Homemade Lemon Curd
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Tart and sweet lemon curd, ready in just 10 minutes. Great for filling cakes, pies, and cupcakes, or using as a spread.
Welcome to #LemonWeek 2021 hosted by me! What better way to welcome summer than with over 50 recipes featuring bright and sunny lemons? Come join me and my fellow Lemon Week bloggers as we bring you recipes from appetizers to drinks to entrées and desserts!
It’s rare that I’m not excited to bring you a recipe, because let’s be honest, I just love sharing my recipes with all of you.
But today, I’m really excited to bring you my tried and true lemon curd recipe, because it has graced my kitchen dozens of times over my baking years, and not sharing it would be so selfish. So… You’re welcome!
Lemon curd is one of those things that can sound unappealing, but in reality, it’s one of the tastiest condiments/fillings/spreads/dips to ever exist in the baking world. I think perhaps Little Miss Muffet ruined the word “curd” for all of us when she ate it with her whey atop her tuffet because also: what exactly is a tuffet?
So many confusing concepts in that story. And then all the talk about spiders?!
No wonder “curd” sounds so weird to us now.
WHAT IS LEMON CURD?
The truth is, curd is anything but weird and certainly very far from unappealing. It is a type of fruit custard that is typically made with fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar, and butter.
Lemon curd is typically the most popular curd flavor you’ll stumble upon, but lots of different varieties exist (say hello to my friend Julie’s blueberry cardamom curd— OH EM GEE CARDAMOM— and my own personal peach curd).
It sounds difficult to turn these simple ingredients into a thick and creamy fruit spread, but I can assure you that making lemon curd is really quite easy.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE LEMON CURD
First, you’ll be working with a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, fear not: a heatproof bowl sitting over a pot of simmering water will make a fine substitute. Just be sure not to use a metal bowl, as you run the risk of your lemon curd tasting a bit metallic.
In the top bowl, you’ll combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and just a touch of salt (to balance the tart and sweet) and cook it while whisking the mixture constantly (again, with a non-metal whisk). It’s crucial to keep the mixture moving so the eggs don’t cook.
IS LEMON CURD SAFE TO EAT?
You may be wondering… Since homemade lemon curd contains eggs, is it safe to consume? And the answer is: of course! The heating of the eggs cooks them, killing any bacteria, but since you’re constantly moving the mixture around, the eggs won’t actually cook.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN LEMON CURD IS DONE?
After about 10-15 minutes, the mixture will be thick and foamy, and you can remove it from the double boiler/pot of water. If you want to test the temperature of your lemon curd, check for at least 160ºF (71ºC) with an instant read thermometer.
After removing from heat, you’ll whisk in one stick of butter, cut into 8 pieces, 2 pieces at a time, adding the next 2 pieces when the previous 2 pieces are mostly melted.
Did I lose you? It’s simple, I promise. And if you follow my instructions carefully, you will absolutely be met with perfect lemon curd at the end of this kitchen adventure!
Side note: you can also make this homemade lemon curd with salted butter. Simply omit the added salt.
After you’ve whisked in all of the butter, cover the mixture with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the lemon curd to ensure a film doesn’t form on the curd itself (like we do with lemon truffles).
Make sure all of the air is pushed out of the seal between plastic and lemon curd, because the film that develops is weird. Certainly nothing that isn’t safe to eat, it’s just not so appealing and can create chunks in your curd. Let’s keep things nice and smooth!
Allow the curd to chill completely in the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, then
eat it with a spoon pour it into a jar for safe keeping!
The end result is an ultra creamy, buttery, super lemony, tart yet sweet, and incredibly versatile condiment that you’ll love putting in and on everything you can think of!
Wondering what to do with your lemon curd?
•spread it on bread, rice cakes, pancakes, muffins, scones, pound cake, angel food cake, or biscuits
•use as a filling for white layer cake
•stir some into yogurt or ice cream
•make some fancy homemade whipped cream
And duh, of course I have recipes for you so that you can use all this beautiful homemade lemon curd. I wouldn’t just give you a super tasty condiment and no way to use it up, would I?
Check out my triple lemon cupcakes (filled with lemon curd!), or consider slathering some on top of my easy yeast rolls or sourdough English muffins!
Although if I were you, I would just go ahead and make a double batch of this homemade lemon curd right now… One to use today and another to keep in the freezer, because if you’re anything like me (self-proclaimed lemon goodie freak), having some lemon curd on hand can only serve you well.
Check out some of my other popular lemon recipes:
lemon crinkle cookies
Meyer lemon bars
lemon poppy seed biscotti
Monday #LemonWeek Recipes
- Fresh Squeezed Homemade Lemonade by House of Nash Eats
- Lemon Dessert Sauce by That Recipe
- Chicken Picatta by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Lemon Sugar Cookies by SueBee Homemaker
- Strawberry Lemonade Rice Krispies Treats by The Spiffy Cookie
- Lemon Zucchini Bread by Lemon Blossoms
- Grilled Lemon Mojito by Our Good Life
- Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Piccata by Our Crafty Mom
- Deep Eddy Lemonade Vodka Spritzer by Our Crafty Cocktails
- Meyer Lemon Scones by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Shortbread Lemon Tart by The Redhead Baker
- Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken Recipe by Shockingly Delicious
- Garlic Lemon Pepper Rice by Daily Dish Recipes
- Crispy Lemon Chicken by Making Miracles
- South Indian Lemon Rice by Magical Ingredients
- Lemon Cookies by Devour Dinner
- Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Homemade Lemon Curd
- 4 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- zest of 3 lemons
- ½ cup (120mL) fresh lemon juice1
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature and cut into 8 pieces2
- Fill the bottom pot of a double boiler with 3-4" of water and turn heat to high. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. You may also use a pot with a heatproof bowl3 on top instead of a double boiler. Prepare the water the same.
- Combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in the top pot of the double boiler. Use a silicone whisk3 to continuously whisk the mixture as it cooks. It is important to keep the mixture moving so the eggs don't cook or curdle.
- Continue whisking the mixture until it becomes thick and foamy, approximately 10-15 minutes. If you want to check the temperature of the curd with an instant read thermometer to be safe, it should reach 160ºF (71ºC).
- Remove double boiler or top bowl from heat and whisk in butter pieces 2 at a time, adding the next pieces after previous pieces have mostly melted.
- When all of the butter has melted, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of lemon curd, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the curd. Allow lemon curd to cool in the refrigerator (it will thicken as it cools), about 2 hours. Remove plastic wrap when you are ready to use it. Leftover lemon curd stays fresh in the refrigerator, covered tightly, up to 1 month, or in the freezer, up to 1 year. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Fresh lemon juice: do not use bottled lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice from the lemons that you zest (3 lemons will give you a little more than ½ cup of juice).
- Unsalted butter: you may use salted butter. Do not add additional salt.
- Bowl and whisk: do not use a metal bowl or a metal whisk, or you run the risk of your lemon curd tasting metallic.
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
More of my favorite homemade condiments…
I am an absolute SUCKER for lemon curd (ok, really anything lemony, or citrusy for that matter!) and this looks like PERFECTION! Been too long since I’ve whipped up a batch, but that is going to have to change. Can’t wait to try your version!!! Looks heavenly 🙂
Haha, right there with you, girlfriend. Give me all the lemon and citrus things EVER. We were really eating the leftovers with a spoon. TOOOO good.
I have many so many different kinds of curd over the years… and yet never the most popular lemon variety! I love how bright and sunshine-y yellow it is – gorgeous! Now I kind of want to hold a fancy party with all different flavors and colors of curd!
P.S. New site design looks great!
Thanks, Julie! I think you should absolutely have a fancy party with all of the curds of every different kind. I’m curd obsessed right now!
Thank you for the mention friend! I LOVE making my passionfruit curd, but I’ve never tried the original lemon version! Fear not, this will be remedied as soon as I get my hands on some lemons! I can’t wait to see what delicious recipe you have planned for us to use up whatever curd I haven’t jammed into my mouth by tomorrow 😉
You’re welcome, Amy! I hope you try the lemon kind soon!
Yum, I love a good old fashioned, homemade lemon curd. Its such a versatile thing to have on hand.
Absolutely! A good recipe/skill to have under your belt!
Hello! Just stumbled across this recipe and your website and tried it for the first time. Mine seems a bit runny-er – Did I just not leave it to cook long enough? The flavor is wonderful though and I still plan on finding a use for it. Thanks so much1
Did you let it cool completely? If you did and it’s still runny, it’s definitely possible you didn’t cook it long enough. I’m glad you still enjoy the flavor!
I literally cannot say enough about this lemon curd, Lynn! I have used it on so many different occasions. It went great inside a vanilla cupcake for a baby shower, and on my morning yogurt as a treat!! Most often, we tend to eat it right off the spoon! Such an easy to follow recipe, and so versatile!
Haha, my #1 lemon curd fan in all her glory, folks! Thanks so much, Allison!
Thanks for hosting this event Lynn. The lemon curd sounds amazing and I think I will make some. How long does it keep in the refrigerator?
My pleasure, Wendy! It will keep in the fridge about a month. Refrigeration and freezer instructions in the recipe card!
That looks SO fabulously creamy and DELICIOUS!!
Thank you, Rebekah! I hope you try it!
Your curd is so creamy and dreamy! Your directions are so easy to follow. Can’t wait to slather this on all the things!
Thanks, Dorothy! I hope you do!
I’m a sucker for a great lemon curd. I love the sweet and tangy flavor.
Same, Heather. I want to turn every fruit into curd!!
I make lemon curd for Christmas gifts. Everyone loves it, I love making something consumable. I even have family that returns the jar!
I agreee, Terri! I like to make salted caramel sauce. I might make curd this year!
I’m obsessed with this lemon curd. I made it to top a pavlova and it was heavenly. I have some leftovers and I’m honestly thinking about drizzling them over my oatmeal for breakfast.
Right?! I’ll eat lemon curd on just about anything. My favorite is ice cream!!
Lemon curd is lovely on so many things, including a spoon.
Lemon Curd is the BEST. Best to eat with a spoon I mean! But really, it’s one of those recipes we all need because it’s fantastic.
Amen to that, sister!
This is perfect to eat with a spoon or with desserts. Amazing curd.
This is so creamy and have such nice well balanced flavor. Definitely a recipe to keep for years to come.
very nice, but way too sweet.
Interesting you say that, because I actually use HALF the amount of sugar that Ina Garten uses (where I adapted the recipe from) with the rest of the ingredients mostly the same. Thanks for your feedback!
next time I will use half of your quantity!