Lemon Posset Recipe

5 from 2 votes

If you’ve never tried a posset, you’re missing out! It’s a velvety smooth, chilled pudding like dessert that requires just 3 ingredients and 4 steps to make. In the end, you’ll have 6 servings of decadent, tangy lemon cream to share with friends and family.

closeup: a spoon with lemon posset over a glass jar with more

A traditional British posset (pronounced poss-it) is a delightfully tangy, lemony dessert. It’s refreshing and luscious, though not as firm as pudding. It’s more like a thick cream.

There’s not much else to describe — it’s a very simple dessert! And that means we’re working with a very simple recipe: heavy cream, sugar, and lemon. 

While you’re more than welcome to dress your homemade lemon posset recipe with fresh fruits, cream, jam, or serve it in cleaned out lemon shells, it’s completely delicious and satisfying on its own. In fact, the flavor is so rich I usually can’t finish more than one!

side view: my lemon posset recipe in a small glass jar with raspberries and blueberries on top

Serve this dessert with shortbread cookies, like my buttery matcha cookies or colorful hamantaschen filled with Nutella or jam. For something a bit bitter to cut the sweetness, I’d recommend some sweet and spicy tahini chocolate bark, my tahini brownies or fudgy chocolate babka for that!

overhead: ingredients needed for my lemon posset recipe

Tip From Kevin

Where did a Posset originate ?

A posset (also spelled poshote, poshotte, poosay) was originally a British hot drink made of curdled milk mixed with wine or ale, often spiced, which was often used as a remedy.

overhead: making posset with pan, small glass jars, and a strainer with lemon zest

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Heavy Cream – It’s necessary to use a cream with a relatively high-fat content in order for it to thicken — there’s a chemical reaction that occurs when the acidity from the fruit meets the protein in the cream. If you’re on the hunt for a fat-free alternative, look for the protein casein in the ingredient list to make sure your cream will thicken properly. 
  • Sugar – Any sugar substitute can be used to make this lemon posset recipe, even honey. Avoid liquid sweeteners, however, to avoid thinning the cream too much. 
  • Lemon – To get enough zest and juice, you’ll need at least one large lemon. Zest it completely without getting into the bitter pith. 
  • Toppings Here are some of my recommended toppings for serving:
    • Berries Fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are all popular fruits to top off the dessert. Or you could spoon a thick and sweet berry reduction, like the topping for my Japanese cheesecake, right on top!
    • Lemon Slice It’s not just for garnish. Squeezing a little fresh juice onto a spoonful of chilled cream is just heavenly!
    • Mint – A sprig of fresh mint adds a bit of brightness to this already refreshing treat.
three glass jars full of posset with berries on top

How to Make Posset

  1. Zest & Juice the Lemon. First, rinse and dry the lemon. Zest it completely, then juice until you have a total of 5 tablespoons. If you’re having trouble juicing, microwave the fruit for 20 or 30 seconds and try again. 
  2. Boil. Pour the cream into a pot. Add the sugar and lemon zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves. Then, reduce the heat to medium and boil for 3 minutes. Keep stirring, lowering the heat if necessary to make sure the mixture doesn’t boil over and the bottom doesn’t scorch. 
  3. Add the Juice. Remove from the heat and stir in the juice. The mixture will quickly thicken into a soft yogurt. Let sit for 10 minutes to cool. 
  4. Chill. Divide the yogurt into your serving containers, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with desired toppings just before serving.
  • Zester It’s better to use a zester, not a grater, to release the aroma of the lemon and get fine, flavorful zest.
  • Juicer – A hand-held juice press is the best way to get the most juice out of your fruit and easily transfer that juice to your measuring tools without making a mess.

Storage and Make Ahead Instructions

Prepare this lemon posset recipe at least 2 hours before serving. The mixture will need at least that long to settle, but an overnight chill is even better. 

After it sets, posset should be eaten within 3 days. You can tell immediately when it’s gone bad — the liquid separates and the smell is unpleasantly sour.

closeup: a hand lifitng a spoonful of lemon posset with a blueberry on top

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between panna cotta, posset, and syllabub?


A panna cotta is a custard and the most different of the three. It has a subtle, sweet vanilla flavor and is thickened with gelatin.

A syllabub is more mousse-like and contains alcohol — usually wine. The acidity in the wine, much like the juice in our lemon posset recipe, is what thickens the cream. Syllabub actually often contains lemons as well, making it very similar to most possets in taste as well.

How do you thicken a posset?


The lemon juice is what makes it set. It makes the sweetened cream more acidic, lowering its pH. The cream curdles as a result. 

The curdling happens very quickly, so add any additional extracts and sweeteners before this step to ensure all flavors are evenly distributed.

Why did my lemon posset curdle?


If there’s too much acidity, or if you heat the cream too quickly, the cream might curdle too quickly. If this happens, you’ll know right away: the texture will be grainy, not smooth.

That’s why it’s very important to maintain the temperature while heating and keep the mixture moving the whole time by stirring continuously.

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Lemon Posset Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Posset is a simple, refreshing dessert with a tangy lemon flavor and thick, creamy texture. All you need is cream, sugar, and lemons!
Servings: 6
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 6 ounces heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large lemon (5 tbsp juice and zest)

Serving

  • berries of choice or lemon slice

Instructions 

  • Zest the lemon completely and set aside. Juice the lemon, you will need 5 tablespoons total.
  • Bring cream, sugar and lemon zest to a boil over a medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium, and boil 3 minutes. Stir constantly, adjusting heat as needed to prevent mixture from boiling over. Be careful not to scorch the bottom, we want this silky smooth.
  • Take off the heat and stir in lemon juice. You will notice the viscosity will go from liquid to a soft yogurt quickly. Let sit for 10 minutes to cool.
  • Divide among 4-6 ramekins or glasses, depending on how much per person. Cover each with plastic wrap and chill until set, 2 hours or overnight (recommended). Garnish with fresh lemon slice, berries or mint.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 52mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 421IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 0.1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: desserts
Cuisine: English
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): creamy lemon posset

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you Kevin.

    I had neither tried nor made a posset before. It was truly delicious & enjoyed by all. 👌💛