Lemon Curd Recipe

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Making your own Lemon Curd is actually quite simple! This easy, homemade recipe is bursting with sweet and tangy citrus flavor and only four ingredients!

If you love desserts bursting with citrus flavor, this Lemon Blueberry cake is requested all the time at our house (and on the website)! Or give this classic Lemon Meringue Pie a try soon!

Homemade lemon curd in a small glass jar with a spoon.
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Why this Recipe Works

Lemon Curd is perfect for a burst of flavor on lemonn scones, angel food cake, cheesecake, and more!

Making this at home is SO MUCH better than buying a jar from the store. Especially if you’ve recently made a white cake and are wondering what to do now with all those egg yolks.

What is Lemon Curd?

Lemon Curd is a sweet dessert spread made using egg yolks, sugar, lemons, and butter.

While the word “curd” can sound negative, or gross to some…lemon curd, when made correctly, is smooth and creamy. Our version incorporates lemon zest so it has some flecks of flavor (much like the difference between preserves and jelly).

Bursting with lemon flavor, it’s a delicious preserve that’s perfect when paired with cookies, cakes, tarts, toast, etc. 

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for homemade lemon curd.

Today’s lemon curd is quite easy. You’ll only need FOUR ingredients.

  • Fresh Lemons. Start with 4 juicy lemons. You’ll need to zest them, and then juice them. You’ll use 1/3 cup of the lemon juice. And you’ll use about 1/4 cup loosely zested lemon. Depending on the size of your lemons you’ll need anywhere from 2-4 lemons. Use our tips and tricks on how to zest a lemon.
  • Granulated Sugar– provides the structure you need for a thick and sweet curd.
  • Unsalted Butter – cut into Tablespoon pieces.
  • Egg Yolks – I use large eggs for today’s recipe. Some egg yolks are more yellow and some are more orange. This may change the final color of your curd…whether it’s pale yellow or bright yellow (like my photos)! Save the egg whites for our favorite white cake recipe or a batch of meringue cookies.

How to Make Lemon Curd

Step by step photos showing how to make homemade lemon curd.
  • Double Boiler. In a small pan with a double boiler, heat an inch of water in the pan to boiling. In the double boiler, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have a double boiler, find a glass bowl that will fit over the sauce pan.

  • Whisk. Add lemon juice and lemon zest to the sugar mixture and continue whisking over the boiling water for about 8-10 minutes. The lemon curd will begin to slightly thicken.
  • Add Butter. Remove from heat. Add in butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until melted and smooth. Once all the butter has been added, pour into a bowl (or glass jar), and cover loosely with a lid.
  • Chill. Refrigerate lemon curd until thickened and cooled. At LEAST 2 hours or overnight. 

Recipe FAQs

How do you store Lemon Curd?

Lemon Curd can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to two weeks. 

Can you freeze Lemon Curd?

You can also freeze lemon curd! Place in an airtight, freezer safe container with at least 1/2 inch of room at the top. Freeze for up to 6 months for best results. To thaw, refrigerate frozen lemon curd for 24 hours. Stir and enjoy.

Why does my lemon curd taste eggy?

If your lemon curd has an eggy taste, it could be a couple of things. First, make sure you have properly separated your egg yolk and egg white. Any bits of egg white can give you that eggy flavor. Also, using a glass bowl or porcelein double boiler gives best results and prohibits the acidic lemon from causing the metal to leach into the flavor of the lemon curd.

How much zest from one lemon?

One lemon equals approximately 1 1/2 Tablespoons of zest. Loosely measured. Be sure to zest only the yellow part of a lemon.

How much juice from one lemon?

1 lemon is approximately 1 1/2 Tablespoons of juice. Some provide more, some provide less.

Thick lemon curd in a jar with a spoon.

Lemon Curd Uses

So now that you’ve made this homemade Lemon Curd recipe, what next? Think of it as a jam or jelly, and that’s how you can use it.

Lemon curd in a clear glass bowl.

More Easy Lemon Desserts

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Lemon Curd Recipe

4.61 from 63 votes
By: Aimee
Making your own Lemon Curd is actually quite simple! This easy, homemade recipe is bursting with tangy citrus flavor.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 1 pint

Ingredients 

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon zest up to 4 lemons
  • cup lemon juice up to 4 lemons
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cold
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Instructions 

  • Get all your ingredients measured and ready before beginning. Slice butter into 1 Tablespoon chunks, and keep in refrigerator until ready to use. Zest and juice your lemons. You’ll need 1/4 cup zest, and 1/3 cup juice. Depending on the size of your lemons, this can be anywhere from 2-4 lemons needed.
  • In a small sauce pan with a double boiler, heat one inch of water to boiling. In double boiler (or a metal bowl to go over the saucepan of water) whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
  • Measure out 1/3 cup lemon juice (discard any remaining juice or save for another use) and add juice and 1/4 cup lemon zest to sugar mixture. Continue whisking over heat for about 8-9 minutes. It will begin to thicken slightly.
  • Remove from heat. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until melted and smooth. Once all butter has been added pour into a bowl, covered, and refrigerated until thickened and cooled. Mine took about 2 hours to chill. Store for up to two weeks in refrigerator. ENJOY.

Notes

  • Lemon Juice- make sure to use fresh lemons and not bottled juice. Fresh lemon juice has no preservatives and no bitterness.
  • Egg Yolks- It’s easiest to separate eggs while they are cold. Use the egg whites in my wedding cake cupcakes!
  • Thicker Curd- Some people have added a tablespoon of cornstarch after the addition of butter to thicken the curd to use immediately. I prefer to refrigerate and allow it to naturally thicken.
  • Strain or No Strain- With my recipe you do not need to strain the curd. The flecks of lemon zest add color and flavor, you can hardly tell the difference in texture. If you prefer smooth though, you can push the lemon curd through fine mesh strainer.
  • Lemons- zest only the yellow part of a lemon. You will need about 1/4 cup loosely zested lemons. This can be anywhere from 2-4 lemons.
  • Glass bowl/ Double boiler- if using a glass bowl, you may need to cook the curd closer to the 10 minute mark.
  • Simmering water- make sure while you’re cooking your curd that your water in the pan is simmering (at a very low boil/bubble). If you’re not simmering correctly, the curd can begin to cool and you will have trouble getting the desired thickness.
  • Adding butter. Add ONE tablespoon at a time, until completely melted, whisking continuously. Do not speed this process.
  • Alton Brown recipe. See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks

Nutrition

Serving: 1Tbsp, Calories: 61kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 36mg, Sodium: 2mg, Sugar: 7g
Course: Basics
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd Recipe bursting with citrus flavor. Perfect on cakes, tarts, and more!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on March 6, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I just made this and it didnt appear thick, but I am trusting that it will thicken while refridgerating. Fingers crossed! I need this for a church dessert 🙂

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