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
    Thank you so much for such a GREAT recipe, everyone loved it over here ❤️ making it again!

    Here is some good news for you by the way!

    For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭3‬-‭4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    “and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
    ‭‭Acts‬ ‭16‬:‭30‬-‭31‬ ‭KJV‬‬❤️

  2. 5 stars
    I love this recipe, it’s so soft and velvety and light and delicious ! I’m happy to report that my friend who doesn’t like to bake much made it successfully and loved it too !

    here’s the metric version (not criticising the use of US standard, but it’s just so that we’re all satisfied):
    450ml heavy cream
    150g sugar
    75ml fresh lemon juice and zest about one large lemon

  3. Made this last night. My wife took a ramekin to school, and the other teachers loved it. I have given out your recipe.
    I used 2/3 cup of sugar, but it didn’t set up as stiff as I’d like.
    How would you get it stiffer?

    1. Did you boil it the full three minutes? I find that if I cut corners and don’t boil it for the three minutes, it tends to be a little runnier. It should be thick like pudding. You’ll see it thicken as it cooks.

    2. Well for me, i put the sugar and heavy whipping cream then just turned off the stove. Then i would just add the lemon and heat up until it looks somewhat thicker! thats what helped me.

      1. Almost like puréed cottage cheese. Strangely, it smoothed out as it warmed in my mouth. Gotta try it again because it was delicious anyway! I don’t think stealing would have helped. Tiny curdles.

    1. Did you use milk rather than heavy cream?

      I saw on another site for a lemon posset recipe that a “posset made with milk rather than cream would become grainy when the acid is added to it, but because of the extra fat in cream, when it comes into contact with acid, it develops a smooth, thick consistency.”

  4. 5 stars
    I now make this on a regular basis and have graduated to experimenting with flavors. For my latest batch, I steeped some Cardamom pods in the cream and used Meyer Lemons. I just love love love this recipe and it is just so easy that I have yet to fail with it. (I don’t normally do deserts, so the lack of failure is HUGE).

  5. this was sweet, tangy and fresh. i reduced the sugar like you suggested and it came out perfectly balanced! i’m not big on sweet stuff so this was just what i needed. it’s a hit with my family too! lovely and easy recipe, thanks so much!

  6. 5 stars
    Excellent! For a nice little treat at literally anytime of the day -0- would go as well at brunch as it will as a dessert after a meal. I served mine in the hollowed out lemon cups.

  7. This is truly an elegant dessert. I have served it at dinner parties and it is always a huge hit!
    I serve it on a small china plate with a paper doily. Garnish it with berries and mint and sometimes with edible flowers, such as orchids and small pansie blossoms.
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    Easy to make, tried it with limes and like it at least as much as the lemon version. Added the tiniest pinch of salt to offset the sugar. Great recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe! Beautiful balance between sweet and tart and the consistency is smooth every time! I love adding a splash of limoncello and brandy at the the end while I stir in the lemon juice! Pure perfection. Thank you for sharing such an easy and delicious dessert!

  10. 5 stars
    Delicious! My tasters said the only things I needed to change was to make more!! I used Meyer lemons and only 1/2 cup sugar for one batch. It was still pretty sweet but absolutely scrumptious. I grated dark chocolate on top for presentation. Beautiful, so tasty, and easy(ier) than pie! Thank you for the recipe!

  11. I serve this posset in lovely old chins cups decorated with raspberies dusted with icing (confectionary) sugar with a sprig of mint.
    Serve on matching saucer with a teaspoon. LOVELY !

  12. 5 stars
    Really glad I found your recipe again, my youngest has been hounding me for weeks to make it. I made this a few months back and the kids loved it. I even put it in the lemon halves, which was a fun thing for them. This is such a refreshing dessert.

  13. 5 stars
    Cynthia’s Lemon Posset recipe is amazing! Not only is it simple to make, it is delicious and luxurious! I took this to a dinner party, and everyone loved it and asked for the recipe – I referred them to What A Girl Eats where they will find many, many recipes they will love!

  14. I’m really sorry to say that the zest pretty much ruined it for me and my guests. Also,, unfortunately, 1 hour Is not enough to set up. I had one extra that didn’t set up until next evening. Just some honest feedback.
    I think it needs straining and longer time in refrigerator, otherwise delicious.

    1. sorry to hear you didn’t like it was with the zest. I’ll make a note in the recipe card to strain it if others do not like zest. One hour is the minimum for chilling. It shouldn’t take 24 hours though.

  15. 5 stars
    Made this for multiple friends and they all loved it! I served in lemon halves and topped it with diced strawberries that had been sat in sugar to draw out the syrup. What a lovely combo! almost like eating strawberry lemonade. ☺️

  16. 5 stars
    Tasted this at a party I attended this past weekend & it was smooth and deliciously lemon-y! My question is: when you cover it with plastic wrap, do you put the plastic directly onto the posset, or just cover the ramekin? You know how pudding forms a skin? I wouldn’t want that to happen with this…Thanks for any info!

4.99 from 200 votes (103 ratings without comment)

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