★★★★★

Lemon Curd Recipe

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.

Why this Recipe Works

Lemon Curd is perfect for a burst of flavor on 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.

Tips and Tricks

  1. Lemon Juice- make sure to use fresh lemons and not bottled juice. Fresh lemon juice has no preservatives and no bitterness.
  2. Egg Yolks- It’s easiest to separate eggs while they are cold. Use the egg whites in my wedding cake cupcakes!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Glass bowl/ Double boiler- if using a glass bowl, you may need to cook the curd closer to the 10 minute mark.
  6. 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.
  7. Adding butter. Add ONE tablespoon at a time, until completely melted, whisking continuously. Do not speed this process.
Lemon curd in a clear glass bowl.

More Easy Lemon Desserts

Yield: 1 pint

Lemon Curd Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Making your own Lemon Curd is actually quite simple! This easy, homemade recipe is bursting with tangy citrus flavor.

Ingredients

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon zest (up to 4 lemons)
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice (up to 4 lemons)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold

Instructions

  1. 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 ¼ cup zest, and ⅓ cup juice. Depending on the size of your lemons, this can be anywhere from 2-4 lemons needed.
  2. 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.
  3. Measure out ⅓ cup lemon juice (discard any remaining juice or save for another use) and add juice and ¼ cup lemon zest to sugar mixture. Continue whisking over heat for about 8-9 minutes. It will begin to thicken slightly.
  4. 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 ¼ 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

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

32

Serving Size:

1 Tbsp

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 61Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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.

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Posted on March 6, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. This recipe is great and super easy to make! I never considered myself a big time lemon fan but I could eat this stuff by the spoonful! I actually added a little more lemon juice than the recipe calls for (about 1/2 cup) and I think it was perfect and very lemony. I stored the curd in nice little mason jars and also used some of it to make the lemon curd tart that’s on this site. I’ll definitely be making this again and it will be a recipe that I use often. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Has anyone tried making lemon curd with Splenda or another sugar-like product?? If so, what were your substitute measurements? Thx!

  3. I had to come over when I saw your name listed on a comment.

    I love lemon curd, but have never made it. Seems pretty easy! I have to contribute something for a teacher’s gift basket and the theme is Downton Abbey. I’m thinking this is a perfect idea with a tea loaf. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Love the way you spell your name too 😉
      Oh, I am in love with Downton Abbey, and some little jars of this would be perfect!!! Thanks for stopping by!!

  4. I had to come over after I saw your name on another blog comment. I love lemon curd and have never made it. I am contributing to a teacher’s gift basket which is themed after Downton Abbey and I am going to make this!

    Found a ton of your boards I want to follow out on Pinterest too.

  5. I usually just buy lemon curd when I need it, but I do make my own lemon meringue pies. I guess next time I need some curd, I better do the home made version since you have me convinced it is way easy! Looks gorgeous!!!

  6. I love lemon curd, and it way easier to make than you would think. I did it for the first time last spring – no turning back!

  7. I actually love, love, LOVE lemon curd, and have wanted to try making my own for a long time. You’re giving me the push I need. 🙂 This looks great!

    1. Oh Ashley you NEED to try it. I never thought something with such depth of flavor is so easy to make!!!!

  8. This sounds totally doable! I thought it’d be really hard and complicated— looove lemon, looove lemon curd. Pinning this! Excited to try it 🙂

  9. We had lemon curd while we were visiting our daughter in England and it is divine. We spread it on our toast and pancakes and thought we had gone to heaven. Hope this recipe is the same. I will make it and let you know.

  10. This sounds great! I’ve thought about trying lemon curd but it seems like the recipes I’ve seen before call for a dozen egg yolks. This seems more do-able! Gotta love Alton!

    1. A dozen egg yolks? Wow, that’s quite a few. I love this recipe from Alton because my white cake recipe calls for 5 egg whites…a perfect pair.

  11. Mmm lemon curd! So delicious- well anything lemon is to me! I have only made it once years ago for some tarts but this recipe looks easy and your photos have me drooling! Looks like lemon curd is on the to do list now! 😉

  12. LOVE homemade lemon curd and it is so easy! I’ve never tried Alton’s recipe before but it looks fantastic! Pinning!

  13. Aimee, this is TOO funny. I just bought lemon curd last night from the store. Now I want to return it and make my own. I love lemon curd so much – and well, everything lemon!

  14. I tried twice to save this via ZipList! Twice got the “oops!” message that they couldnt find the recipe in the system! HELP PLEASE! And THANKYOU!

  15. This looks so wonderful- I love all things lemon, and I know I will love this! Thanks for sharing such a great idea with us! I have pinned this! 🙂

  16. This is a jar of heaven. Now you have me tempted to make some with some leftover lemons I have on hand. 🙂

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