Homemade Lemon Curd (2024)

Novice bakers and professionals alike can delight in a good homemade lemon curd recipe. Dolloped onto crepes, baked into lemon bars, piped into meringue shells, layered into a cake—the ways you can use fresh lemon curd seem endless. It’s light, colorful and refreshingly tangy, so you’ll typically find lemon curd in spring desserts and summery sweets.

There are dozens of lemon recipes to fall in love with, but the simplicity of this lemon curd makes us come back to it over and over again. By day, spread it over your morning toast. By night, spoon it into mini tart shells, or layer it into a beautiful raspberry lemon cake to serve for dessert. (Orelevate your favorite yellow cake mix when there’s no time for from-scratch baking—we’ll never tell!)

Oh, and be prepared for your house to smell absolutely amazing.

What is lemon curd?

Creamy and thick, lemon curd is almost like a buttery version of jam. A curd is made with citrus, sugar, eggs and butter. The butter and eggs give the curd its smooth, creamy consistency. Lemon curd can be used as a spread or to flavor various baked desserts.

Ingredients for Lemon Curd

  • Lemon: We recommend using the freshest lemons you can find. Be sure to rinse the peel thoroughly so you don’t run the risk of bacteria or other germs on your zest.
  • Eggs: Eggs help thicken the curd so that it’s not drippy or runny.
  • Sugar: The lemons bring the tartness, and the sugar brings the sweetness! Regular white granulated sugar is the best choice for a curd.
  • Butter: The smooth texture of lemon curd comes from the butter—not to mention a dimension of flavor. We don’t recommend swapping it out for shortening or another fat.


Step 1: Combine the first three ingredients

Homemade Lemon Curd (1)TMB Studio

In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until all three are well blended. Be sure the heat isn’t too high, or else the eggs might start to scramble and separate.

Editor’s Tip: A heavy-bottomed saucepan will allow the mixture to heat evenly so that the curd can come together and create the silky texture you’re looking for. A thinner pan could result in burnt bits of curd or pockets of unevenly heated eggs.

Step 2: Simmer and stir until thick

Homemade Lemon Curd (2)TMB Studio

Add the butter and lemon zest, and cook until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a metal spoon. Whisk constantly during this time.

Step 3: Let it cool

Transfer the lemon curd to a small bowl (preferably glass), and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Once cooled, refrigerate it, covered, until cold.

Homemade Lemon Curd (3)TMB Studio

Lemon Curd Recipe Variations

  • Make it a lime curd: Substitute lime juice and zest for lemon juice and zest. Proceed with the steps as directed.
  • Add it to meringue shells: Meringue shells with lemon curd might be one of the prettiest desserts we’ve ever seen. Keep some fresh berries on hand to top the curd with, and your guests will be complimenting your dessert skills all day long.
  • Layer it in an ice cream pie: Whether a spring birthday party or a summer potluck, a lemon-berry ice cream pie with layers of lemon curd makes for a refreshingly chilled treat.

How to Store Lemon Curd

Homemade lemon curd will last in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed mason jar or airtight container for one to two weeks.

Can you freeze lemon curd?

Yes! You can freeze lemon curd for up to one year in freezer-safe resealable bags or mason jars. Thaw the curd in the refrigerator before using.

Lemon Curd Recipe Tips

How many lemons do you need for the lemon zest?

One medium lemon or two smaller lemons should be enough to produce 1 tablespoon zest. Remember, you just want the outermost yellow part of the peel, not the innermost white part which is more bitter that zesty. Here’s how to zest a lemon five ways.

Can you use bottled lemon juice?

You’ll want the brightest, puckery-est lemon flavor in your curd, so our Test Kitchen says to avoid using bottled lemon juice here. Always use juice squeezed from fresh lemons when making lemon curd for pure lemon flavor.

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.

Watch how to Make Homemade Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

Prep Time20 min

Yield1-2/3 cups.


  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Text Ingredients


  1. In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk eggs, sugar and lemon juice until blended. Add butter and lemon zest; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a metal spoon. Transfer to a small bowl; cool 10 minutes. Refrigerate, covered, until cold.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 110 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 52mg cholesterol, 45mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.


Rosemary Siefert

Rosemary is an editor at Taste of Home where she blends her six years of writing and editing with her lifelong love of all things food. When she's not working, Rosie can be found curled up with a coffee and a book, testing a new recipe for dinner or trying a new dish at a local restaurant.

Homemade Lemon Curd (4)

Homemade Lemon Curd (2024)


How long does fresh lemon curd last? ›

This homemade lemon curd will last in your fridge for 1-2 weeks, but you can also freeze it! You guys know how I love freezing everything. In the freezer, the lemon curd will last at least a few months and the beautiful part is that it only hardens about as much as ice cream, so you can scoop it out as needed.

What is lemon curd made of? ›

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.

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

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 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.

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.

Why is my lemon curd not yellow? ›

The color of the lemon curd is depending on the egg yolks that you use, and if the yolks color is more orange than yellow, then your lemon curd will turn dark yellow- orange color and not bright yellow.

How do you thicken lemon curd at home? ›

To make a thicker curd, you can also add another egg yolk to the recipe, or a teaspoon of cornflour mixed into a tablespoon of water and cook until thickened.

Why is my homemade lemon curd runny? ›

Cook longer: Most Lemon Curds are runny because they don't get cooked long enough to thicken the egg yolks.

What is the difference between curd and yogurt? ›

Curd typically has a looser texture and a milder flavour, as its fermentation process is less controlled. Yoghurt, on the other hand, undergoes a more controlled fermentation, resulting in a thicker, custard-like consistency and a distinct tangy taste.

What is Sicilian lemon curd? ›

Sicilian Lemon Curd Deliciously rich and smooth, tangy organic lemon curd. Naturally ripened in the Sicilian sunshine, organic lemons are mixed with organic British free-range eggs and just enough organic butter to create our Sicilian lemon curd.

What is another name for lemon curd? ›

Lemon curd's texture is smooth and silky, similar to a very smooth, creamy custard, and thick enough to be spread on scones and other foods. In Britain, lemon curd is also known as "lemon cheese," and other fruit curds are known as "[name of fruit] cheese."

What do you eat lemon curd with? ›

As a topping, lemon curd is the perfect complement for everything from scones and pancakes to cheesecake and ice cream. It also works well as a filling — consider using it in crepes, pastries, tarts, or in between cake layers. Of course, we wouldn't judge you if you ate it with a spoon.

Why does my homemade lemon curd taste metallic? ›

There are a few reasons why your lemon curd may taste metallic. The most common reason is usual due to using aluminum or metal bowls. The acid in lemon juice tends to react with metal, and sometimes eggs can react with aluminum.

How long is lemon curd safe to eat? ›

Fresh lemon curd will keep for one to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

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 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.

How do you keep lemon curd fresh? ›

Lemon curd will keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. To freeze for longer storage, transfer the lemon curd to a freezer-safe container, leaving about ½ inch of space at the top to accommodate expansion. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How long can curd last in the fridge? ›

Buy the freshest curds that you can. Eat what you want, but if you can't finish the bag right away or if you intend to keep it for a while put it into the refrigerator. Once refrigerated, you can usually keep the curds about two weeks.

Does lemon curd go in the fridge? ›

Pour the cooked curd through a sieve into a clean jug to remove the zest, then pour into sterilised jars. Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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