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Orange Posset (Creamy Dessert)

Orange Posset is a thick, creamy, orange-vanilla flavored dessert, sort of like a silky, plush pudding or custard without eggs or thickeners. Serve this decadent dessert in small cups because it is so rich.

You may have never heard of posset, an old-time English dessert, but I’m betting once you taste it, you’ll make it a permanent part of your dessert repertoire.

A few years ago, confronted with an excess of Meyer lemons, I made a Lemon Posset, but for today’s recipe, which kicks off Spring Sweets Week, I was fixated on orange flavors.

In it’s simplest form Posset is a mixture of heavy cream, sugar and citrus juice, which thickens with an overnight rest in the refrigerator into a silky, not-mousse, not-pudding, not-custard creamy dessert. The luxe mouthfeel and orange-vanilla “dreamsicle” flavor of Orange Posset one will have you swooning. It’s served in small portions because it is so very rich, and would make a stunning springtime or Easter dessert, especially with seasonal sprinkles as I have it here. The fact that it can and should be made ahead is a bonus when you’re serving it to guests.

How to make Orange Posset

Ingredients for Orange Posset on a marble counter1. Gather your ingredients and tools.

Zesting an orange on a white plate2. Zest the orange. A rasper-type tool makes this easy! 

Juicing an orange in a green juicer on a white marble counter3. Juice the orange.

Orange Posset mixture in a measuring cup on a white marble background4. Heat the cream and sugar in a small saucepan, then stir in orange juice, vanilla and zest. Transfer to a measuring cup so you can easily pour the mixture into serving cups. That’s orange zest floating in the mixture! 

Orange Posset in glass cups resting the refrigerator5. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, and for best results, overnight.

Orange Posset with sprinkles on top in glass cup on white marble counter6. Voila! Close your eyes and savor the lush complexity. Sprinkles make everything more fun!

Questions about Orange Posset

What makes it thick? There are no eggs or thickeners like cornstarch, gelatin or flour in it.

Citrus juice acidifies the cream, which causes the proteins in the cream to clump. But the fat in cream prevents it from clumping tightly (like milk would if it sours and curdles into clumps or becomes grainy), and instead the posset thickens luxuriously. Heating the cream before adding the juice also affects the proteins and helps stabilize the gelled cream.

Can I use blood oranges or tangerines instead of a naval orange?

Of course! I’m a big fan of using what you have and trying new things. However, let me caution you that once when I used blood oranges, I had a bit of a fail because the cups never set up, even after 24 hours. So instead, I converted them in my mind to “creamy orange sauce,” pretended like I did it on purpose, and served the soupy posset over granola and berries and happily devoured it for breakfast! The science lesson in there is you need acid-y enough citrus juice to make it gel. So if you’re willing to experiment, I say go for it.

How far ahead can I make Orange Posset?

You need to make it AT LEAST 6 hours ahead so it has a chance to set up, but 24 hours is ideal. So, if you’re serving it tomorrow night, make it tonight after dinner. I have had it in the refrigerator for 3 or so days with no problem, but I cannot speak to any time greater than that because mine didn’t last that long. If you plan to keep it longer than 24 hours in the refrigerator, I would cover the top with plastic wrap, so it doesn’t begin to dehydrate.

Orange you glad we’re making Posset? Forgive me.

Orange Posset

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Orange Posset

Orange Posset is a thick, creamy, orange-vanilla flavored dessert, sort of like a silky, plush pudding or custard without eggs or thickeners. Serve this decadent dessert in small cups because it is so rich.


  • Zest of 1 naval orange
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons naval orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used Adams Best Twice-as-Strong [2])
  • Garnish: fun sprinkles! (I used Spring It On Sprinkle Blend [3] from Fresh April Sprinkles)


  1. Zest the orange with a rasper-type zester, and set zest aside. Cut orange in half and juice it, reserving the juice. Throw away or compost the orange shell.
  2. In a small saucepan, add cream and sugar, and heat over medium heat until it comes to a simmer, stirring frequently so sugar dissolves. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, uncovered.
  3. Remove pan from heat, stir in orange juice, vanilla and orange zest. You will notice the mixture beginning to thicken as you stir it. Allow mixture to steep and cool off for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture into a measuring cup, and from the cup into 4 small glasses, ramekins or serving dishes. Individual servings are better than one big dish of this. Place the glasses in the refrigerator and chill at least 6 hours, or better yet, overnight.
  5. Garnish with fun sprinkles if you like, before serving.
  6. Serves 4.


Recipe source: Adapted from "The Ultimate Cooking for One Cookbook," [4] by Joanie Zisk (Adams Media, December 2019). Used with permission.

https://www.shockinglydelicious.com/orange-posset/ [5]

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Orange Posset cup with sprinkles on top on a white marble counter

More Shockingly Delicious spring sweets recipes:

Try them all!

1. Orange Posset [5]
2. Greek Yogurt Tangerine Cake [6]
3. Coffee Banana Breakfast Smoothie [7]
4. Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread [8]
5. Coconut Pecan Dream Bars [9]

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