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 in a glass jar with spoon

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

Video Tutorial: How to Make Lemon Curd

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 on a pink plate

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.

2 images of butter for lemon curd on a cutting board and in a double boiler

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 in a jar with a spoon

354 Comments

  1. I did this, and the result was great! Was a bit skeptical as last time I made it felt like a lot of steps. It was easy breezy, lemon squeezy. I know I can make other curds based of this recipe – substitute the lemon juice for orange, lime, passion fruit or pineapple. But in case of berries, would you be able to advise any substitutions? Or how to make it? Thank youu

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ines, we haven’t tried a berry curd, but let us know if you give it a go!

  2. Sheri Collins says:

    I’m all set to make this but I don’t have a silicone whisk, can it still be done?? Love your blog and posts ❤️❤️❤️

  3. I made this recipe for Mother’s Day gifts and it came out great! I’m wondering if it would work to make this with dairy free butter like Earth Balance? Thank you! 🙂

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emily, we haven’t tried this recipe with any dairy-free alternatives, but you can certainly give it a try. If you do, please let us know how it goes!

  4. Ingredient list was good and flavor was good, but temp for finished curd should be included in instructions. 10 mins at a simmer was not enough time for my curd to come together. I also had to increase heat slightly. It took closer to 16 mins. to reach a temp of 165-170 Farenheit.

    Tip for salvaging- if you have taken curd off heat (before adding butter) after 10 mins and it still looks foamy or layered, simply bring water back to simmer in your double boiler and reheat slowly and carefully until curd comes to at least 165 Farenheit. I found my curd thickened quite nicely at this temp, but I have also read temp should be between 170-180 degrees Farenheit. Add butter after curd reaches temperature.

    You can also reheat slowly if you have already adding butter as well if you are needing it to thicken up some more.

  5. This is definitely NOT going to last 10 days in the fridge. It’s sinfully delicious and easy to make. I followed the recipe to a T. The only step I added in was crushing the sugar and lemon zest together (to help release the oils ) before adding everything else in. It took a little more than 10 minutes on my temperamental stove but it’s fantastic. Thank you for the recipe.

  6. Great Recipe!

  7. Tried for lemon – amazing Will this work for an orange curd or does it need modification?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Hayden, You could make orange curd! We recommend using at least *some* lemon juice with the orange juice. Reducing the sugar will prevent the curd from thickening, so that’s why we recommend a little lemon juice.

      1. What about a raspberry curd?

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Cynthia, We haven’t tested a raspberry curd but let us know if you try it!

  8. Hi Sally,

    I’d like to freeze several jars of this lemon curd and then use as a sauce for pancakes/crepes and desserts. How can I turn frozen lemon curd into a sauce? My family doesn’t like lemon curd mixed with whipped cream. They like a noncreamy lemon sauce. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emily, You don’t need to mix this lemon curd with whipped cream. You can simply freeze it (see recipe note) and then thaw it in the refrigerator before using.

      1. Thanks! It is too thick to use as a sauce how would I make it a thickish pancake syrup from a frozen curd?

  9. Sharon ffoulkes says:

    I just made your lemon curd using home grown lemons and our own hens eggs. WOW! Used to love lemon curd as a kid and I’m busy revisiting that addiction! Thank you definitely a keeper.

    I did temper the eggs by heating the lemon juice and stirring it into the eggs a little at a time then added the sugar and lemon zest. Only used about half the quantity of zest as I didn’t want it too “chewy” but you definitely need to put some in.

  10. I absolutely love this lemon curd. I’m thinking to use this recipe to make lime curd to use in macarons. Do I just replace the lemon juice with lime juice? I’m actually going to do your mini key lime pies and put a macarons on top. Oh, and I absolutely love ALL your recipes. You are my go to for almost everything 🙂

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lara! You can definitely swap the lemons for limes to make this into a lime curd.

  11. If I want to double the recipe, does it affect the cooking time at all? 🙂

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alexa, you can make double batches of this lemon curd, and cooking time should be about the same. Enjoy!

  12. Joseph Edward Horton says:

    I cooked this delicious lemon curd as you had listed the recipe… it was my time making this and I found it easy and DELICIOUS!!! Thank you…

  13. This is the best thing I’ve ever made. I like the 2 yolks + 1 whole egg version. I made another site’s blackberry curd and it was too thin, this will be my go to! Just replace the same measurement of lemon juice with other fruit puree!

    My freezer is full of egg whites from curd binges, time to make your angel food cake or maybe some Italian meringue, hahaha.

