This creamy Homemade Lemon Curd recipe, with ideas on how to use it, is addicting. This is the most amazing curd you’ll ever eat. Smooth, creamy and oh so good! 6 ingredients, 25 minutes and you’ll have a tasty treat that will make you happy!
I suspect you’ve come to this post for one of two reasons.
- You have no idea what lemon curd is or how to use it.
- You’ve had curd and want to try making the best recipe for yourself. So you’ve come here to find this easy recipe.
No matter the reason that brought you here, let me start off by saying welcome! You’ve come to the right place.
This luscious lemon curd recipe has been tested by hundreds of thousands of people and they all rave about how delicious it is.
Rightfully so. My family is addicted to this recipe. In fact I have a triple batch of it in my fridge right now!
So let’s talk about what it is and why you or any lemon lover would want it in your life.
What is lemon curd?
Lemon curd is often referred to as a condiment or sweet dessert spread.
Meaning, some of the uses for fruit curd are to use it as a creamy spread on toast or scones as well as enjoy it as a topping on cheesecake, filling in cake or as a center in a thumbprint cookie.
The Best homemade Lemon curd is sweet, thick like soft butter and has a strong tart lemon flavor that’s also sweet.
Some of our favorite ways to enjoy perfect Lemon curd are with lemon desserts:
- Lemon Curd Mousse
- Lemon Curd Whipped Cream
- No Bake Lemon Cheesecake
- Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes
- Eyeball Cookies
- Lemon Curd Puff Pastry
- Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Angel Food Cake
- Ice Cream Topping
- Lemon Cake filling
How to make Lemon Curd?
Pull up a chair because this fresh fruit creamy lemon curd is about to knock your socks off.
Make it is as easy as 1-2-3.
- Cook – This part is easy but feels like a long time, so you’ll want to get comfy with your favorite whisk.
- Strain – often tiny bits of the egg will curdle if you aren’t stirring fast enough or miss an edge. So strain it with a fine mesh strainer to get a smooth curd.
- Chill – Unless you need to use it immediately, chill it in the fridge for best results.
Where did lemon curd originate?
We have the English to thank for the invention of lemony curd recipe.
It was created in the late 19th / early 20th century as a condiment for scones and bread during tea time.
Though unclear who the inventor is, the trend of spreading fruit curd, specifically lemon, on a scone quickly gained popularity.
Today there are two kinds of fruit curd that can be found.
English curd and American curd. This recipe is for American curd which is sweeter and creamier than the English version.
What is in lemon curd?
This recipe contains 5 simple ingredients. Each ingredient by itself isn’t very impressive.
However when combined together in just the right quantities, you end up with the creamiest lemon spread you’ve ever had. To make the best lemon curd, you’ll need:
- Lemons – You’ll be using both lemon zest and fresh lemon juice so grab a bunch of lemons
- White Sugar – This balances out that super tart flavor and makes it a yummy sweet treat.
- Eggs – We use whole eggs in this recipe. Some use egg yolks but not us.
- Salt – Just a pinch of salt helps the flavors all pop.
- Cold Butter – The last key ingredient for a creamy smooth curd.
- Zest your lemons before you juice them!
- This easy recipe can be made with any variety of lemon, but Meyer lemons offer the best results and flavor.
- You can also use unsalted butter. No need to adjust the salt ratio.
- You can substitute any citrus fruit for similar results.
Is lemon curd good for you?
Lemon curd contains both lemons and eggs, which both have healthy elements.
However the sugar and butter take this spread right off the healthy list and on the indulge list. Lemon curd is in no way a healthy snack or treat.
It’s sweet, full of fat and tastes amazing on and in so many special treats! If you’re looking for healthy, this isn’t the recipe for you.
How long does lemon curd take to thicken?
I have found that the answer to this question depends on the temperature you cook your lemon curd at.
The higher the temperature the faster it thickens. However if you cook it on too high of heat your eggs will curdle and you’ll be left with a runny mess.
For this recipe, I like to cook mine over medium heat on the stove.
At this temperature, it takes between 10 – 15 minutes to fully thicken. and if stirred regularly your eggs wont curdle.
You’ll know when it’s thick when the curd sticks to the back of a spoon.
