This lemon lush recipe is a classic layered dessert that you’ll love. With a homemade crust, a creamy and savory lemon layer, and a topping of whipped cream and pecans, it’s an old-fashioned treat that’s perfect for any occasion.
Lemon lush dessert is so incredibly delicious and convenient! Its bright, lemony flavor paired with a shortbread base that gives a buttery crunch will leave you wanting more after every bite. Plus, you can make it a day ahead!
If you enjoy the zesty flavors of this dessert, you’ll love these other lemon dessert recipes! This moist lemon cake is a soft and fluffy cake that can be made ahead of time, while this easy lemon pie is a quick and simple dessert that’s perfect for any occasion and one of our best pie recipes!
This recipe comes from my mom’s recipe organizer where she kept all her favorite recipes. This recipe reminds me of summer with its fresh taste which is why I love making it any time of the year!
Table of Contents
Why I Love This Recipe
- Classic Flavors: This lemon lush recipe is a classic, with its perfect layers of lemon, cream, and shortbread, it offers an old-fashioned dessert with timeless appeal.
- Family Favorite: The creamy, delicious flavors of this dessert make it a family favorite. It’s a dessert that will be requested time and time again.
- Comfort Food: The buttery shortbread crust and creamy layers of this dessert make it the perfect comfort food. It’s a dessert that brings a smile with every bite.
- Simple Yet Impressive: This recipe is surprisingly easy to make from scratch, but the result is a stunning, layered dessert that looks like it came from a fancy bakery. It’s the perfect dessert to impress your guests.
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- All-purpose flour: This is the main ingredient for the shortbread crust, providing the structure and base for the layered dessert.
- Cold butter: Essential for the shortbread crust, it adds a rich, buttery flavor and helps the crust achieve its crumbly texture.
- Chopped pecans: These are also used in the shortbread crust to add a nutty flavor and a bit of crunch.
- Cream cheese: This will be the main ingredient for the cheesecake layer, giving it a rich and creamy texture.
- Cool whip: This will be folded into the cream cheese layer, making it light and fluffy. It will also be used in the whipped topping layer.
- Powder sugar: Also used in the cream cheese layer, it adds a touch of sweetness.
- Lemon instant pudding: This will be used for the lemon pudding layer, giving it a tangy lemon flavor and a smooth, pudding-like texture.
- Cold milk: This will be used to mix with the lemon instant pudding, helping it to set.
- 9×13 baking pan – You’ll need this to bake the shortbread crust, which forms the base of the lemon lush dessert.
- Large Mixing Bowl – This is essential for combining the ingredients for the cream cheese layer and the lemon pudding layer.
- Electric Mixer – You’ll need this to soften the cream cheese and to fold in the cool whipped cream for the cream cheese layer.
How to Make Lemon Lush Dessert
Begin by preheating your oven to 350˚ F. This will ensure that your oven is at the right temperature when you are ready to bake your shortbread crust.
Step 1 – Shortbread Layer
Start by cutting cold butter into flour. Mix well and add pecans for a bit of a nutty flavor. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until it turns a beautiful golden brown. Let it cool completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 2 – Cream Cheese Layer
Next, it’s time to work on the first creamy layer of your lemon lush recipe. Begin by whipping together softened cream cheese and powdered sugar. Then, fold in Cool Whip. Once your shortbread layer has fully cooled, spread this cream cheese mixture over the top.
Step 3 – Lemon Pudding Layer
Now, let’s move on to the lemon pudding layer. Combine your lemon pudding mix with cold milk. Beat this mixture until it becomes thick. Once your cream cheese layer is covered, spread the lemon pudding mix over it in an even layer.
Step 4 – Whipping Toppling
For the final layer of your lemon lush dessert, spoon and swirl the remaining Cool Whip on top of the lemon pudding layer. To finish, sprinkle the top with pecans for an added crunch.
Step 5 – Refrigerating
Now that all the layers of your lemon lush are in place, it’s time to refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve. This will allow the layers to set and the flavors to meld together, giving you the perfect, creamy, and delicious lemon lush dessert.
Use the name brand Jell-O brand lemon Jello-O. I’ve tried store brands and they have a different taste. Using the name brand has the best flavor in my opinion.
How to Make Lemon Lush Dessert – Video
- Different Nuts: If you’re not a fan of pecans, you can easily swap them out for other nuts, like walnuts in the shortbread layer, for a different flavor and texture.
- Shortbread Substitution: If you’re not a fan of shortbread, you can easily swap it out for a graham cracker crust for a different texture.
- Lemon Lush Parfait: Instead of a layered dessert, you can turn this recipe into individual lemon lush parfaits by layer the ingredients in small glasses.
- Extra Lemon: To make the lemon pudding layer more tart, you can add lemon peel to the lemon pudding. I would do this with a cook n’ serve pudding mix to really bring out the tart flavor.
What to Serve With
- If you’re a fan of nuts, try serving this dessert with a side of candied pecans. The crunchy, sweet pecans are a great match for the buttery shortbread crust and add an extra layer of flavor and texture to the dessert.
- For a fun twist, try turning this layered dessert into a trifle. Simply crumble the shortbread crust and layer it with the cream cheese layer, lemon pudding, and whipped topping in a trifle dish. It’s a great way to serve this dessert for a party, and the transparent dish will show off the beautiful layers.
- Love contrasting flavors? Try serving this dessert with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream. The creaminess of the ice cream pairs wonderfully with the tangy lemon pudding and sweet shortbread crust.
This lemon lush is not overly tart and is more of a savory lemon dessert.
You can add lemon peel to the lemon pudding. I would do this with a cook n’ serve pudding mix to really bring out the tart flavor.
Yes, you can! Simply leave them out. You’ll miss out on the crunchy texture, but it will still be delicious.
I personally recommend buying Jell-O brand lemon pudding. The off-brands (including a very popular grocery store) just don’t have the same great flavor and creamy texture.
Storing and Reheating
- Refrigerating: If you have any leftovers, store them in the refrigerator. This dessert will keep well for 3-4 days, maintaining its delicious flavors and layers.
- Freezing: This layered dessert actually freezes well. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap after fully assembling it and store it in the freezer. It should be kept for up to 2-3 months.
- Thawing: When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen dessert, simply let it thaw in the refrigerator. This may take a few hours, so plan ahead.
- What to Expect: This lemon lush dessert recipe yields a delicious layered dessert in a 9×13 baking pan, enough for 18 servings.
- How to Scale: If you want to serve a larger crowd, you can easily double the recipe and follow the instructions as directed. Just make sure your baking pan is large enough to accommodate the increased quantity. If not, you can make two separate batches.
Lemon Lush Dessert
- 1 1/4 Cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 Cup cold butter
- 1/4 Cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Layer
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 8 oz cool whip
- 1 Cup powdered sugar
Lemon Pudding Layer
- 13.6 oz lemon instant pudding
- 5 Cups cold milk
Whipped Topping Layer
- 8 oz cool whip
- 1/4 Cup chopped pecans
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
- Cut cold butter into flour. Mix well and add pecans. Pat into the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.
Cream Cheese Layer
- Whip together softened cream cheese and powdered sugar. Fold in 8oz of cool whip. Spread over fully cooled shortbread layer.
Lemon Pudding Layer
- Combine lemon pudding and milk. Beat until thick. Spread over cream cheese layer.
Whipping Topping Layer
- Spoon and swirl the remaining cool whip on top. Sprinkle with pecans.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.