Easy Fresh Lemon Dessert Sauce

Lemon dessert sauce on pound cake

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 6 to 12 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
44 Calories
1g Fat
9g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 44
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 35mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 4mg 0%
*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.)

Lemon lovers, rejoice. We have a delicious sweet and tangy sauce that you can use in almost any dessert capacity. This fresh lemon sauce couldn't be easier and takes less than 30 minutes to make with seven simple ingredients, which are most likely already available in your kitchen. Moreover, this sauce is perfect year round. It's refreshing, evoking thoughts of spring and summer into your home, and that makes it especially gratifying to serve family and friends during the winter months.

Lemon zest helps add to the tart lemon flavor of the sauce, while butter creates a depth of flavor and some richness. This sauce is a good way to add a dash of sweet-tart flavor to a stack of morning pancakes, sliced pound cake, gingerbread, ice cream, and more.


  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 rounded tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lemon dessert sauce
    The Spruce
  2. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and kosher salt. Add boiling water and whisk to blend.

    Whisk ingredients together for lemon dessert sauce
    The Spruce 
  3. Place pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until mixture is thick and clear.

    Stir until mixture is thick
    The Spruce
  4. Stir lemon zest and lemon juice into sauce.

    Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice
    The Spruce 
  5. Whisk butter into sauce, a little at a time.

    Whisk butter into lemon sauce
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  6. Serve sauce warm over dessert, pound cake, pancakes, or bread pudding. Enjoy.

    Warm dessert sauce recipe, with whisk in a saucepan
    The Spruce 


  • Drizzle the sauce over fresh fruits, such as blueberries or raspberries.
  • Try it over plain pound cake or vanilla ice cream.
  • If you really love lemon, drizzle this over lemon pound cake.

How to Store and Freeze Lemon Dessert Sauce

  • This lemon sauce will thicken as it cools down. Store it in a glass or plastic container with a lid in the refrigerator. It will keep there for eight to 10 days. Reheat and serve warm.
  • Technically, you can freeze this sauce. However, some of that creamy texture will suffer once it's frozen and then thawed. It's easier and will taste better to just make another batch.

What's the Difference Between Lemon Sauce and Lemon Curd?

These two items have many ingredients in common but not their texture; and therefore, their use is slightly different. Simply put, lemon sauce is thinner and pourable, while lemon curd, which contains egg yolks, is thicker and spreadable. Lemon curd is thicker and is often used for fillings in pies, bars, or cakes.