How to make lemon curd with just 5 basic ingredients. It's luscious and creamy, with a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. It only 15 minutes to make and is a versatile spread in the desserts world!
What Is Lemon Curd
It is a cooked custard-like spread made of fresh lemon juice, zest, eggs, sugar, and butter. It has an amazing combination of sweet, tart, and buttery.
What to do with lemon curd? Well, it's often used as toppings as I use in my no-bake lemon cheesecake, as fillings for tarts like in my healthy lemon tarts, or as fillings for cakes, scones, muffins, and crepes. Or just to be simple, spread it on top of my 3-ingredient lemon mousse or even some bread. Oh la la!
Why This Recipe Works
Because you'll get phenomenal lemon curd without even breaking a sweat! It's so easy and fast to make, and you can't go wrong with it.
This easy lemon curd recipe takes only 5 ingredients that you already have at home! The effort of making it homemade is nothing compared to a jar of store-bought ones. The taste is amazing, I promise!
I'm using a combination of whole eggs and yolks. Why? This is to bring out more of the fresh, tangy lemon flavor and balance out the unwanted eggy taste if the recipe were to only use egg yolks. Make this and you'll see.
Ingredients For This Recipe
Lemon juice and zest - Use freshly squeezed and grated ones, please! It's a game-changer as it gives you a beautiful fresh, intense flavor.
Eggs - Find the best ones with bright yellow-orange yolks. It'll influence the color of this curd.
Sugar - White granulated or caster sugar works great. Not a fan? Try my refined sugar-free lemon curd that uses honey instead.
Butter - I always use unsalted for this recipe.
⭐ See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
1. Mix all ingredients. Mix sugar, whole eggs, extra yolks, lemon juice, and zest until you get a homogeneous mixture.
2. Cook until thickens. Cook the mixture in a double boiler or a heat-proof glass bowl over a pot with simmering water for 10-15 minutes. Make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisk continuously. The curd is ready when it covers the back of a wooden spoon and when you run your finger through it, it stays separated.
3. Add butter. Remove from the heat. Immediately add butter and whisk until well combined. Cover with cling film, making sure it touches the surface of the curd, to prevent crust. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
4. Store and chill. Once cooled, give it a whisk to get a smooth texture. Pour into a jar and start using. It'll thicken more as it sits in the fridge.
Recipe Expert Tips
- Use fresh lemons. I can't stress enough on this. Fresh ones will give a more intense lemon flavor to the curd. Never use bottled ones!
- Use low heat. To avoid the eggs from scrambling. I use a double-boiler on low heat. The water should be simmering and not touching the bowl. If you're feeling adventurous, cook the curd in a heavy-bottomed pot directly on low fire.
- Don't stop whisking. This is to avoid the mixture from forming lumps. Although if that happens, strain it later. It'll still be delicious!
- Use a heat-proof glass bowl. This will avoid the unwanted metallic taste from the reaction of the mixture cooking in a metal bowl (and even from using a metal whisk!).
- Strain, if needed. If for some reason your curd has pieces of cooked egg and lumps, or you don't like the zest, no worries. Just strain it before cooling it off. The taste will still be amazing!
How To Store And Freeze
Store - In an air-tight container, it lasts 1-2 weeks in the fridge.
Freeze - Also in an air-tight container, it lasts up to 1 year in the freezer. Yep, very long! I like to freeze in smaller jars so I just take one (smaller amount) at a time. Just thaw it in the fridge and slather it on anything you desire.
It will thicken as it chills in the fridge. But if it still doesn't then your measurements weren't correct (not enough eggs/yolks or too much juice). But don't worry. Heat it, add cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 -2 tablespoon of juice), and mix well until it thickens.
Most probably because the mixture had a reaction to something metallic, either the bowl or the whisk. Use a heat-proof glass bowl and a silicon whisk.
With this recipe's ratio, it shouldn't taste eggy since we're using a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks. Using only egg yolks will have the risk of the curd tasting eggy.
But if it still does taste eggy, it means you've overcooked the mixture. Cook just until it covers the back of a wooden spoon and when you run your finger through it, it stays separated.
More Lemon Recipes
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How To Make Lemon Curd
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter , cold, and cut into cubes
- Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a heat-proof bowl with a whisk until you get a homogenous mixture. Set aside.
- Cook on a pot of simmering water for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture covers the back of a wooden spoon and when you run your finger through it, it stays separated. The bowl should not be touching the water. Whisk non-stop to prevent lumps.
- Remove from the heat, and immediately add in cold butter. Whisk until the butter is well incorporated into the curd.
- Cover with a cling film while it's still hot, making sure the cling film touched the top surface of the curd. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Whisk the curd to get a smooth texture and it's ready to use. Or pour it into an air-tight container and keep it back in the fridge. Remember, it'll thicken more as it sits more time in the fridge.
- If there are any lumps, no worries. Simply strain the lemon curd.
- Make sure the bowl is heat-proof and not touching the simmering water.
- Make sure the water is simmering, not boiling. This will avoid the eggs from getting cooked too fast resulting in egg lumps. But if that happens, simply strain it, no worries.
- The lemon curd will thicken as it sits more time in the fridge.
Originally published on Apr 29, 2018. Updated with improved text and pictures on Jul 3, 2023.