  14. Beautiful! Worked great.

  15. Yum! Just made this lemon curd having never made any type of curd before and it was a breeze and tastes delicious. Followed the recipe as written only using my metal whisk, as I don’t have a silicone one, and my makeshift double boiler aka glass Pyrex bowl over saucepan.

  16. Paula Durrett says:

    I believe your lemon juice measurement is incorrect. It only made about 1/2cup. I had to start over. I made the same recipe with 2/3 cup of lemon juice. It still only yielded about 1 1/2 cups.
    However, thank you for the tip about the double boiler and the silicone whisk. Very helpful.
    Paula

  17. Can this recipe be water bath processed, rather than frozen?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Eileen, many readers have canned this in the same manner you can a jam or jelly. We haven’t tested it though.

  18. I have a recipe that calls for lemon curd on baked salmon… I do not want sweet fish…does this sound right?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jan, we can’t speak to that specific recipe, but our lemon curd is sweet. We haven’t tried it on salmon or fish before.

  19. Leasha Dixson says:

    My curd didn’t set up very well. Too liquid for my taste, not the creamy look of yours. Is there a way to fix this?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laesha! Usually a thin curd just needs to be cooked longer – you could try putting it back over the double boiler to thicken the curd up. Make sure you continue to whisk to avoid any lumps!

      1. Leasha Dixson says:

        I decided to cook it down in the microwave. I cooked it for one minute, stirred, did the same for 4 more times, it’s now perfect! Thank you!

  20. I just made this, first ever attempt. It took slightly longer in a Pyrex jug in a saucepan, and maybe didn’t thicken quite as much as hollandaise, but it’s currently cooling in a 350g jam jar(perfect size) and I’m pretty sure it will be perfect. Tastes great, looks great. Nice recipe thanks – and so good not to have to do my own weight conversions from cups 🙂

  21. Hi, I’m new here my question is can you use lemon extract with fresh lemons. I don’t have enough lemons as for recipe that’s why I asked????

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan, unfortunately, fresh lemons are really the only option here. You need their volume of juice as well as their taste — lemon extract would be far too potent in the same amount. Let us know if you are able to give this recipe a try!

  22. I was thinking about using some guava juice in the curd to make it a guava lemon curd, would that be okay? I also wanted to know if I could use coconut or vegetable oil instead of the butter, would that work? Do you have any tips?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sage, we’ve never tested a guava lemon curd, but it sounds delicious. Some recipes use coconut oil instead of butter, but we haven’t tried it ourselves. Let us know if you give either a try!

  23. I have been making this in bulk for my friends and it is so amazing! Recipe was so easy follow and it tastes so good! Would highly recommend!

  24. Can lemon curd be pressure canned or processed in a boiling water bath?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dan, many readers have canned this in the same manner you can a jam or jelly. We haven’t tested it though.

  25. This recipe is the best! Thank you so much. Quick question- can someone pregnant eat this? Will the egg yolk be cooked enough? Thanks!

  26. This was amazing (as usual with your recipes)! I did cut the amount of sugar and followed your instructions on how to make a thicker curd and used the left over egg yolks from your best vanilla cake recipe. I used this as a filling with you best vanilla cake with raspberry frosting and everything was amazing! Since I cut back on the sugar, next time I’ll probably cut back on the amount of lemon juice as well. Great recipe as usual! Thank you!

  27. Theresa Hurst says:

    Hi Sally,
    I’ve never made Lemon Curd before but need to for an event this weekend. I want to try your recipe, since ALL your recipes are amazing. I have a question though. A friend says she beats the butter and sugar together first and then adds eggs. Then she cooks the mixture… She says this prevents little pieces of cooked egg. Have you ever tried this? I trust your opinion! Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Theresa! We haven’t tested it that way, so we can’t speak to how that might work. In the method from our recipe, the constant whisking prevents the egg yolks from curdling or cooking. Let us know if you give it a try!

  28. This is my favorite! So yummy! If i fill cupcakes so they require refrigeration? I feel like that dries out cupcakes. Thanks for all your delicious recipes.

  29. Matthew Giovannetti says:

    I just tried it with some Kaffir limes and it worked nicely but their characteristic scent and flavour got kind of lost.

  30. Nice recipe! I was thinking about adding alcohol and dilute it, maybe with milk, to get some Lemon curd liquor, almost like an Advokaat. What do you think? I am little worried about the curdling…

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rob! We’ve never tried anything like that, but let us know if you do!

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