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. Hi! I am wanting to make this curd tomorrow, but I am one tablespoon short of butter. Would I be able to use the Land O’ Lakes butter made with Olive Oil and Sea Salt? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emma, we haven’t tried that, but we fear the olive oil and sea salt taste might come through in the final curd. If you can, it would be best to get regular, unsalted butter. Hope you enjoy the curd!

    2. I would go & get the butter Emma, I find using the precise ingredients, I get a PERFECT CURD every time. My secret is I put everything in my mixer & whisk it until just combined, then put it in the bowl with the water already boiling underneath it & wisk for approx the 10 min….NEVER HAD A FAIL YET

  2. I just made this and all was wonderful until I added the butter and then the emulsion broke. So now I have curd with butter floating on top. Any idea what I did wrong? I did triple the recipe because we had 12 egg yolks left over from baking angel food cake – and used a ceramic bowl over saucepan as a double boiler to avoid the metallic taste. Thanks for any advice!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Franny, The recipe should be the same if tripling but the cook time will be longer because you are working with a greater volume. 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!

      1. Hi – I had success putting it into a blender. it brings back the emulsion in no time.

    2. It might help if the instructions said to add one piece at a time, stirring until it’s melted then add another – Putting all in at once would be the reason it fails to incorporate. Takes a bit of stirring but it’s worth it

      1. I put all butter in at same time and whisked away no separation here but I never stopped stirring from the time I put on heat to the time I mixed in the butter. Hope that helps.

    3. Hi – I also had that problem! I had left it outside while waiting for it to cool. The butter was still liquid, so I gave it a hard stir and it came together. Not sure if it works every time but it worked for me!

  3. I just made the lemon curd but find it too sweet. Any suggestions for a less sweeter curd?
    CURD IS FANTASTIC, but too sweet.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sharon, feel free to stir in a bit of lemon zest or an extra squeeze of lemon juice to help offset the sweetness. You don’t want to reduce the sugar, as it helps to thicken the curd. Glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  4. Heather Bice says:

    Hi Sally from Australia.
    I’ve been making Lemon Curd for decades. Recently came across your site through Social Media. I made your Lemon Curd recipe last week. It is THE BEST recipe I’ve ever used.
    Lovely taste and colour; thick, creamy texture.

  5. Hello. Can i use margarine instead?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Enny, we don’t recommend it. Best to stick with real butter here!

  6. Hi sally, I’m going to try your recipe and make the curd for gifts. How long can this be kept in a fridge and sealed jar? Thank you.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jodie, you can refrigerate the lemon curd for up to 10 days. For longer storage, you can freeze the curd up to 3-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying.

  7. Marnee Coello says:

    Made your recipe today and I followed all your instructions ❤️ I used the homemade double boiler method and I was so impressed with how perfect my curd turned out❤️ Will be using this method from now on❤️ Absolutely delicious tyty

    1. Marnee
      I think your computer is replacing punctuation with hearts mine seems to always replace my punctuation with a table tennis racket and ball some people call it ping pong but I prefer table tennis if you figure out how to fix this please comment back Ill be sure to check back and see if youve solved it tyty

    2. Melody Kingsbury says:

      Juiced and froze fresh fruit from our Meyer lemon tree, can I defrost and use in recipe?

    3. Just finished making mine with the 2 yolks + 1 whole egg option. Came together just as described..mine took about 12 minutes. Looks thick and glossy and tastes great ! (I snuck a taste before cooling) 🙂

  8. Cynthia Pettit says:

    I can’t use sugar. Will Splenda or another substitute work?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cynthia! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a lemon curd recipe that is specifically formulated for Splenda. Thank you!

    2. Hi Cynthia! I replace because I also don’t use sugar. I use allulose because it doesn’t crystallize when cooled as others do. It comes out perfect!!

  9. HELLO. Love your recipes. Been cooking for many happy years, have won cooking contests, and thoroughly appreciate your website.Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Not I. I’m fond of your lemon curd as it’s gluten free and want to fold into the cooled curd heavy cream for a non-baked summer-type mousse dessert. Recommend or advise against? Thanks so much for a quick answer and your fab website.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maria, thank you so much for making our recipes! We don’t see why that would be a problem – let us know if you give it a try.

      1. Thank you for your timely response. The lemon-curd mousse will turn out fine; and, with your consensus I’m sure of it.

  10. Abhay Phadnis says:

    This recipe is brilliant! I love lemon curd but most store-bought versions are too sweet for my liking. It was a delight to find a recipe that made it appear simple to try at home.

    I substituted the sugar with erythritol, using 3/4 cup as it is less sweet than sugar. Also, I used salted butter. Kept everything else in the recipe as is – the end result is perfect. Thank you, Sally!

    1. Hi there! Did you omit adding salt, since you used salted butter?

      1. Abhay Phadnis says:

        Yes, I did omit the salt.

    2. Hi Sally, I’m about to try this recipe tomorrow, can’t wait! I was just wondering if the curd is super tangy as it’s what my family likes. Could I add more zest or juice to it to engage the tang at all?

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Laurie, Feel free to stir in a bit of lemon zest or an extra squeeze of lemon juice to make it even more tangy. Enjoy!

  11. I absolutely love this curd! I have made it several times and it’s perfect every single time! I have a question too though! Can any citrus be substituted for this recipe? I want to make grapefruit curd for my bday cake but other recipes I’m finding are making me nervous lol! Thanks for so many great recipes all the time!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  12. Michael Van Leeuwen says:

    Hi Sally,
    I want to use the lemon curd in lemon tarts for my work colleagues – about 40 of them.

