single serving of lemon dessert

How To Make A Luscious No-Bake 4-Layer Lemon Dessert


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A cool lemon dessert is a perfect fit for summer. Sunny, tart, and lovely to see. This one is especially terrific because it’s no-bake! Who wants to turn on her oven when it’s 90 degrees? Not me! I adore lemon, and I love cool, creamy desserts!

single serving of lemon dessert

This lemon dessert starts with very simple ingredients and is easy to make! It makes 16 generous servings, and you can make it a day or two ahead and stash it in the fridge. Add these items to your grocery list, and you’ll be prepared to make it at the drop of a hat!

  • Butter
  • Lemon sandwich cookies
  • Milk
  • Instant Lemon Pudding Mix
  • Lemon extract (optional, but adds some zing!)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Whipped topping

Begin This Lemon Dessert By Smashing Cookies And Melting Butter

I’ve always loved lemon sandwich cookies. Most of the time, they are a house brand and come in about a 25-ounce package. I love the tangy lemon cream filling. This recipe starts with crushing about 45 cookies in a food processor and adding a half stick of melted butter. Pulse until the butter is all incorporated into the crumbs.

Of course, if you don’t have a food processor, just put the cookies in a zip lock bag and smash away with a rolling pin. Then, dump the crumbs in a bowl and stir in the melted butter. I know you are resourceful like that!

Finally, save back about a cup of this crumb mixture to sprinkle artfully over the dessert for the final finishing touch!

I’ve discovered a slick, non-messy way of melting the butter. First, I cut a stick of butter in half with the wrapper still on it. Next, I put it in a glass measuring cup, cut side down, with a napkin laid on the top to catch any spatters.

In about 30 seconds, the butter melts in the microwave. Finally, I toss the wrapper and the napkin in the trash and pour the butter over the crumbs. Easy and fast, just the way I like it!

Now Patty Cake The Crust Into The Pan

Press the crumb mixture into a 13″ x 9″ pan. A clear glass baking pan is especially nice because it really shows off all the pretty layers!

lemon dessert crust

Next, mix up the lemon pudding as directed on the box. If you have trouble finding the large 5.85-ounce size pudding mix, use two small 3.9-ounce boxes. There is not much difference in the volume. Use it all in the dessert or save some back to eat plain, it’s a win either way. Finally, stick the pudding in the fridge so it can set up a bit.

Make The Delicious Cream Cheese Lemon Dessert Layer

I have to admit that I have a fat tooth. It’s bigger than my sweet tooth by a mile so I love this rich, creamy layer most of all! The cream cheese should be at room temperature so it’s nice and soft. Beat it together with a cup of powdered sugar and a teaspoon of lemon extract until it’s all blended.

cream cheese layer

The lemon extract is optional, but I love the little bit of pucker it adds to this layer. Next, fold in a whole carton of whipped topping, which you cleverly defrosted ahead of time. (You did defrost it, didn’t you?) When that’s all mixed up and fluffy, spread it evenly over the crust.

Spread this carefully over the crumb crust. This step is important because if you rush it, you’ll end up pulling crumbs into the cream cheese mixture. It works best if you push the topping gently toward the edges to avoid pulling up the crumbs from the crust. Take your time. It’s worth it.

add cream cheese layer

You Are Almost Done Just Two Layers To Go

Now, grab that lemon pudding out of the fridge and smooth it on top of the cream cheese layer. I do hope you are licking the beaters, spoons, and bowls as you go because that is the privilege bestowed on the dessert maker in every well-run kitchen! Now you know!

lemon pudding on top

And here is why it’s so fun to use a glass pan when you make this! Look at the gorgeous layers!! ūüėć

luscious lemon layers

The last layer is another whole carton of (defrosted) whipped topping. Yes, it’s a lot of whipped topping! However, it does make 16 generous servings, and it is a rich, delicious dessert, and it’s quite appropriate for a special occasion!

whipped topping added

All that’s left to do is sprinkle the crumbs you save back evenly over the top. So you did remember to keep them? Just kidding, I know you did. Now, stick the pan in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or a couple of days until you are ready to serve it!

Now proudly serve your beautiful, impressive dessert that you made without breaking a sweat! You didn’t even have to turn on the oven! Sit back and let the compliments roll in!

lemon dessert in pan

Do you have a favorite lemon dessert? Here’s another one I know you’ll love and it is super easy! Busy Day Lemon Bars.

Are you more of a chocolate lover? Here’s a chocolate version for you to try! Plate Licking 4 Layer Chocolate Dessert. How about something cool and pistachio? Here’s one for you. A Light And Delicious Pistachio Dessert

Yield: 16 servings

Luscious 4 Layer Lemon Dessert

lemon lasagna dessert

An impressive-looking no-bake 4 layer lemon dessert with a crunchy crust and layers of sweetened cream cheese, pudding, and whipped topping. It's garnished with cookie crumbs. Easy to make ahead.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 14.3-ounce package of lemon sandwich cookies
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 5.9-ounce pkg instant lemon pudding (I used two regular size packages)
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 8 Tbsp melted butter
  • 16 oz whipped topping, defrosted ( 2 8-ounce tubs)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2¬ĺ cups milk


  1. Crumble the cookies into a food processor and pulse until they form fine crumbs.
  2. Add melted butter and pulse until the butter is all incorporated.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of cookie crumbs for topping.
  4. Press the crumb mixture into a 13" by 9" pan.
  5. Make pudding according to package directions and refrigerate to thicken.
  6. Mix softened cream cheese with powdered sugar and lemon extract. Beat until smooth.
  7. Fold in one carton of whipped topping and beat until well blended.
  8. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over the crumb crust.
  9. Spread the pudding over the cream cheese layer.
  10. Spread the second carton of whipped topping on top of the pudding layer.
  11. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over the whipped topping.
  12. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve or up to two days ahead.

I hope you have a wonderful summer and a chance to catch up with all those folks you missed so much last year!

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