Lemon Lush

Relish the delectable taste of Lemon Lush, a delightful layered dessert for any occasion. This mouth-watering dessert boasts a crunchy nut crust, a creamy lemon pudding layer, and a fluffy cream cheese topping — Its sweet and tangy flavor makes it the highlight of any event.

lemon lush topped with strawberries on a plate.

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What is Lemon Lush?

Chilled Lemon Lush is a triple-layered dessert with a light, tart flavor that will take you back to the lazy summer afternoons spent running through sprinklers.

The nut-based crust makes a crunchy base for the thick lemon filling, and the whipped cream cheese topping adds more creaminess to this classic recipe. 

Why this is the best recipe for Lemon Lush Dessert

Lemon-flavored desserts abound, from lemon pie to lemon bars to cheesecake. However, this Lemon Lush is much easier to make yet still packs a flavorful punch.

If you bring a Lemon Lush pie to your next family gathering or potluck dinner, don’t forget to bring extra copies of this recipe. You’ll need them!

This creamy, cool lemon lush dessert recipe is so easy to make:

  • The buttery nut crust can be baked in a matter of minutes.
  • The lemon layer is made with a boxed pudding mix.
  • And you are going to love the fluffy cream cheese layer on top.

To be extra fancy, top the whole dessert with sliced strawberries, blueberries, or lemon zest.

Lemon Lush recipe ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Butter
  • Chopped nuts
  • All-purpose flour
  • Lemon instant pudding mix
  • Milk
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cool Whip topping
lemon lush ingredients on a baking sheet.

How to make Lemon Lush

Making Lemon Lush dessert is easy when you break the process into three parts. You can also make the crust ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the nuts in a plastic bag and crush them into small pieces using a rolling pin.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave or a saucepan over low heat.
  4. Stir in the melted butter, crushed nuts, and flour until it resembles wet sand.
lemon lush crust mixture in a skillet.
  1. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of a lightly greased  9×13-inch baking pan. 
  2. Blind bake the crust until it is lightly brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Allow the crust to cool completely before filling.
baked crust for lemon lush dessert.

To make the pudding layer:

  1. Combine both packets of pudding mix with the milk in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix until the pudding begins to thicken, about 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t worry if the consistency of the filling is a little thick – that is what you want. 
lemon pudding mixture in a bowl.
  1. Scoop the pudding onto the cold crust carefully. 
  2. Use an offset spatula to even out the filling. Don’t leave any spaces around the sides of the pan. 
  3. Place the pan in the fridge while you make the cream cheese layer. 

To make the cream cheese layer:

  1. Soften the cream cheese by leaving it on the counter for about 30 minutes. 
  2. Combine the softened cream cheese, whipped topping, and powdered sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer.
  3. Use a hand or stand mixer to beat the mixture until it increases in volume and becomes light and fluffy. 
lemon lush cream cheese layer mixture in a bowl.
  1. Scoop the cream cheese mixture onto the pudding layer and smooth with an offset spatula be sure to spread in an even layer. 
  2. Refrigerate the dessert until serving.
lemon lush dessert and a fork on a plate.

Troubleshooting tips for the best lemon lush possible

Although this recipe is simple overall, there are a few things to watch out for! Here are some tips to help you out:

  • When mixing the crust, the mixture should stick together when you squeeze it in the palm of your hand. If it appears crumbly and doesn’t hold its shape, you can add a bit more butter before pressing it into the dish. This will ensure that the crust doesn’t fall apart when you slice it.
  • To prevent a lumpy cream cheese layer, sift powdered sugar beforehand. Clumps can form from pantry storage or transportation. You’ll also want to avoid working with cold cream cheese.
  • Make sure to allow the crust to cool fully before adding the pudding layer. If you have already added it to a hot crust and the pudding mixture becomes soupy, stick it in the freezer for a bit to help it set. Don’t add the cream cheese layer until the pudding layer stiffens!
  • If you want to use homemade whipped cream in place of the Cool Whip, you must add a stabilizer to it. The Cool Whip already has a nice structure, making it the ideal option for the recipe.

Recipe variations

Crushed walnuts, cashews, pistachios, or pecans work well in this Lemon Lush delight crust recipe, but you can make it extra special by using candied nuts.

If you don’t care for lemon or want something different, you can change the flavor of this recipe. Simply substitute the lemon pudding for the flavor you prefer. Here are some recommendations:

  • Banana Cream
  • Butterscotch
  • Caramel
  • Chocolate
  • Pistachio

Changing the flavor is up to you, so be creative!

How long do you need to chill Lemon Lush before serving? 

Cover the Lemon Lush dessert with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. 

How do you cut Lemon Lush Dessert?

To cut, run a butter knife around the inside edges of the pan to loosen the sides. Slice the Lemon Lush into 3X3-inch squares with a sharp knife.

What to serve with Lemon Lush Pie

Try garnishing a slice of Lemon Lush pie with fresh, dried, or macerated fruit. A dollop of lemon curd and citrus zest are two ways you can add a bit more tartness to the dessert.

Sprinkle crushed nuts or sugar cookies on top for an extra layer of crunch. 

How to store Lemon Lush Delight

Always keep the wrapped pie in the fridge. The Lemon Lush recipe will last up to three days, but finishing it within a day or two is a good idea since the crust can get a bit soggy. 

overhead view of lemon lush dessert in a dish and on a plate.

Love lemon? Try these recipes!

Favorite Dessert Recipes

Check out more of my easy dessert recipes and family favorite recipes here on CopyKat!

lemon lush topped with strawberries on a plate.

Lemon Lush

Lemon Lush is a layered lemon dessert you will love. A cream cheese layer on top of a lemon pudding layer over a nut crust.
5 from 6 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Lush
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 172kcal



  • 4 ounces melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Lemon Layer

  • 2 packages instant lemon pudding mix 4-serving size
  • 3 cups milk

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Cool Whip


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Mix together the melted butter, chopped nuts, and flour.
  • Spread the mixture into a 9×13-inch pan.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Let the crust cool for 20 minutes.
  • In a bowl, combine the pudding mix and milk, and beat until it starts to thicken.
  • Pour this over the cooled crust.
  • Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and Cool Whip, and spread over the pudding.


  • You can try other flavors by substituting the lemon pudding for the flavor of your choice.
  • Be sure to store lemon lush dessert in the refrigerator.
  • You can garnish this with strawberries, blackberries, lemon zest to make it extra fancy!
Recipe by Virginia McDowell. Jefferson City, MO. 1983.


Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 120mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 0.4mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Jerry S.

    I’ve made this for years, but I use a double graham cracker pie crust instead. No one’s ever complained, great, simple recipe..

5 from 6 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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