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If you like lemon desserts then you will LOVE this lemon curd recipe. It tastes wonderfully creamy, tangy, sweet, and delicious. Homemade lemon curd tastes way better than store-bought and is made with only 4 ingredients and a few minutes of your time.
What is lemon curd?
Lemon curd is a rich and buttery dessert that is similar to jam. It has a sweet-tart lemon flavor that is well-balanced and hard to resist. We make it by cooking egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice until it's wonderfully thick. Then we stir in some butter to make it irresistible.
How to make lemon curd
This recipe for lemon curd is surprisingly easy to make. All you need are 4 ingredients and about 10 minutes of time.
- Start by zesting and squeezing the lemons and bringing a pot of water to a boil.
- Add the lemon zest and juice, egg yolks, and sugar to the top of a double broiler and give it a good whisk.
- Next, put the pot on top of the pot of simmering water and whisk it constantly for 10 minutes, until it thickens. It will thicken more as it cools. Finally, remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the butter.
- To store the lemon curd, pour it into a clean jar and put a piece of parchment paper directly on the surface. Let it cool completely in your fridge then remove the parchment paper.
What to do with lemon curd
While you'll be tempted to eat it by the spoonful, there are so many uses for this tasty spread that you'll never be left wondering how to use lemon curd. Here are our favorite ways to use lemon curd:
- Spread over scones, biscuits, croissants, or even toast.
- Put on the table at a special brunch – like Mother's Day or Easter!
- Dolloped onto waffles, crepes, or pancakes – it goes amazingly well with our lemon blueberry pancakes.
- Used as a filling for lemon meringue pie.
- Spoon it on top of yogurt or ice cream with some fresh berries for dessert.
- It is wonderful as a topping or filling for cakes and cupcakes.
- Dollop it beside our lemon lavender cake.
- Use it to make our delicious medieval strawberry tart!
Do I need to use a double broiler?
Using a double broiler is the safest way to make lemon curd. If you put the pot directly on the stove, even on low heat, the eggs will scramble instead of cooking gently into a soft, creamy curd. If you don't have a double broiler, you can makeshift one. Use a metal or heat-safe glass bowl and set it on top of a smaller pot. Another option is to hold the pot 3-4 inches above the cooking element while you whisk the curd. This method is more labor-intensive but is one we've used successfully in the past many times.
Can You Freeze Lemon Curd?
Yes! Lemon curd freezes very well. To freeze lemon curd, let it cool completely in the fridge. Then, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to a year. Let it thaw in your fridge for about 24 hours before using it.
Do I need to use fresh lemon juice?
Fresh lemon juice always tastes best. And besides, for the best flavor, you'll need to use lemon zest. However, you can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch.
Can I make this with lime juice instead?
You sure can! Lime curd also tastes great.
Why Does My Lemon Curd Taste Metallic?
Sometimes, cooking lemon in a metal pot can give the curd a slight metal aftertaste. If you're sensitive to this, use a double broiler with a ceramic insert or use a heat-proof glass bowl set over a pot to cook the curd.
What's the best way to store lemon curd?
The best way to store lemon curd is in a clean glass jar in your fridge. We like to put a piece of parchment paper directly on the surface of the curd while it is still hot. This helps prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Another option is simply to peel off the skin. Once it's cool, the skin won't form again.
How long does lemon curd last?
This lemon curd recipe will last for about 2 weeks in your fridge.
Help, my lemon curd curdled!
If the heat is too high, you run the risk of curdling the custard. If this happens, remove the pot from the heat immediately and strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing the mixture through with the back of a spoon to remove the cooked bits of egg. You can then return it to a clean saucepan and continue to cook it over lower heat.
What should I do with the leftover egg whites?
We don't like to waste food either. You can save the egg whites and use them to make an egg white omelet. Or make pavlova and then fill it with this lemon curd!
I had a bunch of lemons that needed juicing so thought I’d try your recipe. It turned out great! I served it over some ice cream and went back for seconds.
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 lemons (zest and juice)
- ½ cup butter (cut into small pieces)
- Add 2 inches of water to the bottom of a double boiler. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- In the top pot of the double boiler (before you put it on the heat) add egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice and whisk until it's smooth.5 egg yolks, 1 cup white sugar, 4 lemons
- Put the pot on top of the pot with the simmering water and whisk slowly but constantly for 8-10 minutes, until the lemon curd thickens. Remove from the pot from the heat and whisk in the butter – the heat from the lemon curd will melt the butter.½ cup butter
- Pour the lemon curd into a clean glass jar and place a piece of parchment paper directly on the surface of the curd – this will prevent a skin from forming. Once the curd is cool, you can remove it. Refrigerate the lemon curd for up to 10 days.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.