Lemon Curd

4.34 from 24 votes
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This easy lemon curd recipe uses just 5 simple ingredients and comes together in minutes on the stovetop.

Lemon lovers, this recipe is for you!

This is the best lemon curd recipe ever. It is unbelievably thick and creamy, with the perfect ratio of sweet to tangy flavors. I always get rave reviews when I use it as a filling in my lemon layer cake.

It is seriously so delicious that you will want to eat it right out of the jar with a spoon.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

small glass jar of bright yellow lemon curd; a silver spoon is pulling out a spoonful from the top to show the creamy texture. Lemon halves and grey linen in background.

Of course, it is also delightful spread on top of scones or biscuits, or when used as a filling in pies and tarts.

For more delicious lemon recipes, try my lemon cake mix cookies (a reader favorite!), lemon lush, or lemon icebox cake, or lemon poke cake.

Homemade lemon curd recipe

Once you make this homemade lemon curd recipe, you will never want to go back to store-bought.

Luckily, making it from scratch is much easier than you would think.

All you need are:

  • lemons
  • eggs
  • butter
  • sugar
Lemon curd in a glass jar, with lemon halves and a silver spoon next to it

Tips for making the best lemon curd

  • Zest your lemons before juicing them, making sure to get only the yellow rind and not the white pith.
  • Use fresh lemon juice, not the stuff that comes in a bottle.
  • Cook over a DIY double boiler. (More on this below.)
  • While I don’t strain my lemon curd, if you prefer it super smooth please feel free to strain it through a fine mesh strainer.

Use a DIY double boiler

While you can cook your lemon curd in a saucepan over direct heat, I find that this method makes overcooking or burning it almost inevitable.

Instead, I highly recommend using a make-shift double boiler. The gentle, indirect heat works to cook the curd perfectly.

To make a double boiler, simply place a heat-proof glass bowl over a saucepan.

Note: I actually prefer using a glass bowl instead of a traditional double broiler with a metal bowl, as the metal can give the curd a metallic taste. Yuck!

jar of homemade lemon curd with fresh lemons in background

Recipe FAQ

What is lemon curd used for?

Lemon curd is often used as a topping on scones, pancakes, waffles, cakes, and cookies; and as a filling in cakes, pies, parfaits, cookies, and more.

How long does lemon curd last?

Lemon curd will keep for 1-2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To make it last longer you can freeze it in an airtight container for several months.

Why is my lemon curd not thickening?

Lemon curd can be too thin if it has not been heated long enough. To thicken, heat it on the stovetop, whisking continuously until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it just doesn’t seem to be thicking up, try turning up the heat slightly.

Recipe
small glass jar of bright yellow lemon curd; a silver spoon is pulling out a spoonful from the top to show the creamy texture. Lemon halves and grey linen in background.
Recipe
4.34 from 24 votes

Lemon Curd

Author: Jaclyn
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
How to make sweet, tangy, and creamy homemade lemon curd in just 15 minutes with 5 simple ingredients.

Ingredients
 

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 stick salted butter cubed and softened to room temperature

Instructions

  • Set up a DIY double boiler: Bring 1-2 inches of water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Place a heatproof glass bowl on top, making sure that the water in the pot is not touching the bottom of the glass bowl.
  • Add the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the glass bowl. Cook the mixture for about 10-12 minutes, until it thickens to the point that it coats the back of a spoon and resembles a hollandaise sauce. 
  • Remove the bowl from heat and add the cubed butter. Whisk until melted.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap so that it is touching the curd– this will help prevent a skin from forming as it cools. 
  • Once the curd has cooled completely, remove the plastic wrap and spoon init to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
small glass jar of bright yellow lemon curd; a silver spoon is pulling out a spoonful from the top to show the creamy texture. Lemon halves and grey linen in background.

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How to Make Lemon Curd

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