Homemade lemon curd is rich and buttery, light and zesty, the perfect topping for toasts and scones, or a wonderful addition to cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. Made with only 5 ingredients, this lemon curd is super simple to make and will stay fresh for 2-3 weeks.
Why you will love this homemade lemon curd recipe
- Fresh and vibrant flavor. Homemade lemon curd bursts with zest and tang from freshly squeezed lemons, creating a flavor that cannot be beat by store-bought lemon curds.
- Versatile Usage. Lemon curd is incredibly versatile - from spreading it on toast or scones to filling pastries, cakes, and tarts. Its versatility makes it a staple in any kitchen.
- Simple and rewarding. Making lemon curd from scratch is surprisingly easy and incredibly rewarding. The process is straightforward, and the result is a smooth and silky curd that can be kept in your fridge for future use.
- Sugar: granulated sugar provides sweetness that balances out the tartness from the lemons.
- Egg yolks: egg yolks add richness and a smooth, custard-like texture to the curd. They act as a thickening agent, giving the curd its smooth consistency.
- Lemons: lemon juice and lemon zest add the bright, zesty lemon flavor we all know and love in the curd.
- Unsalted butter: cold, cubed butter is added at the end of the cooking process. It enriches the curd, making it silky smooth and adding a lovely buttery taste. Butter also helps thicken the curd further.
- Combine the ingredients. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the granulated sugar and egg yolks until combined. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
- Heat over the stove. Heat over low-medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and bubbles. If you have a thermometer, it should read about 160F.
- Add the butter. Remove from heat, add the cold & cubed butter, and stir until combined and the butter is completely melted.
- Strain. Run the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and discard of the lemon zest and egg bits.
- Let cool. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly on top of the curd - this will stop a film from forming.
Lemon curd baking tips
- Fresh lemons matter. Opt for fresh, ripe lemons to extract the best zest and juice. The vibrant flavors are *mwah* chef's kiss. You can use store-bought lemon juice, but please note that this will change the flavor dramatically.
- Continuous stirring. Stir your curd constantly while it heats. This prevents sticking, uneven cooking, and a grainy texture.
- Strain for smoothness. After cooking, strain the curd to remove any bits of zest or coagulated egg. This will result in the BEST texture - silky smooth and luscious.
While fresh lemon juice is recommended for the best flavor, you can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch. However, be aware that bottled juice may have a slightly different taste and can affect the overall flavor of your curd.
If your lemon curd is too runny, it may not have cooked long enough. Ensure that you cook it until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. If it's still too runny, you can return it to the heat and cook it a bit longer while stirring continuously.
Yes, lemon curd can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks!
Yes, lemon curd can be frozen for longer storage. Transfer it to an airtight container and freeze for up to six months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before using.
Baking in grams
While I provide volume measurements for the recipes on my blog, I highly suggest baking these recipes using weight. It is the most standardized and accurate way to bake. I carefully recipe test all of my recipes using a kitchen scale, not by using cups, and therefore I cannot guarantee the success of my recipes when using volume measurements.
Other lemon recipes
- Lemon Curd Meringue Cookies
- Coconut Lemon Bar Cookies
- Lemon Blueberry Buckle
- Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
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Homemade Lemon Curd
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest about 2 large lemons
- ¼ cup (60 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice about 2-3 large lemons
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter cold and cubed
- In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and egg yolks. Whisk them together until smooth and combined. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk until combined.
- Place the pan over the stove on low-medium heat and stir constantly while it heats up. The mixture will begin to thicken and bubble. Once it begins to bubble, it should be done. If you have a thermometer, it should be about 160F.
- Remove from the heat and add the cubed butter. Stir until the butter has completely melted and the mixture is combined.
- Strain the lemon curd through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the lemon zest and egg bits.
- Cover it with cling wrap/tin foil that is placed directly onto the curd. This will prevent a film on the top of the lemon curd from forming as it cools. Leave to cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
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