Easy Lemon Curd Recipe

Prep 1 hr
Cook 10 mins
Total 1 hr 10 mins
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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?

An open jar of creamy lemon dessert topping.

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.

From top: Sugar, egg yolks, graham cracker crumbs, lemon juice, butter, eggs.

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.
A cup of creamy lemon sauce with a spoon lifting some of the sauce out.

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.)

A small glass cup of creamy lemon curd. Lemon slices and a larger jar of lemon curd are in the background.

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.
A spoonful of lemon curd from a sauce pan.

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:

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.

Yield: 2 cups

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe

Lemon curd in a jar.

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!

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

32

Serving Size:

1 tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 47Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 20mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

Categories

Even More Easy Lemon Desserts

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Comments

59 Responses
  1. Rob

    If you have a high speed VitaMix blender, check out the recipe for lemon curd on their site. No stirring, and no straining needed.

  2. Laura

    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! 

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.
      Jessica

      You can use any citrus you would like!! And so glad you liked them – those muffins are one of our favorites. ;-)

  3. raine

    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!

  4. Amber

    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!!!!

  5. Tammy

    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.

  6. Jessica

    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!

  7. Construction Supplies San Diego

    I just made lemon curd this weekend for a recipe… it tasted like metal… I think I need a new strainer…

  8. Virginia Kahler-Anderson, aka HomeRearedChef

    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! :)

    ~Virginia

  9. Sara/Matchbox Kitchen

    Thank you for including my apple + lemon curd tart! I could eat lemon curd on just about anything.

  10. Javelin Warrior

    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 ;)

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Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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