Easy Magic Lemon Pudding (5 ingredients, no eggs)


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This is one for lemon lovers! An intensely flavoured self saucing lemon pudding (AKA lemon delicious!) that magically separates into two layers – one fluffy sponge, one tangy lemon sauce. Quick and super easy to make with only 5 main ingredients – no eggs needed!

A souffle dish of easy \'magic\' lemon pudding from above with a spoon in it on a marble background with lemons and a blue striped tea towel.

I love lemon season here in Western Australia. We have a young lemon tree in our garden, but while we wait for it to (hopefully) start producing fruit there are often lemons left in front of houses with a note on – ‘Free Lemons!’.

So what do you make when it’s lemon season (whether you have them growing locally or not)? Personally, either this Greek lemon chicken and potatoes (an incredibly delicious and easy midweek meal), or my famous lemon pudding are two of my go-to lemon recipes!

What’s a self saucing lemon pudding?

You might not be too surprised to learn that, as if by magic, a self saucing lemon pudding makes its own sauce while it’s cooking.

To make it, you mix together a few simple lemon sponge cake ingredients and pour them into a pudding dish. Then you pour over 3 ingredients – just lots of lemon juice, sugar and boiling water.

Somehow, while baking, the pudding ‘magically’ separates into a light and fluffy sponge cake layer with a delicious, tangy lemon sauce layer below.

When you put it in the oven covered in liquid, it’s hard to believe it’ll actually work, but I promise it does. It’s SO ridiculously simple!

Love lemon desserts? More Scrummy Lane faves include lemon mascarpone layer cake or lemon curd cake (great for birthdays and afternoon tea!), lemon bakewell slices, 6-ingredient ricotta lemon loaf cake or lemon posset.

Why you’ll love it

Here in Australia, this is a classic dessert, sometimes known as lemon delicious or lemon surprise pudding. It’s a perfect quick (and, if lemons are in season, economical!) dessert for your family or for guests.

Recipes can differ slightly from one another, so what’s different about this lemon pudding recipe?

  • It contains just 5 simple ingredients (I wanted to keep it super simple).
  • SO easy to make with only 10 minutes’ hands-on prep time (the oven does the rest!). No mixer required. Just mix wet ingredients into dry with a wooden spoon, pour over the sauce ingredients and bake.
  • It’s made WITHOUT EGGS (perfect for when you don’t have any, or someone has an egg allergy). No complicated whisking and folding of egg whites like in some other lemon pudding recipes!
  • The lemon sauce is super zingy. I love the contrast of the light, sweet cake and tart citrus sauce. And there’s a lot of it!
  • The sponge is light, fluffy and crisp on top. It might not be the prettiest, but it sure is delicious!
  • This version isn’t overly sweet. That’s just the way I usually like to do desserts around here.

5***** Review

“We made this once, and then told everyone we knew about it – it was that good!”


About the ingredients

Overhead view of all the ingredients needed to make an easy lemon pudding on a marble background, including 2 lemons, lemon zest, sugar, self-raising flour, milk and butter.

Yes, just 5 main ingredients! Here’s what you need to know:

The cake batter

Self-raising flour: It’s important that you use self-raising flour, and not plain flour or self rising flour (US). If you don’t have any, simply make your own by mixing 2 teaspoons of baking powder into a cup of all-purpose flour.

Sugar: Just regular white sugar or caster sugar (fine sugar).

Lemon zest: Add the zest of one lemon to the sponge cake batter. Nothing gets wasted because the juice will go into the sauce!

Milk: You’ll need half a cup of warm milk. Any kind of milk works.

Melted butter: You’ll melt the butter into the warmed milk. Both unsalted and salted butter are fine.

The sauce

Sugar: Just a quarter cup, since you want a tangy sauce to contrast with the sweeter sponge. Ordinary white sugar or caster sugar (fine sugar) are both fine. Don’t reduce the amount of sugar in the sauce – the recipe needs this amount for the consistency.

Lemon juice: You’ll need the juice of 2-3 lemons or around half a cup.

Boiling water

How to make it

The step-by-step guide below should help you make the recipe perfectly first time. Scroll down to the end for the full recipe including ingredient amounts.

You really won’t believe how easy it is to make this lemon self saucing pudding!

