Buttery, creamy Lemon Curd is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. Use this bright and cheerful spread on desserts, English muffins, and pretty much everything else!
A Classic Treat Made with Fresh Lemons
Let me walk you through two scenarios. In scenario 1, you go to the store and see that Oreos are on a BOGO sale. So you buy four (yes, four) packages. Because, you know, they go perfectly with that gallon of milk your wife asked you to pick up. If you are this type of person, you are a Jorge.
In scenario 2, you are minding your own business, driving home, when suddenly you slam on your breaks and make an illegal U-turn. Why? Because you saw an adorable old man (in red suspenders) selling fruit out of the back of his pickup truck. Once you pull in, the old guy suckers you into buying five times the amount of lemons you need. If you are this type of person, you are a Jessica.
So while the Jorges of the world sit on the couch covered in Oreo crumbs, the Jessicas make lemon curd. Because what else can you do with 39 million lemons?
Is Lemon Curd the Same as Lemon Pie Filling?
No, although they are similarly thick and smooth. And lemon curd does make a gorgeous filling for tarts and pastries. However, pie filling is usually thickened with cornstarch or flour, while lemon curd gets its ultra-decadent flavor and texture from real butter and eggs.
By the way, I don’t think “curd” does justice to this smooth, creamy, sunny-yellow lemon spread. Curd makes me think of those little curds in cottage cheese. Or just the word curdle, which is… gross. Honestly, we should start calling it Lemon Cream, or more truthfully Lemon Crack! Because once you taste it, you won’t want to stop eating it. It’s that good.
What You’ll Need
To make your own lemon curd, you need just a handful of simple (but delicious) ingredients, and a little bit of time. Here’s the ingredients list in detail:
- Lemon Juice: Juice up those fresh lemons (or you can use bottled lemon juice, if you prefer).
- Lemon Zest: I like to add lemon zest to this dish, but if you are using bottled juice you can omit the zest.
- Sugar: Use plain granulated sugar, or substitute raw sugar.
- Eggs: You’ll need six large eggs, plus a couple of extra egg yolks.
- Butter: Roughly chop up the butter, which should be unsalted.
How to Make Lemon Curd
Making lemon curd is similar to making custard, although there’s no milk involved. It’s fun to do, and all you need is a saucepan, spoon, and strainer.
Whisk All the Ingredients EXCEPT Butter in a Saucepan. Set a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. In it, whisk the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and eggs.
Simmer, and Then Add the Butter. Bring the mixture to a slow simmer, and then immediately add the chopped butter, whisking constantly. It will thicken. Don’t let it boil, though, or the eggs may scramble and become lumpy.
Strain the Lemon Curd. After about ten minutes, the mixture should be thick enough to stick to the back of a spoon. At that point, take it off of the heat and strain it through a small mesh strainer into a clean bowl.
Chill. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for at least an hour, or until cold.
Serve! Use as a dessert topping, spread – or just devour it by the spoonful! (Just kidding. I think.)
Helpful Tips and Tricks
Making lemon curd can sometimes have its quirks, so be sure to look over these tips for success. They’ll help ensure that this creamy treat turns out perfectly, every time.
- Avoid High Heat: The mixture should barely simmer, and definitely not boil! Overcooking or cooking at a high heat can make it lumpy.
- Use More Yolks: For the richest lemon curd, replace one or more of the whole eggs with egg yolks. You’ll need two yolks to replace each egg.
- Play with the Sweetness: If you’d like an extra-tart version, reduce the sugar. For an extra-sweet version, add more.
- Emergency Thickening: If you’re stirring constantly over low heat, but the mixture just won’t thicken, add a small amount (start with ½ teaspoon) of cornstarch blended with an equal amount of water. Continue to cook and stir until thick.
Ways to Use Lemon Curd
Need a dessert idea that uses lemon curd? Try these Mini Lemon Meringue Pies or this Lemon Danish! You should also check out these awesome desserts:
- Apple and Lemon Curd Tart from Matchbox Kitchen
- Lemon Curd Donuts from Flour Child
- Lemon Curd Buns with Creamy Lemon Icing from My Custard Pie
Or just drizzle a generous spoonful over your favorite ice cream, yogurt, or frozen yogurt. Mmmm.
Storing and Freezing
Lemon curd lasts about a week in the fridge, in an airtight container. If you don’t eat it all in a week, toss it out after 7 days.
If you need to keep it longer, you can freeze this recipe for up to 1 year. Make sure to freeze in a freezer-safe container. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
Easy Lemon Curd Recipe
This Easy Lemon Curd Recipe is creamy, sweet and so easy to make! It's the perfect way to use up leftover lemons and tastes amazing on so many things!
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 1 heaping tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, roughly chopped
Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and eggs in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat, stirring as needed. Bring to a slow simmer and immediately add butter, whisking constantly until curd is thickened and will stick to the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
Strain curd through a small mesh strainer into a medium bowl with a lid, or cover tightly with saran wrap. Chill for at least an hour, or until cold. If you don't eat it all in a week (which I have no idea how you wouldn't), toss it out after 7 days.
Serving Size:1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 47Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 20mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g
Even More Easy Lemon Desserts
- Glazed Lemon Bread
- Lemon Meltaway Cookies
- Lemon Strawberry Trifle
- Easy Lemon Bars
- Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
- Lemon Whipped Shortbread Cookies
- Watermelon Lemonade
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If you have a high speed VitaMix blender, check out the recipe for lemon curd on their site. No stirring, and no straining needed.
Can I half the lemoncurd mixture
Hi! Im a newbie in the kitchen department, lemons are not very easy to find and expensive in my country… I was wondering if I could use lime?
Btw, I made your banana nutella swirl muffins last night and theyre awesome!
You can use any citrus you would like!! And so glad you liked them – those muffins are one of our favorites. ;-)
I’ve always called it lemon butter – sounds much more edible that way (and also makes it totally legit to eat on toast for breakfast). And I can totally relate to buying wayyyy to much produce at road side stands, I just can’t help myself!
We always used to call lemon curd lemon cheese in Lancashire, UK.
My aunt makes homemade chicken strips And drizzles lemon curd over them omg! I have been craving them I know it may sound gross but it’s delishious!!!!
does anyone know the brand of jars these are in the pictures? thanks
They are from Crate & Barrel.
When I want a quick sweet treat; especially to go with a cup of tea or coffee, I get tea biscuits or shortbread cookies. Then one day I put some whipped cream cheese and a little lemon curd on it…….. OMG……..Heaven in your mouth. They are like little lemon meringue pies without allthe work.
Where did you find the little container and spoon. I know it’s not food related but it’s just SO cute.
The glass jar is from Crate and Barrel. The spoon is from Ikea. ;-)
This looks so delicious! I love the color and the photos, I can practically taste it! (And it’s good!)
I am a Jessica but I think I need to be more of a spontaneous Jessica, Jessica. …if that makes any sense :)
Anyways, I just found your blog today and I’m loving it!
I just made lemon curd this weekend for a recipe… it tasted like metal… I think I need a new strainer…
I am so very glad that Genie Grato Featured this, or I would not have found this lovely recipe. I LOVE “Lemon Cream”, and I LOVE the name. Lemon “Curd” just doesn’t do it justice! :)
Lemon curd on toast is my preferred breakfast, and always will be.
Thank you for including my apple + lemon curd tart! I could eat lemon curd on just about anything.
Jessica, another beautiful and easy creation – this simply perfect. And the color is incredible. I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s a pleasure to be following your creations… (And I would be a Jessica – I have a hard time saying no to people, especially those older than myself ;)