This Lemon Eclair Cake is a quick and easy refrigerator dessert recipe made with 5 simple ingredients.

This cool and creamy icebox cake is filled with fluffy layers of lemon pudding combined with cool whip that’s been sandwiched between sheets of graham crackers, all covered with lemon frosting and set in the fridge to chill.

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No-Bake Lemon Eclair Dessert

Our Lemon Eclair Cake recipe has a citrus twist on the traditional chocolate eclair French pastry, easily prepared with graham crackers layered with a creamy lemon pudding filling and frosted with more lemon flavor on top.

Made just like an old-fashioned lemon icebox cake, this easy no-bake dessert recipe alternates layers of a cool and creamy mixture that sits between a cookie crust, then it is ready for the refrigerator where it softens and becomes sliceable.

Once in the fridge, the graham crackers absorb the cool creamy filling and all the luscious layers merge into a soft, moist cake that seems to get better the longer it sits.

This easy dessert recipe is refreshingly light, not too heavy, and the perfect complement to a spring or summer meal; ice box cakes are the best make-ahead sweet treats that won’t heat up your house when it’s already hot outside!

Why We Love This Lemon Eclair Cake Recipe

  • Quick and easy to make.
  • Uses only 5 simple ingredients.
  • Lemon lovers dream dessert!
  • No oven is needed so you won’t heat up the house.
  • Cool, creamy, delightful dessert that’s refreshing for warm weather entertaining.
  • Perfect for potlucks, spring and summer parties, BBQs, or just having on hand for a sweet after-dinner treat.
Lemon Eclair Cake ingredients

Lemon Eclair Cake Ingredients

  • Graham crackers: I used the Great Value brand but you can use your favorite.
  • Whole milk
  • Instant lemon pudding mix: I used Jello brand for this recipe.
  • Whipped topping
  • Lemon frosting: I used Duncan Hines brand. 
  • Lemon slices (optional garnish) 
  • Mint leaves (optional garnish)

Substitutions and Additions

  • Pick Your Pudding: If you cannot find the instant lemon pudding mix, you can substitute lemon cook and serve. You can also substitute instant vanilla pudding mix, just add 1-1½ teaspoons of lemon extract. Also, add 1-2 drops of yellow food coloring.
  • Change The Cookies: You can substitute vanilla wafers, shortbread, or digestive wafer cookies in place of graham crackers. If the cookies you use are thicker, then you may want to allow the lemon icebox cake to chill for a longer period of time to allow the cookies to soften.
  • Grab A Garnish: You can garnish your cake with lemon slices, fresh mint leaves, some berries, or some crushed cookies.
eating Lemon Eclair Cake on a plate
  • 9×13 baking dish
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Handheld mixer
  • Offset spatula
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How to Make Lemon Eclair Cake

  1. Prepare The Pudding: Sprinkle both packets of pudding mixes over cold milk and blend until the pudding begins to thicken. Fold in the thawed whipped topping.
  2. Layer: Line the bottom of the baking dish with graham crackers, cover with the pudding mixture, lay another layer of graham crackers over the pudding layer, top with the remaining pudding and the final layer of graham crackers.
  3. Frost: Heat the frosting in the microwave for 45 seconds, stir, and spread over the top layer of graham crackers.
  4. Chill: Chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight.
  5. Serve: Cut 3 slices x 4 slices and garnish with lemon fresh mint leaves. Serve and enjoy!
lemon eclair cake collage process

Tip For Making The Best Lemon Eclair Cake

  • You can substitute 1 (3.4-ounce) box of cheesecake-flavored instant pudding mix for 1 of the boxes of instant pudding mix.
  • If you want to add a bit of texture to the frosting, you can add 1 teaspoon of freshly zested lemon.
  • This cake needs to sit for at least 8 hours so the pudding mixture can set and the graham crackers can absorb the pudding/whipped topping and become soft.
  • For easy slicing, run a sharp knife under hot water and dry it off completely. The metal will retain the heat and allow it to glide easily through the layers.

