredibly easy! I allowed it to boil for a few minutes longer (at the advice of a Brit friend), and it still came out perfect. It seems like it may take some practice to judge the amount of sugar for the size and type of lemons you have available. I could eat a whole recipe with a basket of berries! Thank you.

    1. Thanks John! I don’t think you really need to boil it for any longer than I recommended. As for the sugar, I have the measurements, so no guessing!

  9. 5 stars
    Perfect summer dessert! We made it for the first time yesterday and I was blown away at how easy this is to make and how creamy and zingy the final result was! Superb!

4.98 from 206 votes (103 ratings without comment)

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