Here’s what to do.

Step 1: Prepare a souffle or pudding dish by rubbing with a little butter or spraying with oil. Also pre-heat the oven.

Step 2: Mix together the dry ingredients for the cake batter – so flour, sugar and lemon zest.

Step 3: Warm the milk in a jug in the microwave. Then melt the butter into it.

Step 4: Pour the wet milk/butter mixture into the dry flour/sugar/zest mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter.

Overhead view of 2 images showing making lemon pudding batter in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, first mixing the wet ingredients with the dry and second the finished batter.

Step 5: Scrape the batter into your prepared dish.

Step 6: Mix together the sauce ingredients. Then carefully pour over the batter in the dish.

2 images side by side showing an overhead view of someone pouring liquid from a glass jug over cake batter in a souffle dish.

Step 7: Bake for around 35 minutes or until the pudding has risen, the top is golden brown and the luscious lemon sauce is bubbling up around the sides.

A souffle dish of easy \'magic\' lemon pudding from above on a marble background with lemons and a blue striped tea towel under the dish.

Pro tip: The key to success is to leave the lemon pudding to cool slightly for ten to fifteen minutes after it comes out of the oven. The sauce might look a bit runny at first but if you let it stand it thickens up nicely.

Helen’s top tips

I’m going to be honest here. This recipe mostly gets rave reviews, but it can also divide a room. I have not experienced this myself, but occasionally a reader reports it ‘not working’, with liquid still on top of the cake.

Bear in mind that this pudding may not win any beauty contests! But it’s always delicious!

Here are my top tips for success.

  • Make sure the oven is heated up properly before baking.
  • Make sure you use self raising flour and not all-purpose or self-rising flour (NOT the same thing).
  • Let the pudding rest for 10 to 15 minutes before eating to let the sauce cool and thicken a little. The sauce will still be quite thin, but that’s how it’s supposed to be!
  • Then enjoy immediately. It still tastes lovely reheated the next day, but some of the sauce does soak into the pudding and the sauce will be thicker – more like lemon curd. Yum!
A souffle dish of easy \'magic\' lemon pudding from above with a spoon in it on a marble background with lemons and a blue striped tea towel.

How to serve

This one’s very simple. If you like, sprinkle a little icing sugar (powdered sugar) over the top of your pudding. Then serve your magic lemon pudding into bowls, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and eat!

Some readers have also served with whipped cream and even Greek yogurt and enjoyed it. In particular the cooling Greek yogurt pairs well with the tangy lemon.

If you want to create even more of an old fashioned lemon sponge pudding vibe, feel free to serve with custard instead!

Also, one last reminder that it’s important to let the pudding ‘rest’ for a while before eating to let the sauce settle, cool and thicken a little. 😉

Overhead view of a spoon in a white dish of lemon pudding with lemon sauce and ice cream on a marble background.


This is a beautiful quick pudding, perfect as it is, but there a few changes you can make to vary it if you like:

  • Double the ingredients to serve a small crowd. Of course you’ll have to use a larger baking dish. It will also take longer to bake – roughly around 10 to 15 minutes longer or until the top is risen and lightly golden.
  • If you like, you can make this with a different citrus juice, or a mixture. Try orange and lemon or lime. Just replace the lemon juice in a ratio of 1:1 and the result will be the same.
  • Try mixing a few blueberries or raspberries into the sponge batter.
  • Feel free to use gluten free flour to make this a gluten free dessert. The texture of the cake may be slightly different and also may soak up the sauce faster, but the pudding will still be delicious.
  • Yes, you can make this a vegan pudding by replacing the dairy milk with a non dairy alternative such as soy milk or almond milk. You can use melted coconut oil instead of butter.
  • Try making it in 4 individual ramekins instead of 1 larger one. The cooking time will be a little less (roughly 20-25 minutes). Keep an eye on the puddings in the oven. They’re ready when well risen, browned and bubbling.

Recipe FAQ

What kind of baking dish should I use?

You should use a souffle dish or high sided round baking dish that’s between 6 and 8 inches in diameter. Alternatively, a similar sized square or rectangular ovenproof dish will work.

Are you sure this doesn’t need any eggs?

