This homemade lemon curd recipe is full of bright, citrusy flavor and looks like sunshine in a jar! Use it to make lemony desserts, or simply spread it on your next slice of toast.
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It’s been a while since I’ve made my favorite homemade strawberry raspberry jam. However, since spring berries aren’t in season quite yet, I decided to try my hand at lemon curd instead.
Oh, I am so glad I did! It’s one of my family’s favorite spreads for English muffins, homemade biscuits, and toast.
And it turns out that making homemade lemon curd is easier than I expected. Plus, it tastes so much better than store-bought!
Homemade Lemon Curd Recipe
Lemon curd is buttery and bright, with a sweet-and-tangy citrus flavor that’s impossible to resist. It’s often used as an ingredient in dessert recipes like lemon tarts and lemon bars, but it’s just as good with toast or for topping blueberry muffins.
Making this recipe from scratch is simple. It’s just a matter of heating the ingredients until they’re thick and creamy and whisking in butter. There’s no pectin or worries about whether it will gel, and you don’t even have to can it if you don’t want to. Just store it in the refrigerator—and try not to eat it all in one sitting!
Ingredients for Lemon Curd
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Fresh Lemon juice – Here’s how to use half a lemon if you have some leftovers! Don’t use bottled lemon juice.
- Lemon zest – You need about 2 fresh lemons.
- Granulated sugar
- Egg yolks – Chilled eggs separate more easily.
- Kosher salt
- Unsalted butter – Omit the salt if you use salted butter.
- For thicker lemon curd, replace 2 egg yolks with one whole egg. That means you’ll use 1 egg yolk and 1 whole egg instead of 3 egg yolks.
- You can use a double boiler method to make this lemon curd instead of heating the mixture directly over heat in a saucepan.
- Run the lemon curd through a fine mesh sieve to eliminate any lemon zest. This is optional since the lemon zest is small and the texture is hardly noticeable in the mixture once cooked.
How to Make Lemon Curd
- Combine the ingredients: Stir the lemon juice, zest, sugar, salt, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan until smooth.
- Heat the lemon curd mixture: Reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the curd mixture to heat, whisking constantly until it is thick and has a texture similar to hollandaise sauce.
- Add butter: Remove the pan from the stovetop, and slowly whisk in the butter a few cubes at a time.
- Chill: Transfer the curd to a glass jar or other resealable container. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Then, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.
If the curd doesn’t thicken while cooking, turn the heat up, and whisk constantly until it does become thick. The constant whisking is important to prevent the eggs from curdling!
How to Store Lemon Curd
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Lemon curd can also be canned if you like, but it doesn’t need to be. It just doesn’t keep quite as long without canning.
Serve this lemon curd with scones, Blueberry Waffles, Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes, or Blueberry Biscuits. It’s also great as a filling for crepes, lemon poke cake, or berry trifle. Or, mix it into a Cream Cheese Frosting to top Lemon Cake or Lemon Cupcakes!
Lemon curd is made of lemon, sugar, eggs, and butter. I also like to add a pinch of salt to balance some of the sweetness!
So many things! Serve it with pancakes or crepes, use it to make pastries like lemon tarts and bars, use it to top toast, biscuits, or muffins, or add a spoonful to plain or vanilla yogurt or ice cream, and swirl it in.
Yes, unless you can your lemon curd, it will need to be stored in either the refrigerator or the freezer.
Yes, you can! If you have a recipe that calls for canned lemon pie filling, you can use this homemade lemon curd instead. It tastes so much better!
- Egg separator
- Citrus juicer
- Citrus zester
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup unsalted butter cubed
- In a medium saucepan, add lemon juice, zest, sugar, salt, and egg yolks and stir to combine.¾ cup lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons lemon zest, ¾ cup granulated sugar, Pinch of kosher salt, 3 large egg yolks
- Over medium-low heat, whisk constantly until thick with a texture resembling hollandaise sauce.
- Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in butter, a couple cubes at a time.¾ cup unsalted butter
- Transfer curd to a container and press plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until needed.