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. 5 stars
    Made sure I used a timer on my phone since the 3 mins of boiling and 10 mins of cooling seem to be significantly important to the outcome of recipe….

    Aaaaaaaand!!! It turned out amazing! My boyfriend who rarely partakes in desserts even loved it!

    Looking forward to making this recipe again and trying out the different varieties using other types of citrus.

    Has anyone tried making a blood orange posset? Did you add any herbs or spices or would you recommend that I add any? Thank you!!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow. I kept my fingers crossed that this would firm up, and it did not disappoint. Using 2/3 of a cup of sugar and a changing nothing else, this was so good, elegant, light. I made it today to test it out, but I will make it again next week for a luncheon that I’m having for a few girlfriends. The little pieces of the lemon zest are so delicious, I will eventually try the lime as well. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. 5 stars
      Omg, it turned out heavenly!!! I peeled 2 Lemons and bended the peels for my zest. I juiced the remaining parts of the 2 Lemons. I didn’t adjusted the sugar at all for the recipe. I used every bit of the 2 Lemons and perfection was born!!!

  3. 5 stars
    Whoa. I was hoping that this would become more solid, and I was not let down. This was quite tasty, elegant, and light with only two-thirds of a cup of sugar and no more ingredients.

  4. 5 stars
    Haven’t tried it yet. But 5 stars for a great idea! Perfect bit for my Garden Club’s outdoor Garden Party buffet. Going to use the Lemon shells for the cups!

    1. 5 stars
      I served this in lemon ‘shells’ and it was FANTASTIC! Such a gorgeous dessert for so little ingredients!

  5. I’m planning to try this recipe but in the place live, only thickened cream or whipping cream is available. Which one would be suitable for this recipe?

    1. Personally, I’d choose whipping cream, they’re virtually the same thing. Heavy cream has slightly more fat than whipping cream but interchangeable in recipes.

  6. 5 stars
    Hubby and I just got back from visiting England and Scotland. On the train from London to Edinburgh, they served a ‘Lemon Elderflower Pot’ – basically a posset. I’m going to try this recipe adding in Elderflower syrup (cordial) to see if we can mimic the taste.

  7. 5 stars
    Though the only cream accessible where I live is whipped cream or thickened cream, I still want to attempt this dish. Which would work best in this recipe?

    1. they are both practically the same so either would work, but for mine, used heavy whipping cream!

  8. Does anyone know how long this lasts in the fridge? I’m making this for my boyfriends birthday this weekend and I’d like to make it either today or tomorrow (Wednesday or Thursday) but I want to make sure it will still be good throughout the weekend.

    1. I’d make it on Friday night if you can. It will last a couple of days, but would be best made the night before. I’d also wait to garnish it just before serving.
      It’s pretty darn quick to make so you can literally make it from start to finish in under 20 and then just cover and chill! I hope this helps! Cynthia

    1. I can only assume you are joking with this question? If you don’t understand that “oz” is the common abbreviation for “ounces”, then you might want to use my handy dandy METRIC converter? That will help you convert “oz” into liters or grams. Have a great day!

  9. 5 stars
    Sonce making the original recipe, I’ve also prepared The lemon possett as a brule which was glorious and Tonight I’m using mandarin orange with a touch of lemon as well and a teaspoon of vanilla. It hasn’t set yet, but just right off the spoon it’s incredible.

  10. 5 stars
    Added a tsp of homemade vanilla & garnished with fresh peach bits. It was KILLER!
    Thx for a recipe that “way” overdelivers for the effort required
    Fritz

  11. 5 stars
    So could you make this with any fruit (watermelon, strawberries, peaches,) or does it have to be citrus. I would love to make a watermelon flavored posset. YUM

    1. Honestly, I don’t know. It’s almost impossible to do incorrectly. If you used heavy or whipping cream and followed the directions, it should come out perfectly every time. I’ve made it literally dozens and dozens of times and it’s never not turned out.
      Sorry i can’t be more helpful.

  12. made this adding a couple of teaspoons of lavender syrup and garnished with fresh lavender and lemon thyme it was beautiful and delicious.

  13. I accidentally put in the lemon juice after it had cooled for 10 minutes, will it still be okay?

  14. OMG, it turned out heavenly!!! I peeled 2 lemons and bent the peels for zest. I juiced the remaining parts of the lemons without adjusting the sugar at all. I used every bit of the lemons, and perfection was born!

    1. 5 stars
      Turned out great! Doubled the recipe put the majority of them in ramkins but saved four lemons shells for presentation. I added some lemon zest and crumbled biscoff cookies. Used 1cup sugar for 36oz of cream and added 2tsp vanilla. The cookies work well texturally giving some crunch to each bite!

4.98 from 206 votes (103 ratings without comment)

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