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, angel food cake, quick breads, pound cake, and so much more.

Lemon curd

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

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.

Lemon curd butter

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

174 Comments

  1. I’m going to try this recipe but before I do, you mention not using bottled lemon juice. Does bottled lemon juice mess with final outcome or is it just a taste preference?

  2. Hi Sally,
    I have 12 egg yolks left over from making your delicious angel food cake.
    Would I have any trouble tripling the lemon curd recipe?

    1. Hi Sally. I tried this lemon curd recipe and except for leaving an eggy taste in my mouth, it was perfect. I’m not a lemony person but this curd tastes amazing. Burst of lemon flavour. Texture was perfect but why the eggy taste. Did I maybe do some wrong?

  3. What took me so long to make this! This is hands down the best tasting stuff ever! I made your coconut cake so I had all these yolks. If you are reading the comments to see if this is really as easy as Sally says, yes it is & stop reading & make this. I used a heat proof glass bowl over a pot of water & used a silicone whisk (I don’t have a double boiler) Like she says, at around the 10 min mark the magic happens!! I wish I could rate this as a 10 & now what to bake so I can use this curd!!

  4. This stuff is beyond amazing! Love your detailed recipe, it was so easy to make and it’s so good! Put it on top of the no bake cheesecake cups and WOW! What a great combination!

  5. I have a question. I didn’t see the section about using a metal wisk! And now it taste metallic! Anything i can use to get that metallic taste out?

  6. When cooling the curd after removing it from the heat and putting the plastic wrapon top, does it cool on the counter or in the refrigerator?

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