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Lemon Curd

This Lemon Curd recipe is super-easy to make on the stovetop, it’s full of bright flavor, and it is perfect for cakes, cupcakes, crepes, spread on bagels and more!

High angled view of Lemon Curd in glass jars.

Happy Thursday! We are plowing right through spring with delicious lemon cupcakes and lemon blueberry bundt cake. I’m just all over the lemon flavor these days.

Remember this lemon cream cheese frosting?

I mean, I just can’t get enough of this bright, cheerful addition to spring desserts. I also love other citrus flavors around this time of year, especially lime pie! But, today is all about lemon once again.

The weather is still wishy-washy. It can’t decide if it wants to rain or shine, be warm or cool. It just doesn’t know so I’m bringing my own sunshine in the form of lemon curd.

Side view of a jar of Lemon Curd.

My favorite lemon curd recipe

I have yet to share a lemon curd recipe with you because I was waiting for THE ONE. The one with the perfect balance between sweet and tart. And the one that is practically no-fail.

Just like my pineapple curd, this lemon curd gets cooked directly in the pot. This makes the process super easy.

It’s so simple and is guaranteed to be a win for all your dessert needs. Heck, it’s even great as a spread on toast, English muffins, or bagels. Lemon curd for breakfast? I’ll take it!

bowl of lemon curd with hand mixer to the side

What is lemon curd

Lemon curd is just like the filling in a lemon meringue pie. It’s tangy, sour, sweet, and creamy. This makes it perfect when paired with richer or sweeter elements like meringue.

This recipe is one of the most basic of lemon curds. It calls for cornstarch and butter. While neither is essential, the butter softens the lemon’s sharp acidity and the cornstarch ensures the curd will thicken.

Lemon curd in a stainless steel pot with a wooden spoon.

How to make lemon curd

To make lemon curd, just follow these simple steps:

Combine Ingredients: Add all the ingredients, minus the butter, to a stainless steel, heavy bottom pot. Give it a good whisk to combine it all. I like to use my handheld electric mixer here to make sure everything is well combined.

Cook: Cook over medium heat and stir continuously as the curd cooks. It will start to thicken after about seven minutes.

Add The Butter: Once the curd has thickened to the consistency of pudding, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter.

Strain The Curd: Because the curd isn’t cooked in a double boiler, it’s possible you will end up with bits of scrambled egg. This is perfectly okay. Just strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to remove those unwanted egg pieces.

Cover and Refrigerate: Transfer the lemon curd to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is pressed right against the top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Refrigerate for two hours then serve.

Lemon curd being spooned out of a jar.

Lemon curd uses

The options here are endless. I love using lemon curd in:

Lemon curd will keep for up to one week stored in the refrigerator. Use it to fill buttery jam biscuits or spread it over your English muffins.

Enjoy!

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Lemon curd being spooned out of a jar.

Lemon Curd

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes

This Lemon Curd recipe is super-easy to make on the stovetop, it’s full of bright flavor, and it is perfect for cakes, cupcakes, crepes, spread on bagels and more!

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, about 1 lemon
  • ⅔ cup (160 ml) fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch, optional - SEE NOTE 1
  • 2 tablespoons (tablespoons) unsalted butter, optional - SEE NOTE 2

Instructions

  1. Add the eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Whisk together until well combined and cornstarch is fully dissolved.
  2. Pour into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened; about 7-10 minutes. You'll know it's ready when the curd coats the back of the spoon and is about the thickness of pudding.
  3. When the curd has thickened, immediately remove it from the heat and stir in the butter.
  4. Run the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any bits of scrambled egg and transfer to a small bowl. 
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap making sure the wrap is touching the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set before serving.

Notes

  1. The cornstarch and butter are completely optional! Cornstarch is used to ensure the curd thickens properly but it's absolutely not necessary. It will thicken without it.
  2. Butter helps cut the acidity from the lemon juice as well as keep the curd soft and spreadable.

Make ahead tip

  1. The curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 82Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 60mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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Sue

Saturday 14th of August 2021

Hi, this is a great recipe! I was wondering if I could double it or make several small batches.

Jen Sobjack

Tuesday 17th of August 2021

It should be fine to double it.

Sandy

Wednesday 28th of April 2021

Thank you so much for the metric measures.

Chris

Saturday 16th of January 2021

Is this lemon curd firm enough to use as a cupcake filling? Some curds are too runny and turn the cupcakes soggy.

Jen Sobjack

Sunday 17th of January 2021

I've used it to fill my lemon cupcakes and lemon raspberry cake without it making the cake soggy. It does moisten the cake but I don't find it to be an issue.

Diya

Thursday 21st of May 2020

The lemon juice, is it diluted of the whole 160 ml is taken from the lemon?

Jen Sobjack

Thursday 21st of May 2020

Do not dilute the lemon juice. You need a full 160ml of pure fresh lemon juice.

Brittney Lindsay

Sunday 13th of October 2019

Can I use a double broiler method? Glass bowl and boiling water, or will it not get hot enough?

Jen Sobjack

Tuesday 15th of October 2019

Yes, you certainly can cook the curd that way if you wish.

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