How to Make Lemon Curd

Store-bought lemon curd doesn’t even deserve to share the same name as homemade. This from-scratch lemon curd is deliciously tangy, creamy, and sweet. You only need 5 ingredients and it comes together on the stove in 10 minutes! Lemon curd is perfect for scones, crepes, angel food cake, quick breads, pound cake, and so much more.

Lemon curd in a glass jar with spoon

Let’s talk lemon.

If your answer is YES to all of the above, you’re going to flip for this creamy, dense, intensely flavorful spread. Homemade lemon curd is 1 million times tastier than store-bought, which is filled with ingredients we can’t pronounce and has likely been sitting on the shelf for too long. Spread the blissful homemade version on scones, biscuits, and so much more. This is the recipe you never realized you needed!

Lemon curd in mason jar

But if you’re not familiar, let’s review.

What is Lemon Curd?

Lemon curd is a very rich dessert topping or spread. It’s buttery and sweet with intense tart lemon flavor– like a creamy lemon version of jam. Lemon curd is made from simple ingredients and comes together quickly on the stove. Lemon lovers, this is your jam.

Get it? Get it? 🙂

Lemon curd on mixed berry scones on a pink plate

How to Make Lemon Curd

Here’s how we make DIY lemon curd. The full recipe and instructions are below.

You need 5 ingredients for lemon curd recipe: egg yolks, fresh lemons, sugar, salt, and butter. Each ingredient serves a critical purpose for thickening and flavoring. The egg yolks thicken the curd, just as they do in creme brûlée or butterscotch pudding. Use real lemons; you need both the zest and juice. The sugar supplies sweetness and structure, while the salt balances out the flavor. Add the butter after the curd finishes on the stove. Butter makes it super creamy.

Make lemon curd on the stove. Make sure you are constantly whisking as the mixture thickens– we’re talking about 10 minutes of whisking. The good news? That’s the only step in this recipe: whisking!

Use a Double Boiler

I strongly recommend cooking the lemon curd in a double boiler because mixing these ingredients over direct heat quickly leads to burning. Don’t fret! If you don’t have a double boiler, craft a makeshift double boiler by placing a heatproof glass bowl on top of a larger pot. (You can see my DIY double boiler in my baked alaska post!) Make sure the bottom of the top pot or bowl does not touch the simmering water. It’s worth repeating: lemon curd should never be cooked on direct heat.

2 images of butter for lemon curd on a cutting board and in a double boiler

Why Does my Lemon Curd Taste Metallic?

Lemon curd may have a metallic aftertaste if you cook it in a metal double boiler. It’s a result of the eggs and lemon reacting with the pan, but is easily avoidable! Use a non-metal double boiler (this one has a porcelain insert) or the much cheaper glass bowl option I mention above. While you’re at it, use a silicone whisk too!

Lemon curd in jar

Uses for Lemon Curd

There are so many ways to enjoy lemon curd. Here are a few suggestions:

Lemon curd in a jar with a spoon

369 Comments

  1. This recipe is great! Super easy and delicious. Only thing is I still get the metallic taste even with a glass bowl double boiler and a silicone whisk. I stored the curd in a mason jar, do you think the acid could have reacted with the top of the mason jar to get the metallic flavor?

  2. My daughter has a Meyer lemon tree in her yard that we used for this recipe and it was was delicious. This will be her go to recipe for the lemons.

  3. Hello Sally!

    Will it be possible to swop out equal parts lemon juice for passion fruit juice? I really loved how this lemon curd recipe turned out and would like to try a passion fruit variant! Can’t wait to hear back, thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, absolutely! Enjoy!

    2. I did this with passionfruit last week and it was great!!

  4. Hi Sally! Would this work between layers of your white cake instead of using buttercream? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Haley, Lemon curd is delicious with the white cake! However, the curd is too liquid-y to use by itself, so it’s best to pair it with a thin layer of frosting. You can see an example of how we used it between the layers of this Lemon Coconut Cake.

  5. Is it possible to bath water can lemon curd to give as Christmas presents?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laura, Many readers have canned this in the same manner you can a jam or jelly. We haven’t personally tested it though.

  6. Would it be possible to use plant (avocado) butter in place of dairy butter?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sara, We haven’t tried this recipe with any dairy-free alternatives, but you can certainly give it a try. If you do, please let us know how it goes!

  7. I have made the lemon curd and now want to make a lemon meringue pie. Can I use this lemon curd for that?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Adrienne, We don’t recommend using this curd in a big tart or pie since it will not slice neatly. You can follow the recipe for Classic Lemon Meringue Pie instead.

  8. Linda S Williams says:

    I need to make a Key Lime curd for filling a cake. Can I swap out the lemon zest and then key lime juice? Also … would I be better to use the whole egg substitute to have it a little thicker to hold up between the layers (3 -9″) of the cake? Thanks as always 🙂

  9. Gina Terzino says:

    I found this recipe and used it to flavor my semi freddo, since it uses egg yolks and sugar beaten over a double boiler in it as well. Wow!! The lemon flavor is amazing!! I am going to make it as lemon curd as well for topping on baked goods. It has a strong lemon flavor plus just enough sweetness. Thanks, Sally! 🙂

  10. To make double the quantity, do I just double the ingredients?

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