lemon curd featured image
Homemade Lemon Curd is an easy delicious dessert topping or spread that's thick, sweet, and tart. Its flavor evelvates bland breakfast foods and baked treats with a decadent citrus taste.
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Table of Contents
  1. Easy Homemade Lemon Curd
  2. Why We Love This Lemon Curd Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make Lemon Curd
  7. What is Lemon Zest
  8. How to Zest a Lemon
  9. Tips
  10. Storage Tips
  11. Frequently Asked Questions
  12. Other Easy Lemon Recipes
  13. Lemon Curd Recipe

Lemon Curd is a decadent dessert topping or spread for smearing on scones and toast, filling cakes and pastries, mixing in yogurt and frosting, or simply licking off the spoon. This homemade recipe is so easy to make from scratch using only 5 ingredients that come together on the stove in under 15 minutes.

lemon curd hero image

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd is a thick, made-from-scratch spread that combines fresh lemons, sugar, eggs, and butter to create a sweet and tart blend with an intense lemon flavor. It’s a deliciously tangy, rich, and silky smooth mixture that’s like a creamy lemony version of jam

Homemade Lemon Curd is so much better than anything store-bought, not only because it’s filled with fresh ingredients, but also because it has a bright flavor that doesn’t taste processed. Serve it as a spread for your 2-Ingredient Bagels or toast, or use it as a topping for French Toast Waffles, Dutch Baby Pancakes, and so many desserts.

Why We Love This Lemon Curd Recipe

  • Quick and easy to prepare in 5 minutes.
  • Only uses 5 simple ingredients to make a from-scratch spread.
  • Light and refreshing topping that tastes sweet and tangy.
  • Delicious way to brighten your baked-goods during spring and summer days.
  • Pairs perfectly with so many pastries and desserts.
lemon curd in a spoon

Ingredients

  • Lemon juice: If you prefer to use concentrated lemon juice, you can do so.
  • Lemon zest
  • Eggs
  • Granulated white sugar
  • Salted butter: Feel free to use unsalted butter, but add an extra pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the lemon curd.

SEE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW

Substitutions and Additions

  • Fruit Flavors: If you are feeling adventurous, try making an orange or lime curd instead! Use 1 medium orange (zested and juiced) or 4 limes (zested and juiced) in place of the lemons.
  • Medium saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Lemon zester
  • 8-ounce glass jar
lemon curd ingredients

How to Make Lemon Curd

Homemade Lemon Curd is so easy to make on the stovetop, simply by whisking your ingredients together to create a thickened sweet and tart mixture.

  1. Prepare the Lemons: Zest one lemon and set it aside. Squeeze the juice out of both lemons and remove any seeds. (see notes on how to zest a lemon)
  2. Cook: Add the lemon zest, eggs, sugar, and butter to the lemon juice and heat over medium until the butter has melted, mixing often.
  3. Whisk: Whisk everything together, turn the heat to low, and continue to whisk for 15-20 minutes.
    Pro Tip: Do not let the mixture boil! The sauce will thicken to the consistency of honey. You should be able to run your finger along the back of a spoon and the mixture will hold its shape. 
  4. Stir: Take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining butter. 
  5. Cool: Pour the lemon curd into a glass jar, straining it if necessary, and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Place the glass jar into the refrigerator and cool for 1 hour.
    Pro Tip: The curd will have a consistency of a thick honey. 
  6. Serve: Serve cold as a spread or use in your favorite recipe. Enjoy!

What is Lemon Zest

Lemon zest is a type of citrus fruit peel that can be scraped or sliced with a knife to reveal and collect the colorful, yellow outer layer. It’s extremely fragrant and adds a burst of lemon flavor to your favorite recipe. The zest contains oils and isn’t nearly as tart or acidic as lemon juice.

How to Zest a Lemon

How to zest a lemon with a zester: One of my favorite tools is my Microplane. It is simply the best and easiest way to lest a lemon. The blade is made with a specific tooth that takes the flavorful rind directly off the citrus fruit while leaving behind the bitter white pith. To use: Just hold the lemon in one hand and move the microplane back and forth, while twisting the lemon to zest each section.

You can use a cheese grater or a vegetable peeler to zest a lemon. If you use a vegetable peeler, you will need to finely chop the lemon peel. Lastly, you can use a knife. Just remove the lemon peel without including the white pith and finely chop the peel.

lemon curd collage process

Tips

  • You’ll know the curd is ready when it noticeably thickens in consistency and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Keep the heat low, don’t turn it up to quicken the process or the eggs will scramble.
  • Don’t stop whisking the curd until it’s off of the heat or the eggs will scramble and turn lumpy.
  • The lemon curd will thicken as it cools it’s really important to cool it completely before using it to fill cakes or it won’t be the right consistency.
  • Cold butter will help cool the curd and set it more quickly.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: Store the lemon curd in the refrigerator, preferably in a glass jar. It will be good for 2-3 weeks.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the lemon curd for up to one year, then take out and thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours before use.  
lemon curd in a mason jar

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my sauce starts to boil or gets too hot?

