Lemon curd parfait is a quick no-bake dessert made with a lemon curd whipped cream over crushed ginger cookies and topped with berries. This lemon dessert is fruity, refreshing, and near impossible to resist. Easy lemon parfait takes just 3 ingredients and 10 minutes to make!
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Easy lemon parfait
Lemon curd parfaits in a jar are super easy to make and taste just like classic lemon pie! Layers of lemon curd whipped cream, ginger stem cookies, and fresh fruit create a quick no-bake dessert. It’s a wonderful lemon dessert recipe to make ahead of time
My family loves lemon curd and all the delicious things you can create with it. Some of our other favorite lemon curd recipes are these lemon chocolate chip cookies, lemon curd tartlets, lemon curd puddings, and of course, homemade lemon curd on toast.
What is lemon parfait?
This dessert goes by many names: lemon parfait, lemon curd parfait, lemon curd mousse, and lemon curd trifle. I’m partial to “lemon curd parfait” because it accurately describes this lemony dessert concoction that is essentially a 3-ingredient parfait with lemon curd.
Lemon parfait is an easy no-bake layered dessert with crushed cookies, fluffy lemon curd whip, aromatic berries, and whipped cream on top. It’s almost like a no-bake lemon pie, except a bit fluffier and much simpler.
Lemon parfait ingredients
I have nothing against taking shortcuts when it comes to easy dessert recipes. You can either make each component from scratch or use premade ingredients to save time. The choice is up to you! Let’s check out the ingredient lineup:
- Lemon curd: I love my homemade lemon curd or Meyer lemon curd to prepare this dessert. Of course, premade lemon curd is a good option when you’re short on time and need super quick and easy dessert recipes.
- Heavy cream (whipping cream): Heavy cream lends a wonderfully rich and silky texture to this bright, fresh lemon mousse. I share a few ideas for lighter substitutions below.
- Cookies: I used gingersnaps (ginger stem cookies) because ginger pairs beautifully with the zesty lemon aroma and adds a subtle spicy note to this creamy dessert. Again, you can use homemade or store-bought. You can also use Graham crackers if preferred. See below for more substitutions.
- Fresh fruit (optional): I like to add fresh berries to the layers and garnish the top of my no-bake parfaits. Any berries will work, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Be sure to use fresh, not frozen fruit.
How to make lemon curd parfait
Lemon curd parfait is super quick to whip up, although it requires at least 1 hour in the fridge to achieve the best texture and aroma. I think this no-bake lemon dessert is even better the next day, making it a great option to make ahead of time.
Here are the simple steps for how to make lemon parfait:
Step 1: Crush cookies
- Crush the gingersnap cookies into bite-sized pieces. For the best texture, you want a mixture of fine crumbs and larger chunks. Set aside.
Step 2: Whip cream
- Add the heavy cream (whipping cream) into a large, tall mixing bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, whip until soft peaks form. I used a hand mixer, but you can also perform this step with a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment.
Step 3: Make lemon curd whipped cream
- Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold the lemon curd into the whipped cream.
- For the best results, add half amount citrus curd and stir until well combined. Then repeat with the remaining half. Scratch down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 4: Assemble lemon parfait
- To assemble the dessert, add about 2 tablespoons of cookie chunks to the bottom of the jar.
- Optionally, add a few berries.
- Add 2 tablespoons lemon curd. Whisk store-bought lemon curd to soften it.
- Then follow up with 2 tablespoons of whipped lemon cream.
- Repeat until you have 2 layers of each component.
Step 5: Chill
- Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.
Step 6: Decorate and serve
- Decorate the lemon curd parfait with extra lemon curd, a tuff of whipped cream, cookie crumbs, and fresh berries. Serve chilled and enjoy!
How to garnish no-bake lemon curd parfait
It’s not hard to make these lemon parfaits picture-perfect. There are tons of easy options to dress them up and make them even prettier!
- Crushed cookies: Sprinkle the tops of the dessert with crushed cookies for a bit of crunch and a rustic look.
- Whipped cream: Top the parfait recipe with a tuff of whipped cream.
- Drizzle of lemon curd: Garnish the no-bake dessert with a drizzle of lemon curd.
- Edible flowers: Make the homemade parfaits even cuter by adding edible flowers.
- Fresh berries: Add your favorite berries to make the lemon mousse parfaits a beautiful party treat.
- Raspberry sauce: Elevate the lemon flavor by pairing it with a spoonful of raspberry sauce.
Lemon curd parfait variations and substitutions
Substitutes for lemon curd
Try any of the following fruit curds as a 1-to-1 substitute for lemon curd:
- Lime curd: Similar to lemon curd, lime curd has a milder, slightly coconutty flavor.
- Raspberry curd: This bright and delightful berry crud is a tasty replacement for the lemon version.
- Blackcurrant curd tastes tart and delicious with a deep berry aroma.
- Grapefruit curd has a bright, refreshing citrus note and goes perfectly with ginger cookies.
Substitutes of heavy cream
You can use any of these options in place of heavy cream. The texture and flavor will be different, but they work regardless:
- Greek yogurt or vanilla yogurt: For a lighter dessert, replace the heavy cream with Greek yogurt or vanilla yogurt. Instead of whipping, simply stir the yogurt and citrus curd together.
- Cream cheese: Cream cheese enriched with lemon curd creates a cheesecake-like texture. Think no-bake lemon cheesecake. Be sure to soften the cream cheese first before combining it with the lemon curd.
- Mascarpone: Mascarpone makes for an extra rich and creamy lemon parfait.
Substitutes for cookies
I already mentioned Graham crackers as substitutes for gingersnaps. Here are 3 more ideas:
- Granola: Use your favorite granola for healthier parfait cups. Granola adds a delicious crunch and is a welcome change in texture.
- Meringue: Crushed meringue turn this parfait into lemon Eaton Mess, a traditional English dessert consisting of whipped cream, meringue pieces, and fruit.
- Pound cake: Lemon curd parfaits are a delicious way to use up leftover pound cake. Slice the cake into small pieces and assemble the dessert jars as indicated.
Storage instructions & shelf life
How to store lemon curd parfaits
If these individual lemon curd desserts somehow last longer than a day, place them in an airtight container, and they will stay good for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Can you make this dessert ahead?
Yes! Lemon parfait will last 2 to 3 days if kept airtight and refrigerated. When you want to serve the dessert, let the parfaits sit on the counter for 30 minutes, so they come to room temperature.
Can you freeze lemon parfait?
Yes, you can freeze the lemon curd parfaits before they are garnished. Cover each jar in plastic wrap, then place them in an airtight covered container. You can freeze them for 2 months. Allow thawing in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Tools for lemon curd mousse
Tap the items below to see the tools I used to make this easy dessert recipe.
- Mixing bowl: Whipping cream works best in a tall mixing bowl. I used this 3-quart melanin mixing bowl, which is handy for all sorts of baking projects and looks pretty, too.
- Electric mixer: My trusted handheld KitchenAid mixer whips perfectly fluffy cream.
- Rubber spatula: This rubber spatula makes it easy to fold ingredients together.
- Glass jars: Use clear glass jars or dessert cups to showcase the different layers. I used 8-oz jars.