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, angel food cake, quick breads, pound cake, and so much more.
Let’s talk lemon.
- Are lemon bars your main squeeze?
- Is lemon blueberry cake your favorite dessert?
- Are you head-over-heels for lemon meringue pie?
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!
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? 🙂
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.
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!
Uses for Lemon Curd
There are so many ways to enjoy lemon curd. Here are a few suggestions:
- Enjoy on scones, muffins, waffles, or strawberry pancakes
- Use as a filling for crepes, lemon cupcakes, or lemon coconut cake
- Use as a topping for pound cake or pavlova (uses the egg whites!)
- Fill macarons, choux pastry, or layer on strawberry shortcake
- Make a lemon berry trifle
- Spread on English muffins, homemade biscuits, toast, croissants
- Stir in yogurt, cottage cheese, or spoon on ice cream