It is very tempting to crank up the heat in an effort to thicken the lemon curd quickly. However, the eggs will curdle if the mixture overheats and you will need to strain the curd of the cooked egg pieces after it is done. If you see any egg start to curdle, turn the heat down and stir vigorously to cool it.

Why do I have cooked egg in my curd?

Cooked egg in your curd is a result of cooking over too high heat. If you are nervous about the cooking process, you can also try cooking the curd using a double boiler instead of directly over the heat.

Do I have to use fresh lemons in this recipe?

I highly recommend using fresh lemons for this lemon curd. In a pinch you can omit the zest and use lemon juice from concentrate but your flavor won’t be nearly as fresh and bright. This recipe only has a few ingredients so using fresh lemons makes a big difference in your end result. It may be tempting to use bottled lemon juice but it will be far too acidic and will ruin the flavor.

How should I use this Lemon Curd?

Lemon curd can be used in so many different ways. It is a great substitute for breakfast jam. It makes a delicious topping for pancakes, waffles, or toast. It is great as a filling for crepes, danishes, pies, or croissants. It is also good as a topping for ice cream or mixed into yogurts.

applying lemon curd to a slice of bread

Other Easy Lemon Recipes

5 from 1 vote
lemon curd featured image

Lemon Curd

Serves — 1
Homemade Lemon Curd is an easy delicious dessert topping or spread that's thick, sweet, and tart. Its flavor evelvates bland breakfast foods and baked treats with a decadent citrus taste.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 6 tbsp lemon juice ~2 large lemons
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest ~1 large lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • cups granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) cold salted butter divided

Instructions
 

  • Zest one large lemon completely and set the zest aside.
  • Squeeze the juice out of both lemons into a cold medium saucepan and remove any seeds.
  • Add the lemon zest, large eggs, granulated white sugar, and 5 Tablespoons cold salted butter to the lemon juice in the saucepan.
  • Heat over medium heat until the butter has completely melted, mixing often.
  • Once the butter has melted, whisk everything together and turn the heat to low. Do not let the mixture boil.
  • Whisk continuously for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the consistency of honey. You should be able to run your finger along the back of a spoon and the mixture will hold its shape.
  • Do not let the sauce boil or get too hot. The eggs will curdle if the mixture overheats and you will need to strain the curd of the cooked egg pieces after it is done. If you see any egg start to curdle, turn the heat down and stir vigorously to cool it.
  • Take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining 3 Tablespoons cold butter.
  • Pour the thickened lemon curd into an 8 ounce glass jar, straining it if necessary, and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Place the glass jar into the refrigerator and cool for 1 hour or until the curd has thickened to the consistency of a thick honey.
  • Serve cold by spooning onto or using in your favorite recipe.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage :
  • To Store: Store the lemon curd in the refrigerator, preferably in a glass jar. It will be good for 2-3 weeks.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the lemon curd for up to one year, then take out and thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours before use.
Tips:
  • Do not rush this recipe. It is very tempting to crank up the heat in an effort to thicken the lemon curd quickly. However, doing so will lead to scrambled eggs in lemon sauce instead of a delicious, smooth curd. Patience is the key to getting a good result! 
  • Cooked egg in your curd is as a result of cooking over too high heat. If you are nervous about the cooking process, you can also try cooking the curd using a double boiler instead of directly over the heat. 
  • Use fresh lemons! In a pinch you can omit the zest and use lemon juice from concentrate but your flavor won’t be nearly as fresh and bright. This recipe only has a few ingredients so using fresh lemons makes a big difference in your end result!
  • Once you’ve gotten good at this recipe you can use it to make orange or lime zest as well! Use 1 medium orange (zested and juiced) or 4 limes (zested and juiced) in place of the lemons. 
  • You’ll know the curd is ready when it noticeably thickens in consistency and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Keep the heat low, don’t turn it up to quicken the process or the eggs will scramble.
  • Don’t stop whisking the curd until it’s off of the heat or the eggs will scramble and turn lumpy.
  • The lemon curd will thicken as it cools it’s really important to cool it completely before using it to fill cakes or it won’t be the right consistency.
    Cold butter will help cool the curd and set it more quickly.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 1567kcal | Carbohydrates: 142g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 107g | Saturated Fat: 63g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 802mg | Sodium: 946mg | Potassium: 349mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 136g | Vitamin A: 3658IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 3mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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Comments

  1. Hi Jenn! Thanks for this recipe. Was wondering if you ever tried adding lemongrass to this recipe just to add more lemon flavor…..