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Lemon Lush

Lemon Lush is a cool, light, creamy dessert perfect for summer entertaining. Four layers give this dessert plenty of sweet and tart yumminess.

Slice of Lemon Lush on a blue plate.

Four Delicious Layers

The bottom is a buttery shortbread layer flavored with chopped pecans. Next is a sweetened cream cheese layer followed by an easy lemon pudding layer made from instant pudding mix. A layer of whipped topping on top gives a light, dreamy finish to this summer dessert.

Lemon Lush slice on a small plate with fresh lemons in background.

Once the warm, sunny weather has set in, one or two lemon desserts are always mandatory. Lemon Pudding Cakes and Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake are always favorites, but I am especially fond of layered desserts that can be made in a 9X13-inch pan. They can really feed a crowd – even a houseful of hungry teenagers.

The oven is needed briefly for the shortbread crust, but the rest of this delicious Lemon Lush is no bake.

It’s so cool and refreshing and makes a wonderful dessert for a potluck or picnic.

Lemon-flavored lush in 9x13-inch pan.

Lemon Lush Recipe Tip

If you want pretty slices, you must partially freeze the lemon lush. It will defrost fairly quickly.

For more delicious recipes follow Spicy Southern Kitchen on Pinterest and Instagram.

Spoon cutting into Lemon Lush bar.

More Layer Desserts

Watch the short video below to see how easy it is to make this Lemon Lush.

Lemon Lush

Lemon Lush with four light and creamy layers makes a cool and refreshing summer dessert. Perfect for potlucks and picnics.
PREP: 1 hr 10 mins
COOK: 20 mins
TOTAL: 1 hr 30 mins


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 (3.4-ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (16-ounce) container whipped topping, thawed


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, softened butter, pecans, and 1/4 cup sugar until evenly mixed. Press into the bottom of a 9X13-inch pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread on top of the cooled shortbread crust.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk until it thickens some, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour on top of cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour is good.
  • Spread whipped topping over top. Cut into squares.


If you want pretty slices, you must partially freeze the lemon lush. It will defrost fairly quickly.


Calories: 623kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: layer dessert, lemon

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Originally published May 9, 2015.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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60 thoughts on “Lemon Lush”

  1. Marti Spicer

    I made this last night and the crust was so hard I could hardly cut it. the pudding didn’t se up either..I have made this dessert for many years and never had this problem…Been going over the recipe all morning and know I made it right..any ideas?

  2. Jean Irving beck

    I have to use sugar free puddings but the ounces are different weights How do I make up the differences

    1. Christin Mahrlig

      Just get the boxes that are the same in size and keep the amount of milk the same. I don’t use the sugar-free often but I think they are designed to make the same quantity as the regular kind. They just weigh less since much less artificial sweetener is needed to get the same sweetness as sugar.

  3. I use to make something like this a long time ago and after I make it I would put in the freezer then when we wanted something sweet it was there and it wasn’t running. But it was made with vanilla pudding. I’d make it also for my aunt’s card party’s they love it.

  4. I’m going to try and make this this weekend it is like a dessert we call stripe delight. But I’m going to try something different with this one I’m going to buy pecan sandies and grind them up like for a graham cracker crust and use that for the bottom. I’ll let you know how that turns out!!

    1. Christin Mahrlig

      That sounds like a wonderful idea to use pecan sandies Sue! Please do let me know how it turns out!

      1. Christin did you ever hear how the Pecan Sandies worked out? I was think crush them and mix in a little melted butter. Not sure whether to bake or not. I used to make it with a graham cracker crust. Thanks!

    2. OMG!!! My two favorite things—Pecan Sandies AND lemon anything!! I’m going to try this plus I will make my own lemon curd for the pudding. The pudding has, to me, an off flavor and I hate it….

  5. A wonderful lemon dessert! This is one great recipe! I love lemons that’s why I fell in love with this lemon lush when I saw it. This is a dessert that’s smooth, creamy, light and not too sweet. It’s very amazing!

  6. Meagan @ The F&B Department

    Summer is coming, and this screams “EAT ME BECAUSE I’M REFRESHING AND WILL SAVE YOU FROM THE SUMMER DEATH MONTHS”. This would be perfect for those upcoming summer barbecues!

  7. Lea Andersen

    Whoa! This lemon lush will surely be the next favorite of my kids. It is also perfect since next Sunday, my sister give me an invitation to visit her place. I’ll prepare this one and will just order drinks from mott32 hong kong! Thanks for sharing this recipe, it is so helpful!

  8. This dessert can be made with any instant pudding filling! Chocolate is always a favourite at our house! Also called “Sex in a pan”

    1. Janice Harrison

      Been making it for years. I have also used chocolate. Everyone loves the chocolate. Trying the lemon for the first time. Also heard it called Preachers Pie.

  9. My mouth is watering over this luscious lemon dessert! I’ve never had it before but anything lemon is my absolute favorite so I can’t wait to try this! I love that the filling is no bake! It looks delicious!

  10. I’ve made this dessert before and it was delicious. I had such a hard time getting it out of the pan! Do you have any tricks to get it out of the pan nicely so it doesn’t look like a pile of goop in the end? 🙂

    1. Phyllis Myers

      I make this all the time but my crust is just flour and butter, no sugar or nuts. If I use a glass pan I use margarine instead of butter because the crust sticks really badly with the combination of butter and glass pan. No problem with aluminum pans.

      1. I have tried making the crust with butter and it is very hard to cut though. I now make it with margarine and it’s perfect !

  11. Thao @ In Good Flavor

    There are so many things to like about this dessert: easy to make, smooth, creamy, not too sweet, and light tasting. I love it!

  12. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    Oh I love the pretty colors of this dessert, Christin! This just screams spring and warm weather. Looks amazing!

  13. Jessica @ Sweetest Menu

    Luscious indeed! This dish looks incredible! We are all huge lemon dessert fans over here so this is totally our type of dessert.

  14. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    This looks awesome! I love lemon and I love all the layers 🙂 I’ve never had lush but BOY does it look delish 🙂

  15. Mary @chattavore

    Gosh, Christin, this looks so good! I love lemon desserts. Can you believe I’ve lived in the South my entire life and I’ve never had lush? Gonna have to fix that soon.

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