Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (2024)

Published: · Modified: by christina.marsigliese · 8 Comments

Jump to Recipe Jump to Video

This is the easiest recipe for lemon curd. You will never buy lemon curd from the store again after you make this simple homemade one pot recipe with just a handful of ingredients and a few minutes over the stove. My lemon curd recipe is silky smooth, tangy, sweet and delicious spooned over yogurt or ice cream, used as a filling in cakes, pies and cupcakes or served with pancakes, crepes, granola and berries. It's super creamy and made with fresh lemon juice and zest. If you just need a little bit, try my popular Small Batch Lemon Curd recipe too.

Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (1)


  • One pot recipe - this lemon curd is so easy to make because you can mix all of the ingredients in one pot and you don't need a double boiler.
  • Bright citrus flavor - if you love lemon, you will love how bright and zesty this one is! It's full of lemon zest and tart and tangy lemon juice with just the right amount of sugar to balance it out.
  • Not too sweet - there's just the right amount of sugar to make this recipe work and give a silky texture without being to sweet. It's a nice tart curd!
  • No corn starch - this recipe is set naturally by the egg proteins that form gel. You don't need any corn starch to thicken it!
  • It's so versatile - you can use this curd as a cake filling or topping, you can use it to fill cupcakes and make my lemon cupcakes, serve it with yogurt or on top of ice cream, serve it with fresh berries and crumbled meringue or how about with pancakes or crepes for a light breakfast or brunch? It is delicious everywhere!
Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (2)


  • Eggs -eggs provide majority of the structure for the curd and are absolutely important. They add firmness for a thick, spoonable texture, while the extra yolk adds creaminess and tenderness. Egg proteins set into a protein network to create a soft gel-like texture. This recipe has two options: you can use 2 whole eggs + 1 yolk for a looser set, or you can use 1 whole egg + 2 yolks for a slightly firmer set.
  • Egg yolk - egg yolks create a silky texture, add richness and also helps with that golden yellow color. Some lemon curd recipe are made with all yolks, but I like the soft texture from whole eggs (and it's also less wasteful if you normally throw out the whites). As mentioned above, you can use either 1 or 2 yolks based on your preference for consistency.
  • Sugar -sugar is so important here! Sugar sweetens the curd to balance the acidity and also plays a major role in creating a silky texture that prevents the egg proteins from coagulating too firmly.
Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (3)
  • Lemon Juice -I only ever make lemon curd with freshly squeezed lemon juice (not bottled). It provides the tangy flavor and the acidity also helps to set the egg proteins. Bottled lemon juice is pasteurized, which means it is heated to destroy the bacteria before bottling. The heat reduces the quality of the taste.
  • Lemon zest - most of the lemon flavor really comes from the yellow zest on the outside of the lemon. That is where the flavorful oils live, so I like to zest my lemons before I juice it and rub the zest into the sugar for extra flavor. You can strain the curd at the end to remove the zest.
  • Salt -salt enhances the buttery flavor of the crust and also balances the sweetness of the filling.
  • Butter -the key to a delicious silky lemon curd is a bit of butter to make it smooth and glossy. It also helps it set up with a thicker texture as the butterfat hardens. The trick to making one-pot lemon curd is to add the butter at the beginning - the fat will protect the egg proteins from curdling.
Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (4)

This recipe is the easiest you will come by because you literally place everything in a bowl and stir over simmering water until it is thick!

  • STEP 1). Blend sugar with zest. Place sugar in a saucepan with lemon zest and rub it together until fragrant.
  • STEP 2). Add eggs. Whisk in eggs and egg yolk until smooth.
  • STEP 3). Add lemon juice. Whisk in lemon juice.
  • STEP 4). Add butter. Cut the butter up into pieces and add it to the saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk gently and constantly until mixture is thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • STEP 5). Strain the curd. Pour the curd into a clean bowl through a fine mesh sieve, place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface and refrigerate for at least 6 hours until set.
Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (5)


  • Rub the sugar together with the lemon zest.Why? The yellow part of lemon skin contains essential oils (the same ones used to make citrus fragrances in perfumes and lemon-scented soaps) and when you rub sugar against them, it releases these oils. The oils coat the flat surfaces of the sugar crystals and make the curd taste extra lemony - a technique that's know as "plating" in the food industry. Sugar also acts as an abrasive to help break down the zest so that there aren’t large stringy pieces of it that would distract from the silky smooth texture of this curd.
  • Cook over gentle heat. Overcooking will cause proteins to bond too tightly, squeezing water out from between them and giving them a rubbery, lumpy texture. For insurance, indirect heat via steam is used to moderate the cooking temperature since boiling water cannot exceed 100°C. This recipe uses whole eggs to add firmness for a thick, spoonable texture, while the extra yolk adds creaminess and tenderness.
  • Strain the curd. Pass the hot curd through a sieve for the smoothest texture and to remove any accidental bits of cooked egg (it happens to the best of us).
  • Cover with a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface before chilling to prevent a skin from forming. This prevents the proteins on surface of the curd from drying out which is what creates the "skin" or a film on top. It is perfectly find and edible, but it will create some lumps in the curd.
Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (6)


What is lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a type of stirred custard made from a cooked, thickened egg mixture. In the presence ofheatandacid, egg proteins begin to bond to one another, transforming the liquid mixture into a smooth thick gel. In order to do this,gentle cookingis necessary to minimize the possibility of curdling.

