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

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

335 Comments

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  1. Just made this lemon curd this morning. What a delight. I’m going to use this as filling in a lemon cake. I’ve never made curd before and was skeptical but it turned out beautifully. Followed the recipe exactly.

  2. The best dish I’ve ever cooked myself and probably some of the best lemon curd I’ve ever had. I’m not good with trying new things but I tried yours tonight and it’s amazing!! My family loved it. Great recipe

  3. I made your lemon curd yesterday and the recipe was so easy to follow. It came out great. I’ve never been successful at curd before.

  4. I have some egg yolks leftover from seven minute frosting, a small container full. I don’t know how many yolks there are. Is there anyway to measure yolks by the cup or ounces?

    1. Hi Laurie, 1/2 cup of large egg yolks is *about* 8 large yolks, so I would use about 1/4 cup egg yolks here— even closer to 5 Tbsp (1/3 cup) to be safe.

  5. Just starting a second batch of the lemon curd to give as a gift. This recipe is a keeper!

  6. Just made this. Came out really well. Didn’t have cling film so had to put in a killer hat without the rubber seal. Hopefully that works.

  7. Just tried this and its oh so good! And so easy to do and get right! I made the thickrr version.

    Quick question, i also tried your Graham cracker pie crust. Can i just will it in with this lemon curd to make a lemon curd tart? Or do i need to bake it still?

  8. Ok. That was a total disaster. I had doubled the recipe. The Pyrex glass bowl (which is one of a set), that I was using as a double boiler, shattered as I was wisking, and the contents sank into the simmering water below. Total loss, and very dangerous. I have a metal double boiler, which I have used for lemon meringue pie. I might try that next time. I love your website, and your recipes (the pavlova was fab), but this is actually quite dangerous. It is not your fault that my bowl was not up to the task, but I think suggesting I improvise a double boiler is not a good idea.

    1. Hi Carol! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. That’s certainly a scare. I use this mock double boiler method often and haven’t had that happen before but I will certainly look into it. Thank you again.

  9. I had 7egg yokes left over from another bake and googled What to do with yokes and found this recipe! It was so easy to follow and the lemon curd turned out perfectly Thanks for the recipe, will be looking up more of your ideas!!

  10. I made this curd yesterday and it was amazing in my (your) pavlova.
    What, if any modifications need to be made to make blood orange curd?

    1. Hi Sara, You can use this exact recipe to make an orange curd. (Or even a grapefruit or lime curd!)

  11. Made lime curd. Really easy to do. Turned out great. Going to definitely use again ❣️

  12. I had recently tried this recipe at my home and it is really easy to make and very delicious in taste. Also sharing here another lemon curd recipe. Check out the recipe here: https://www.foodybud.com/perfect-lemon-curd-recipe-the-recipe-critic/

  13. I consider myself a connoisseur of all things lemon. I love lemon curd and make it often. I thought I had the best recipe already, up until now! This is by far the BEST lemon curd I’ve ever made or tasted. Absolutely divine! Thank you, Sally! You get five stars from me for your delicious lemon curd!

  14. Yum. Just made it for the second time. Comes out great! I didn’t have a double boiler so I cooked it on the stove top at a super low temp.

  15. Amazing recipe and so easy. Made both lemon and lime curd and will be making this many more times! Thank you.

  16. Hi Sally! Looking to use this between cake layers, so interested in the “Thicker Lemon Curd” adaptation. A little confused in the recipe modifications that are suggested. It says, “For thicker lemon curd, replace 2 of the egg yolks with 1 whole egg. This means you will use 2 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg. Keep the rest of the recipe and instructions the same.” But the original recipe calls for 4 egg yolks. So is it: 2 egg yolks + 2 whole eggs? Or 2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg (i.e. 3 eggs instead of 4)? On that same train of thought, for a super thick cake-filling worthy curd, should I just use 4 whole eggs? Thanks so much for your help; huge fan!!!

    1. Hi Beth, you can use 4 egg yolks for a thinner curd as suggested or 1 whole egg + 2 egg yolks for a thicker curd.

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