Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is a critical component of lemon meringue tart, but it's also delicious with a freshly baked scone or swirled into a bowl of yogurt.

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Lemons are such a beautiful and versatile fruit. They’re so bright and sunny and certainly, when tasted on their own, will wake you up like nothing else. Mixed with enough sugar (and that’s not just a little…), however, their sharp acidic flavor is tamed into a delightful indulgence. Think about lemonade in the middle of a hot summer’s day, or a lemon glaze over a blueberry coffee cake. Both recipes give you a sweet treat with a bright outlook. Lemon curd is perhaps the most intense version of this sweet acid. It’s tangy, sweet and oh-so-delicious!

Ingredients for lemon curd on a wooden table - lemons, butter, sugar, eggs.

The ingredients are simple and easily found in your kitchen on most days (assuming you might have 5 lemons in your kitchen on any given day). As I always mention, when you have so few ingredients in a recipe, make sure they are of excellent quality. In this case, that means the butter – using a high quality, cultured, unsalted butter will go a long way.

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A hand juicing lemons into a measuring glass.

Squeezing the lemons might take some time, but if you have the right juicer, this is quite a satisfying task. I like this citrus juicer, but I also really love a simple wooden reamer too. Pick whichever works for you.

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Lemon curd coating the back of a wooden spoon..

You will need to bring your lemon curd mixture almost to a boil in order for it to thicken properly. This is the only tricky part of making lemon curd, but you always have a safety net. It’s the eggs that will thicken the curd, but it’s also the eggs that could scramble if you cook them too much. So, be ready to move the pot off the stovetop if you think you’re getting too hot, but rest assured that if the lumps do start to form, you can always strain your lemon curd through a fine strainer and you’ll be fine.

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Lemon curd with yogurt and granola in a small bowl with a jar of lemon curd beside it.

It’s that simple and what you’ll be left with (about 1 ½ cups) is so intensely delicious. You might keep it all for yourself, storing it in your refrigerator for those mornings when you need a pick-me-up, or you might put it in little jars and give it to people who might need a dose of bright sunny flavor in their lives.

Lemon Curd

  • Prep Time: 5 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Cooling Time: 1 h
  • Total Time: 20 m
  • Servings:
    12
    Makes 1-½ cups

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • cups sugar
  • ¾ cup lemon juice about 5 lemons
  • pinch salt
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 6 tablespoons butter unsalted, sliced

Instructions

  1. Combine the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk together.
  2. Place the pan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring constantly with a spatula, until the curd has thickened and has reached 175°F – about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and butter, a little at a time.
  4. Use the curd right away for lemon meringue tart or cool to thicken and serve with scones or yogurt.
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Comments (28)Post a Reply

    1. Hi Clifford. This will keep in the fridge for several weeks. It has a high sugar content, so doesn’t spoil easily.

  1. I will definitely try this recipe. My mother in law taught me to make it 60 years ago, and she called it lemon butter. Was years before I every heard of lemon curd. Last time I tried her recipe, I must have done something wrong, so now I definitely want to try yours. Thanks for posting it. I will let you know how mine turns out.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you Meredith for this recipe. I made it today and it is turned out great and tastes so good. Your recipe was very easy to follow. I am going to make another batch and fill vanilla cupcakes with it. My mom use to make cupcakes, carve out a hole in the middle, fill with lemon pudding , would put the carved out circle on top of the pudding and would sprinkle with powdered sugar. The lemon curd would take the cupcakes up to a whole new level.
    I enjoy reading your recipes. I am a baker more than a cook and want to try some of your other recipes. Next up is chocolate chip cookies.

  3. I made the lemon curd, it was so good I made a second batch. It is delicious and the recipe was easy to follow. Next I would like to make a lemon curd tart.

  4. Hi Meredith, Can I use Meyer lemons since I live in Florida and have a cocktail tree with small lemons. They are not as tart as a regular lemon. Love your classes and this website.

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Meredith, I made your lemon curd. It was delicious. I love your recipes. Miss you on the Q. But love your cooking school. Teresa

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Meredith,
    Thanks to you I have finally found a lemon curd recipe that is easy, works every time, and the consistency & taste is perfect! Made your recipe twice to use with meringue fruit baskets: meringue, lemon curd, topped with fresh blueberries/strawberries and dusted with powdered sugar. YUM!
    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

    1. Lemon curd stays fresh for a while – at least a month in the refrigerator. I don’t currently have a recipe for scones without oats, but I’ll put it on my list! 😉
      ML

    1. Hi Beth. Yes, you should be able to freeze the lemon curd. Make sure you leave a little room in the container for the curd to expand as it freezes. When you thaw it, do so in the refrigerator over night or on the counter – don’t apply heat to it to thaw. You should be able to keep it in the freezer for up to a year.

  7. I love your idea of using little jars, but at what poInt do I transfer the finished curd into the jars? Do I need to cool the curd first, or can I immediately transfer the curd Into jars? If yes, do I then need to let the jars cool down before I put them into the refrigerator. Some recipes say to place plastic wrap over the curd, touching it, so that it does not create a film.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Debbie. You can put the curd into the jars hot if you like, but yes, I would let them cool a little before putting them in the refrigerator (mostly because I don’t want to bring up the temperature of my fridge though). And yes, you can put some plastic on top of the curd so that it doesn’t form a skin.

  8. 5 stars
    I just got done making the Lemon Curd =)
    YUM!

    *Costco has
    Meyer Lemons at a good price right now. They are beautiful and tasty.

  9. Sunshine on my pallet! That describes the lemon curd I made, using your recipe last night. I covered top with plastic wrap and today it was set and ready for the lemon birthday cake for my son. It is his and my granddaughter’s favorite. Everyone asked for extra curd on the side; it was that good. Thank you, Meredith, for this great recipe that made my son’s cake, gourmet quality. The compliments I received were an added bonus.

  10. 5 stars
    So silky smooth and great fresh lemon flavor makes this recipe a MUST try. It was simple, easy and the results are supreme. GID’s great on warm, fresh homemade English muffins.

  11. I will be trying this! I made pavlova for the first time a few weeks back, with raspberry & blueberry coulis – so good! I was wondering if the lemon curd could be canned? I was thinking of the 4 oz jars – for gifts.

    1. Hi Barbara,

      Absolutely you can can the lemon curd. About 15 minutes in a water bath. Then, they will keep for several months.

      ML

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