Easy Lemon Trifle

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Lemon cake layered with homemade lemon cream makes up this easy lemon trifle. Bring on the spring with this bright and sunny dessert.

I never knew until I tried these easy lemon bars just how much I like lemon. You all fell in love with our Lemon Bundt Cake a few years ago. This is yet another lemon + Jello recipe that I think you’ll love!

lemon trifles in individual servings

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • for all lemon lovers
  • simple lemon trifle with layers of lemon cake and creamy lemon filling sound
  • easy dessert for spring
  • starts with a box cake mix
  • jazzed up to be a delicious dessert that makes a gorgeous statement
overhead shot of individual trifles

What is a trifle?

A trifle is an easy layered dessert. There is usually a cake of some type….either pound cake, angel food cake or a traditional cake. In between the cake layers you can have pudding, whipped cream, candy, fruit….the possibilities are really endless!

Growing up my mom always made us delicious trifles like this blueberry trifle and chocolate raspberry trifle. So I decided that a lemon trifle would be the perfect thing to celebrate the daffodils blooming and the beginning of spring.

🍋 How to Make an Easy Lemon Trifle

This trifle begins with your favorite boxed lemon cake. I know, I know….some people don’t like using a cake mix as a shortcut, but this is for those of us who do. And if you really want a from scratch cake, use this recipe.

Make the lemon cake.

Choose your favorite lemon box cake mix. Prepare and bake according to the directions on the back of the box. I usually bake my cake in a 9×13 pan but any pan will be fine since it will be eventually cubed.

**Pro Tip: I also like to add a little lemon zest to the batter for a punched up lemon flavor. It helps the cake taste a little more fresh!**

Make the trifle filling.

For the lemon cream layer, start by mixing together lemon jello, water and powdered sugar. This should all melt together in the hot water. Refrigerate for about one hour until the mixture has a syrupy consistency.

Then, add in whipping cream and beat with a mixer for ten minutes or until it starts to stiffen and hold peaks.

Next, mix in thawed Cool Whip and more lemon zest. This lemon cream is so good you could skip the cake and eat it straight from the mixing bowl. Where is my spoon? 😋

individual lemon trifle glasses

Assemble the trifle.

To finish the trifle choose your favorite trifle bowl or individual glass servings dishes and layer cake, cream, cake, and then cream again. I like making individual trifles for a pretty Easter dessert,  but this recipe also works great in a large trifle bowl.

Top with extra whipped topping and a few lemon peels for a pretty look.

Impress your friends and family with this simple and delicious spring time dessert. It is a keeper!

closeup of a lemon trifle
closeup of a lemon trifle

Easy Lemon Trifle

4.79 from 19 votes
Lemon cake layered with homemade lemon cream makes up this easy lemon trifle. Bring on the spring with this bright and sunny dessert.
Servings 20 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

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  • 1 box lemon cake mix (plus additional ingredients on the box)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (divided)
  • 1 package lemon Jello (3 ounces)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 12 ounces Cool Whip (thawed)
  • Optional lemon peel for garnish


  • Prepare lemon cake according to box directions adding in 1 tablespoon lemon zest to cake batter. Bake and cool completely.
  • In a mixer bowl, combine Jello, boiling water and powdered sugar. Stir until completely dissolved.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour or until syrupy.
  • Once syrupy, mix in cream. Beat until cream slightly mounds.
  • Mix in 8 ounces of Cool Whip and then stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.
  • Cut the cake in small cubes before assembling the trifle.
  • Start with adding a layer of cake cubes at the bottom of serving glasses or trifle dish. Next add a layer of lemon cream. Continue layering cake and cream then top with with remaining Cool Whip.
  • Top my lemon trifle with a twist of lemon peel.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.



The calories shown are based on the recipe being divided 20 ways, with 1 serving being 1/15 of the recipe. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 381IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 240
Keyword easy dessert, fruit dessert, layered dessert, trifle recipe

This recipe would look really cute served in mason jars! Get some here. Wide mouth jars work best!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use sugar free Jello?

Yes! It’s a great way to save calories. Use one small box of SF jello. You can also use light Cool Whip.

Can you make this a day in advance?

A trifle is meant to be very soft and have flavors mingled, so making it in advance is a great idea. Trifles should not get too soggy if made a day in advance.

Can I add lemon curd to the trifle?

Yes. Lemon curd is a great way to add more lemon flavor. Simply add a layer or two over the cream filling in the trifle.

Other Trifle Recipes

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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1 year ago

Hi! Is it lemon jello pudding or just lemon jello? Thank you!

Cassie OBrien
3 years ago

Could you use lemon curd in this recipe? What about adding some extra lemon juice to the recipe for added tang?

3 years ago

This sounds delicious. I am thinking of mixing the cream and cake together to serve in individual bowls that don’t lend themselves well to layering. Also, we will have leftovers and this seemed an easier way to keep. Do you think that would work?

3 years ago

It is better to serve this right after assembling? Or could it be made the day before (and stored in the fridge)?

4 years ago

5 stars
Such a happy desert. I made it for Super Bowl Sunday to lighten things up a bit, and it was a hit. The perfect complement to our game day.

4 years ago

Thank you. I did and now everyone wants this recipe they went on and on about how wonderful it is, think ill try it wit orange or strawberry next time..

4 years ago

Lemon Jello pie filling or just jello ???