This post shows how to make lemon curd using fresh lemon and eggs.
This easy curd recipe is bright, thick, and smooth, full of lemon flavor.
The best lemon curd recipe is zesty and tart, sweet but not too sweet. It really needs to scream lemon flavor, and be thick enough to spread lavishly over pancakes or waffles, or be a lemon curd filling in cakes and pies.
This recipe is exactly that.
It can be made over the stove or in the microwave.
The lemon curd ingredients
The ingredients are simple in this recipe because there are only 4!
Eggs, lemons, sugar, and salted butter. If you don't have salted butter, adding in a pinch of salt will bring you to a grand total of 5 ingredients.
This lemon curd recipe uses 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg. Don’t worry about wasting the remaining 3 egg whites though. Egg whites freeze very well and you can use them in future meringue desserts.
The stove-top method
There is a bit of a trick to making perfect curd. Because the eggs are thickeners in the curd, it's important to control the temperature when cooking them. If you don’t, you could accidentally scramble the eggs and ruin the texture
It's not hard to control the temperature though. You can do this by making a bain-marie, which is a hot water bath. The curd is made in a bowl that is balanced over a pot of boiling water. This helps to keep the temperature even.
Hot water bath
Set up the water bath by filling a saucepan with about 2 inches (4cm) of water and bringing it to a simmer. Mix all the ingredients except the butter into a heat-proof bowl and set this over the simmering water.
Whisk it together over the simmering water for around 12-15 minutes until it starts to thicken. It won’t thicken a whole lot, but it should a bit and you can test the thickness by dropping some curd onto a cold plate and letting the curd cool. Once cool, run your finger through it and see if it leaves a line that doesn’t bleed back into the center.
Then take it off the heat and whisk in the cold butter.
Microwave lemon curd
This recipe can be an easy microwave lemon curd too. Microwaving the curd is much faster than on the stovetop however there is more of a risk of little bits of egg scrambling. This is because a microwave can heat things inconsistently. To remove any pieces of cooked egg, ensure the curd is passed through a sieve before storing.
In a microwave-proof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
Place the bowl in the microwave and cook in 40-second increments, stirring each time for around 3-4 minutes in total. This time may increase or decrease depending on your microwave strength.
Check that the curd is thick enough by dipping in a metal spoon. The curd should easily coat the back of the spoon.
Stir the cold cubed butter through the hot curd and stir until smooth. Pour the finished curd through a sieve into clean jars. It will thicken as it cools. Once cooled, store it in the fridge.
Storing lemon curd
Pour the curd through a sieve, into a clean jar. The sieve will remove the lemon rind in there and any bits of egg that may have overcooked. It makes a much smoother curd.
If you accidentally took it off the heat too soon, and it doesn't thicken in the fridge, it can be reheated over a water bath and cooked a bit longer.
The lemon curd can be stored in a jar in the fridge for up to two weeks. Lemon curd can be frozen too and defrosted when you need it.
Other citrus curds
If you have an abundance of another citrus, like limes, clementines, oranges, or grapefruit, you can use this recipe for those too!
Uses For lemon curd
Try your homemade lemon curd spread over toast, dolloped over ice cream or yoghurt, or on sourdough pancakes and homemade Belgian waffles. It makes a great filling for lemon layer cakes and lemon pies.
Have you made these? Tag me and let me know!
Looking for more citrus recipes? Check out this cardamom and orange scone recipe for inspiration.
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 large whole egg
- 120g (½ cup) lemon juice, about 3 lemons
- 2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 165g (¾ cup + 1 Tablespoon) granulated sugar
- 100g (7 Tablespoons) cold butter, cubed
- ⅛ teaspoon salt, if using unsalted butter
- In a heat-proof bowl add in the eggs, lemon juice and zest, sugar, and salt (if using unsalted butter.)
- Fill a saucepan with about 2 inches (4cm) of water and bringing it to a simmer. Set the bowl of curd ingredients over the simmering water.
- Using a whisk, whisk all the ingredients together and keep whisking for around 12-15 minutes until the curd starts to thicken. Don't rush this step. When a metal spoon is dipped in, it should easily coat the back of the spoon.
- Once thick enough, take off the heat and whisk in the cold butter cubes.
- Pour the curd through a sieve into a clean jar. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks or freeze it for up to three months.
- In a microwave-proof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Place the bowl in the microwave and cook in 40-second increments, stirring each time for around 3-4 minutes in total. This time may increase or decrease depending on your microwave strength. There may be little pieces of cooked egg but they will be sieved out later.
- Check that the curd is thick enough by dipping in a metal spoon. The curd should easily coat the back of the spoon.
- Stir the cold cubed butter through the hot curd and stir until smooth. Pour the finished curd through a sieve into clean jars. It will thicken as it cools. Once cooled, store it in the fridge.
Freezing - Lemon curd can be frozen for up to three months.
The cup sizes given are for US cups. Note that these are smaller than metric cup sizes.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 97Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 82mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 2g