Perfect Lemon Curd Every Time: Quick & Easy Recipe

Homemade lemon curd in white bowl with fresh lemons on black granite background

A great lemon curd recipe is a must for people who love cooking and baking with citrus. This delicious sweet and tangy lemon topping is a versatile ingredient in lemon desserts and even as a spread on its own. And it’s easier to make than you might think. Find out how to make perfect lemon curd with our quick and easy recipe.

lemon curd in white bowl with fresh lemons and lemon curd tart on white plate with striped yellow tea towel

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What is lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a delicious thick lemon topping or spread, almost like a lemon custard. It’s made with eggs, sugar, butter and lemon juice and zest, cooked until thick and creamy. The flavour of lemon curd is tart and tangy from the lemons, but also sweet, making it perfect for baking and desserts.

You can use lemon curd as a lemon tart filling or in pies and all kinds desserts. I also love using it spread between layers in a lemon cake or sponge. You can even use lemon curd as a spread on its own. Try it with some warm scones (and add add some whipped cream if you are feeling decadent). Or swirl some lemon curd through vanilla yoghurt for a gourmet treat.

What types of lemons are best for making curd?

You can use most types of lemons for this recipe. For a lemon that has lots of juice, a sweeter flavour and not many seeds, you can’t go past Meyer lemons. Eureka and Lisbon lemons are fine too. – see our post about the best lemons for cooking to find out more.

Lemon curd ingredients

To make a perfectly smooth lemon curd you’ll need:

  • 2 fresh lemons, zest and juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter (cold)
lemon curd in saucepan with wooden spoon and  eggs, sugar and fresh lemons on grey granite background

Method

Place 2 eggs yolks, two eggs and sugar in a medium saucepan and whisk until smooth. This step is important to avoid any lumps or pieces of egg white in your lemon curd.

Place the saucepan over low heat. Add the butter, lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk until well combined. Continue to whisk the mixture over low heat until the lemon curd thickens. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes.

For an extra smooth lemon curd, strain the zest into the sterilised jars using a fine mesh strainer. If you don’t mind some texture from the lemon zest, you can skip this step and pour directly into the jars. (I actually prefer my homemade lemon curd unstrained, but it’s entirely personal preference).

Place lids on jars and allow to cool slightly on bench before refrigerating.

Sterilised jars for storage

If you are planning to use all of the lemon curd straight away in a recipe, you can simply store it in a well covered bowl in the fridge.

To store lemon curd properly so it lasts, it’s really important to use clean and dry sterilised jars. This will prevent mould from forming. Wide top mason jars are perfect. They also look good if you are planning to give jars to family and friends as gifts.

A quick way to sterilise glass jars (and metal lids) is to run them through a hot wash in the dishwasher. If they need extra drying, just place on a tray in a warm oven (110C) for 15 minutes. Otherwise, just give the jars a thorough clean in hot soapy water, rinsewell and place in the oven (as above) to dry.

Any lids with rubber seals or plastic can be boiled in boiling water for 15 minutes and then air dried instead of using the dishwasher/oven.

How long does lemon curd keep?

Homemade lemon curd should be stored in the fridge and used within 2 to 3 weeks. If you find that your lemon curd has separated slightly in the fridge, just stir it well before using.

You can freeze lemon curd too. It will keep frozen for up to 6 months. After defrosting, stir well and use the defrosted curd within 2 to 3 weeks.

Need a vegan lemon curd?

Obviously our lemon curd is going to be off limits for people who follow a vegan diet or who can’t have milk or eggs. They are the staple ingredient in this tangy lemon topping after all. But did you know you can make a vegan lemon curd that’s just as delicious? We love this recipe for dairy and egg free lemon curd from Allergy Spot.

More ways to use lemons

Do you have lots of lemons to use up? Other great ways to use them include to decorate a vase or for natural based cleaning, such as cleaning the microwave.

For more citrus recipes, don’t miss our recipe page.

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Homemade lemon curd in white bowl with fresh lemons on black granite background

Perfect Lemon Curd Every Time: Quick & Easy Recipe

Elise
Make your own delicious sweet and tangy lemon curd at home
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Condeiments and Sauces, Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 8
Calories 171 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 citrus zester
  • 1 citrus juicer
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • 1 whisk
  • 2 small sterilised clean jars with lids
  • 1 fine mesh strainer

Ingredients
  

  • 2 fresh lemons, zest and juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter (cold)

Instructions
 

  • Place 2 eggs yolks, two eggs and sugar in a medium saucepan and whisk until smooth. This step is important to avoid any lumps or pieces of egg white in your lemon curd.
  • Place the saucepan over low heat. Add the butter, lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk until well combined. Continue to whisk the mixture over low heat until the lemon curd thickens. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Strain the zest into sterilised jars using a fine mesh strainer. (If you don't mind some texture from the lemon zest, you can skip the strainer and pour lemon curd directly into the jars).
  • Place lids on jars and allow to cool slightly on bench before refrigerating.
  • Use homemade lemon curd within 3 weeks.
Keyword dessert, lemon, pie filling, spread

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