Lemon Lush Dessert

Prep Time 20 mins
Servings 12 servings

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This Lemon Lush Dessert is light, fresh, and decadent. It’s made up of buttery shortbread crust that’s layered with a lemon cream cheese filling, homemade lemon pudding, and whipped cream. Just 20 minutes to prep!

piece of lemon lush being lifted out of pan
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Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients Needed:
  2. How to Make Lemon Lush
  3. Lemon Lush FAQs
  4. Tips, Tricks, & Notes for Lemon Lush
  5. Variations
  6. More Lemon Desserts You’ll Love
  7. Lemon Lush Dessert Recipe

Is there really anything as incredible as lemon desserts? I honestly don’t think I can ever get enough of them. Whether it’s Lemon Blueberry Donuts, No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake, Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake, Lemon Cheesecake Bars, you name it…I am probably having seconds.

Thirds aren’t out of the question.

This Lemon Lush is the ultimate lemon dessert. It’s completely made-from-scratch with a buttery shortbread crust, a lemony cream cheese filling, homemade lemon pudding, and whipped cream. It’s bright, fresh, light, creamy, and absolutely incredible.

This dessert makes the perfect addition to summer BBQs, potlucks, parties, or just to have on-hand at home to steal a bite of every time you walk by the fridge. 😉

close up image of piece of lemon lush with bite taken out

Ingredients Needed:

This Lemon Lush is made up of a few different layers. Here’s what you’ll need:

Shortbread Crust

  • Unsalted Butter: make sure the butter is cold and cubed into small pieces.
  • Flour: fluffed and leveled to prevent a dry crust.
  • Granulated Sugar: gives the shortbread crust a touch of sweetness.

Cream Cheese Layer

  • Cream Cheese: be sure to bring the cream cheese to room temperature for a completely smooth texture.
  • Powdered Sugar: sweetens the cream cheese filling and gives it more structure.
  • Lemon Juice: use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.

Lemon Pudding

  • Whole Milk and Granulated Sugar: a sweet and creamy base for our lemon pudding.
  • Eggs: adds richness and gives the pudding its classic creamy consistency.
  • Cornstarch: helps thicken the pudding.
  • Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice: gives the pudding an extra intense lemon flavor. Remember, freshly squeezed is the way to go!
  • Vanilla Extract: adds flavor depth and warmth to contrast the brightness of the lemon.
  • Yellow Food Coloring: food coloring is optional, but it does give the lemon pudding that bright yellow color.

Sweetened Whipped Cream

  • Heavy Whipping Cream and Powdered Icing Sugar: whipped together to form our homemade whipped cream.
  • Vanilla Extract: adds a touch of warmth and flavor depth.
ingredients needed for lemon lush

How to Make Lemon Lush

This lemon dessert is made up of three simple layers, homemade whipped cream, and comes together with 20 minutes of prep!

  1. Prep the crust: In a bowl, combine flour, cubed butter, and sugar until crumbly. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13″ baking dish, press it into the bottom firmly, then bake until dry looking on top. Cool completely before adding the cream cheese layer.
  2. Make the cream cheese layer: Beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth, then add in the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
  3. Make the lemon pudding layer: In a saucepan, whisk together milk, sugar, eggs, cornstarch, and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a low simmer. Cook and stir until thickened, then add in lemon juice, vanilla, and optional food coloring. Remove from the heat and strain into a bowl. Cool to room temperature.
  4. Assemble: Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust in the pan, then add on the lemon pudding layer. Spread evenly.
  5. Chill: Place the Lemon Lush into the fridge and chill until completely cold.
  6. Top it off: In a bowl, whip together the cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread over the top of the Lemon Lush, then serve or refrigerate until you’re ready to serve!

Lemon Lush FAQs

What is Lemon Lush?

Lemon Lush is a layered dessert made up of a buttery shortbread crust, a lemon cream cheese filling, and a lemon pudding layer. It’s light, fruity, creamy, and delicious!

How to store Lemon Lush:

Leftovers must be stored in the fridge and will last covered with plastic wrap or foil for 3-4 days.

Can you freeze Lemon Lush?

You can try, but freezing this Lemon Lush will likely affect the texture of the cream cheese and pudding layers. It’s definitely best enjoyed within a few days!

Tips, Tricks, & Notes for Lemon Lush

  • Cool the crust completely. If the crust is hot when you add the cream cheese layer, it will become runny and melty.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. The flavor is just unmatched by the bottled stuff.
  • Chill for at least 6 hours. Make sure you chill this lemon dessert in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours so it sets completely.
  • Make ahead of time. This Lemon Lush lasts 3-4 days in the fridge so it’s great to make ahead of time!
side view of lemon lush in pan with one row removed to show layers


  • Add nuts. Feel free to give your dessert a bit of extra crunch with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts or pecans.
  • Swap the crust. You can easily swap the shortbread crust out for a graham cracker crust or Golden Oreo crust.
  • Use store-bought pudding. I’m all for homemade lemon pudding, but if you want to save a little bit of time, swap it out for store-bought lemon pudding or even lemon pie filling.
  • Use Cool Whip. You can also save a little bit of time by using Cool Whip in place of the homemade whipped topping.

