This lemon lush pie recipe takes your taste buds on a delightful journey. In fact, this just might become your favorite lemony dessert ever!
You’ll use almost exactly the same basic recipe you would use for a lemon lush. The only difference is that it’s in the shape of a pie. So if you prefer to cut it into squares, make it in a baking dish or casserole dish.
Lemon Lush Layered Dessert
One of the things I love about lemon lush is the balance of sweet and tart. Each of the creamy layers delivers another element of deliciousness.
Growing up, I heard of this called luscious lemon lasagna and lemon pudding cake. In fact, my great-grandmother used to make mini lemon pudding cakes.
This lemon lush pie is similar to a lemon meringue pie, but it has a third layer that makes it a great dessert for any occasion.
Some people consider it a summer dessert and prefer it during the warmer months. But I like it year-round. In other words, it’s a great dessert, no matter when you eat it.
All of the ingredients are easy to find at any grocery store. Here are the items you’ll need:
- Melted butter
- *Graham cracker crumbs (regular or gluten-free)
- Cream cheese
- Lemon juice
- Whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip or the store brand)
- Instant lemon pudding
- Cold milk
- Lemon zest (optional)
For the full recipe with measurements and directions, please either scroll to the bottom of this page or click on the jump-to-recipe button beneath the title. That will take you to the printable recipe card.
*Note: You can use other types of crumbs in place of graham crackers. I’ve had it with lemon Oreos, vanilla wafers, golden Oreos, and butter cookies (for a buttery crust).
How to Make a Lemon Lush Pie
This classic recipe is always popular with large groups of people. A pie shape is good when you’re serving it to your family or a smaller group.
However, if you’re taking it to a potluck, I recommend using a baking dish and cutting it into squares. Regardless of how you cut it, this lemon lush recipe is a favorite at any type of gathering.
First, combine the butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well.
Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Put it in the refrigerator and chill it for about 30 minutes while you follow the rest of the steps.
In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and half of the whipped topping. Mix it with an electric mixer or stand mixer.
Spread this lemon and cream cheese mixture over the chilled graham cracker crust.
Now it’s time to make the next layer. In another bowl, combine the lemon pudding mix and milk. Mix until it begins to thicken.
Spread the pudding mixture of the lemon and cream cheese layer.
Scoop the remaining whipped topping over the top of the pie. Using a spatula or knife, spread it out evenly.
If you want to add garnish, sprinkle lemon zest over the top. Or if you prefer, you can put very thin lemon slices on the top.
Refrigerate a couple of hours before serving.
Slice it into pie-shaped wedges or squares.
Extra Tips for Making Lemon Lush or Lemon Lush Pie
This is a difficult recipe to mess up. Even if something is lopsided, it will still taste wonderful.
But here are some tips to successfully make the best lemon dessert:
- If you can’t find already prepared cookie crumbs, run the graham crackers through your food processor.
- Or if you want to do something completely different, run pecans through a food processor instead of cookies. You’ll wind up with a delicious nutty flavor.
- Use fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice doesn’t deliver as much fresh lemon flavor.
- Finely crush your cookie crumbs to get the best consistency for your crust.
- Add the layers very carefully to keep them from “bleeding” into each other.
- You can make this with homemade lemon pudding instead of instant pudding mix, but cut the liquid by 25 percent so it be firm enough to handle the layers.
- Don’t cut the chilling time. This dessert is best served cold.
- When adding lemon zest be sure to only zest the yellow part of the lemon. The white part underneath the skin is often bitter.
- Get creative with the garnish. You can add other toppings to make this dessert more festive. Blueberries, sliced strawberries, and raspberries add lots of color. You can also add crushed nuts if you want.
- You can use fresh whipped cream, but please keep in mind that it can deflate over time. Only use fresh whipped cream if you’re going to eat it right away.
How to Store Leftover Lemon Lush Pie
This delicious lemon delight is best served within a day of when you make it. If you have any left over, cover it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. It should be good for a couple of days.
See this recipe shared at Full Plate Thursday.
More Delicious Dessert Recipes
We love all kinds of desserts at our house. If you’re looking for an easy dessert recipe, check out a few of our favorites:
Pineapple Pie – No-bake pineapple pie delivers a burst of flavors with every single bite. It’s like sending your taste buds on a tropical vacation.
Chocolate Walnut Pie – Also called chocolate pudding pie, chocolate lovers will enjoy this treat after any meal.
Strawberry Dump Cake – Easy to make and delicious to eat, this strawberry dump cake will bring smiles to everyone.
Cherry Icebox Pie – This delicious fluffy cherry icebox pie from Out of the Box Baking is sure to impress everyone at the dessert table.
Brownie and Fruit Dessert Pizza – See is how a dessert pizza is supposed to taste. After all, how can you go wrong with the combination of chocolate and fruit?
Lemon Bars – These yummy lemon bars are made with only 3 ingredients and an optional 4th. They’re easy to make and so delicious!
As I mentioned, this lemon lush pie is delicious at any time of year. It delivers sunshine, even on the coldest, rainiest days!
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (regular or gluten-free)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 16 ounces Cool Whip, thawed
- 2 boxes instant lemon pudding (each box approx. 3.4 ounces)
- 3 cups cold milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest for garnish (optional)
- In medium bowl, combine butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar.
- Press mixture into bottom of 9” pie pan. Place in the refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes.
- In separate bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and half of the Cool Whip. Mix it with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer.
- Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust.
- In another bowl, combine lemon pudding mix and milk. Using your mixer, mix it until it starts to thicken.
- Spread pudding mixture over cream cheese layer.
- Scoop rest of Cool Whip onto the top. Spread it out evenly.
- If you want to add a little extra to make it pretty, sprinkle the top with lemon zest.
- Put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.
- Cut into individual servings.
- For a more traditional lemon lush, follow all of the instructions for the pie but use a 9” x 13” casserole or baking dish. Slice into squares.
- You can use any type of cookie crumbs in place of the graham cracker crumbs. Just make sure they are finely ground.
- Add colorful garnish to the top of the pie, such as blueberries, sliced strawberries, or raspberries. You can also sprinkle ground nuts over the top.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 646Total Fat 41gSaturated Fat 27gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 70mgSodium 434mgCarbohydrates 65gFiber 1gSugar 46gProtein 8g
The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.