How does lemon curd set?

The acid from lemon juice helps to transform the ultimate structure of proteins (a process called denaturation) which unravels their natural folded structure so that their side chains are exposed to react with the surrounding environment. When this happens, the proteins begin to form bonds with each other, or coagulate, in a gentle way to form a continuous network of proteins with water held between them. This is what creates the thick and silky texture of citrus curd.

What is lemon curd made of?

Lemon curd is made from eggs, sugar, lemon juice and butter. It's the same concept as a custard, except for lemon curd the proteins set by acid as well, which is why lemon curd does not require a thickener like flour or corn starch.

What is lemon curd used for?

You can use lemon curd in so many ways! Use it as a filling for cakes and cupcakes, to serve with pancakes or crepes (to make a crepe cake!), you can add it to your yogurt with some berries and granola, swirl it through vanilla ice cream or fill tarts and pastries.

Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (7)


How do you store lemon curd?

Store lemon curd covered tightly in the fridge.

How long does lemon curd last in the fridge?

Lemon curd will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge, so it is great to make it in advance when you need it to fill cakes and pastries.

What happens if I over-cook lemon curd?

Overcooking will cause proteins to bond too tightly, squeezing water out from between them and giving them a rubbery, lumpy texture. If you over-heat the lemon curd, the egg proteins can coagulate and you will see little bits of cooked egg. You can try to strain the curd to remove the bits of egg, but it will affect the overall consistency. I would recommend trying again!

If you love lemon, check out my other lemon recipes:

Easy Creamy Lemon Tart

Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Lemon Brownies

Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

Swirled Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Easy Small Batch Lemon Curd

Easy Almond Raspberry Lemon Bars (gluten free)

Lemon Coconut Crumb Tarts

Easy Lemon Curd

Christina Marsigliese

Smooth and silky lemon curd that's tart and not too sweet with loads of lemon flavor and all made in one pot. This is an easy no-fuss recipe!

5 from 4 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Chill Time 2 hours hrs

Servings 1 cup


  • 6 tablespoon 75g granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 large eggs (or 1 large egg *see ingredient notes in the post above*)
  • 1 large egg yolk (or 2 egg yolks *see ingredient notes in the post above*)
  • 6 tablespoon 90ml lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoon 56g salted butter, cut into small pieces


  • Combine sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan and back of a spoon or your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar. This will coat the sugar crystals with fragrant oils from the lemon peel, adding a whole new dimension of intense lemon flavour to this curd.

  • Add the whole egg(s) and extra egg yolk(s) to the saucepan with the lemony sugar and whisk until smooth. Mix in lemon juice.

  • *you can use 1 or 2 whole eggs and then 2 or 1 egg yolks depending on your preference for the final thickness for this curd. See ingredient notes in the post above*

  • Add butter in pieces and then place the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk gently and continuously for 6-9 minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not walk away because it will transform very quickly. Once you see a bubble emerge from the surface, then this indicates that it is thick enough, however do not let it boil.

  • Immediately pour the hot curd through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pieces of lemon zest (this also removes any pesky bits of cooked egg white) and into a clean jar or airtight container.

  • Place a piece of plastic wrap directly in contact with the surface and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. If using a mason jar, just screw the cap on tightly. This curd will last for at least a week in the refrigerator.


Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:

  • Lemon Pistachio Cake
  • Lemon Curd Crumb Cake
  • Glazed Lemon Blueberry Scones
  • Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffins

See more Lemon →


These are some fun desserts to serve with lemon curd:

  • Strawberry Shortcake Swiss Roll
  • Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake
  • Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake Bars

More Fruit

  • Caramel Apple Cake
  • Fudgy White Chocolate Raspberry Brownies
  • Honey Apple Fritter Bars

Reader Interactions


    Leave a Comment and Rating

  1. Deb B-D

    Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (21)
    So quick, easy and absolutely delicious, thank you for the perfect lemon curd recipe!


    • christina.marsigliese

      You're welcome! Thanks for your comment Deb!


  2. Rick

    Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (22)
    So simple and delicious.


  3. Sara

    Why when I'm trying to watch your video does it cut off after an ad to a different recipe. I've never been able to watch a recipe all the way through.


    • christina.marsigliese

      Hi Sara, you need to click on "stay" when it pops up on the screen I believe.


  4. Samantha Hayes

    Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (23)
    This was a fabulous recipe to follow such simple instructions, it was delicious - thank you


    • christina.marsigliese

      Thanks so much Samantha!


