Easy Lemon Curd Recipe (VIDEO)
Homemade Lemon Curd tastes like the best part of Lemon Bars – the creamy lemony center. This lemon curd has a wonderfully fresh and vibrant lemon flavor with the perfect amount of sweetness to balance the tanginess.
Making your own Lemon Curd Recipe is easier than you think and it tastes better than store-bought. It also keeps really well. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is to make it from scratch.
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My In-laws live in California and have several lemon trees growing in their backyard. Every year they give us a large box of homegrown lemons and I sure put them to good use. I do everything from freezing the zest to freezing the lemon juice in ice cube trays and then enjoy their lemons all through winter. If you love lemons, check out our post on What to do with Lemons.
Lemon Curd Video Tutorial
Watch Natasha make easy Lemon Curd. All you need is a saucepan, whisk and sieve to strain it through. It requires only 6 ingredients (including salt) and takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Just like nearly everything, homemade tastes best.
What is Lemon Curd?
Lemon curd is a spread made out of fresh lemon juice, eggs, sugar, zest, and butter. The eggs in the recipe thicken the mixture, giving it a custard-like consistency. It’s often used as a dessert topping or spread for cakes, cookies, tarts, etc.
The key to making great lemon curd is to use fresh lemon juice. Avoid using concentrate or you’ll wish you just bought a jar of the stuff.
- Eggs – use 3 large whole eggs right out of the fridge.
- Sugar – We found that 1/2 cup of granulated sugar cuts the tartness perfectly.
- Salt – a pinch of fine sea salt balances the flavors.
- Lemon – since you’ll need the zest and juice, make sure to zest a lemon before squeezing the juice.
- Butter – use unsalted butter, sliced into pieces for quicker melting.
- Vanilla Extract – we always use real vanilla extract.
How to Make Lemon Curd
- In a medium saucepan – vigorously whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, and lemon zest until frothy.
- Add lemon juice while whisking and stir until combined.
- Add butter pieces and whisk constantly over low heat until mixture is thickened (8-9 minutes). Lemon curd thickens around 160-170˚F. Once you see it start bubbling, let it gently simmer for a few seconds then remove it from the heat at 175-180˚F on a thermometer. It should coat the back of a spoon without running when you pull your finger across the spoon.
- Strain – pour the lemon curd through a fine-mesh sieve, stirring over the sieve with a whisk to help it strain through. Discard the solids.
- Add vanilla – stir in vanilla extract until combined.
- Cool and store – once lemon curd is at room temperature cover and store in the refrigerator up to one week.
Pro Tip: Lemon Curd is cooked at 170˚F. You can use an instant-read thermometer to gauge progress. I take it off the stove at around 175-180˚F which is when it starts to lightly bubble.
Meyer lemons are sweeter and less tart than regular lemons so it won’t have the same punch of lemon flavor. Consider using less sugar.
Look for lemons that have a smooth firm skin, vibrant yellow, and unblemished. Avoid pale-colored (overripe) lemons and avoid any green-tinted (underripe) lemons.
This is a hard NO. I mean it, please do yourself a favor and squeeze real lemons.
A double boiler is not necessary for making lemon curd. It’s an extra dish to wash and will take longer to heat up and thicken.
We have tested this with 1/3 cup of sugar and it worked very well. It’s slightly less sweet and the lemon flavor is slightly more pronounced. If you are looking to reduce the sugar, it will still work.
Yes, but use a large saucepan, and keep in mind it will take a little longer to heat through and thicken up.
- To Refrigerate: once cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
- Freezing: transfer to a freezer-safe container, leaving 1/2″ of headroom at the top and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
- To Reheat: lemon curd should be served cold. There is no need to heat it.
This recipe is so versatile and delicious and it keeps really well. I hope it becomes a new favorite for you. Let me know your favorite ways to enjoy lemon curd in the comments below.
More Lemon Recipes to try
If you need a good recipe for using up lemon juice, add Lemon Curd to your recipe repertoire. Here are some more great lemon desserts to try:
- Lemon Bars
- Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze
- Classic Lemonade
- Canning Lemons
- Lemon Poppyseed Cake
- Strawberry Lemonade
Lemon Curd Recipe
- In a medium (2 qt) saucepan, combine eggs, sugar, zest, and a pinch of salt. Whisk vigorously until well combined, frothy, and lightened in color.
- Whisk in lemon juice until blended.
- Add butter pieces and set the pot over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted and the mixture is thickened (7-9 minutes). The lemon curd will thicken around 160-170˚F. Once you see it start bubbling, let it gently simmer for a few seconds then remove it from the heat at around 175-180˚F on a thermometer. When it's ready, it should coat the back of a spoon without running when you pull your finger across the spoon.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve (if you stir in the sieve with the whisk, it will push the mixture through the sieve faster). Discard the solids left in the sieve.
- Stir in vanilla extract. Let the mixture cool to room temperature then store covered in the refrigerator to fully set. Keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week.