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Lemon Curd

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Enjoy a taste of sunshine in every spoonful with this lusciously creamy (and easy!) homemade lemon curd.

Lemon Curd

If you share my passion for all things citrus, you’re going to absolutely love this lemon curd recipe. Originating from England, lemon curd is like a burst of sunshine in a jar — bright and lusciously creamy, while striking the perfect balance between tart and sweet.

It’s easy to make with just five simple ingredients and you can enjoy it in so many ways: slather it onto warm toast to kickstart your morning, add a dollop to pancakes or waffles for an indulgent weekend treat, or swirl it into your Greek yogurt for a refreshing start to your day. It even pairs wonderfully with whipped cream and berries for a light summer dessert. Homemade lemon curd also makes a lovely gift. Just spoon the curd into a cute little jar, tie a ribbon around it, and you’ve got a thoughtful present that’s sure to brighten anyone’s day.

Ways To Use Lemon Curd

What You’ll Need To Make Lemon Curd

what you'll need to make lemon curd
  • Sugar: Sweetens the curd and balances the tartness of the lemon.
  • Eggs: Provide structure and thicken the curd, giving it a creamy consistency.
  • Lemon Zest: Adds a bright, aromatic citrus flavor that intensifies the lemony taste. When zesting lemons or any citrus fruits, avoid the pith—the bitter white layer beneath the zest—as it can add unwanted bitterness to your dish.
  • Lemon Juice: Contributes the characteristic tartness and acidity to the curd, complementing the sweetness. To get the most juice from your lemons, give them a vigorous roll on your kitchen counter for a few seconds. This breaks down the citrus membranes, making the juice flow out effortlessly when you squeeze the lemons.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness.
  • Butter: Gives the lemon curd a rich, smooth texture and a glossy finish.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

I use Ina Garten’s recipe as a starting point, but my method is simpler and involves much less clean up, creating the most luscious spread without any fuss. One little tip: it’s essential to zest the lemons prior to juicing; attempting to do so afterward can prove quite challenging.

In a medium (2-quart) saucepan, add the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.

sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in medium saucepan

Set the pan over low heat and whisk all ingredients together.

whisking sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt together

Continue to whisk constantly until the mixture is thickened enough to coat a spoon (about 10 minutes). The lemon curd will thicken at about 170°F or just below a simmer.

whisking the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt until mixture is thickened

Off the heat, add the butter all at once and whisk until melted and evenly incorporated.

adding butter to the mixture in the saucepan

Pass the curd through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lemon zest, if desired.

lemon curd in mesh strainer

Cover and refrigerate until cool and thickened, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

lemon curd in bowl, covered with plastic wrap

Lemon curd will keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. To freeze for longer storage, transfer the lemon curd to a freezer-safe container, leaving about ½ inch of space at the top to accommodate expansion. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw the frozen lemon curd overnight in the refrigerator.

Lemon curd in decorative jars

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Lemon Curd

Enjoy a taste of sunshine in every spoonful with this lusciously creamy (and easy!) homemade lemon curd.

Servings: 3 cups
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes, plus at least 4 hours to chill

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • ½ cup lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Instructions

  1. In a medium (2-quart) saucepan, whisk together the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Set the pan over low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened enough to coat a spoon (about 10 minutes). The lemon curd will thicken at about 170°F or just below a simmer. Off the heat, add the butter all at once and whisk until melted and evenly incorporated. Pass the lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lemon zest, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until cool and thickened, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  2. Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Lemon curd will keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. To freeze for longer storage, transfer the lemon curd to a freezer-safe container, leaving about ½ inch of space at the top to accommodate expansion. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw the frozen lemon curd overnight in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 95
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Sugar: 13 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 25 mg
  • Cholesterol: 41 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • I made this for the first time and followed the directions as they were presented. I used a micro planer to zest the lemons and used slightly more than the 2 tsp called for… because it’s so good! I mixed some of the sugar into that zest since I remembered reading somewhere that it’s a good thing to do to enhance the lemon oils. Seems true. I used my Thermo-Pop thermometer to check the temps as I whisked and heated it up slowly. That noted temp of 170 is what I was watching for. Strain out the zest? NO! Its way too good to remove. The results were a luscious and pudding-like consistency that is just over the top amazing. If you love lemony flavored stuff, forget about freezing leftovers. I just spoon it up. My house, my rules.
    Another winner from Jenn!
    PS I made this to top the ricotta pancakes (in another review). It was a winning combination.

