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 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

Kitchen Basics

See all Basics recipes

Lemon Curd Recipe

4.59 from 60 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


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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


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
    Insane about Lemon Curd! First time making it used your recipe and turned out exactly how you said I followed your recipe to the T. My only problem was “zesting” I definitely need more practice Thank you so much God Bless

  2. I am trying to help my husband cut down sugar and carbs. He has been diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
    I noticed a King Arthur baking sugar substitute. Do you have any information regarding its use and performance / results

    1. Sugar substitutes can work great. However, my recipes have not been tested using them, so keep that in mind. Sometimes you’ll find results vary.

  3. 5 stars
    Terrific recipe with great photos and step-by-step directions as well as good tips. Turned out perfectly and oh so yummy!

  4. 4 stars
    The lemon curd came out delicious and was pretty easy to make! However, it never thickened which was disappointing and messed up my lemon coconut cake since it was so thin and ran off the sides of the cake with the icing. Would try again but with cornstarch.

  5. I also scoop the curd like ice cream with a melon baller and use as a side for cake or even ice cream..delish

  6. 5 stars
    This homemade lemon curd is so simple to make and such an amazing recipe! I never thought is would be so easy to make! Thanks for this easy lemon curd recipe!

  7. Delicious! Tastes like lemon meringue filling but doesn’t need to be baked 🙂 I used more lemon juice than I needed because I felt like it could be more tart. Other than that, amazing <3

  8. 5 stars
    Just made this for the second time its just so easy and delicious and made the cake a party hit. I made it a day ahead, it needed to sit out of the fridge a bit before it was spreadable but I believe keeping it on the cooler side made the frosting I put on top of it spread really well.

  9. 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.

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