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Lemon Curd

I love homemade Lemon Curd so much. My recipe is super simple and it produces silky smooth lemon curd that layers perfectly between cake layers, spoons into tender tart shells and it swirls beautifully into cheesecakes. And let’s not forget pairing of sweet baked meringue with lemon curd. There are so many sweet possibilities.

Yellow lemon curd in a white dish.

HOMEMADE LEMON CURD

Lemon curd is probably one of the most popular fruit curds out there. But you’d be surprised you can make delicious curds from orange, rhubarb and even berries, such as Raspberry Curd.

INGREDIENTS

Okay. Let’s jump right in. Here are the ingredients you need :

  • Freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
  • Lemon Zest
  • Sugar
  • Whole Eggs
  • Egg Yolks
  • Butter
  • Salt
Ingredients for curd on a kitchen counter.

LEMON JUICE

Use fresh lemons. I can’t stress this enough. Fresh is fresh and none of the lemon substitutes will produce the true lemon flavor of lemon curd.

Personally, I absolutely love lemons. I use lemon juice in my Fresh Lemon Royal Icing, I also like to drink lemon water, and I make lemon salad dressing. It’s delicious. Lemon juice is also a great substitute for cream of tartar when making meringue cookies.

I go thru so many lemons in my house! To keep them fresh it’s best to store them in the fridge. They usually keep for up to 2 weeks when refrigerated.

TIP : To maximize a lemon juice yield, before you juice a lemon try microwaving a cold lemon for 20 seconds.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice with pulp in a blue bowl and cooked curd in a plastic container.

Juice lemons with a manual juicer or use an electric one. I love the wooden lemon juicer. Juicing is fast, clean up is minimal and it works.

TIP : Don’t put wooden juicer/kitchen tools in the dishwasher.

Wooden lemon juicer next to freshly squeezed lemon on a kitchen counter.

It’s important to strain freshly squeezed lemon juice to get rid of stones and the pulp, (steps 1-4).

Straining freshly squeezed lemon juice into a blue bowl.

CREAM BUTTER AND SUGAR

Have you ever made lemon curd and had cooked egg bits in it? Well, let me tell you a little secret. Creaming butter with sugar and eggs helps rid of this problem entirely. I’ve never had an issue with cooked egg bits in my curd using this simple creaming method.

Beat room temperature butter with sugar until creamy, about 5 minutes, (step 1-3). Then gradually beat in room temperature eggs and egg yolks. Add a pinch of table salt, (steps 4-8).

Beating butter, sugar, eggs and salt with hand held mixer in a large orange bowl.

Lastly gradually pour in strained lemon juice and lemon zest, (steps 1-3). Mixture will start to curdle immediately, this is normal, no need to worry, (steps 4-6).

Pouring strained lemon juice and lemon zest into butter mixture and beating it with a hand held mixer.

COOK LEMON CURD

Pour mixture into a stainless steel pot and heat it on a medium-low heat until mixture become homogeneous. Stirring constantly, (steps 1-5). Attach a candy thermometer on the inner side of the pot, (step 6).

TIP : To cook lemon curd use a non-reactive cookware such as ceramics (earthenware, stoneware, and glass) and stainless steel. What is the difference between non-reactive and reactive cookware ?

Pot with an uncooked mixture.

Continue cooking on medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and reaches 170F/76C. During the process you’ll notice how color is changing and mixture will slowly start to thicken at the bottom, that’s why it’s super important to keep an eye on the lemon curd and keep stirring it. Once it reached 170F remove the pot from the heat.

I DON’T HAVE A CANDY THERMOMETER, HOW CAN I TELL LEMON CURD IS COOKED?

It’s quite simple to cook curd without a candy thermometer. When it’s cooked mixture should coat the back of the spoon well. And when you run a finger thru it, separation line shouldn’t blend together.

TIP : Don’t allow mixture to boil.

Mixture in a stainless steel pot cooking on the stove.

COOL LEMON CURD

Now that you have successfully cooked delicious citrus curd you can strain it, (steps 1-6). However, with this easy creaming method it’s not really necessary. Straining is mainly done to catch any cooked egg bits and/or lemon zest. With this method I have been very successful keeping the egg bits at bay.

However, if you wish to remove lemon zest you’ll need to strain the curd thru a fine mesh sieve.

At this point curd is still warm. Pour it into a bowl. Cover it tightly with a food wrap and refrigerate overnight. It will thicken as it cools, (steps 7-8).

Metal sieve set over a yellow plastic bowl, strainer is filled with lemon curd.

FILLING

Once curd has cooled it should thicken. And it will of a consistency of a thick pudding.

Simply peel of the food wrap and spoon curd into a container with a lid and store it in the fridge until ready to use.

Yellow plastic owl filled with lemon curd.

HOW LONG DOES LEMON CURD LAST, CAN IT BE FROZEN?

Store it in the fridge in an airtight container, it will last up to 3-4 weeks. It can also be frozen, for up to 12 months. Let it thaw in the fridge before using.

HOW DOES IT TASTE?

It’s sour sweet, silky smooth and lemony. I think you just have to try it.

