Take your desserts to the next level with this Easy Lemon Sauce recipe. It’s perfect for topping pound cake, bread pudding, ice cream, and more. This fresh lemon dessert sauce is just bursting with flavor and is naturally gluten-free. All you need are butter, sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon, and nutmeg!
Serve this yummy topping with Lemon Cupcakes and Sweet Cream Cheese. It is equally delectable spooned over homemade Gingerbread with whipped cream or served on our Easy Lemon Loaf instead of the glaze.
Likely you’ve heard about lemon butter sauce used for garlic chicken or pasta, but luckily for us lemon lovers, the tart citrus fruit is perfect for both savory and sweet sauce recipes!
Today, let’s talk about Sweet Lemon Sauce and all the delicious ways you can use it to level up your desserts, even the store bought ones!
Why Make This
It’s easy. This recipe stirs up on the stovetop in just a matter of minutes and requires only a handful of standard baking ingredients. While you can certainly make the lemon curd in my Lemon Meringue Pie, this is a bit easier and doesn’t require eggs.
It’s versatile. This homemade sauce is great on so many things, elevating a simple store bought lemon pound cake to something special. It’s delicious served on Blueberry Lemon Pancakes, in place of curd on a Lemon Meringue Sundae, or as a swap for the cherry topping on Cherry Cheesecake.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy recipe:
sugar – Granulated white sugar is going to be best for this recipe. Other types of sugar really won’t work as well.
cornstarch – While my mother-in-law always made this recipe with flour, I’ve adapted it to be gluten-free by using cornstarch instead.
water – I use cool filtered water for best results. Warm water may cause clumping with your cornstarch.
lemon – You’ll need both the zest and the juice of 1 lemon. You can use jarred zest and bottled juice, but fresh lemon juice and zest are always best. Considering freezing lemon zest and juice so you always have some on hand.
nutmeg – A little goes a long way; you need just a bit.
butter – Butter rounds out the flavor of this lemon dessert sauce. You can use margarine or a plant-based butter if you prefer, but the flavors won’t be quite the same.
Here’s how to make this:
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the water and whisk until smooth. Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer. Simmer 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and nutmeg.
Serve the warm lemon sauce on your favorite desserts or allow it to cool and serve it cold. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Package leftovers promptly and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Freeze in an airtight container for longer storage.
Variations: swap out the lemon zest and juice for another citrus flavor, such as lime, grapefruit, or orange.
It’s made with just a handful of ingredients: sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon, nutmeg, and butter.
You can thicken lemon sauce with cornstarch or flour. If it’s not as thick as you’d like you can also simmer it longer, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate and adjust the ratios in the sauce.
It can be frozen to use at a later date. Package, chill, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator prior to serving.
More Great Lemon Desserts
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 ¼ cup water boiling
- ¼ cup butter ½ stick
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- dash ground nutmeg
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the water and whisk until smooth. Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer. Simmer 3 minutes.1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 ¼ cup water
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and nutmeg.2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, dash ground nutmeg, ¼ cup butter
- Serve warm or cold. Sauce will thicken as it cools.