Easy Lemon Curd Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)

Homemade Lemon Curd tastes like the best part of Lemon Bars – the creamy lemony center. This lemon curd has a wonderfully fresh and vibrant lemon flavor with the perfect amount of sweetness to balance the tanginess.

Making your own Lemon Curd Recipe is easier than you think and it tastes better than store-bought. It also keeps really well. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is to make it from scratch.

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe (VIDEO) (1)

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My In-laws live in California and have several lemon trees growing in their backyard. Every year they give us a large box of homegrown lemons and I sure put them to good use. I do everything from freezing the zest to freezing the lemon juice in ice cube trays and then enjoy their lemons all through winter. If you love lemons, check out our post on What to do with Lemons.

Lemon Curd Video Tutorial

Watch Natasha make easy Lemon Curd. All you need is a saucepan, whisk and sieve to strain it through. It requires only 6 ingredients (including salt) and takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Just like nearly everything, homemade tastes best.

What is Lemon Curd?

Lemon curd is a spread made out of fresh lemon juice, eggs, sugar, zest, and butter. The eggs in the recipe thicken the mixture, giving it a custard-like consistency. It’s often used as a dessert topping or spread for cakes, cookies, tarts, etc.

Serve this over Sponge Cake, with Strawbery Scones or Crepes. It’s also a tasty filling for Lemon Curd Tartlets. There are so many uses for Lemon Curd.

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Ingredients

The key to making great lemon curd is to use fresh lemon juice. Avoid using concentrate or you’ll wish you just bought a jar of the stuff.

  • Eggs – use 3 large whole eggs right out of the fridge.
  • Sugar – We found that 1/2 cup of granulated sugar cuts the tartness perfectly.
  • Salt – a pinch of fine sea salt balances the flavors.
  • Lemon – since you’ll need the zest and juice, make sure to zest a lemon before squeezing the juice.
  • Butter – use unsalted butter, sliced into pieces for quicker melting.
  • Vanilla Extract – we always use real vanilla extract.
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How to Make Lemon Curd

  1. In a medium saucepan – vigorously whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, and lemon zest until frothy.
  2. Add lemon juice while whisking and stir until combined.
  3. Add butter pieces and whisk constantly over low heat until mixture is thickened (8-9 minutes). Lemon curd thickens around 160-170˚F. Once you see it start bubbling, let it gently simmer for a few seconds then remove it from the heat at 175-180˚F ona thermometer. It should coat the back of a spoon without running when you pull your finger across the spoon.
  4. Strain – pour the lemon curd through a fine-mesh sieve, stirring over the sieve with a whisk to help it strain through. Discard the solids.
  5. Add vanilla – stir in vanilla extract until combined.
  6. Cool and store – once lemon curd is at room temperature cover and store in the refrigerator up to one week.
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Pro Tip: Lemon Curd is cooked at 170˚F. You can use an instant-read thermometer to gauge progress. I take it off the stove at around 175-180˚F which is when it starts to lightly bubble.

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Common Questions

Can I use Meyer lemons?

Meyer lemons are sweeter and less tart than regular lemons so it won’t have the same punch of lemon flavor. Consider using less sugar.

How to buy lemons?

Look for lemons that have a smooth firm skin, vibrant yellow, and unblemished. Avoid pale-colored (overripe) lemons and avoid any green-tinted (underripe) lemons.

Can I use lemon juice from concentrate?

This is a hard NO. I mean it, please do yourself a favor and squeeze real lemons.

Do you need a double boiler?

A double boiler is not necessary for making lemon curd. It’s an extra dish to wash and will take longer to heat up and thicken.

Can I use less sugar?

We have tested this with 1/3 cup of sugar and it worked very well. It’s slightly less sweet and the lemon flavor is slightly more pronounced. If you are looking to reduce the sugar, it will still work.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes, but use a large saucepan, and keep in mind it will take a little longer to heat through and thicken up.

Make-Ahead

  • To Refrigerate: once cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
  • Freezing: transfer to a freezer-safe container, leaving 1/2″ of headroom at the top and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
  • To Reheat: lemon curd should be served cold. There is no need to heat it.
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This recipe is so versatile and delicious and it keeps really well. I hope it becomes a new favorite for you. Let me know your favorite ways to enjoy lemon curd in the comments below.