WHAT IS LEMON CURD USED FOR?

  • Cake Fillings
  • Tart Fillings
  • Cheesecakes
  • Meringue Pies
  • Spreads
  • Sandwich Cookies
  • Topping (think scones, pancakes, crepes)
  • Fruit with whipped cream
  • Swirl it into yogurt
  • 23 uses for lemon curd

WHERE TO FIND LEMON CURD IN GROCERY STORE?

Homemade version is the best but I think we’ve all been there. You can get lemon curd at the grocery store, too. I think this can vary from store to store. My grocery store keeps it in the baking aisle, alongside of marzipan/almond paste.

CAN YOU MAKE VEGAN LEMON CURD, WITHOUT EGGS AND DAIRY BUTTER?

Yes, you can make an alternative to real lemon curd without the use of eggs and dairy butter. You’ll need to use a thickening agent such as corn starch and vegan milk.

MORE DELICIOUS LEMON RECIPES

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TO MAKE HOMEMADE LEMON CURD YOU NEED

  • TOOLS
  • FIND ALL THE TOOLS IN MY AMAZON SHOP
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Stainless Steel Pot
  • Mesh Sieve
  • Zester
  • Food Wrap
  • Hand Held Mixer
  • Spatula
Lemon Curd
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Cooling Time
8 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs 20 mins
 

This recipe makes delicious, silky smooth Lemon Curd. I use a creaming method which facilitates cooking process, completely eliminating cooked egg bits in the cooked curd.

Makes about 2 cups.

Serving size 2 tablespoons

Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Frosting, icing
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: easy lemon curd, homemde lemon curd, lemon curd
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 150 kcal
Hanielas.com: Hani B.
Ingredients
LEMON CURD
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice (160ml), 6-7 medium lemons
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar (250 grams)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs whole eggs
  • 6 tbsp butter (85 grams)
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
LEMON CURD
  1. Juice lemons (6-7 medium lemons). Then strain the juice thru a fine mesh sieve to remove all the stones and pulp.

    TIP : Microwave lemons for 20 seconds to get the most juice out of of them. Cut each lemon in half and then juice it with a manual juicer or us an electric one.

Creaming Process
  1. In a large bowl cream butter (6 tablespoons, 85grams) with granulated sugar (1cup and 1/4 cup, 250grams) until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Then gradually add eggs (2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks). Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Then beat in a pinch of salt.

  2. Lastly, gradually beat in freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice ( 2/3 cup, 160ml) and lemon zest (2 tablespoons). Mixture will curdle and that's normal. No need to worry.

Cooking Process
  1. Pour prepared uncooked lemon curd mixture into a non-reactive pot, such as stainless steel.

    TIP: Non-reactive cookware is ceramics, stainless steel, glass and metal cookware with enamel coating. Aluminum, cast iron, and copper are all reactive.

  2. Cook mixture on medium-low heat, stirring until butter melts and mixture will be homogeneous. If you have a candy thermometer attach it on the inside of the pan. If you don't have a candy thermometer you'll do a visual test to determine when curd is done.

    VISUAL TEST : If you don't have a candy thermometer you can do a simple test. Coat back of the wooden spoon with curd. Run your finger thru the middle of the coated side of the spoon. When the separation line you created with your finger doesn't blend together curd is done.

  3. Continue cooking curd and stirring, You'll notice how the color is gradually changing and how mixture will start to thicken, first at the bottom, so be sure to stir it slowly and continuously. Cook lemon curd until it reaches 170F/77C. Mixture should be thick and coat the back of the spoon.

    TIP : Don't allow curd to boil.

Cooling Process
  1. Cooling process is an important step. Poured lemon curd into a bowl. Cover it with a food wrap. You want to cover it so food wrap is touching the curd. Refrigerate overnight.

    Next day peel off the food wrap and use curd right away or spoon into a smaller container with a lid. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a month.

Recipe Notes
  1. CAN I FREEZE LEMON CURD? Yes, you can freeze it for up to a year. Let it thaw in the fridge before using.
  2. HOW TO MAKE A THICKER CURD? It’s quite simple, add one extra egg.
  3. LEMON JUICE. Use only freshly squeezed lemon juice, don’t use lemon juice concentrate.
  4. I ONLY HAVE SALTED BUTTER, CAN I USE IT ? You can use salted butter, simply omit salt in the recipe.
  5. DO I HAVE TO STRAIN LEMON CURD? No, you don’t. This recipe is really great. Use of creaming method facilitates cooking process and eliminates cooked egg bits in the cooked curd. However if you wish to remove lemon zest bits from the curd then yes you’ll need to strain it thru a fine mesh sieve.
  6. BEST USES FOR LEMON CURD : cake, tart, cookie, crepes fillings, cheesecakes, topping for scones, ice cream, meringue cakes, parfaits and so much more.

 

 

 

 

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Detail of yellow lemon curd in a white bowl.

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4 Comments

    1. Hi Katie,
      I personally think it’s thick enough but I’d still use a buttercream dam layer to make sure it doesn’t ooze out. And yes to make it even thicker I’d suggest 1 extra egg. Hope it helps. Keep me posted how it goes.

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