Add a burst of citrusy flavor to any dessert with some homemade lemon curd. The smooth and creamy texture is easy to achieve with just a few simple steps and only 6 ingredients!

glass jar of lemon curd on a plate next to a lemon half and spoonful of curd.

Toppings can take a dessert from delicious to extraordinary. Whether it’s hot fudge sauce, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, toppings are truly the best! Another one to add to the list is lemon curd. It’s surprisingly easy to make from scratch and lasts for weeks in the fridge. Just a spoonful will add a bit of sunshine to your day!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Only 6 ingredients. They are probably already in your kitchen too!
  • Smooth and creamy texture.
  • Keeps well in the refrigerator and the freezer. Make this curd ahead of time and have it ready to go whenever you need it.
  • The perfect topping or filling. Believe me when I say you will find reasons to eat this lemon curd. It goes with almost any dessert! I love it as a filling for lemon macarons.

Ingredient Notes

bowls of ingredients to make homemade lemon curd.
  • Lemon juice: Use fresh lemon juice, not bottled. You will need about 2 large lemons.
  • Zest: This helps intensify the citrus flavor. The natural oils are less acidic than the juice so it always helps to add zest when baking with lemon.
  • Eggs: Two egg plus a yolk makes for a thick and rich curd.
  • Butter: For a rich taste and smooth texture, add butter to the curd. Use cold butter pieces, which helps cool the curd.
  • Heavy cream: A tablespoon of heavy cream helps cut the acidity a bit.

Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.

Lemon Curd Uses

Cookies. Add a dollop of curd to your next batch of thumbprint cookies. It can also act as a filling for linzer cookies and macarons.

Cakes and cupcakes. Core out some lemon cupcakes and fill them with curd! You can also use the curd between layers of cake or as a topping on cheesecake or pound cake.

Breakfast. A fresh stack of blueberry pancakes is asking for a spoonful of lemon curd! You can also add it as a topping on buttermilk waffles or spread it on raspberry scones.

Pies and tarts. Add a dollop on a warm slice of pie with vanilla ice cream or use the curd as a filling for a tart.

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd

photo collage demonstrating how to make lemon curd in a nonreactive saucepan and bowl.
  1. Whisk together the eggs, yolk, sugar and lemon zest. Set aside.
  2. Heat lemon juice in a nonreactive saucepan until scalding hot. Slowly pour lemon juice into egg mixture, whisking constantly.
  3. Return mixture to pan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly. The mixture is done when the spatula leaves a trail in the curd and disappears right away.
  4. Remove mixture from heat. Add butter pieces. Stir until melted, then stir in the heavy cream and salt.
photo collage demonstrating how to strain lemon curd, cover it and store it in a bowl.
  1. Pour curd through a fine mesh sieve over a nonreactive bowl. Discard any clumps left in the strainer.
  2. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and press firmly down. Cool to room temperature. Before using or storing until later.

Expert Tips

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Bottled juice will not give you the same result. Fresh is best!

Make sure to use a nonreactive saucepan. This is important for citrus recipes because certain metals can leave a “tinny” or metallic taste. Aluminum is ideal since it doesn’t impart or absorb flavors.

Find the right temperature. Use a low to medium heat. It’s best to be patient here. If the curd becomes too hot too quickly, the eggs will curdle.

Remember to strain the curd. This gets rid of any pulp or large clumps that formed during the cooking process. A fine mesh sieve works best.

glass jar of lemon curd on a plate with half a lemon.

Storage Tips

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When scooping, use a clean spoon to avoid contaminating the mixture, which can affect the shelf life.

Freeze for up to 3 months. Once the curd is cooled, place it in an airtight container with a little space at the top since the curd will expand as it freezes. When ready to defrost, place the container in the refrigerator overnight. Give it a good stir before serving. Do not freeze and defrost multiple times as this will affect its texture.

Recipe FAQ

Why is my lemon curd not thickening?

The mixture was not cooked long enough. Be patient and only remove the saucepan from the heat when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

How to fix grainy curd

It may help to add another tablespoon of cream and whisk vigorously. If the curd has cooled, try straining it through a fine mesh sieve again and reheating on the stovetop.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes, use a larger saucepan. It will likely take a few more minutes to thicken up on the stovetop.

Why does my lemon curd have a metallic taste?

The saucepan or bowl is a reactive material, such as copper or aluminum

spoonful of lemon curd resting on top of glass jar filled with curd.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

glass jar of lemon curd on a plate next to a lemon half and spoonful of curd.

Get the Recipe: Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Add a burst of citrusy flavor to any dessert with some homemade lemon curd. It's easy to make with only 6 ingredients!
5 (13 ratings)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice, from about 2 large lemons
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (56 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions 

  • In a small nonreactive saucepan (stainless steel), cook the lemon juice over medium heat until hot, but not boiling.
  • In a separate nonreactive bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolk, sugar and lemon zest. Whisking the egg sugar mixture constantly, slowly pour in the hot lemon juice.
  • Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula for about 3 to 5 minutes. If the mixture starts to boil, lower the heat. The mixture is done cooking when the spatula leaves a clear trail in the bottom of the saucepan and then it quickly disappears. Immediately remove from the heat.
  • Add cold butter pieces and stir until melted. Then, stir in the heavy cream and salt.
  • Pour the curd through a fine mesh sieve set over a nonreactive bowl.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the curd to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature before using or refrigerate until needed.

Notes

Nonreactive saucepans are typically made out of stainless steel or ceramic. Do not use aluminum or copper, which can transfer a metallic taste to the curd.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Freeze for up to 3 weeks. After the curd has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the freezer. When ready to use, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
Serving: 1Tablespoon, Calories: 66kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 9mg, Potassium: 19mg, Fiber: 0.02g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 149IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 0.1mg

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