★★★★★

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!

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. Hi. I was wondering if your curd picks up a metallic taste? I made some a while back that tasted like metal from the utensils.

    1. Lemon curd is more like a smooth custard, while pie filling has thickeners in it (usually cornstarch).

  2. Finally made this…..today and OMG better then what is premade that you can buy…in my option thanks for the post

  3. Hi, I’m in the UK and work with grams not cups. Can you give me the equivalent in grams for the sugar and butter please?

    Regards, Jode x

    1. Unfortunately, not being there to see what went wrong, I”m not sure. Did you let it set up in the refrigerator?

      1. It’s okay. It’s 1:48am. I went and checked it half an hour ago, and it set. Lol. Guess I’m just impatient.
        I made a sponge cake, cut it into three layers. On the bottom, I brushed it with orange simple syrup (as I did to all three layers). Then covered it with the lemon curd and piped whipped white chocolate ganache on. Second layer brushed with the syrup, then more curd and fresh whipped chantilly cream. Top was brushed then placed on. In the morning I will cover it all with chantilly cream. 🙂 happy Mother’s Day!

  4. This tastes so good! I’ve never eaten any flavor curd, and this was my first time making it. I don’t know if it’s gelled up enough. I cooked it over a pot of boiling water for 9 minutes, and the butter melted into it very nicely. But I thought it was supposed to be like a jam consistency, but it’s more like a really thick syrup.
    Like I said, it tastes amazing and I think it’ll be just fine in the mini sugar cookie cups I made. But I wanna make sure I’m doing it right…

    1. I definitely should be thicker than syrup, maybe not as thick as jam. I hope it gelled up in the fridge for you! So glad you love it!

      1. The only part of the process I couldn’t follow was using a metal bowl, because I only have glass ones. :/
        That’s probably why mine didn’t turn out right no matter what, since metal conducts heat better than glass and I just couldn’t get the mixture cooked properly without the right bowl or a real double boiler.

        Turns out the cookie cups had some serious issues, and the curd stayed the same thinner consistency. I should have just made/bought a pound cake, and served it as a incredible sauce with that and the vanilla whipped cream I made.
        Buuuuut, being the [never]stubborn person I am, I tried slowly warming it up again, and cooking it some more, to no avail.
        I filled the cups right before leaving to go to my in-laws and by the time I got in the car, the cups started leaking. oy. VEY.

        I thought nobody would wanna try them since they were turning into a mess, so my husband so graciously stopped at the store on the way for a lemon dessert to take.
        Long story short, every single cup got eaten! A true testament to how good this recipe really is. 😀
        My mother-in-law tasted the store-bought dessert a couple hours later and said, “Yours is MUCH better”. lol

        1. It is! It’s SO good. If I have a reason to make it again before I get a metal bowl to make it properly, I’m definitely making a poke cake!
          Poke holes into a white cake, pour the warm lemon mixture over the whole thing and let it soak a bit, then chill it in the fridge and top it with homemade whipped cream.
          mmmm….yeowza, I might just make that anyway… 😀

        2. So glad to hear it Laurel. And OMG…lemon poke cake. Keep this quiet, LOL, I have almost that exact recipe coming to the blog next month!! We made it for Easter…a little different, but still amazing 🙂 Stay tuned!

  5. I just made this lemon curd and it turned out great! Its quite thick and could be a bit lemonier but that was totally my fault since i didn’t add all of the lemon zest. GREAT RECIPE!

  6. Talk about amazing! I just made a batch and after tasting it I started another batch. I am going to have friends over so I will be making small tarts with the curd. The leftovers my husband and I will be eating!!

  7. I have been obsessed with lemon curd for a few months now. I have only found one brand that I like and it ain’t cheap! But the ingredients are exactly this recipe. I’m so excited! I love mixing it with Greek yogurt. So very yummy. I can’t wait to make it for myself.

  8. Thank you so much for the recipe! It was easy, as you said, and it was also my first time doing it! Thank you for the blogg on it, it encouraged me to try it!

  9. Last year I found Lemon Curd at Trader Joe’s and we loved it over warmed gingerbread. I never thought about making it myself. Thanks for the recipe!

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