Lemon Posset Recipe – Cookie and Kate

lemon posset with berries

Posset is a rich, creamy, citrusy British dessert. The balanced lemon flavor teeters irresistibly between tangy and sweet. A little goes a long way, so it’s perfect after a big meal. I’m downright obsessed with this recipe. Keep reading and you’ll see why!

Posset is an easy make-ahead dessert to offer at parties in individual servings. It would be lovely at Easter and Mother’s Day celebrations, baby showers, dinner parties, and more.

To make posset, you’ll need just four ingredients—heavy cream, sugar, lemons and vanilla extract—and a few extra hours to chill it in the refrigerator. You can make posset the night before and even freeze the leftovers.

lemon posset. ingredients

Posset has been consumed in Britain for well over 600 years, though it was originally a hot drink made from sweetened, curdled milk mixed with wine or ale. It was often served to help cure colds or fevers. The modern chilled citrus and cream version came to be in the twentieth century. Since the recipe is British, posset is pronounced like “pocket” but with an s.

I first attempted posset for my cookbook, but I overcomplicated the recipe by trying to serve the posset like cheesecake squares over graham cracker crust. In hindsight, it’s best served simply in small containers, and garnished as desired. Years later, my husband reminded me of posset after he made some on a whim after finding the concept on Instagram.

I pulled out my old notes and tweaked the amounts of cream to use one full pint, used just enough sugar so it’s not too sweet, and specified the exact amounts of lemon zest and lemon juice rather than calling for two or three lemons, which always vary in size. To achieve a consistent consistency, I found a trick from America’s Test Kitchen—we’ll know the mixture is done simmering once it has reduced to two cups. This tested and perfected recipe is ready for your kitchen!

how to make lemon posset

Posset Ingredients

You’ll need just four ingredients to make this amazing treat. Posset can’t be made dairy-free, but it is conveniently gluten-free, egg-free and nut-free. Compared to typical pudding recipes, this posset recipe is downright magical in its simplicity (no gelatin,  cornstarch or eggs required).

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is the only option for posset. It yields a rich, luscious texture. Be sure to reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, because the end result doesn’t taste quite as nice if the cream is overheated. To reach our desired consistency, we’ll keep a glass liquid measuring cup by the stove to measure the cream mixture after cooking for 15 to 20 minutes. Once it has reduced to 2 cups, we’ll move to the next step.


Plain granulated sugar lets the lemon flavor shine in this recipe. We’ll gently simmer it in the pot with heavy cream and lemon zest, stirring until it completely dissolves. I love to experiment with natural sweeteners when possible, but honey dominated the flavor when I tried it. (Technically, you can substitute an equal amount of honey or just a portion for the sugar and the recipe will set.)

Lemon Zest and Juice

The tart lemon juice helps the mixture set, while the lemon zest intensifies the lemon flavor. We’ll simmer the zest in the cream, remove it from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice. After twenty minutes, we’ll strain the zest out of the mixture for a smooth texture.

We’ll need 2 to 3 medium lemons for this recipe (perhaps buy an extra lemon just in case). Since we are using the zest, buying organic citrus is best to avoid pesticide residues. Zest the lemon first, then juice it—it’s impossible to zest a juiced lemon.

Vanilla Extract

While technically optional, a small amount of vanilla extract enhances the flavors of lemon and cream. It offers a light taste of vanilla custard and I recommend it!

Watch How to Make Lemon Posset

Garnish Suggestions

Garnishes are optional but make this pale yellow dessert more eye-catching. For these photos, I garnished the posset with raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and tiny sprigs of mint. You could keep it simple by choosing just one of those. Here’s a full list of garnish options:

  • Crumbled graham crackers
  • Crushed pistachios
  • Fresh mint (use the tiniest sprigs or one small leaf per cup)
  • Lemon zest or candied lemon peel
  • Small berries: Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Whipped cream

lemon posset poured into pots

Flavor Variations

Lemon posset is the most common variety, but you can make posset with orange, lime or any other citrus fruit. Consider fun seasonal varieties like Meyer lemon, key lime or Cara Cara orange.

You can substitute other citrus varieties one-for-one in the recipe below. Don’t try to substitute anything else for the citrus juice—the recipe needs the interaction between citrus and heavy cream to set properly.

Serving Cup & Spoon Suggestions

Choose small glasses that can hold at least 2 ounces. I used Crate and Barrel’s Bitty Bite short glasses for these photos. Less expensive options include 2-ounce glass shot glasses or disposable plastic cups (you’ll have plenty for several batches).

You’ll likely need to serve these mini cups with mini spoons, also known as espresso or demitasse spoons. Here’s an inexpensive set of twelve stainless steel spoons. For these photos, I used spoons like these.

lemon posset recipe

How to Freeze Posset

Once chilled, possets can be stored in a carton with a lid or wrapped in plastic wrap. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, unwrap them and let them thaw in the refrigerator before serving, about 30 minutes. You can also enjoy the posset straight from the frozen or just lightly thawed—it tastes like dense lemon gelato and I love it.

More Sweet Treats to Make

For more miniature treats like this recipe, try these:

For more citrusy sweets, try these:

Please let me know how your posset turns out in the comments! I hope it becomes your new favorite dessert.

lemon posset single serving


Lemon Posset

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes (plus 3 hours chill time)
  • Yield: 8 to 9 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: British
  • Diet: Gluten Free

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 13 reviews

Lemon posset is a creamy, citrusy dessert—the perfect small treat. It offers a rich texture and balanced lemon flavor that teeters irresistibly between tangy and sweet. Posset is so easy to make! Allow 3 hours for chilling. Recipe yields 8 to 9 small (2-ounce) servings.



  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream 
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest*
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Optional garnishes: Fresh berries (blackberries, raspberries or blueberries), mint leaves, or crushed graham crackers or pistachios


  1. Combine the cream, sugar and zest in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Place a 2-cup glass liquid measuring cup next to the stove, because you’ll need it to determine when the cream has finished reducing.
  2. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar, and reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. (If the mixture begins to boil over, it’s much too hot—briefly remove it from the heat before returning it at a lower temperature). Cook until the mixture is reduced to 2 cups, about 15 to 20 minutes. 
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Let the mixture rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and discard the zest. 
  5. Divide the mixture evenly between 8 individual ramekins or serving glasses.
  6. Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, at least 3 hours. Once chilled, possets can be stored in a carton with a lid (or wrapped in plastic wrap) and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months. Unwrap and let them rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving (if frozen, allow them to defrost for 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator). Garnish as desired and serve.


Recipe was created with references to America’s Test Kitchen’s method. 

*Lemon note: I typically need 2 to 3 lemons to yield the required zest and juice for this recipe. (Perhaps buy an extra lemon just in case.) When using the zest, buying organic citrus is best to avoid pesticide residues.

Change it up: Substitute another citrus for the lemon. Orange and lime varieties would make delicious posset. The interaction between citrus and heavy cream is key to the posset’s thickened texture (no dairy substitutions will work).

▸ Nutrition Information

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. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

Did you make this recipe?

#Lemon #Posset #Recipe #Cookie #Kate

Leave a Comment