The Ultimate Lemon Posset Recipe

A cup of lemon posset
Elaine Lemm
Ratings (27)
  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
367 Calories
29g Fat
28g Carbs
3g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cooking is such fun, especially when recipes take only moments to make, yet produce a stunning dish. The ultimate lemon posset is one such dish.

The posset is making a comeback and now the darling of quick, easy desserts. This deliciously tangy pudding is perfect for spring and summer days, but so seriously delicious you should eat it anytime you like.

Originally, a posset was a drink made from hot milk and honey, spiced and laced with ale or wine. It was popular in the Middle Ages as a remedy for colds and minor ailments, as well as being a sleep-aid.

Posset appeared in Shakespeare's Macbeth when Lady Macbeth used a poisoned posset to knock out the guards outside Duncan's quarters. Later it became a thickened cream dessert, usually flavored with honey and lemon. But do check out the alternatives to the traditional posset below.


  • 2 large unwaxed lemons
  • 2 cups double heavy cream (or whipping cream)
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar (or superfine sugar)

Steps to Make It

Finely grate the zest and juice the two lemons.

Pour 1/2 cup of the lemon juice into a small saucepan. Add the grated zest and the caster sugar, and stir.

 Bring the mixture to a slow, gentle simmer and then leave to one side.

Bring the cream to a gentle boil. A heavy boil will spoil the cream and ruin the recipe.

Slowly whisk in the syrup.

Then strain into a clean jug. For a very tangy posset, don't strain.

Let the posset cool slightly, then pour into small ramekins or glasses.

Leave to cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator for several hours. The cream will become a silky, thick cream.

Remove from the refrigerator and leave for 5 minutes before serving.

Traditionally a posset is served with slivers of toasted almonds, but it is also delicious with summer berries and Scottish Shortbread.

Variations on a Traditional Lemon Posset

Lemon may well be the traditional posset, or at least the one we know nowadays. It is, however, lovely to ring the changes:

Change the citrus flavor by using lime juice instead.

Mix different citrus flavors. Lemon and clementine juice are wonderful.

Add a little vanilla extract to the cream and syrup mix. Be sparing though, as vanilla can overpower and spoil the delicate lemon flavor.

In medieval times, a posset would have honey, as well as spices, which though expensive at the time, were also much-loved flavors. Try a light grating of nutmeg (keep it very light), pinch of ground ginger, and for an autumnal feel, try a tiny pinch of mixed spice (known as Pumpkin Spice mix in the US.)

Add a little alcohol. A dash of sweet wine, Madeira, or for an authentic flavor, mead. Add the alcohol when whisking the syrup into the cream.