How to Store Lemon Eclair Cake

  • To Store: Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the lemon eclair cake for up to 1 month. Allow the cake to thaw for 1 hour in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.
Lemon Eclair Cake in a large casserole dish

More Easy No-Bake Desserts

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze a lemon eclair cake with pudding?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze this graham cracker pudding cake. In fact, it will slice up easier when frozen, with a more solid texture, although it isn’t as creamy. Let the cake thaw for 1 hour in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.

Can I make a lemon ice box eclair cake in advance?

Yes, you can easily prep your icebox eclair cake a day or two ahead of time and simply leave it in the fridge or freezer. The more the cake sits in the cold, the better the texture and the more the ingredients set. 

Can I make my own whipped topping?

Yes, it is easy to make a homemade whipped topping with heavy cream and powdered sugar. Whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form, then add the powdered sugar and whip again until combined. See our delicious recipe for Homemade Whipped Cream.

Lemon Eclair Cake on a plate

Other Easy Lemon Desserts

5 from 4 votes
Lemon Eclair Cake featured image

Lemon Eclair Cake

Serves — 15
Lemon Eclair Cake is an easy no-bake confection filled with layers of graham crackers and creamy pudding and covered with lemon frosting. Ready for the refrigerator in minutes!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Chill Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 14.4 ounce package of graham crackers (I used the Great Value brand)
  • 3 cups cold whole milk
  • 6.8 ounce (2 3.4-ounce) boxes of instant lemon pudding mix (I used Jello brand)
  • 8 ounce container of whipped topping thawed
  • 32 ounce (2 16-ounce) containers of premade lemon frosting (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 15 lemon slices optional garnish
  • 1-2 fresh mint leaves per slice, optional garnish

Instructions
 

  • Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with the whole graham crackers. (i was able to fit 9 crackers per layer)
  • Add the cold milk to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle both instant lemon pudding mixes over the cold milk. Use a handheld mixer on medium to blend the milk and pudding mix for 1½-2 minutes or until the pudding begins to thicken.
  • Fold in the thawed whipped topping.
  • Use an offset spatula to evenly spread ½ of the pudding mixture over the bottom layer of graham crackers.
  • Lay another layer of graham crackers over the pudding layer.
  • Evenly spread the remaining pudding over the graham crackers.
  • Lay the final layer of graham crackers over the top of the pudding.
  • Remove the lids and foil seals from the containers of lemon frosting. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Stir the melted frosting and pour over the top layer of graham crackers. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly. Chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight. When you are ready to serve, use a sharp knife to cut 3 slices x 4 slices. If you choose to garnish the slices, place 1 slice of lemon per slice and 1-2 fresh mint leaves per slice.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the lemon eclair cake for up to 1 month. Allow the cake to thaw for 1 hour in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.
Tips:
  • You can substitute 1 (3.4-ounce) box of cheesecake-flavored instant pudding mix for 1 of the boxes of instant pudding mix.
  • If you want to add a bit of texture to the frosting, you can add 1 teaspoon of freshly zested lemon.
  • This cake needs to sit for at least 8 hours so the pudding mixture can set and the graham crackers can absorb the pudding/whipped topping and become soft.
  • For easy slicing, run a sharp knife under hot water and dry it off completely. The metal will retain the heat and allow it to glide easily through the layers.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 86IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 1mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this (doubled) for a catering event. It was super easy, fast and turned out perfectly! I know the men will love it!

  2. I’m super annoyed. I could NOT find lemon instant pudding so I went ahead and used cook n serve as stated above. Absolutely would not thicken. So I wasted 3 cups of milk, a tub of cool whip and the pudding. Plus, it’s Friday night before Easter and I now have to brave the grocery store AND now wait for the cool whip to thaw, so I’ll be making it much later tomorrow than I wanted. I knew I shouldn’t have used it but since this recipe specifically said you could, I tried. Very disappointed.

    1. I am so very sorry this didn’t work out for you. I have no idea why the pudding wouldn’t thicken? Again, I am sorry for wasting the ingredients and your time. 🙁