How do you thicken lemon curd?
Lemon curd, when cooked for the correct amount of time will naturally thicken, thanks to the eggs.
The key with making a good curd is to never stop stirring.
My favorite way is to pull a chair right up to the stove and know I’ll be sitting there stirring for a good 10 – 15 minutes. I tend to get tired of standing in one place that long so the chair is a life saver.
At first your curd will be thin and runny. This will be the case for most of your cooking time.
However within seconds you’ll notice the mixture thickening and visibly see it thicken as well, this is how you’ll know the lemon curd is done.
Once it thickens, cook for one more minute then turn off your burner and start adding your butter.
The butter will thin it out slightly. However once your curd chills, it will thicken up to the perfect consistency.
It’s such a funny mixture that thickens, thins out a bit and then thickens again. However if you trust the recipe, it won’t lead you astray!
How long does homemade lemon curd keep?
This homemade lemon curd recipe will last 1 – 2 weeks in the fridge. Watch for mold spores around your containers edges.
This will be the first sign that you curd is done for and needs to be disposed of. Having said that, I’d be really surprised if this lasted 1 – 2 weeks in your fridge!
I like to store mine in a glass jar or air tight container with a tight lid.
I have never had an issue with a skin forming on my curd.
However if this makes you nervous, you can place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the top to prevent a skin from forming.
There are so many wonderful recipes you can make with it, I doubt it will last more than a few days.
Can lemon curd be kept at room temperature?
Yes and no. Remember, this great recipe uses fresh lemons, and lemons are well known for molding if not stored properly.
The same thing applies to lemon curd. If left out on the counter for days it will mold quickly.
However when stored in the fridge it will last 1 – 2 weeks.
If using lemon curd or any fruit curd in a dish that is baked, the curd will thicken to an almost gel like substance.
If baked, you can leave it out. Though to keep your treats fresh, fridge is always best.
If you’re using it in an unbaked form, then it will need to stay chilled.
Can you freeze lemon curd?
Yes you can! Many don’t realize it but delicious lemon curd freezes quite nicely.
If you don’t plan on using all of your curd at one time, you can freeze it for a later date.
Place lemon curd in a jar or freezable container leaving ¼ inch of space at the top for expansion. Seal the jar and place it in the freezer.
When ready to use, thaw in fridge for 24 hours before using. Use within 10 days and remember to write the date on your container.
Canning lemon curd, is that a thing?
Yes it is. There are a lot of posts out there on canning lemon curd but most aren’t what I deem a “canning” method. They are simply putting them in jars and sealing them.
Despite this, they still need to be refrigerated. I did find however, one website that has legitimate details on how to can shelf stable curd.
Just note, that shelf stable lemon curd will only last 3-4 months, unlike jams and jellies. The best source for this can be found HERE.
Why did my lemon curd turn green?
Have you ever had your lemon curd turn an off color like green before? Have you ever wondered why your lemon curd tastes a little bit like metal? Both of these problems come from the same source.
When cooking with lemons, the choice of pans you make is important.
If you use an unlined copper pan or an aluminum pan, the acid from the lemons will react to the copper or aluminum in your pan and could turn your lemon curd green or give it a metal taste.
This is an easy fix. Use a thick, heavy bottom pan or cast iron. You’ll never have issues with the acid from the lemons reacting to your pan.
Homemade Lemon Curd is easy, packed with flavor and the perfect filling or topping to many of your favorite desserts.
- In a saucepan, add lemon zest, lemon juice, white sugar, eggs and salt. Mix well.
- Place saucepan on burner and turn to medium heat.
- Whisk continually for 15 minutes. This is to prevent egg from curdling. Curd will begin to thicken between 10 and 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove from heat and add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, whisking until melted and mixed in.
- Pour curd through a fine mesh strainer. This will remove the zest and any partially cooked egg.
- Chill curd for 3 hours or overnight. Curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
Tip: Zest lemons before juicing. This is MUCH easier to do!
Curd can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks in either a quart jar or a sealed container.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 136mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 3g
Originally Posted: May 8, 2015
Photos & Text Updated: July 19, 2019
Photos & Text Updated: April 6, 2023