Lemon mousse is an easy, no-bake dessert that's silky, decadent, and light as air. Made with just four ingredients and whipped up in minutes, this mousse is the perfect light dessert for those hot summer months.
What is mousse exactly? Mousse is a soft, creamy dessert that's made by whipping air in to give it a light and fluffy texture. A classic mousse is usually made with eggs and/or cream, and can be flavored with anything from chocolate to fruits and spices.
While not a traditional mousse, this lightly sweetened lemon mousse comes together in minutes and requires no cooking. It's the perfect no-bake dessert for summer - no standing over a hot stove today!
Serve lemon mousse after a light meal or at your next barbecue or picnic. It can also be used to make an icebox cake. Lemon mousse is easy to make a day ahead of an event - just refrigerate until ready to serve!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Lemon curd - Can be homemade or store bought. You can find lemon curd near the jams and jellies at your local grocer.
- Heavy cream - Heavy cream is a must in this recipe - you'll be making a homemade whipped cream to fold into the other ingredients. Other dairy products, like half & half or whole milk will not work. Heavy cream contains just enough milkfat to whip into whipped cream and hold its shape.
- Confectioner's sugar - We're adding a small amount of confectioner's sugar to our mousse today. It adds just enough sweetness to balance the tart lemon flavor. This dessert is meant to be lightly sweetened. If you prefer a sweet dessert, you are welcome to add more sugar.
- Lemon zest - Adds a punch of fresh lemon flavor. Optionally, reserve a little extra to use as a garnish.
Tips and tricks
If you've never made homemade whipped cream before, you may want to check out my detailed post here, for extra pictures and a full list of tips and tricks: Homemade Whipped Cream
Here are my favorite tips for making homemade whipped cream:
- Use very cold heavy cream. Cold cream will whip up much more easily than a room temperature or warm cream.
- If your home is very warm, and for a higher chance of success when making whipped cream, refrigerate your bowl and whisk (or hand mixer beaters) for 20 minutes before beginning.
- Whip your heavy cream on medium speed, not high speed. It's less messy and there's less of a chance of overmixing your cream.
- Use a large bowl - your cream will double in size and there will be some splashing while you mix your cream.
Frequently asked questions
How long does lemon mousse last? Even though mousse seems delicate, it will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator and hold its shape and texture. However, I recommend serving it within 1-2 days for a party.
Can I make this ahead? I recommend portioning your mousse into individual serving dishes before storing in the refrigerator and serving within 1-2 days. This saves time later on and your mousse will have time to set, undisturbed.
Why does my mousse taste like whipped cream? Mousse is meant to be light, fluffy, and very lightly sweetened. A large portion of the recipe is whipped cream. Don't skip the step of chilling before serving - this firms up the mousse and changes the texture slightly.
Why isn't my mousse sweet? This mousse is not meant to be very sweet - most of the sweetness comes from the lemon curd used. If your lemon curd isn't very sweet, you may want to add some extra confectioner's sugar and whip until incorporated.
How do you serve lemon mousse? Mousse is best served in small dessert dishes or bowls. Each serving size is about a heaping ½ cup. Small bowls, martini glasses, or parfait/sundae glasses are best.
What toppings can I add to mousse? If you'd like to add a topping, a dollop of whipped cream, lemon zest, or a crumbled vanilla wafer are perfect additions.
Can I use lemon mousse in other recipes? Lemon mousse can be used to build parfaits. Crumble a few vanilla cookies or graham crackers and build a parfait by adding thin layers of mousse and crumbled cookies to a decorative glass. I've also made a lemon icebox cake using a variation of this recipe.
- 2 cups (454 g) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons (14 g) confectioner's sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (320 g) lemon curd
- 1 tablespoon (6 g) lemon zest
- In a large bowl, add heavy cream, confectioner's sugar, and a pinch of salt. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until medium peaks form.
- Gently fold in lemon curd and lemon zest until evenly incorporated.
- Divide into 8 small dessert glasses (about ½ heaping cup per serving). Optionally, garnish with a dollop of whipped cream or additional lemon zest.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours, to allow mousse to chill and firm up. Serve cold.
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest = zest of one large lemon
- Do not skip the step of chilling - this firms up the mousse and changes the texture slightly.
- This is a lightly sweetened, less sweet dessert, and the sweetness depends on the brand of lemon curd used. If you'd like a sweeter mousse, feel free to add more sugar.
- Mousse will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, but is best served within 1-2 days.
- Optionally, garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, lemon zest, or a vanilla wafer.