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 into it 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 easy 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, at your next barbecue or picnic, or any time that sweet tooth strikes. 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 is a must in this recipe - you'll be making a homemade whipped cream. It may also be labeled as heavy whipping cream. 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.
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.
Lemon zest adds a punch of fresh lemon flavor to this mousse. Plus, you can zest a little extra and add to the top of each serving for added visual appeal.
Making whipped cream - 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.
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.
I recommend portioning your mousse into individual serving dishes before storing in the refrigerator. This will save time later on, and your mousse will have time to set, undisturbed.
Serving lemon mousse
Mousse is best served in small dessert dishes or bowls. Each serving size will be about a heaping ½ cup. Small bowls, martini glasses, or parfait/sundae glasses are best.
If you'd like to add a topping, a dollop of whipped cream, lemon zest, or a crumbled vanilla wafer are perfect additions.
Or, use your lemon mousse 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.
Easy Lemon Mousse
- 2 cups (454 g) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons (14 g) confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup (320 g) lemon curd
- 1 tablespoon (6 g) lemon zest
- In a large bowl, add heavy cream and confectioner's sugar. 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. Serve cold.
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest = zest of one lemon
- 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.
- Use mousse to make parfaits by layering with crushed vanilla cookies or graham crackers.
I added the juice of the lemon that I zested and a bit of Real Lemon juice to make it more tart. The consistency was just like whipped cream until I put it in the refrigerator for a few hours then it completely changed to a mousse.
So quick and easy. Love it! Definitely the hit of the dinner party and everyone thought I slaved over it.
just tried this one. OMG!! It was so quick it is unbelievable. I never made mousse before and was a bit put off by the need for egg whites in other recipes. This was a hit with me. Will definitely make again. Done and dusted in minutes.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Where can the cute parfait cups be bought?
The glasses shown are small "Josie" drinking glasses from Crate & Barrel. Unfortunately they don't appear to be on their website anymore.
Would you recommend this as a cake filling? Also, what's the yield?
This recipe makes about 4.5 cups of mousse. I haven't tried this as a cake filling so I can't say for sure. But I do use a very similar recipe for the layers in this Oreo icebox cake: https://thetoastykitchen.com/lemon-icebox-cake/
Can you use Cool Whip instead of making whipped cream by hand?
Hi Kathleen, I haven't tested this recipe using Cool Whip, but it should work. You'll need four cups of Cool Whip to substitute for the heavy cream and confectioner's sugar.
Yolanda M. Choser
Sounds wonderful!! Instructions so very clear!!! Thankful it was sent to me. ! Will forward it to friends also.