Nope. Although there are versions of this lemon pudding that are made with eggs, this recipe is egg-free. The texture of the cake is light, fluffy and delicious without using any eggs.

My sauce is too runny. What did I do wrong?

Occasionally, a reader reports this issue. I have made this many times and usually when the pudding first comes out of the oven the sauce is still quite runny. That’s OK. Just leave it for 10 to 15 minutes and as it cools it will thicken slightly. Some of the sauce will even soak into the sponge, making it even more delicious.

My pudding is ugly! Did I do something wrong?

Nope. This pudding might not win any beauty contests. As long as it’s lightly browned and risen and bubbling, it’ll be delicious. If not browned, feel free to leave in the oven for a few more minutes. If the appearance still bothers you, perhaps it’s one for just serving to the family rather than to guests!

Chocolate self saucing pudding

I worked on the ‘little sister’ of my lemon pudding AKA a 6-ingredient chocolate self saucing pudding, also with no eggs, for a long time before publishing it.

I wanted to get it ‘just right’. I hope you agree it was worth the wait! There are plenty similar puddings out there already, but what sets this one apart is that:

  • it’s surprisingly low in sugar
  • it’s egg free, just like the lemon pudding, in case you can’t get any or you can’t eat eggs
  • it too has got plenty of sauce (mmmm… )

Find out more about the chocolate self saucing pudding.

A close-up of a chocolate self saucing pudding with a decorative spoon in it

More super easy desserts

One of the things I love about this lemon ‘surprise’ pudding is that as long as you have 2 or 3 lemons, you probably already have everything else you need.

Here are some more super easy ‘I need it now!’ kinda desserts!



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A souffle dish of easy 'magic' lemon pudding from above with a spoon in it on a marble background with lemons and a blue striped tea towel.
4.46 from 147 votes

Easy ‘Magic’ Lemon Pudding (5 ingredients, No Eggs)

A quick and easy self saucing lemon pudding (AKA lemon delicious or lemon 'surprise' pudding!) that separates impressively into 2 layers – a cake layer and a sauce layer. All you need are 5 simple ingredients – and no eggs! Magic!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people


for the cake batter

  • 1 cup self-raising flour, (NOT self-rising flour: If you don't have self-raising flour mix 2 teaspoons baking powder into 1 cup plain/all-purpose flour)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest only (use the juice in the sauce)
  • ½ cup milk, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons butter , (melted and mixed in with the warm milk)

for the sauce

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup lemon juice, (2 to 3 lemons)

to serve (optional)

  • icing / confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
  • vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or custard


  • Pre-heat the oven to 355F / 180C and grease a medium sized high-sided baking dish with butter.
  • Mix together the flour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium bowl.
    1 cup self-raising flour, ½ cup sugar, 1 lemon
  • Pour the milk / butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
    ½ cup milk, 2 tablespoons butter
  • Empty the batter into the baking dish.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together, then carefully pour over the batter in the baking dish. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sauce starting to bubble around the sides.
    ¼ cup sugar, 1 cup boiling water, ½ cup lemon juice
  • Take out of the oven, then leave for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken slightly before serving.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream (if you like).
    icing / confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or custard



About the appearance: Know before you make it that this dessert is DELICIOUS but it’s probably never going to win any beauty contests! It might be one to reserve for you and your family rather than serving it to guests you’re wanting to impress 😉
Consistency: Some readers have reported this dessert to be ‘too runny’. There IS a lot of sauce, and when you first take it out of the oven it’s bubbling and runny looking.
Leave it for about 15 minutes however and it should thicken up nicely, leaving the equally as delicious cake on the top.
Flour: The self raising flour in this recipe is crucial for it to work, so make sure you don’t use plain flour instead (also NOT US self-rising flour).
If you don’t have any self raising flour, simply mix 2 teaspoons of baking powder into every cup of flour to make your own.
Substitutions: You can use gluten free flour for a gluten free version. For a vegan version, you can use melted coconut oil instead of butter and dairy free milk. I don’t recommend reducing the sugar as this recipe depends on quite accurate amounts of all the ingredients to work well. 
Chocolate version: Here’s my equally as delicious chocolate self saucing pudding! Enjoy!


