In contrast to type I interferons that target various types of cells and organs, interferon lambda (IFN-L) primarily acts on mucosal epithelial cells and exhibits robust antiviral activity within the mucosal surface. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), which causes high morbidity and mortality in piglets, is an enteropathogenic coronavirus with economic importance. Here, we demonstrated that both recombinant porcine IFN-L1 (rpIFN-L1) and rpIFN-L3 have powerful antiviral activity against PEDV infection of both Vero E6 cells and the intestinal porcine epithelial cell line J2 (IPEC-J2). Both forms of rpIFN-L inhibited two genotypes of PEDV (strain CV777 of genotype 1 and strain LNCT2 of genotype 2). rpIFN-L1 primarily controlled viral infection in the early stage and had less antiviral activity in IPEC-J2 than in rpIFN-L3 cells infected with PEDV. In addition, rpIFN-L1 exhibited greater antiviral activity against PEDV infection of IPEC-J2 cells than that of porcine IFN-alpha. Consistent with this finding, rpIFN-L1 triggered higher levels of certain antiviral IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) (ISG15, OASL, and MxA) in IPEC-J2 cells than porcine IFN-alpha. Although IPEC-J2 cells responded to both IFN-alpha and lambda, transcriptional profiling of ISGs (specifically ISG15, OASL, MxA, and IFITMs) differed when induced by either IFN-alpha or rpIFN-L. Therefore, our data provide the experimental evidence that porcine IFN-L suppresses PEDV infection of IPEC-J2 cells, which may offer a promising therapeutic for combating PED in piglets.