Lemon Posset

Lemon Posset Recipe

  The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Refrigeration: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
375 Calories
29g Fat
30g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 375
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 18g 91%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 22mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 21mg 103%
Calcium 65mg 5%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 145mg 3%
*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.)

Posset is a cream-based cold dessert found throughout the United Kingdom. Originally a drink made from hot milk and honey that was spiced and laced with ale or wine, posset was very popular in the Middle Ages as a remedy for colds and minor ailments and as a sleep aid. Later, it became a thickened cream dessert, usually flavored with honey or sugar and lemon, which is the most common recipe used nowadays. This is a great vegetarian dessert, as the mixture sets and thickens thanks to the acid in the lemon juice and not due to the addition of gelatin, as other similar desserts do.

Lemon posset is a great and easy alternative to offer to your guests, wonderfully tangy and creamy. All it takes are three ingredients and a total of 15 minutes of cooking. A perfect end to a heavy meal, posset is also a beautiful afternoon treat to serve with other confections and a cup of coffee or tea. Make the posset in the morning and chill it until it is time to serve—at least 4 hours in the refrigerator, or overnight.

This simple dessert is delicious as is, but you can also make your own versions by adding in other flavorings like lime or orange juice. Serve with fresh berries, fruit compote, or chopped toasted almonds for crunch.


  • 2 large unwaxed lemons, cleaned and whole

  • 2/3 cup caster sugar, or superfine sugar

  • 2 cups double cream, or heavy cream

  • Garnish: 1 cup raspberries

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Lemon Posset Recipe
     The Spruce
  2. Finely grate the zest off of the lemons and juice the fruit, removing all seeds.

    Lemon Posset Recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of lemon juice into a small saucepan. Add the grated zest and the caster sugar. Stir well to combine and bring the mixture to a slow, gentle simmer. Remove from heat and reserve.

    Lemon Posset Recipe
    The Spruce 
  4. In a medium-sized pot, bring the cream to a gentle boil over low heat. Make sure to cook the cream slowly, as a fast boil will spoil the cream and split it. Remove from heat.

    Lemon Posset Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Slowly whisk the lemon syrup into the hot cream. If preferred, strain the mixture into a clean measuring cup, or leave it as is.

    Lemon Posset Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Let the posset cool slightly and pour into small ramekins or glasses. Bring to room temperature.

    Lemon Posset Recipe
     The Spruce
  7. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. The cream will become silky and thick.

    Lemon Posset Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Remove from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for at least 5 minutes before serving.

    Lemon Posset Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Decorate with fresh berries.

    Lemon Posset Recipe
    The Spruce 
  10. Enjoy!

Recipe Variations

Here are a few ideas on how to use our recipe as the base for other types of posset:

  • Citrus: Change the citrus flavor by using lime or orange juice instead of lemon. Mix different citrus flavors like lemons with clementines or limes and oranges.
  • Vanilla: Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cream and syrup mix. Be sparing because the vanilla can overpower and spoil the delicate lemon flavor.
  • Spices: Try a light grating of nutmeg or a pinch of ground ginger. For an autumnal feel, add a tiny pinch of pumpkin spice.
  • Liquor: Add a dash of sweet wine, Madeira, or mead. Add the alcohol when whisking the syrup into the cream.
  • Berry: Top with berry jam right before serving and decorate with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar.
  • Almonds: Toast some almond slivers and add them along with a mint leaf as a decoration.
  • Scottish Shortbread: This traditional cookie pairs wonderfully with lemon posset and is one of the most common ways of eating this cream. You can use any vanilla cookie you have at hand and layer crushed cookies with cream and fruit as if you were building a parfait.
  • Chocolate: Add 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) of semi-sweet chocolate chips into the cream once you turn off the heat. Mix well until the chocolate is melted. Skip the lemon syrup but do make a simple syrup with water. Decorate with shaved chocolate.