This creamy, tangy and easy Lemon Curd Recipe is a game changer for all you lemon lovers! The buttery, custard-like texture of the curd with a bright lemon flavor makes a delicious spread for desserts, breakfast foods, or anything you can think of.
What is lemon curd you ask? Well, it’s a jam-like custard made with eggs, fresh lemons, butter, sugar and a few other easy, yet delicious ingredients! So if you’ve been looking for a simple lemon curd recipe, this is the one for you!
Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe
Lemon Lovers Rejoice – This tart lemon curd has such a distinct lemon flavor that is perfect for giving any dessert that extra sweet kick!
Simple Recipe – Homemade lemon curd requires only a handful of ingredients and one pan to make!
Many Uses – You can spread this lemon curd on bread, use it for a sponge cake filling, as a topping for ice cream, on pancakes and waffles, or whatever your heart desires! Get creative with it. It’s perfect in my Lemon Cupcake recipe!
Wow the Crowd – You will impress all your friends and family with this fresh lemon curd, and will have them begging you to share the recipe.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
This is an overview of the ingredients you will need to make this easy Lemon Curd recipe. Important notes and substitutions for certain ingredients are discussed. The full printable recipe, with amounts and specific details, can be found at the bottom of the page.
- Eggs – You’ll need some whole eggs for this recipe, this is what creates that custard-like texture.
- Egg Yolks – On top of the whole eggs, you’ll also need egg yolks as well. You can save the egg whites and use them for a meringue!
- Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice – A good lemon curd is usually made with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Fresh fruit is always the way to go, but if you don’t have that on hand, bottled lemon juice will work as well.
- Lemon Zest – Lemon zest is made by taking a lemon zester and shaving just the peel of the lemon until you have little lemon peel shavings. If you like your lemon curd to have a little more tart lemon flavor, feel free to add some more lemon zest than what is listed.
- Cornstarch – The secret ingredient! This is what will thicken up the curd and make it so it’s not runny, and have a more paste-like consistency.
- Granulated Sugar – If you aren’t fond of a super tart lemon curd, and like your curd sweeter, go ahead and add a little more sugar than what is listed.
How To Make Lemon Curd
Let’s discuss the steps you’ll take to make lemon curd. If you want to skip my discussion, tips, information and answers to frequently asked questions, just scroll to the bottom of this post for the printable recipe.
- Start by grabbing a small saucepan. Before putting it on the heat, crack in the eggs along with the egg yolks and whisk this together until combined.
- Next, whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and cornstarch.
- Now you can place the saucepan on the stove at a medium-low heat. As the mixture begins to heat you will need to continuously whisk it until it thickens up quite a bit.
- Continue to whisk this mixture together until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You can also use a thermometer to check if the mixture has reached 170°, If you don’t have a thermometer to check, it usually takes about 10 minutes for the curd to thicken. Still continue to whisk consistently.
- Once the curd has thickened completely, remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the pads of butter. Stir the butter until it’s fully incorporated and then stir in the vanilla extract. If by this point, you notice that the lemon curd is not completely smooth, you will want to strain the curd through a fine mesh sieve.
- Allow the curd to sit in the saucepan and cool for about 15 minutes. Once the 15 minutes is up, take some plastic wrap and cover the saucepan so that the wrap is touching the top of the curd. You’ll do this so the curd does not develop a film on it. Let this chill in the fridge for 3 hours until set, or make it the night before you plan on using it.
Recipe Tips and Advice
Storage – The best way to store leftover lemon curd is in an airtight container in the fridge. You can keep it there for 1-2 weeks if you’re planning on using it in that time being. If not, curd can stay stored in the freezer for up to a year. Either way, it must be kept in the refrigerator or fridge.
Materials – You’ll need a saucepan, a whisk, a lemon zester, measuring cups and spoons, plastic wrap, and an optional fine mesh sieve.
If your lemon curd turns out runny or doesn’t thicken up enough after 10 minutes, you may need to cook it longer. If you choose to use a double boiler to make the curd, you’ll need to cook it for 15 minutes. If it still won’t thicken up after that, try turning up the heat a little bit higher. If that still doesn’t work then pour in a little cornstarch slurry to add a little extra thickness. (A cornstarch slurry is made with a little bit of cornstarch and a little bit of water mixed together.)
Try using a stainless steel saucepan or a glass bowl double boiler to make the lemon curd topping to avoid that metallic, ‘eggy’ taste you might be getting from a regular saucepan.
What To Eat With Lemon Curd
Lemon curd is delicious in, or on, so many things! Here are some recipes to pair it with…
- 3 large eggs
- 4 egg yolks whites can be used to make meringue
- 2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Then whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and cornstarch.
- Place the saucepan on the stove and turn the heat to medium low. You will need to whisk the mixture constantly as it heats. Keep whisking and cooking the mixture until it thickens to the point that it will coat the back of a spoon. If you have an instant read thermometer, you want it to reach 170 degrees. It may take up to 10 minutes, and remember that it will continue to thicken when chilled. You must whisk it constantly, even while checking the temperature.
- Once the curd has thickened, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in butter until it is fully incorporated, then stir in the vanilla.
- If the lemon curd is not completely smooth, you will want to strain it through a fine mesh sieve.
- Allow the curd to cool for about 15 minutes. Then place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd, so that it doesn’t develop a film, and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 3 hours prior to serving.