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.

Lemon curd in glass jar

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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.

Serve this over Sponge Cake, with Strawbery Scones or Crepes. It’s also a tasty filling for Lemon Curd Tartlets. There are so many uses for Lemon Curd.

Lemon curd on a spoon

Ingredients

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.
Ingredients with lemons, eggs, vanilla, butter, sugar and salt

How to Make Lemon Curd

  1. In a medium saucepan – vigorously whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, and lemon zest until frothy.
  2. Add lemon juice while whisking and stir until combined.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add vanilla – stir in vanilla extract until combined.
  6. Cool and store – once lemon curd is at room temperature cover and store in the refrigerator up to one week.
Step by step photos for how to make lemon curd

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.

Jar of homemade lemon curd with lemons

Common Questions

Can I use Meyer lemons?

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.

How to buy lemons?

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.

Can I use lemon juice from concentrate?

This is a hard NO. I mean it, please do yourself a favor and squeeze real lemons.

Do you need a double boiler? 

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.

Can I use less sugar? 

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. 

Can I double the recipe?

Yes, but use a large saucepan, and keep in mind it will take a little longer to heat through and thicken up.

Make-Ahead

  • 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.
top view of creamy lemon curd in a glass mason jar ready to store in the refrigerator or freezer.

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 Curd Recipe

4.98 from 88 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Homemade Lemon curd in a glass jar with spoon
Fresh homemade Lemon Curd has vibrant lemon flavor and tastes like the creamy filling in Lemon Bars. It’s so much better than store-bought and this is the easiest method that comes together quickly in a saucepan.
Prep Time: 6 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 20 people (makes 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest, from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from 3 lemons, strained
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition Per Serving

60kcal Calories5g Carbs1g Protein4g Fat2g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat1g Monounsaturated Fat1g Trans Fat34mg Cholesterol10mg Sodium17mg Potassium1g Fiber5g Sugar141IU Vitamin A2mg Vitamin C5mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Curd Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
60
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
13
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
34
mg
11
%
Sodium
 
10
mg
0
%
Potassium
 
17
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
5
g
2
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin A
 
141
IU
3
%
Vitamin C
 
2
mg
2
%
Calcium
 
5
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade lemon curd recipe, lemon curd
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 60
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Angela
    May 19, 2024

    I guess I didn’t realize how easy lemon curd was to make! This recipe is so easy and yummy too! I’ve made your pavlova recipe and this sure would be good with it! Thanks for your wonderful recipes!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 19, 2024

      Hi Angela, you’re welcome! I hope you’ll love all the recipes that you will try from us!

      Reply

  • Terry Rune
    May 19, 2024

    Could I make lime curd using this same recipe using lime juice instead?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 19, 2024

      Hi Terry, that should work and I’d love to know how it goes for you. However, I haven’t tested that so I’m not sure exactly what modifications would need to be made, if any.

      Reply

  • Mary
    May 13, 2024

    I made your version (never have I ever used the whole egg), and it’s delicious 😋. This one’s a keeper. Thank you

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 14, 2024

      You’re welcome, Mary! Great to hear that you loved our version!

      Reply

  • Taline
    May 11, 2024

    I just made this and it is spectacular. Natasha is usually my go to gal for baking. I love your recipes. My fave is your cheesecake. So creamy. Miam. 🤤😂. Thank you

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 11, 2024

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Taline! I’m so glad you found a favorite on my blog.

      Reply

  • Patricia
    May 11, 2024

    Made your lemon curd and your lemon cheese cake! It is not quite as pretty as yours, I just hope it tastes good. I think it will cause I tasted a little bit of it.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 11, 2024

      I hope you love it, Patricia!

      Reply

  • Eileen
    May 6, 2024

    Sounds good. Want to try. I like the way you spell out everything to make clear. Thank you.

    Reply

  • Paula Augustyn
    May 5, 2024

    Thank you for a simple and amazing recipe for lemon curd. Can not wait to make it again!

    Reply

  • Anita
    May 4, 2024

    I have a question. Can I use sweetener instead of sugar? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 4, 2024

      Hi Anita, I haven’t tested that to advise. If you happen to try it out please let me know how it goes.

      Reply

  • Virginia
    April 1, 2024

    Thank you for this simple lemon curd recipe. I used it for the tarts I made yesterday for our Easter luncheon- lemon curd topped with fresh blueberries- and it was perfect.
    I also made your “fluffy biscuits” for the Easter ham – they sure are!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 1, 2024

      You’re very welcome, Virginia!

      Reply

  • Terri Warley
    March 26, 2024

    I was so glad to see you had a recipe for lemon curd & it’s a winner (like all your recipes!) I love to dip my homemade shortbread cookies into this lemon curd…a perfect pairing!! Thank you for your recipe, Natasha. Oh, & I love your cookbook!❤️

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 26, 2024

      Thank you, Terri! You’re very welcome.

      Reply

  • Pam
    March 19, 2024

    Could you can this recipe using a waterbacth canner? Canned in pint jars would make great gifts!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 19, 2024

      Hi Pam! I have not tested canning this. I’m not sure about the safety guidelines for canning lemon curd. You may want to do some research on that.

      Reply

  • Donna
    March 16, 2024

    delicious
    First time
    Ever made and will definitely make it again only larger batch to freeze some

    Reply

  • Glenda Laverty
    February 18, 2024

    This is the best lemon curd I’ve ever had. I always have lots of lemons so I was happy to see I can freeze this.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 18, 2024

      Thank you for the excellent feedback, Glenda!

      Reply

  • christina bertmaring
    January 26, 2024

    Is it possible- and would the quality still be good if frozen juice is used? We harvest lots of lemons in AZ . But it would be nice to have freshly made curd for Christmas gifts .

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 26, 2024

      Hi Christina! Without testing it myself, I can’t say for sure. But I don’t see why it would not work. Let us know if you experiment.

      Reply

  • Valeri
    October 26, 2023

    My 1st attempt at making lemon curd. Wow, is it amazing and tasty! Can’t wait to use it in a lemon mousse recipe.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 26, 2023

      We’re happy to hear that you loved it!

      Reply

  • Anya
    September 23, 2023

    This is the EASIEST and BEST TASTING lemon curd. Awesome recipe – thanks so much!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 23, 2023

      Hi Anya! You’re very welcome! So glad you loved it.

      Reply

  • Paula French
    September 19, 2023

    Hi, we are in process of making limoncello & have a lot of lemon juice to use. I came across this recipe for lemon curd! Oh man I had to hold myself back from eating the whole thing!! The only thing I did different was adding orange zest instead of the lemon zest as the lemon zest is soaking for the limoncello!

    Will make this again!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 19, 2023

      Thanks for sharing, Paula! I’m glad you found this recipe.

      Reply

  • Thanh Brooks
    August 26, 2023

    Hi Natasha!
    Thank you for the easy & yummy recipe. It appears that under your first set in instructions “How to Make Lemon Curd”, when to add the butter was left out. I had to scroll all the way down the page to figure out when the butter needed to be added. Just an FYI! Thanks!!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 28, 2023

      Hi Thanh, you are absolutely right and thank you so much for sharing that with me! I have made that update for the butter step up above as well.

      Reply

  • Venera
    July 20, 2023

    Hi Natasha, I have leftover egg yolks. Could I substitute for whole eggs? And how many egg yolks would equal to 3 whole eggs? Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 20, 2023

      Hi Venera! I have only used whole eggs for this recipe so I can’t advise. If you’re looking for a way to use up extra egg yolks, be sure to check out my pastry cream recipe.

      Reply

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