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

346 Comments

  1. I have made this some many times. The first time i made this i was so worried it would take me very and not in time to finish the cupcakes i was making. Turns out, just like you said it took 10 minutes, and while it was cooling i make the frosting, other filling, and cupcakes. i am so thankful for this recipe and you. I use SOOO many your recipes, and always feel confident, thank you for that.

  2. Hello, Sally! I used your recipe to make lemon curd. It turned out to be amazing! All the lemon juice and zest flavor just sealed in. However, I feel that there is a teeny-tiny bit of eggy flavor, which grows as you eat another dollop. How can I solve that?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Apoorva, I’m so glad you enjoyed the curd! It shouldn’t have an eggy flavor so I wonder if it was overcooked. An easy fix for next time, make sure your bowl isn’t touching the water, turn down the heat a little bit, and take it off the heat a minute earlier if the curd has thickened up.

    2. Margie Blankenship says:

      Can’t wait to try this recipe. I love fresh lemon curd served hot over gingerbread. This is a very traditional Scottish treat.

  3. I make your lemon curd all the time I freeze it and use to put on my lemon blueberry muffins, loaf cake…I always add it to many loaf cakes it makes everything so moist and delicious… thank you terry

  4. The lemon curd is delicious.

  5. Hi Sally! This has been my go to Lemon Curd recipe for a while, its just delicious! My family is part of a food share and we have received a large bag of key limes. Could I sub the lemon zest and lemon juice for key lime zest and juice to make key lime curd? Would this also work with orange?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lael, You can use this exact recipe to make both lime an orange curd. Enjoy!

      1. Hello and thanks Sally for this recipe, it’s a real success.
        I’d just like to point out, in response to this comment: With oranges, you may want to lower the sugar amount, depending on how sweet the oranges are.
        I had two lemons and one orange. I followed the exact recipe with 75g sugar and the result is really sweet.

  6. Hi Sally! I love this lemon curd and I always make it for my puffs! I was just wondering, how long can I keep it in the refrigerator before I pipe it into my puffs? Would 5 days be okay if it’s in a container with a lid?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bianca, Yes this curd stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to about 10 days.

  7. Dr Mrs K Kapila says:

    I think this is a wonderfully easy recipe if done with care and using the valuable tips given. Lemon curd can be used in so many different ways.

  8. I tried making this over the last weekend and followed the recipe. I was a bit worried the eggs were cooked enough and probably cooked it for too long. There was no scrambled egg type of situation but my butter separated. Any idea why this might have happened? Should I use cold butter next time?Also, should I invest in a food thermometer?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ana, You need to continue to stir the mixture as it cooks so the butter doesn’t separate. Just keep stirring and it will come together! You could purchase a thermometer if you wish. See best safety temperatures here: https://www.incredibleegg.org/egg-nutrition/safe-food-handling-tips/#4

  9. I have made this recipe a number of times now, and it always turn outs fantastic! I use the lemon curd as a topping, or a tasty dessert filling!

  10. Sorry if this has been asked already but does this recipe double or triple well? I am thinking about making it for a sweet summertime gift to neighbors. Who couldn’t use a little unexpected love during these times?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      This makes a lovely gift, Christine! Yes, you can make double batches of this lemon curd.

  11. Monica Malone says:

    Lovely curd. I was a little nervous … and skeptical. My previous curd recipe used cornstarch. I’m wondering why some do and some don’t. Also, I noticed huge differences in the amount of butter, some, like the aforementioned cornstarch recipe, only use 1TBS butter, whilst one recipe I tried, same finished amount, used only two eggs, but 11 TBS butter. Why so wildly different?

  12. kathryn a covello says:

    Hi Sally, I’m planning to but this in your vanilla layer cake(between layers). Any reason this wouldn’t be a good idea?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      None at all – it’s delicious between layers of cake! We like to put down a thin layer of buttercream and then this curd between layers 🙂

  13. I made this to add to your lemon blueberry layer cake. I made it last night and tasted it this morning after chilling overnight. It is dangerously delicious. I had to put it away to have enough left for the cake! Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes. Can’t wait to try to the cake!

