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. Julie Ann Correia says:

    Hi there,
    I have a request to construct a multi tiered white cake with Lemon curd filling.
    If I use your recipe and follow the suggestion for a thicker curd by switching out 2 egg yolks for one egg plus the additional egg yolks, do you think this is thick enough to use as my filling?
    Thank you in advance for your time!
    Julie

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Julie, You will still want to place a thin layer of frosting down and then use the curd on top of that. This helps so that the layers don’t slide off of each other. You can see an example of exactly how to do this in our Lemon Coconut Cake.

    2. You can also use the frosting as a border, just a circle on the outskirts of the layer, and fill the middle with curd. Never made it (Actually will try it in the next few days), but that the methods all the chefs use and on Great British Bake Off 🙂

  2. Can I double this recipe?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  3. I just got the cute fox and owl hand pie molds at an online store (didn’t want to mention the name in case it violates a rule) I am dying to make a lemon hand pie. Can I use this as the filling or do you suggest your lemon filling from your lemon meringue pie? Your lemon squares are the bomb btw.

    1. Hi Dawn! Though I haven’t tested it, I would use the filling from the lemon meringue pie recipe. It sets much better than this curd.

    2. I am dying to try hand pies, and had no idea there were cute molds like that for hand pies. I would love to know where to get these. Can I post an email address (mine) to get private reply if not allowed to tell where to get them right here?

      1. Hi Katy! I’m not sure where those pie molds were from but a quick online search pulls up these: https://www.surlatable.com/fox-and-owl-hand-pie-set/PRO-6779342.html
        I also saw your comment reply on the key lime pie recipe. My team and I never saw the original commenter’s rude remark. It has been removed. Thank you for bringing to our attention.

  4. Is there any way I could use this recipe as an orange curd?
    If so, would I need to decrease the sugar or add some lemon juice so that it wouldn’t be too sweet? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leanne, you can definitely make orange curd with this recipe. 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. Let us know how it goes!

  5. Can I use this recipe and just swap out the lemon juice for either passion fruit pulp or mango pulp? Or would I need to adjust the other ingredients as well?

    I love this recipe, but need a different curd for a cake, by request

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  6. This recipe was a delight. I was especially drawn to it as the white cake i made the cupcakes out of called for 4 egg whites. I doubled it and no problem. I’ve never made lemon curd before, I guarantee it won’t be the last. Thank you so much! Namaste!

  7. How important is the silicone whisk if using a glass bowl?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mark, we recommend using a silicone whisk if at all possible.

  8. Thank you! I’ve been searching for this very simple, yet luscious, recipe!

  9. I was going to try Southern Livings White Velvet Lemon Meringue Cake Recipe, but the lemon curd recipe calls for 12 eggs (plus cake and frosting calls for 8 eggs). Would this work just as well? Would it be rich enough?
    Ann

    1. Hi Ann, I haven’t tried that recipe before and I can’t find it online. This curd is rich, yes, but it isn’t ideal as a filling for cakes if that’s where it’s intended. It can, however, be spread on top of your cake’s filling (like how we do it for this lemon coconut cake).

  10. Can you use a plant-based butter or margarine to get the same result? I’m lactose intolerant and try to have as little dairy as possible.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mallory, we don’t recommend margarine as it has a very different chemical makeup than butter. We haven’t tried this recipe with a plant-based butter so we’re unsure of the results. If you do decide to give it a try, we’d love to know how it goes!

  11. Super yummy and pretty easy. I didn’t read carefully enough and added the butter tight away, it still worked out. I had to cook a bit longer and hotter. I’m hoping to make more for holiday gifts.

    I had made Limoncello and had many left over lemons, now I know how to make lemon curd.
    Can you suggest things to do with it?..besides eat it out of the jar!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shelly, we’re so glad you enjoyed this lemon curd recipe! See blog post for some of our favorite ways to enjoy lemon curd (under the title “Uses for Lemon Curd”). So many ways to enjoy!

  12. Hi can i replace the lemon with lime to make a lime curd? Do i need to modify anything else?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sha, you can definitely swap the lemons for limes to make this into a lime curd. No other changes needed. Enjoy!

  13. I just had this amazing Lemon Alaska cake. It had a graham cracker crust then was layered with vanilla ice cream and lemon curd with whipping cream on top. I expect it’s fairly simple to make; spring form pan, graham cracker crumbs, an ice cream layer, the lemon curd, another layer of ice cream then lemon curd topped by another layer of ice cream. Freeze over night then probably defrost for 20 minutes(?) put whipping cream on top and serve.
    Any other suggestions?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Becky, That sounds delicious! If you decided to try it, you can use our graham cracker crust and the meringue topping from our Brownie Baked Alaska. Let us know if you give it a try!

  14. Eugenia Walker says:

    Can I preserve this lemon curd with a water bath?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Eugenia, we haven’t tried preserving lemon curd that way so we’re unsure of the results, but let us know if you try anything!

  15. Hi, would this recipe be appropriate for a tart? I was looking at this one:

    https://zestfulkitchen.com/blueberry-lemon-curd-tart-cookbook-review-giveaway-americas-test-kitchen/#tasty-recipes-17087-jump-target

    Could I make the lemon curd according to your recipe, and then bake it for 10-12 minutes in the tart crust according to this other recipe to help it set?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jenn, we don’t recommend using it in a big tart or pie since it will not slice neatly. We love this lemon blueberry tart instead (you can make it without the blueberry swirl)!

  16. Would I be able to transfer the hot curd to a glass jar and seal it so it can keep for longer until opened? Or will it still only last about 10 days? I really want to make a large batch and keep in the cupboard until ready to open.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ally, we haven’t tried preserving lemon curd that way so we’re unsure of the results, but let us know if you try anything!

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