More Lemon Desserts You’ll Love

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Lemon Lush Dessert

4.98 from 37 votes
This Lemon Lush Dessert is light, fresh, and decadent. It's made up of buttery shortbread crust that's layered with a lemon cream cheese filling, homemade lemon pudding, and whipped cream. Just 20 minutes to prep!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Chilling time 6 hrs
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 12 servings
Calories 662cal


Shortbread Crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (cold)
  • 2 cups flour (fluffed and levelled – 260 grams)
  • cup granulated sugar (67 grams)

Cream Cheese Layer:

  • 2 packages cream cheese (8 oz or 250 grams each) room temperature
  • cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeeze lemon juice

Lemon Pudding

  • cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2-3 lemons)
  • ½ cup freshly squeeze lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • yellow food coloring

Sweetened Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the crust:

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, cold butter (cubed) and sugar until crumbly (a pastry cutter or your hands work great for this!)
  • Press firmly into a 9×13" baking dish and bake for 10-12 minutes, until just dry looking on top. Let cool completely before adding the cream cheese layer.

Cream Cheese Layer:

  • In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar and lemon juice and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. If needed, add additional lemon juice or milk so that the filling comes together.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust and refrigerate to chill.

Lemon Pudding Layer:

  • In a large saucepan, whisk together milk, sugar, eggs, corn starch, and lemon zest until completely smooth.
  • Place on the stove and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a low simmer.
  • Reduce heat if necessary so that the pudding doesn't boil (a slow bubble is okay), and cook and stir until thickened.
  • Stir in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Add a couple drops of yellow food coloring if desired.
  • Remove from the heat and press through a strainer into a medium bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature before spreading over the cream cheese layer in the pan.
  • Place pan in the fridge and chill until completely cold, at least 6 hours.

Whipped Cream

  • In a medium bowl, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  • Spread over chilled pudding layer and refrigerate dessert until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 179grams | Calories: 662cal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 180mg | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 180mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 1672IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords lemon dessert, lemon lush

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Esther, you could since you have to put it in the refrigerator and let it chill after the second layer. Also remember you’ll still need to cook it another 6 hours after the lemon layer. Hope you enjoy it!

  1. Victoria W says

    I liked the cream cheese layer and the lemon pudding layer, but found the shortbread crust too sweet and dense. I think a graham cracker crust or saltine crust would be better. I used less lemon zest than the recipe called for so that I could skip pressing it through a strainer. The prep and cooking time still took me a lot longer than 40 minutes! 🙂 Overall, pretty good. My family liked it.

  2. Deena says

    Hello, if I make this in a white ceramic dish, like pictured, how easy is it to serve it? does it come out quite easily and looking neat still? Thanks x

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Deena, I’m not sure that I could guarantee how neat it would look compared to mine. I’ve made the dessert multiple times, so I’ve had practice. I would make sure you have a sharp knife and a flat spatula to help you remove it. Hope you enjoy it!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Nadine! Yes, you likely could but I have never tried it. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      You can try, but freezing this Lemon Lush will likely affect the texture of the cream cheese and pudding layers. It’s definitely best enjoyed within a few days!

  3. Teresa says

    I made it as an after dinner dessert. To save time I used crushed Oreo lemon thins, cream cheese as recipe, 2 cans of lemon pie filling and cool whip. My family loved it. I will make it again

    • Sharon Hulet says

      If I use crush Oreo thins, do I include the flour and butter to make the crust? Or just the butter and cookies? This recipe looks so delicious.

      • The Recipe Rebel says

        Hi Sharon, you’ll need the butter to hold the Oreos together. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Barb! The 20 minutes is prep time, 20 minutes includes the cooking time, and the chill time is 6 hours, but it’s all listed separately in the recipe card. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Cathy says

    I made this for our Easter dinner for the first time and will be making it again. Everyone really enjoyed it. It was absolutely delicious and will be so refreshing in the summer.

  5. Charlotte says

    this was great! I made it over the Easter weekend, and my family loved it. For me personally, I would have preferred it with a graham cracker crust. I found the shortbread crust a little dry, but everyone else loved it. The cream cheese and lemon pudding layers were so good. Instructions were easy to follow, and it turned out exactly like the picture.

  6. Jane says

    Wondering how you get the 20 mins prep time? Each layer is almost 20 mins each!
    I am looking forward to tasting.

  7. Claudia says

    Oh my goodness, I can hardly wait to make this wonderful devine looking dessert. I just know it will be five stars. I love anything lemony and I love cheesecake, so this looks like a win win for me. Will post after I make it. I may just make it for my group of crafting ladies when we meet next month. They will go nuts for this. Thanks a whole lot and Happy Easter to you and your family…

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Stephanie! I’ve only tested the recipe as is and can’t advise on using a spring form pan. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

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