Easy Lemon Curd Recipe
When life gives you lemons, make Lemon Curd! It’s tangy, luscious and bursting with flavor, and is perfect served with scones, filling pies or topping cheesecakes. It’s so easy to make that you’ll never buy it again!
If you’ve made homemade lemon curd before, you know how much better it is than store bought. It has a freshness that you can taste, and the big bonus is that you can customize it to your tastes.
I find that most recipes are too sweet and aren’t lemony enough for me. The lemons should be the star and shouldn’t be masked with an abundance of sugar and butter.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Lemon curd is rich, luxurious and bursting with fresh lemon flavor.
- It’s a great condiment for scones, pancakes and waffles, and is also great as a filling for pies, cakes and tarts.
- It’s easy to make and can be customized with your favorite citrus such as limes, blood oranges, grapefruit and more!
- Lemons. Fresh lemon juice is key as the lemon is the star ingredient. The recipe utilizes both the juice and zest of the lemon for extra flavor. The great thing about curd is that you can use any type of citrus. Try my lime curd or substitute with Meyer lemon, key lime, orange, blood orange or even grapefruit.
- Eggs. Eggs are essential in this recipe as they provide structure and richness to the curd.
- Butter. Just a few tablespoons of butter loosen up the curd slightly and also tames the tangy lemon flavor.
How to make this recipe
This lemon curd recipe is very easy to make, and it includes just 4 ingredients. Simply zest and juice the lemons, gather the remaining ingredients, and have a strainer set up over a small bowl as the recipe goes very quickly.
Pro tip: Cook the curd gently in the top of a double boiler to prevent the eggs from curdling.
See the recipe card below for full instructions.
- Place the sugar, eggs and lemon juice together in a heat proof bowl.
- Whisk until combined, then cook in a double boiler over gently simmering water. Stirring constantly, cook the curd until it thickens to the texture of sour cream.
- Place the curd in the fine mesh strainer set over the bowl and strain.
- Stir in the butter and lemon zest and cover with a piece of buttered plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and allow to cool at room temperature. The curd will thicken as it cools.
Lemon curd is a rich, luxurious preserve or topping for desserts or pastries. It’s thick and similar in consistency to jam or pudding.
It includes fresh lemon juice and zest, sugar, eggs and butter. The eggs provide structure and richness, and the butter adds richness, flavor and tames the tanginess of the lemon.
The sky is the limit on the ways to use lemon curd! Use it as a topping for Greek yogurt, scones, cheesecake, pancakes or waffles, or as a filling for cakes and tarts.
Lemon curd will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Pro tip: Cook the curd gently in the top of a double boiler to prevent the eggs from curdling. If you don’t own a double boiler, simply fill a sauté pan with water about 2 inches high. Bring to a simmer over medium low, then place a heatproof bowl right in the water.
- Have a small bowl and fine mesh strainer with lemon zest and cubed butter ready to go when you get started as the recipe goes quickly.
- Keep a close eye on the curd…if you start to see bits of egg and it’s not thick enough yet, reduce the heat. Don’t worry, any bits of egg will be strained out.
- Be sure to cover the curd with buttered plastic wrap after the butter and lemon zest have been added to prevent a skin from forming on the top.
More lemon recipes you’ll love:
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 2-3 lemons, strained to remove seeds and pulp (I like this [juicer])
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small chunks
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
- Whisk together the granulated sugar, eggs, and lemon juice in a stainless steel or heat proof bowl. Place over the top of a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly so the egg doesn’t curdle, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of sour cream, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour the curd through a fine strainer placed over a small bowl.
- Add the butter, and stir until completely melted. Stir in the lemon zest. The curd will thicken as it cools.
- Once the curd has cooled, place plastic wrap over the surface of the curd to keep a skin from forming, and store in the refrigerator.
- Serve chilled. The curd will keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Total time above does not include cooling and chilling time.
- Substitute lemons with your favorite citrus! Lime, orange, blood orange, grapefruit and meyer lemons are all wonderful options.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
**The photos, recipe and text for this post were updated in April 2018. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.