    • — Carol on October 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Any thoughts on using limes instead of lemons for this curd?

    • — M. Rosen on October 13, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, that should work. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on October 20, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hello, Jenn
    I would love to make your delicious sounding lemon curd with oranges instead –
    is it just as easy as switching out the lemons? or do I need to adjust sugar as oranges are sweeter? or should I just not touch your 5 star recipe and find one that is for orange curd?
    With big thanks, 😀 Sally

    • — sally w on August 13, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sally, for the most predictable results, I think I’d look for a recipe for orange curd. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thanks, Jenn – I did but it or I failed with it — next time I’ll make it lemon curd and your recipe as they are always a success!

        • — sally w on August 27, 2023
        • Reply
    • Just finished making this recipe! So good!

      • — Marissa on August 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn.

    Another very successful recipe.

    I used a microplane grater for the zest, and didn’t strain it. Except for the flavor, you can’t tell it’s there.

    It was just slightly on the thin side, after 24+ hrs of refrigeration. Would simmering it longer rectify that, or ruin it?

    Thanks,
    Joe

    • — JoeW on August 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Joe, I think it should be okay to simmer it a little longer. I’d love to hear if that works for you!

      • — Jenn on August 8, 2023
      • Reply
      • It shall be done, “She-who-must-be-obeyed”.

        Probably this weekend.

        J

        • — JoeW on August 8, 2023
        • Reply
        • 🤣

          • — Jenn on August 9, 2023
          • Reply
          • Made the second batch yesterday, and it’s been chilling for about 20 hours. I tipped the jars, and it’s a lot less pour-y (yes, that’s a word; why do you ask?) than the first batch.

            I simmered it, not so much longer, as hotter. My stove (gas) doesn’t do “low heat” real well, so I used a heat diffuser the first time. Took forever (read “35 minutes”) to thicken. This time, I dispensed with the diffuser, and turned up the heat, just a little. Took about 15 minutes for perfection.

            Thanks a lot for what you do, and the fact that you answer the questions in the comments.

            Joe

            • — JoeW on August 14, 2023
          • Glad the consistency was better this time and why you experienced problems on the first go-round. And for the record, I think pour-y is definitely a word. 🤣

            • — Jenn on August 14, 2023
  • Without a doubt this is the best lemon curd I have ever tasted. Sweet and tart at the same time.

    • — Betty H on August 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ll be making this lemon curd often, it’s so delicious and much easier than the cumbersome recipe I’ve been using for years. Thank you for a swift and tasty treat!

    • — Marianne on August 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen!
    The curd tasted lovely but mine was on the thin side. It did reach 170 degrees., any thoughts as to what to do differently?
    Thanks!
    Janine

    • — Janine on August 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Janine, Was it thin once chilled or just when warm?

      • — Jenn on August 3, 2023
      • Reply
      • It seemed thinner once chilled

        • — Janine on August 4, 2023
        • Reply
        • That’s really strange because it really should thicken up when cold. I suspect it was a bit undercooked so next time, let it cook a bit longer before removing from the heat.

          • — Jenn on August 8, 2023
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, thanks so much for the recipe. It was easy to make, however, mine turned out a bit thin, still tastes great and is the same color. Do you think I undercooked it? I didn’t want to boil it and timed to about 12 min, but it’s a bit runny. Thank you

    • — Nargiza Soucy on August 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Nargiza, Sorry it came out a little thin. It sounds like maybe it needed to cook just a bit longer. Glad it tasted good though!

      • — Jenn on August 7, 2023
      • Reply
  • Where did you find the cute jars?

    • — Karen on August 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • They came from Amazon. 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 2, 2023
      • Reply
  • Can you use coconut oil instead of butter?

    • — Michelle on July 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • Because I’ve never made it with coconut oil, I’d be hesitant to suggest it. I’d look for a recipe that uses coconut oil instead. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on August 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • Question: I have a Meyer lemon tree and I find the lemons are not as acidic as store bought Eureka lemons. Will they work for this curd? Thanks!

    • — Glen on July 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Glen, I think it should be fine, but you could reduce the sugar just a bit to make it a little more tart. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you make it!

      • — Jenn on August 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • I make mine with only egg yolks, more intense! Sometimes I mix with mascarpone and top with raspberries.
    Love your recipes, they always turn great.

    • — chantal on July 30, 2023
    • Reply

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