  5. Heather

    Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (24)
    I never realized lemon curd was so easy to make. I'll make it again for sure!


Easy Lemon Curd (One Pot!) - Scientifically Sweet (2024)


Why didn't my lemon curd get thick? ›

If your lemon curd hasn't thickened, it may not have been heated enough. It can take up to 30 minutes of constant stirring to cook lemon curd, especially if it's a large batch. Remember that curd will thicken more once cooled. If your cooled curd is not thick enough, you can reheat it to thicken.

What happens if you overcook lemon curd? ›

Overcooking will cause proteins to bond too tightly, squeezing water out from between them and giving them a rubbery, lumpy texture. If you over-heat the lemon curd, the egg proteins can coagulate and you will see little bits of cooked egg.

How much sugar is in lemon curd? ›

Nutrition Facts
Net carbs139g
83 more rows

Why does my homemade lemon curd taste metallic? ›

So, yes, as you can imagine, it also changes the taste, which causes an unpleasant, metallic undertone. This instance can even happen in non-stainless steel or iron cookware, so it's important to know what material your equipment is before you make lemon curd with it.

Why does lemon curd go grainy? ›

Avoid Over-cooking The Curd

Your lemon curd could get chunky and grainy if you let it overcook. One thing you should remember while making lemon curd is that you should never let it reach a point where it starts boiling. The ideal temperature for lemon curd is 170 degrees Fahrenheit, and it shouldn't cross that.

Why does my lemon curd taste eggy? ›

If you just place all the ingredients in a saucepan without beating the butter and sugar with the eggs first, the curd tends to taste eggy. Add the lemon juice and tablespoons of lemon zest and mix.

How do you thicken lemon curd at home? ›

Problem: My Lemon Curd is Too Runny
  1. To thicken runny lemon curd, put the curd back into your saucepan, place over the lowest possible heat, and stir constantly. ...
  2. Alternatively, heat the curd until it's warm to the touch, then remove from the heat and whisk in another few tablespoons of butter.
Apr 2, 2024

What is the shelf life of homemade lemon curd? ›

Prepared lemon curd can be frozen for up to 1 year without quality changes when thawed. To thaw, move the container from the freezer to a refrigerator at 40°F or colder for 24 hours before intended use. After thawing, store in the refrigerator in a covered container and consume within 4 weeks.

How to know if lemon curd went bad? ›

If the curd changes color, has a significant change in texture (such as lumpiness or wateriness), or if it has an unpleasant smell, you should assume that it has gone bad and dispose of the remaining curd instead of eating it.

Is it OK to put sugar in curd? ›

Curd should always be paired with either sugar, honey, jaggery or spices like salt, black pepper, cumin powder. This improves the efficacy of curd and reduces the formation of mucus.

Does lemon curd need to be refrigerated? ›

In a covered, airtight container for up to one week. It doesn't really freeze well. Lemon curd does contain eggs and dairy (butter), so I'd be ok leaving it out for the day if I plan on serving it, but anything overnight definitely would need to be refrigerated.

How long does lemon curd last unopened? ›

Unopened canned jars will keep for up to three months in the refrigerator. Once opened, the jars should be used within a week.

Why did my lemon curd turn green? ›

If your lemon curd turned green, it likely had a reaction to something metal. Avoid using a copper or aluminum pan as those will react with the lemon juice and cause the discoloration in the lemon curd, and could even cause a slightly metallic aftertaste.

What is the difference between lemon curd and lemon pudding? ›

While curd resembles pudding or custard, the difference lies in the way it's thickened. Custards and puddings rely on cornstarch, milk and cream, while eggs are the primary thickener for curd, making it lighter and brighter.

Why is my lemon curd gummy? ›

you basically broke the bonds of the egg protein when you stirred the curd. in any case, this is not uncommon. you can rebake it and it should set back up. if you are trying to use it for a spread then you will need to adjust the recipe to add gelatin or another thickening agent of sorts to use while it's cold.

Why is my curd thin? ›

The temperature is too low. If the temp is below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the cultures will not ferment properly and the milk will stay runny. The temperature is too high. If the temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the yogurt will ferment too fast and will also render the yogurt runny.

Why is curd not setting? ›

Dahi does not set well if you use less starter for hom*ogenized milk. On the other hand, non hom*ogenized milk needs less starter as they tend to set well and faster. Adding more will make your curd sour. So adjust the amount of starter accordingly.

How do you add curd to thicken it? ›

Simply add a small amount of yogurt, like a spoonful, at a time. Stir your yogurt into the curry and keep adding a little more at a time until it reaches your desired thickness. This is great for Indian-style curries as a cream substitute.

Why won t my orange curd thicken? ›

You need to keep a low heat and stir constatntly. The time it takes for the curd to thicken can vary accoding to the size of the pan and the heat used. To test if the curd is cooked properly, dip a spoon into the mixture then run your finger through the mixture on the back of the spoon.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated:

Views: 6563

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.