Calories: 341kcal, Carbohydrates: 66g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 18mg, Sodium: 68mg, Potassium: 140mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 40g, Vitamin A: 225IU, Vitamin C: 26.2mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 0.5mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Helen Schofield

Don't expect to find anything fussy or complicated here. Just QUICK, EASY & (mostly!) HEALTHY recipes from the Mediterranean and beyond. ENJOY!

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    1. Hi Katrina! 0.5 of a cup is half a cup. 2/3 is two thirds. 3/4 is three quarters. Sorry I’ll go back to the recipe and make sure it’s clearer. Good luck!

  1. Hi my husband doesn’t like lemon so was just wondering if you can use an orange instead ?

    1. Hi Carole! Well, I haven’t tried it but I would imagine that it would work in the same way. You’d end up with a kind of ‘orange curd’ sauce. I just wonder whether it would have enough flavour? Could you mix some raspberries in with the batter? Also, does he like chocolate desserts? I’ll be publishing a chocolate version of the lemon pudding within a few weeks!

  2. 1 star
    Sauce was good, lovely lemon flavor but pudding part was like a chewy gel. Not one i will try again.

    1. Hi Annie! I win some I lose some with this recipe, but thanks for your review anyway. Are you in the USA? Did you use ‘self rising flour’? I’ve recently learned that self raising flour in the UK and Australia and self rising flour in the USA are different. It might be best to use plain flour and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt for every cup. Wasn’t the lovely lemon flavour of the sauce worth more than 1 star though? Only kidding, that’s fine.

  3. 4 stars
    I made this tonight, it was quick and easy. The pudding part was quite dense like a steamed pudding. There wasn’t a great amount of sauce but it was delicious, nice and tangy. I cooked for about 50 minutes as it just wasn’t browning on the top because there was a layer of sauce, like lemon curd covering it. Perhaps some of the sauce evaporated from the extra cooking time! I’ll definitely make again and cook for the set time as it doesn’t need to be browned on top. The lashings of cashew cream I made to go with it covered it anyway haha. Thanks for this recipe Helen, it reminded me of the chocolate version I used to make years ago 😍

    1. Hi Anne, I always appreciate feedback on this recipe so thank you so much for your detailed review. It’s interesting that you thought it was like a steamed pudding – I can see that too! This definitely isn’t one of my best looking recipes so yes it’s fine if the pudding hasn’t browned all that much. I’ll add a note to the recipe notes section – thanks!
      As for the chocolate version, I’m working on it, so keep an eye out for a new recipe within the next few weeks 😉

      1. Hi Helen,

        no worries, it’s always good to get feedback! I’m going to tinker with this recipe (because that’s how I roll) and try and make it gluten free. I usually try and eat gluten free but I had some SR flour in the pantry hence the reason for making this one 😀. Will be looking forward to the chocolate version 🤤.

      2. I think you’ll be fine making it gluten free, Anne! Hope you have a good weekend! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    As I put in oven I was convinced it would be a disaster, looks so strange! I was wrong. It was Epic. Just what you need on lockdown when you can’t get hold of any eggs. I served with hot custard, the kids thought it was the best thing they ever had in their lives 😂. Thanks for the easy fun delicious recipe.

    1. Hello Leah, this is one of those comments that makes my day, so thank you so much for that! I love that your kids loved it so much 🙂 I usually eat this with ice cream, but now you’ve got me craving it with custard! If you enjoyed this, may I also suggest the 6-ingredient gooey Swedish chocolate cake. It’s a bit sugary, but gets rave reviews (and you can always reduce the sugar content a bit!!)

  5. 5 stars
    I wanted something simple and not too time-consuming to use up a lemon or two, so I searched for lemon sponge pudding – delighted to have found this recipe. I’m not much of a cook, but this went down a treat! I halved the ingredients, as there were only two of us, and I found that it worked very nicely – and with just 5 ingredients, nothing I wouldn’t normally have in. It came together so easily – no need for a food mixer, the batter mixed smoothly with a spoon. Next time, I’d probably try mixing the batter right in the souffle dish (or would that not work?) – save on washing up!!
    A very easy to follow recipe and a very pleasing result – thank you! Bookmarked, and I’ll be checking out your other recipes

    1. Hello Dawn, and thank you so much for your kind review. Sounds to me like you are a cook after all because you seem to have some good ideas! I don’t see why you couldn’t mix the sponge mixture right in the dish – why not? Just smooth it down a bit and make it roughly even and I think you’ll be fine! 🙂

  6. I made this tonight using gluten free flour and almond milk due to allergies, and limes because our tree is absolutely full of fruit at the moment. Although the gluten free flour produced a different (chewy/spongy) texture than I remember of regular self saucing puddings from my childhood, it was still delicious! The sauce thickened beautifully after resting, I’ll definitely make this again!

