Homemade lemon bread pudding sauce is the perfect sweet and tangy dessert sauce. Made with just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes prep, the refreshing lemon sauce brightens up bread pudding, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, cake, cheesecake, and gingerbread.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Learn more
Lemon sauce for bread pudding
This lemon bread pudding sauce is a little bit of sunshine in a bottle. Sweet, citrusy, creamy, and tangy, it has everything you could ever want in a lemon dessert sauce!
Made with plenty of fresh lemons, the sauce is rich and has the perfect balance of sweet and tart. And the best part is the recipe comes together quickly with simple ingredients.
Unlike my lemon curd sauce, this sauce is prepared without eggs and cream. Instead, we use a touch of cornstarch and butter to achieve a lovely syrup consistency.
If you are a lemon lover like me, you’ll want to pour this sauce over all of your favorite desserts and breakfast treats, from bread pudding to pancakes to ice cream. It’s just so good!
And for more sweet sauces, try our vanilla bread pudding sauce, hot fudge sauce, and caramel sauce.
Reasons to love lemon bread pudding sauce
- Quick + easy: A saucepan and about 10 minutes cooking time are all you need to whip up this delicious lemon dessert sauce.
- Simple ingredients: The recipe calls for 5 simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
- Versatile: The dessert sauce is perfect for bread pudding, crepes, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, gingerbread, and any dessert that needs some zing.
You’ll have most of the ingredients on hand, but they are also easy to find at any supermarket. Together, they create the most flavorful lemon sauce. For exact measurements, scroll to the recipe card below.
- Lemon juice + zest: You need the freshly squeezed juice of approximately 6 lemons and the zest of 2 lemons. To make your life easier, be sure to zest the lemons before squeezing the juice. It’s almost impossible to zest squeezed-out lemons.
- Sugar: I recommend superfine sugar, but regular white granulated sugar also works fine.
- Cornstarch thickens the sauce to a luscious, smooth texture. You can also use arrowroot powder.
- Water helps to adjust the consistency and dilute the strong lemon flavor.
- Unsalted butter lends the sauce a wonderful richness and creaminess. Adding butter is optional. If you prefer a dairy-free lemon sauce, simply skip it.
How to make lemon bread pudding sauce
This sweet lemon sauce is such an easy recipe and comes together in just minutes. You can easily make it for all of your dessert needs. Here’s what to do:
Place the sugar and cornstarch into a medium saucepan. Whisk together until perfectly combined and you no longer see clumps of cornstarch.
Add the fresh lemon juice, water, butter, and lemon zest. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking the sauce for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is thick and the sugar has dissolved. Stir continuously.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Prepare the lemons
- Fresh lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is a must for this sauce because it tastes a hundred times better than bottled lemon juice.
- Zesting lemons: First, wash your lemons thoroughly. Then position your garter or zester over a plate and run the lemon up and down over the surface to scrape off the yellow skin. Lastly, flip your grater over and clean out the lemon rind on the backside. Stop zesting when you get to the white part of the lemon, the pith, because it tastes bitter.
- Microwave lemons: Put the lemons in a microwave-friendly bowl and warm for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave. Doing this helps to release juices from the membranes inside the fruit.
- Juicing lemons: Cut each lemon in half. Use a citrus juicer to extract as much liquid as possible. If working with a lemon reamer, put a bowl underneath to catch the juices.
Make the best lemon sauce
- Whisk the sugar and cornstarch first: The secret to a smooth, clump-free texture is to combine the sugar and cornstarch before you do anything else.
- Adjust the thickness: 1 tablespoon of cornstarch creates a syrupy lemon sauce that is thick yet very pourable. If you prefer slightly thicker lemon sauce, use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Adjust the tartness: I like to taste the sauce right after cooking. If you find the sauce a little too tart, stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda until dissolved. Baking soda is a base and will neutralize some of the acidity.
This lush lemon bread pudding sauce can be served with so many delicious foods. It adds the perfect citrusy touch to your favorite desserts and treats! I know you’ll love the tangy taste and rich texture. Check out these ideas:
- Bread pudding: This lemony sauce is the perfect accompaniment for bread pudding. Try it with buttermilk bread pudding, condensed milk bread pudding, or hamburger bun bread pudding.
- Pancakes + waffles: The sauce will add some zest to your favorite breakfast treats like pancakes, waffles, and French toast.
- Gingerbread: Complement traditional gingerbread cake with tangy lemon sauce.
- Cake: Drizzle the sauce over pound cake, angel food cake, coffee cake, or vanilla cake.
- Mousse: Fold it into sweetened whipped cream for a quick lemon mousse.
- Ice cream: Lemon sauce makes a fruity topping for ice cream and sundaes.
- Yogurt: Top off Greek yogurt with a splash of lemon sauce.
- Fresh fruit: Spoon it over fresh strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries.
- Desserts: It’s a terrific dessert sauce for trifles, puddings, and cheesecake.
How to store lemon bread pudding sauce
Use your homemade lemon bread pudding sauce immediately as needed. Then store leftovers in a tightly sealed jar or bottle for up to 2 weeks.
If separation occurs, gently reheat and whisk until everything is combined again.
Can I freeze lemon bread pudding sauce?
Yes! Let the sauce cool completely. Then pour it into a freezer-friendly jar or container, leaving 1 in / 2.5 cm at the top. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To thaw frozen lemon sauce, reheat it in the microwave or over the stove until it’s warm and back to its normal consistency.