    What quantities would suffice for this number, and do you think they’ll travel well without spilling?
    Bon appetit!

    Michael Van Leeuwen
    Melbourne

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michael, the quantity of lemon curd would depend on how big your tarts are. You can use this lemon curd in pre-baked mini tart shells, but we don’t recommend using it in a big tart or pie since it will not slice neatly. If you’re looking for an easy to share lemon treat, our lemon bars might be of interest instead!

      1. Michael Van Leeuwen says:

        Yes, the mini tarts. Would this recipe produce enough for about 40 of them?

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        This recipe yields about 1-1.5 cups of curd. The amount it will fill depends on the size of your mini tarts. Let us know if you try them!

  13. I made lemon curd for the first time today. I used your recipe. I am a HUGE FAN of lemon anything! This is AMAZING! Thank you for another great recipe.

    I plan to add some lemon curd to my lemon Whoopie Pies (with vanilla buttercream). I am very curious as to any recommendation you may have regarding storage of my whoopie pies with the addition of this lemon curd? Thanks in advance!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gina! That sounds like a delicious whoopie pie! Lemon curd always needs to be kept refrigerated, so you best bet will be to assemble just before serving or refrigerating the whoopie pies after assembling. Hope they’re a hit!

      1. Thank you. That’s what I thought. I am hoping that I might freeze some because I am sure they will be a big hit in my house. I am curious as to how the curd will behave when freezing and then bringing back to room temperature. I will let you know.

        One more quick question please? I understand why a silicone whisk is important. But, can I store the curd in a Mason Jar with a metal lid in the refrigerator. Or, will the same metal taste happen?

  14. Hi Sally,
    I tried the lemon curd today… It turned out just great in the first go The double boiler idea was awesome..and it did a wonder. I had tried using a stainless steel vessel as some other recipes indicated..and it burned at the bottom.
    Thanks for sharing your easy technique..can’t wait to use it in my lemon tarts.

  15. Absolutely perfect instruction , ingredients easy to follow . I add this
    ( usually store bought in jars) to add to my whip cream to render perfect frog eye salad thank you so much !!!!!
    Barbara

  16. Hi! Could we substitute lemon for any other fruit such as mango?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rayna, we haven’t tested this curd recipe with mango but other readers have reported success using a variety of fruits. If you try anything, let us know how it goes!

  17. Hello – can I process jars of the curd in
    A water bath like I would jam or other canned fruits?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

      1. Bobbee Britton says:

        Hi – thanks for such a quick response! I made the curd both ways, with all egg yolks and also by substituting a whole egg for one of the yolks. Both ways are fabulous. I also did one batch without processing and three batches with processing because it’s so delicious I want to give it as gifts! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!

  18. Catherine Matsumoto says:

    Can you substitute Monkfruit sugar for the regular sugar without compromising the taste and texture?

    1. Hi Catherine, I haven’t tested it but I worry the curd won’t set properly.

    2. Hi Catherine! I use allulose and it’s perfect! I don’t use quite as much sugar as her recipe. But monkfruit and erythritol re-crystallize when cooled in any kind of recipe like this that dissolves then chills, such as jams or caramel sauce. But allulose doesn’t!!

  19. Could I just mention that I never start this type of sauce without chilled yolks or ice cubes. It’s a great rescue If you whip your dish off the stove and get them in straight away. It very rarely detracts from the outcome, bearing in mind egg sizes.

  20. Hi Sally

    Should it be brought to room temperature before refrigeration?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emmett, correct, we recommend allowing the curd to cool and thicken at room temperature. Once cool, the plastic wrap can be removed and you can place the curd in the refrigerator.

  21. Is it possible to store this in vacuum jars for longer storage.

  22. Hello! I was really happy with the taste, but my lemon curd was so thick it actually looked and spread like melted marshmallows. Did I whisk it too long that my sugar became stringy?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emily, it’s likely that the curd was just cooked for too long which made it so thick. A bit less time next time should help!

  23. Hi Sally, I’ve made this a few times and it’s fabulous everytime! Just wondering if you had any tips to make it passionfruit curd… Would it mean replacing the lemon content with passionfruit? Thank you and keep up the awesome job!!

  24. Kathy Sacony says:

    I made my first attempt at making lemon curd, I kept stirring and stirring but it never really got thick , so I added the butter you suggested but still not very thick, would I be messing it up if I added a tiny bit if cornstarch?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathy, To make it thicker after it’s been prepared, you could always place the curd back in a double boiler over low heat and whisk in 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch. Keep whisking over heat until it begins to thicken. If you try the recipe again, see the recipe notes for how to make a thicker curd.

  25. Rosemary Ruiz says:

    First time making this curd, absolutely wonderful. Can I store this in mason jars being that it has metal in the lid. Thanks

  26. Michelle Bacon says:

    I made this cake today for the first time. Followed the recipe exactly and it was perfect. Beautiful rise and wonderful flavour. Thank you for always including baking tips and videos.

  27. Can’t wait to try the curd. Thanks for such wonderful directions.

  28. Hi, you’ve mentioned in the notes that fresh lemon juice should be used. So I’m wondering whether it’s ok to use lemon juice that was squeezed a couple of days prior & then refrigerated?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Matilda, that should be okay, but if you can, wait to squeeze the juice for when you are making the recipe. Hope you enjoy this lemon curd!

  29. It came out perfect and taste amazing

  30. Such a simple and lovely recipe! I used the thicker version to fill some tarts and people really loved it.

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