Lemon Curd (2024)

Lemon curd is one of those fillings that is really versatile. It uniquely offers a sour note to desserts that can be too sweet, and give you something that is really balanced. We'll go over some tips for lemon curd recipe success and some great ideas on how to use them in your desserts. It’s quite easy to make as well, so stop buying it and start squeezing some lemons.

What's lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a very intense and sour filling made of mostly lemons, sugar, egg yolks, and butter. It is perfect for desserts that require a strong acid component to offset sweetness. Like lemon meringue tarts!

It’s different from lemon filling, which you often find in lemon meringue pies. Lemon filling is lighter in lemon flavor because it has a predominantly sugar-cornstarch base.

I wouldn’t recommend lemon curd for meringue pies, where the dish is much deeper. Bakers who say they are using lemon curd for their pies are in for a *very* sour pie - there will not be enough crust or meringue to offset the sour, and the pie be unpleasant to eat.

How do you make lemon curd from scratch?

To make it, we mix the eggs with sugar, to form a yellow paste, then add the lemon juice and butter cubes. We heat the mixture slowly, which melts the butter and starts cooking the curd, until it thickens (your proteins coagulating!). We then strain it to remove any potential large clump-age, and finally mix with salt and lemon zest for a nice bright flavor.

Whenever I hear the word 'curd' I think of milk, as in 'curds and whey' (Little Miss Muffet...). There's no milk in lemon curd, but a curd really is just proteins sticking together (in science speak, —> coagulation). And since lemon curd contains eggs, (and eggs = protein), the mixture does indeed form curds. These curds are quite small, so all our tongues feel with a well-made lemon curd luscious, bright, silky smoothness.

To prevent large curds from forming (i.e., preventing it from 'curdling'), we want to apply heat nice and slow.

What makes a good lemon curd?

Typically in a lemon curd, we are looking for a good hit of sour followed by sweetness. It should be silky smooth but can vary in thickness: you can have a looser (more runny) curd if you're using it for trifles or on top of scones; you will, however, need a denser curd at times. I'll go over that below.

What can you use lemon curd for?

I think the question is 'what can't you use it with?!' Maybe that's just me, but I love lemon curd.

I've even eaten it on top of sweet coconut rice - the kind in Thai sticky rice and mango desserts. (It was fair game. I was pregnant.)

The key here is to add them to desserts where you need a very intense lemon flavor in a small area. Here are some great ways to use lemon curd:

How to make lemon curd thicker?

If you want your lemon curd to have some support, I suggest using gelatin. This is what I do when I make my cream tart cakes:

If I didn’t add gelatin, the curd would ooze out from the layers and not give me the defined blobs. (For lack of a better word :))

On the other hand, leaving the gelatin out will allow the curd to maintain a more loose texture, which is great for scones and filling tarts. It will become a little firm on its own without gelatin when refrigerated.

How do you store lemon curd? Does it require refrigeration?

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.

Here is the recipe below ⬇️

Lemon Curd (2024)


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.

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.

Can you buy lemon curd in the grocery store? ›

It's kept in jars and sold in the jam aisle of the supermarket. Yet technically, lemon curd is more of a thick custard than a traditional preserve.

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.

How do you eat Trader Joe's lemon curd? ›

Slather it on toast or stir it into yogurt. Drizzle it on pancakes, or ice cream, or cheesecake. If you want to get fancy, whip up some heavy cream and fold it into the Lemon Curd for an almost-effortless tart or layer cake filling worthy of a royal afternoon tea.

Can you eat lemon curd on toast? ›

This beautifully tart citrus curd is the perfect filling for cakes and tarts or quite simply, spread generously on toast. One of my favourite ways to eat it, has to be spooned on top of greek yoghurt with a handful of blueberries and a scattering of mint leaves.

What is the best store-bought lemon curd? ›

The Wilkin & Sons curd was the clear winner for its smooth and creamy texture and "real lemon flavor," but the price tag raised eyebrows. The Wilkin & Sons curd was the clear winner for its smooth and creamy texture and "real lemon flavor," but the price tag raised eyebrows.

What is a good substitute for lemon curd? ›

If you don't want to use lemon curd then we would suggest using an alternative flavour of fruit curd. We have seen passionfruit, rhubarb and tart orange (or Seville orange) curds being sold online in the UK. All of these flavours would go well with summer berries.

How much is lemon curd at Aldi? ›

Aldi Grandessa Lemon Curd costs £0.45 for 411g, it's available in shops only. This Aldi lemon curd has a mild but delicious lemon flavour, but it lacks the desired richness.

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.

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.

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.

What to eat with curd? ›

However, curd should not be eaten alone; it is best paired with other ingredients, such as moong dal, honey, sugar, etc., to unlock its hidden health benefits. In addition, it should be noted that curd is not recommended during summer because it can lead to indigestion.

Is curd and lemon good to eat? ›

Is it harmful to eat curd with lemon? - Quora. Curd is prepared by adding some lime to warm milk. Curd is used for several health remedies, while lemon is also used for weight loss and digestion process. Hence the combination of both cannot harm the body.

Can lemon curd be warmed up? ›

Remember that curd will thicken more once cooled. If your cooled curd is not thick enough, you can reheat it to thicken. Put it over a low heat, stirring constantly. Ensure it coats the back of a spoon before taking it off the heat.

What does curd and lemon do to skin? ›

Curd and lemon face mask

Curd and lemon juice face mask is rich in Vitamin which helps in clearing spots and adds a natural glow to it. Mix 2 tsp curd with half a tsp lemon juice and apply it on your face. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then wash your face.

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