    1. Hello Laura! Thank you so much for your feedback! I love that you made this gluten free – thank you so much for testing it for me! It’s good to hear that it worked, albeit creating a slightly different texture. Personally I love almond flour and the slight chewiness it can create. The sauce is amazing, isn’t it? I love that it’s like lemon curd on the second day!

  7. 5 stars
    So I fancied making a “magic lemon pudding” like the one my mum used to make. I searched the web but I could only find the ones with eggs that you mixed in one and they separate when cooked. I knew they weren’t right as I remember watching my mum pour a watery liquid over the cake mix and her telling me it would magically appear at the bottom as a lemon sauce. AND THEN I FOUND SCRUMMY LANE!!!!!!!!! It looked something like what I remembered, I had all the ingredients so I made one straight away. I was a little sceptical when I took it out of the oven, there was a LOT of sauce, but duly left it (actually for about 40 minutes) then dished some up for me and hubby. He ate in silence, finished, put down his spoon and said “that was frikkin awesome!” OMG I am so grateful to you for posting this recipe! Exactly how I remember it. The sauce was a little thin so I may try a little less water in my next one, but , rest assured, there WILL be a next one. Thank you, thank you, thank you xxxxx

    1. Hi Lorna! What a lovely comment to wake up to! You’re right that this is a pretty traditional recipe in Australia. You’re in Australia, right? I do get a few people saying this recipe doesn’t work for them, but I just can’t figure out why. I’ve never managed to make it ‘not’ work! If there are any leftovers, the pudding is pretty tasty the next day too. The sponge soaks the sauce up a bit. I also find it goes thicker – almost like lemon curd.
      Do you like chocolate, too? I’m thinking of posting a chocolate version of this soon! In the meantime, I have another very popular and easy recipe on the blog – my 6-ingredient gooey Swedish chocolate cake. It’s also ridiculously easy and yummy!
      Thanks again for the review – I really appreciate it! Have a lovely day! 🙂

      1. Hi Helen, I am actually in the UK, it’s probably been 20 years since I last had it but I knew with the first spoonful that this was the right recipe. I use the metric measurements rather than cups, don’t know if it makes much difference, I am also bemused as to how some people have struggled with this. Inthink a chocolate one would be great, especially with some salted caramel ice cream!! Now I’ve found you I’ll be a regular visitor 🥰🥰

      2. I tried a chocolate version for the first time yesterday, Lorna. Wasn’t bad! Needs some tweaking but I’ll keep working on it for you 😉

      3. 5 stars
        Absolutely amazing
        Easy, tasty and turned out exactly as you described

        Thank you!

      4. Hi Tamara! Thank you so much for the feedback. So glad you agree this is amazing!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this today and it is really nice! Far easier and looks and tastes just as good as other lemon layer recipes I’ve tried, but less complicated and the sauce was even more lemony. I’m definitely making this again!

    1. Hi Emily! Thank you so much for your positive review. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I made this again at the weekend for the first time in a while and was reminded how deliciously lemony it is, too. I’m so happy you’re going to make it again! Have you tried my 6-ingredient gooey Swedish chocolate cake, too? That’s another super easy and delicious dessert – just for when you’re more in the mood for something chocolaty! Have a lovely day!

  9. 4 stars
    Yum! This was delicious! I added the baking soda and baking powder to the regular flour as I’ve never seen self rising flour in Thailand where I currently live.

    Despite the strangeness of how it looked going in and the numerous warnings I gave my husband that it might not be great (just to manage his ecpectations) we really loved it. It’s so tart and sweet and lemony. Yum.

    1. Hi! I was so happy to see this comment today because I had JUST made (and eaten!) this recipe again – like literally just put my spoon down when your comment came through. You described it perfectly. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Happy Easter!