Lemon Curd

5 from 2 votes

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Lemons are like tiny balls of sunshine, and when they’re transformed into a luscious and tangy lemon curd, they become pure culinary magic. This vibrant, versatile, and downright delicious treat has been tantalizing taste buds for centuries.

Lemon curd’s origins can be traced back to 19th century England, where it was traditionally known as “lemon cheese.” It was originally used as a spread for bread and scones. Over time, this delightful creation gained popularity and found its way into a variety of desserts, cakes, tarts, and pies.

bright yellow lemon curd in a mason jar next to fresh lemons
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Lemon Curd

Lemon curd owes its tantalizing flavor and creamy texture to a handful of simple ingredients. The basic recipe typically includes fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, eggs, and butter. These ingredients come together to create a harmonious balance of sweet and tangy flavors that will make your taste buds dance with delight.

The process of making lemon curd involves gently cooking the mixture of lemon juice, zest, sugar, and eggs until it thickens. The addition of butter at the end adds richness and a velvety smooth texture. It’s crucial to remember that patience is key here; rushing the process can result in scrambled eggs instead of silky lemon curd.

One of the most beautiful aspects of lemon curd is its versatility. This zesty delight can be used in countless ways to enhance your culinary creations. Here are a few mouthwatering ideas:

  • Spread it on toast, muffins, or scones for a delightful breakfast or afternoon treat.
  • Use it as a filling for cakes, cupcakes, or doughnuts to add a burst of lemony goodness.
  • Create refreshing lemon tarts by pairing the curd with a buttery crust.
  • Swirl it into yogurt or ice cream for a tangy twist.
  • Incorporate it into cookies, macarons, or crepes to elevate their flavor profile.
top view of bright yellow lemon curd in a bowl


  • Citrus juice: you can use lemons, oranges, or a combination of your favorite citrus fruits
  • Lemon
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Butter 
  • Salt

Keep scrolling to find a full, printable recipe with a detailed ingredient list.

Recipe Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, whole eggs, and sugar until well blended. It should turn light and creamy.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of citrus juice to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Remove the saucepan from heat and add the zest of 1 lemon to the hot citrus juice, stirring it in.
  3. Slowly pour the hot citrus juice into the egg and sugar mixture while whisking continuously. This is called tempering. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
  4. Prepare a clean bowl with a strainer on top near your stove.
  5. Return the saucepan to medium heat and stir the mixture frequently. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature. Once it reaches 180°F and thickens like custard (around 10 minutes), remove from heat.
  6. Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the prepared bowl to remove any cooked egg bits.
  7. Add cubed unsalted butter and salt to the strained mixture. Stir well until the butter melts and incorporates.
  8. Let the citrus curd cool, then transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. It will thicken further as it cools.
lemon curd poured over angel food cake

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons for making lemon curd?

While fresh lemon juice is preferred for its vibrant flavor, you can use bottled lemon juice as a substitute in a pinch. However, be sure to choose a high-quality brand without any additives or preservatives for the best results.

Is lemon curd gluten-free?

The basic ingredients of lemon curd, such as lemon juice, zest, sugar, eggs, and butter, are naturally gluten-free. However, it’s essential to ensure that all the ingredients you use, including any additional flavorings or thickeners, are gluten-free to maintain its gluten-free status.

How can I fix curdled lemon curd?

If your lemon curd has curdled or looks grainy, it may have been cooked at too high a temperature or for too long. To fix it, remove it from heat and quickly transfer it to a blender or food processor. Blend on high speed until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Alternatively, you can strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps.

How long does it take to make lemon curd?

On average, it takes about 10-15 minutes to cook the curd until it thickens.

bright yellow lemon curd in a mason jar next to fresh lemons

More Recipes

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bright yellow lemon curd in a mason jar next to fresh lemons
5 from 2 votes

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd, with its tangy and creamy texture, is a versatile and delightful treat that adds a burst of citrusy goodness to a wide range of dishes.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon
  • Zest grated from 1 whole lemon
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
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  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the 4 egg yolks, 2 whole eggs, and ¾ cup of sugar. Whisk these ingredients together until they’re well blended. The mixture should take on a light, creamy color.
  • In a small saucepan, add the 2 cups of citrus juice. Heat over medium-high until it comes to a gentle boil.
  • Once the citrus juice is boiling, remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the zest from 1 lemon to the hot citrus juice, stirring to incorporate.
  • Begin to slowly pour the hot citrus juice into your egg and sugar mixture while continuously whisking. This process is called tempering. It helps prevent the eggs from curdling when they come into contact with the hot liquid.
  • After you’ve combined the citrus juice with the eggs and sugar, pour the mixture back into your saucepan.
  • At this point, it’s a good idea to prepare a clean bowl with a strainer placed on top, positioned near your stove for easy access.
  • Return the saucepan to the stove and heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently. Use a kitchen thermometer to monitor the temperature. Once the mixture reaches 180°F (82°C) and has thickened to a custard-like consistency, remove from heat. This can take around 10 minutes, but timing can vary.
  • Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer and into the prepared bowl. This helps remove any bits of cooked egg, resulting in a silky smooth curd.
  • After straining, add the ½ cup of cubed unsalted butter and ¼ teaspoon of salt to the mixture. Stir well until the butter is fully melted and incorporated.
  • Once cooled, transfer the citrus curd to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.


  • You can use the leftover egg whites to make white cloud frosting or meringue cookies. Both are good options. 
  • You can sub other citrus juices and zest to make other curds like orange or lime or grapefruit and you can use a mix of juices to make a general citrus curd. 


Serving: 1 of 8 servings, Calories: 234kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 169mg, Sodium: 95mg, Potassium: 102mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 555IU, Vitamin C: 28mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 1mg
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Homemade Lemon curd recipe is a true culinary gem that brightens up any dish it touches. From its humble beginnings as a spread to its versatile presence in desserts, this tangy delight is a testament to the magic of lemons. Your taste buds will thank you, and your friends and family will be begging for more of this zesty

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