Easy Fresh Lemon Dessert Sauce

Lemon dessert sauce

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 3 to 6 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
89 Calories
2g Fat
19g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 89
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 8mg 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.)

This fresh lemon sauce couldn't be easier and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Taking seven simple ingredients, which are most likely already available in your kitchen, this sauce is tart, tangy and refreshing, bringing thoughts of spring and summer into your home. 

Lemon zest adds to the tart lemon flavor of the sauce, while butter adds depth of flavor. Simply delicious! What better way to add flavor to a stack of pancakes, sliced pound cake, gingerbread, or ice cream. 


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (slightly rounded)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water (boiling)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter (cold, cut into small pieces)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

    The Spruce 
  3. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until mixture is thick and clear.

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

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

    whisk butter into sauce
    The Spruce
  6. Serve the sauce warm over dessert, pound cake, pancakes, or bread pudding. Enjoy!

    Lemon Dessert Sauce Recipe
    The Spruce 


  • Drizzle the sauce over fresh fruits such as blueberries or raspberries.

How to Store

  • This lemon sauce will thicken as it cools down and should be kept in the refrigerator in a glass or plastic container where it will keep for eight to ten days. Reheat and serve warm.

Lemon sauce vs. lemon curd

What's the difference between lemon sauce and lemon curd? Simply put, lemon sauce is thinner and pourable, while lemon curd is thicker and spreadable; and what is used for fillings in pies, bars, or cakes.