  14. Hi Sally – I’ve made this curd before and it was a huge success!

    Now, I’m wondering if it’s possible to make something similar, but with blueberries. I know the citrus is the important part to making it curd, but is it possible? Like, cook blueberries for a while, add lemon juice, egg yolks, and sugar and cook over the double boiler, just like you would for the lemon curd. Would it still thicken the same?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kristen, We are so happy you enjoyed this lemon curd! We haven’t tested a blueberry curd but let us know if you try it!

  15. Brogan Farrell says:

    Who knew such a simple recipe could yield such amazing results! I differed from the instructions a bit and creamed the sugar and butter together first and slowly mixed in the other ingredients. Came out perfect!

  16. Hi Sally,

    Amazing recipe! Can you add preservatives to this recipe?

    I love it but it’s just for me and my brother (we don’t cosume it that often)

    Thanks,

  17. Fantastic recipe – tart, creamy and delicious!

  18. Hi Sally,
    Can I substitute lemon juice with passion fruit for passion fruit curd? Will it affect the recipe?
    I already made the lemon curd many times..it was ah-maZing..!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, absolutely!

  19. I would like to make this recipe it sounds delicious but I was just wondering what a silicone whisk is. Can you not use a metal one?

  20. Can you please put the ingredient amounts? You just say the ingredients you need and not the amounts, unless I’m missing something. The reason I ask is I’m trying to make a specific recipe and I don’t want to make too much and waste it. I might use this again in the future and it would be helpful. It says this makes about a cup or a cup and a half, but with how much ingredients?

  21. Edward de Bruin says:

    I made this lemon Curd, it came out perfect. I made some many times in the past, but this is a treasure find, Thank you Sally.

  22. Hello! I’m planning to use this to fill a three-layer, 8″ cake. Do you think it would be enough, or double it? I’ve never filled a cake with a curd before so not sure. Thanks!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, this should be plenty to fill a 3 layer 8-inch cake! If you use it on all 3 layers, you’ll have about 1/3-1/2 cup per layer, and if you only use it in between the layers, you’ll have about 1/2-3/4 cup to use. Hope you enjoy it!

      1. Amanda Ryan says:

        Thanks so much for responding! That’s good. The curd is cooling now and tastes delicious. I’m making a mashup of Sally recipes to recreate our wedding cake for our 9th anniversary … the cake from the Fresh Berry Cream Cake, lemon curd (+ fresh blueberry) filling, and Swiss meringue buttercream! Thanks for all the recipes! 🙂

      2. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        How fun and what a delicious flavor combination! Happy anniversary!

  23. Judy Johnson says:

    The recipe sounds delicious. I am planning on making this lemon curd but was wondering if it can be canned in a hot water bath. I would like to make it and give as gifts for Christmas but a 10 day shelf life isn’t long enough. If yes, would you treat it the same way as a preserve or a jelly as far as the cooking time in the canner goes?.

    1. Hi Judy! Many readers have canned this in the same manner you can a jam or jelly. I haven’t personally tested it though.

  24. Hi Sally!
    I made this to go inside your recipe for Homemade breakfast pastries and it was delish! However my curd took more time to thicken than your recipe. It took at least 7 minutes more to thicken. Any suggestions as to what might have happened? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tiana, It’s normal for times to vary (due to different heat settings, thickness of your bowl, etc.)! If curd isn’t thickening, turn up the heat and constantly whisk.

      1. Okay! Thanks so much!

  25. I just made your lemon curd recipe this morning to top a Dutch baby. This is such a great, simple recipe that turned out delicious! I use so many of your recipes for baking and they’ve all been hits. You’re amazing, thank you

  26. Thanks, it is a great recipe. I used a plastic bowl to start with instead of a glass bowl, and that didn’t work, transferred it to a glass bowl, and then it thickened nicely. The texture and taste is great, thanks for the recipe!

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