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

201 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?

      1. Hi, the best trick to avoid the eggy taste in the lemon curd, or any other preparation with egg yolks really, is to sieve the yolks while still raw: simply use a tea strainer to do this. You will appreciate the difference !
        Marcia

  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?

    1. You can make orange, raspberry or even passionfruit curd, as long as the juice is fresh and the seeds are strained out of the raspberry juice!

  7. HI Sally! How many cups of curd does this make? I am making a two tiered cake 8 and 6 inch and wondering how much curd I will need for each of the layers

  8. Hello I have a lot of lemons, would like to make this recipe for Christmas gifts, will it keep until Christmas if kept in the fridge ?

    1. You can keep this in the refrigerator for 10 days. For longer storage, you can freeze the curd up to 3-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying.

  9. I made this recipe for some macarons I made and it tasted AMAZING! I recommend to leave it in the fridge for 24 hours in advance so it can thicken up even more. When I was whisking it in the double boiler, I noticed it wasn’t thickening up that much and formed many bubbles so I switched to a rubber spatula. After taking it off the heat, I kept mixing and it thickened right up! If you are going to use this recipe to fill macarons, I recommend making a ring of lemon buttercream on the outside then fill the middle with the curd so it doesn’t run out when you bite into it.

  10. OMG why did I wait so long to make lemon curd?! I’m a pretty experienced cook but for some reason lemon curd kind of intimidated me. I followed the tip for a thicker curd, and used a glass bowl set over a pan-my bowl said “no stove top” but I had no issues. Mine took a bit longer than 10 minutes to thicken, like 15-17, but that may have been because I was hesitant to turn the heat too high. It turned out great!

  11. Hi.
    I was encouraged by your recipe.
    I am very poor at cooking.
    But everything you’ve made from your recipe has been successful!
    I made caramel sauce last week and lemon curd today.
    Watching your blog, I think I will improve every day.
    Lemon curd is the best taste I’ve ever had!
    from Korea

  12. Hi sally,

    Loved this recipe! It is so delicious.
    It did take me 35 minutes to make. Was there something I did wrong?

    1. I don’t think so. Some stoves are slower than others. My old stove was electric and took quite awhile to make a nice curd.

  13. My son loves lemon curd! It is very expensive to buy so I thought I would look for a recipe and make it myself. OMG so much better than store bought!

  14. I made this recipe last night. I doubled it. I’m not sure that I cooked it long enough because it did not thicken up as much as I would have liked. I used the trick of one egg and 2 yokes. I think what I will do is add some xanthum gum to it. I worked it for about 20 minutes, too.

    Regardless, it sure does taste good!

    1. Whew, Hello! I just made this lemon curd and from the tiny taste test I did I’m pretty sure it turned out amazing. I’m trying to copycat Starbucks lemon curd vanilla yogurt because I think I can make it better. I have two questions: 1: my lemon curd is sitting out after mixing in the butter but it looks like its separated with a foamy layer, is that normal? 2: should I put it in the refrigerator or just leave it out to thicken up? I doubled the batch and cooked it all at once to have extra for some linzer cookies thank you so much for this recipe, it’s got 5* for a reason!!!

  15. I just made this yesterday. It was so easy and turned out excellent. Thank you. I did use Becel margarine as that’s all I had and was still great. Great recipe will pass it on to my friends. Marg

  16. Oh my goodness!! Thank you Sally! Lemon curds are so hard to find where I am and when I do, it’s sky high expensive. So I decided to make them and they are so so so so so so so good! I was floored and am literally in tears.. I made them with the alteration to the eggs (1 egg + 2 egg yolks) and added a little bit of corn starch to stabilise the curd (per an Aussie aunt’s recommendation given the high humidity we live in) and they turned out beautifully silky smooth and didn’t even need to sieve it. Literally tangy liquid sun-kissed gold. Coincidentally, I made these for your classic cheesecake recipe, which is chilling in the fridge as I write this. Sorry for the long comment but I’m so overjoyed.
    Question: I have a lime tree in my backyard and am thinking of making lime curd – would it work with the same ratios? Thanks ever so much!

    1. Farah, Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I’m thrilled that you tried and enjoyed the lemon curd so much! I hope you love it with the cheesecake. And I haven’t made lime curd but I think it would work just as well – let me know if you try it!

  17. Accidentally added the butter in with the other ingredients instead of at the end. Curd still turned out alright and tastes pretty good too!

  18. One commenter asked what to serve with lemon curd. Lavender scones! Actually any scones go well with lemon curd. Enjoy!

  19. You mentioned that a metal pan can cause a metallic taste. To clarify, it is an aluminum pot that can cause this. A stainless steel pot will not make anything taste metallic.

  20. Thank you for the suggestion of using some of the egg yokes left over from making Angle Food cake to make Lemon Curd. Worried it was not thick enough but after a time in the refrigerator it was perfect. You make things seem simple.

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