Welcome to lemon heaven! This silky, rich and utterly scrumptious lemon curd is incredibly easy to make at home in less than 10 minutes and with only 4 ingredients! It’s a must make for any lemon dessert fan.
Homemade Lemon Curd Recipe
Lemon curd is one of my favorite easy summer recipes to whip up when I have 10 minutes to kill in the kitchen.
Today’s recipe, I literally just popped on the stove while waiting for a batch of cookies to bake and it was done and ready to chill before the cookie timer even went off!
Our lemon curd recipe is tangy and tart yet sweet, creamy yet silky, rich and indulgent yet light and bright. It’s absolute perfection in a spoon. And not only does it taste worlds better than the premade, jarred lemon curd you can buy at the grocery store – it’s also cheaper, especially if you’re making this lemon curd in season.
The name lemon curd personally doesn’t sound very appetizing but apparently it’s because back in early 19th century Great Britain, it was a byproduct of making cheese – they would add lemons and cream to separate the curds from the whey. So it was quite literally lemon curd. What we consider lemon curd today is very different with using butter instead of cream and curds, and with the perfect amount of sugar to balance out the tartness of the lemons.
My two biggest tips for making this recipe are to whisk constantly throughout the process – this is not a “stir occasionally” type of recipe – and use cold butter at the end to give the lemon curd that amazing silky texture, while also serving to thicken the lemon curd and give it that amazing rich flavor.
Ways to Enjoy Lemon Curd
- Spread on scones, crepes, muffins, croissants or toast
- Use as a filling for cakes, cupcakes, lemon meringue pie, lemon bars, lemon macarons, etc.
- Layer in a trifle or parfait
- Use to top a no-bake cheesecake
- Use as a dessert dip for cookies or fruit
My favorite way to enjoy lemon curd is to stir a small amount into greek yogurt and sprinkle some granola overtop.
Recipes Using Lemon Curd
How to store lemon curd: Lemon curd will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to three months. (This set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain.) After freezing, thaw it in the fridge overnight before using.
Is lemon pie filling and lemon curd the same thing? Lemon pie filling is usually thicker than lemon curd because it is thickened with cornstarch. It has a more mellow lemon flavor and does not typically contain butter, like lemon curd does. Lemon curd has a thinner, more spreadable texture making it a better choice for spreading on baking goods.
Why did my lemon curd turn green? This can occur if using an aluminum or copper pan to cook the lemon curd in. It is still safe to eat (though it might have a slight metallic taste), but to avoid that unfortunate green color use a stainless steel saucepan to make this lemon curd recipe.
Why is my lemon curd grainy? The most likely cause of grainy lemon curd is overcooked eggs – this is a result of either cooking the lemon curd at too high of a heat and/or not stirring frequently enough while cooking. You can use a double boiler instead of a saucepan to avoid this issue.
Why didn’t my lemon curd thicken? This likely had to do with the fat content of the butter but it could result from using too few egg yolks or not cooking the lemon curd for long enough. To thicken the lemon curd after the fact, whisk together 1 ablespoon cornstarch and 3 Tablespoons of warm water and then whisk the slurry into the lemon curd.
Tips for A Fool-Proof Lemon Curd
- Use fresh lemons, if possible; freshly squeezed lemon juice is less acidic than bottled lemon juice, so it results in a better flavor
- Continue whisking constantly – otherwise the curd will be grainy and possibly burn
- Keep the heat low to prevent overcooking the eggs and getting a grainy texture from scrambled eggs in your lemon curd
- Cook until the lemon curd is thick. It should coat the back of a spoon – it will thicken more as it sets, but it needs to thicken during cooking as well.
- Place plastic wrap or parchment paper right against the cooling lemon curd to prevent it from forming a skin
- Use cold butter and don’t add it too early. This not only thickens the lemon curd, but also gives it a silky texture
Lemon Curd Ingredients
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: for best results, use fresh lemons instead of bottled lemon juice as fresh is less acidic.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Micropane Grater/Zester
How to Make Lemon Curd
Whisk together the white sugar and eggs in a medium-sized saucepan.
Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk until combined.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and slowly add in the butter one tablespoon at a time, allowing each tablespoon to melt before adding in the next tablespoon.
Once all butter has been added, continue cooking for 5 minutes, whisking constantly.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Transfer the lemon curd to a bowl, place plastic wrap or parchment paper directly against the lemon curd and place in the fridge to set for 2-3 hours.
Makes approximately 1 cup.
Grab your free printable recipe card for homemade lemon curd recipe:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest (approximately 2 lemsons)
- 6 Tablespoons cold butter
- Whisk together the white sugar and eggs in a medium-sized saucepan.
- Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk until combined.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat and slowly add in the butter one tablespoon at a time, allowing each tablespoon to melt before adding in the next tablespoon.
- Once all butter has been added, continue cooking for 5 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Transfer the lemon curd to a bowl, place plastic wrap or parchment paper directly against the lemon curd and place in the fridge to set for 2-3 hours.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 106Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 2g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
I hope your family loves this easy lemon curd recipe as much as mine does!
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