Rich and Custardy Lemon Dessert Sauce

lemon sauce
The Picture Pantry/Violeta Pasat / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
191 Calories
5g Fat
35g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 191
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 59mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 34g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 4mg 21%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 49mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you are a lemon fan, you will surely add this dessert sauce to your collection of sweet lemon recipes. Similar to lemon curd, this sauce is rich and custard-like but has a thinner consistency, making it more pourable than curd and therefore quite flexible in its use. The sauce recipe calls for whole eggs, sugar, fresh lemon juice and zest, and butter; a curd uses egg yolks and less lemon juice, which is what differentiates the two brightly flavored yellow desserts.

When a recipe, like this one, calls for both lemon zest and juice, it is best to remove the zest from the fruit before juicing it; this way, it is still firm and whole and you can easily hold the citrus in your hand while shaving off the outer peel. Be sure to wash the lemon before you begin zesting. You will need a double boiler to cook this lemon dessert sauce; if you don't have one, you can simply place a stainless steel bowl or pan over a pot of simmering water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the pan.

Serve this custardy lemon sauce over gingerbread cake, bread pudding, pound cake, or ice cream. It is also delicious spooned over berries or folded into whipped cream for a mousse-like confection. 


  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed, from 2 to 3 lemons

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Off the heat, in the top of a double boiler (or stainless steel bowl), combine the eggs and sugar. Whisk until smooth; add the lemon zest, juice, and butter. Stir to blend.

  3. Place the pan or bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. 

  4. To test if the sauce is ready, dip a spoon in the sauce to coat. With a finger, make a path down the back of the spoon—if the path is clear and no sauce runs into it, the sauce is done. 

  5. Serve this lemon sauce over cakes, bread pudding, or fruit.

  6. Enjoy.

How to Store

To keep the lemon dessert sauce, store it in an airtight container (like a jar) and refrigerate; it will stay fresh for one to two weeks. You can also freeze the sauce in airtight containers (make sure they are freezer-safe) for up to a year. If, when thawed, it has lost its creamy, thick texture, place the lemon sauce in a blender and give it a quick whirl to bring it back together.

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