More Lemon Recipes to try

If you need a good recipe for using up lemon juice, add Lemon Curd to your recipe repertoire. Here are some more great lemon desserts to try:

  • Lemon Bars
  • Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze
  • Classic Lemonade
  • Canning Lemons
  • Lemon Poppyseed Cake
  • Strawberry Lemonade

Lemon Curd Recipe

4.98 from 88 votes

Author: Natasha Kravchuk

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe (VIDEO) (7)

Fresh homemade Lemon Curd has vibrant lemon flavor and tastes like the creamy filling in Lemon Bars. It’s so much better than store-bought and this is the easiest method that comes together quickly in a saucepan.

SavePinReviewPrint

Prep Time: 6 minutes mins

Cook Time: 9 minutes mins

Total Time: 15 minutes mins

Ingredients

Servings: 20 people (makes 1 1/4 cups)

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest, from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from 3 lemons, strained
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In a medium (2 qt) saucepan, combine eggs, sugar, zest, and a pinch of salt. Whisk vigorously until well combined, frothy, and lightened in color.

  • Whisk in lemon juice until blended.

  • Add butter pieces and set the pot over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted and the mixture is thickened (7-9 minutes). The lemon curd will thicken around 160-170˚F. Once you see it start bubbling, let it gently simmer for a few seconds then remove it from the heat at around 175-180˚F on a thermometer. When it's ready, it should coat the back of a spoon without running when you pull your finger across the spoon.

  • Strain the mixture through a fine sieve (if you stir in the sieve with the whisk, it will push the mixture through the sieve faster). Discard the solids left in the sieve.

  • Stir in vanilla extract. Let the mixture cool to room temperature then store covered in the refrigerator to fully set. Keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Nutrition Per Serving

60kcal Calories5g Carbs1g Protein4g Fat2g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat1g Monounsaturated Fat1g Trans Fat34mg Cholesterol10mg Sodium17mg Potassium1g Fiber5g Sugar141IU Vitamin A2mg Vitamin C5mg Calcium1mg Iron

  • Full Nutrition Label
  • Nutrition Disclosure

Nutrition Facts

Lemon Curd Recipe

Amount per Serving

Calories

60

% Daily Value*

Fat

4

g

6

%

Saturated Fat

2

g

13

%

Trans Fat

1

g

Polyunsaturated Fat

1

g

Monounsaturated Fat

1

g

Cholesterol

34

mg

11

%

Sodium

10

mg

%

Potassium

17

mg

%

Carbohydrates

5

g

2

%

Fiber

1

g

4

%

Sugar

5

g

6

%

Protein

1

g

2

%

Vitamin A

141

IU

3

%

Vitamin C

2

mg

2

%

Calcium

5

mg

1

%

Iron

1

mg

6

%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: homemade lemon curd recipe, lemon curd

Skill Level: Easy

Cost to Make: $

Calories: 60

Natasha Kravchuk

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe (VIDEO) (9)

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)

FAQs

What is the best way to thicken lemon curd? ›

Add a cornstarch slurry: First, ensure your curd is cooked to 170 degrees F and if it still hasn't thickened, whisk 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.

Why didn't my lemon curd set? ›

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.

How long does homemade canned lemon curd last? ›

It is similar to lemon custard, but traditionalists feel that curd has more lemon flavor than lemon custard. Made fresh it has a refrigerator shelf life of approx. 1 week. Canned, it can have a shelf life of approximately 3 to 4 months.

How do you make lemon curd less sour? ›

Sugar (either caster/superfine or granulated will work).

The sugar plays two roles here: it balances out the tartness of the lemon juice and also helps prevent the egg yolks from curdling.

Can you overcook lemon 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 to tell if lemon curd has gone 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.

Can you freeze fresh made lemon curd? ›

Shelf Life: Prepared lemon curd can be frozen for up to 1 year without quality changes when thawed. To thaw, place container in a refrigerator at 40°F or lower for 24 hours before intended use. After thawing, consume within 4 weeks.

Does homemade lemon curd need to be kept in the fridge? ›

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 to know when lemon curd is done? ›

Don't be tempted to use bottled lemon juice of any kind as it'll be far too acidic and will ruin the flavor. You'll know the curd is ready when it noticeably thickens in consistency and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Keep the heat low, don't turn it up to quicken the process or the eggs will scramble.

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.

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.

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 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.

How to fix grainy lemon curd? ›

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.

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