This smooth and luscious lemon curd can be used as a filling, topping, or spread. The recipe is versatile, so you can customize it to suit your own taste.
Lemon curd is one of Erez’s favorites, so you can believe me when I say that I’ve made it countless times. Although it may take a couple of tries to really get the hang of it, once you do, it becomes incredibly easy! Today it took me about 20 minutes from start to finish – 10 for preparation, 10 for cooking, and about 2 more for straining and whisking the butter.
Lemon curd can be used as a spread, such as on scones, or as a filling or topping for pavlovas, cheesecakes, layer cakes, tarts, sandwich cookies, parfaits, and more.
This recipe is the one I use almost all the time. It’s simple since it doesn’t require separating the eggs, and it’s also very light. I’ll sometimes tweak the recipe a bit, following the guidelines below, if I want it a bit sweeter or richer. If you’ve never made lemon curd before, I suggest starting with the recipe as-is; it has a good balance of sweetness and tartness, and is full of lemon flavor.
Let’s go over the ingredients:
Using whole eggs is not only simple, but also makes for a light curd. Instead of 3 whole eggs, you can use 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks, 1 whole egg plus 4 egg yolks, or just 5-6 egg yolks. The more egg yolks you use, the richer and creamier (and somewhat heavier) the curd will be. It will also yield a much yellower curd as opposed to recipes using whole eggs only.
I like a curd that’s tart and not too sweet, but if you prefer it the other way around, you can add a few more tablespoons (2-4) of sugar.
This curd is full of lemon flavor. For a milder flavor, you can always use a bit less juice and zest (or more if you want it more lemony!).
Personally, I like a mild buttery flavor, but it all depends on personal taste. Butter not only adds flavor, but it also makes for a smoother and creamier consistency. If preferred, you can add more butter than the recipe suggests (up to 1/2 cup). Since adding the butter is the last step of the process, add as much as you like until you reach the desired taste.
- The curd should be cooked gently, because if it boils or gets too hot, it will curdle. Although it is possible to cook it on low heat in a saucepan, I highly recommend using a double boiler – this means setting the ingredients in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan with simmering water. When using a double boiler, it’s important to note that the bowl should not touch the water and be above the water, not in it. Make sure that the water has moderate bubbles and isn’t heavily boiling at any point.
- If your curd doesn’t seem to thicken after 10 minutes or so, simply increase the heat.
- Straining the curd after cooking makes it smoother and eliminates any lumps or pieces of cooked egg.
- When grating the lemon zest, avoid grating the pith (the white part underneath). The pith is very bitter and will change the flavor of the curd.
- Whisking the mixture constantly while cooking as the recipe suggests doesn’t mean you need to whisk it non-stop, but it does mean you should stay near the stove, keep an eye on it, and stir often so it won’t curdle.
- Lemon curd freezes well for about 2 months. You can always find some in my freezer!
More Lemon Recipes:
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (150g/5.3 oz) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons for both zest and juice)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/56 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Note: Before you start, you may want to refer to the above post which contains useful information.
In a medium heatproof bowl, place eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and juice and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (bain-marie). Cook on moderate heat, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes thick (mine was ready in 10 minutes). If you have a thermometer, it should register 170F/75C; otherwise, it should coat the back of a wooden spoon and leave a clear pass if you run your finger through it. The curd will thicken more once cooled.
Remove from heat and immediately strain mixture through a sieve. Add butter and whisk until completely melted and incorporated, and mixture is smooth.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Sometimes a “skin” can form on the surface of the curd. To prevent it, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface.
Lemon curd can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or can be frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw, place overnight in the fridge.
Jess @ whatjessicabakednext.comNovember 24, 2014 at 11:55 am
This lemon curd looks so luscious and delicious, Shiran! One of my favourites!
ShiranNovember 24, 2014 at 5:44 pm
Thank you Jess!
Kymberly Faye McCabeJanuary 21, 2018 at 6:19 pm
I’m curious if this can be canned? (Eggs) if so, how long would you water bath for? Would you reduce cooking time?
ShiranJanuary 22, 2018 at 4:27 am
Hi Kymberly. For how long do you want to keep it? I keep mine in the freezer for about 2-3 months and that’s ok. I know that some don’t recommend canning it for long term storage, while others say it would keep for 3-4 months that way. I recommend freezing. The flavor and texture would be the same after thawing.
DebraJanuary 24, 2020 at 11:58 am
Canning can be done with good results. My husband loves lemon and received a birthday present of a jar of lemon curd. It had been purchased at a local craft fair the month before his birthday. Super yummy and I found this website by looking for a recipe. So although I haven’t canned it I do know it is being done. Good luck!
KristineMay 30, 2020 at 12:42 pm
Just made this exactly to recipe and I want to bathe in it! Excellent. Highly recommend. I intend to put it on top of individual no-bake cheesecakes. If I can stay of the bowl long enough…
The Blonde ChefNovember 24, 2014 at 11:03 pm
WinnieNovember 25, 2014 at 5:34 pm
המשפחה של החצי אוהבת כמעט כל דבר עם לימון, שלא נדבר עם קינוחים עם לימון
אפשר לעשות עם זה יופי של חיתוכיות על בצק פריך ופירורים למעלה
Elisa @ Insalata di SillabeNovember 26, 2014 at 6:08 am
I love love love this recipe! Actually I’ve never tried lemon curd before but I’m 100% sure I’ll love it, since I love anything lemon-y. And what better why to try it for the first time than a “healthy” homemade version?! Excited!
ShiranNovember 26, 2014 at 10:59 am
If you love anything lemon-y, then you must try this! You’ll love it Elisa!
SusanDecember 21, 2014 at 10:44 pm
Hi Shiran.im Susan from Indonesia, i’ve just seen your blog and love it ! especially for this super easy recipe. can’t wait to try this.thanks Shiran. :))
ShiranDecember 22, 2014 at 5:25 am
Nice to meet you Susan, and thank you so much! I hope you’ll enjoy my recipes! 🙂
SihanFebruary 6, 2015 at 10:45 am
Hello! Would the lemon curd separate after freezing?
ShiranFebruary 7, 2015 at 11:39 am
Hi Sihan, lemon curd freezes well, it shouldn’t separate. Leave it on the counter or overnight in the fridge to thaw, then whisk it until smooth.
EvaJuly 9, 2015 at 3:08 pm
Hello there 🙂 I LOVE that recipe .. I ate it with a spoon out of the pot!!! pure evil 😀 .. one question ..can I can it like jam and Keep it for some months or doesnt that work?
ShiranJuly 11, 2015 at 6:03 pm
Thank you Eva! 🙂 Instead of canning I recommend placing it in an airtight container and freezing it for 2 months or even more. To thaw, place it in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours. I do this all the time!
DeborahJanuary 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm
Super easy and really good!!! We’re having it with gingerbread & a bit of whipped cream … decadent …
ShiranJanuary 12, 2017 at 8:24 am
I’m glad you like it Deborah 🙂
JenniferJuly 11, 2020 at 10:55 am
Light and lemony!
KarlaJuly 5, 2017 at 12:47 pm
This is amazing lemon curd. I just made this and your tart crust and topped it all off with blueberries. Doubled the batch of curd and cannot stop sneaking spoonfuls of the leftovers. Absolutely beautiful, thank you!
ShiranJuly 5, 2017 at 12:57 pm
Thank you so much Karla!
BrittaJuly 9, 2017 at 7:28 pm
I have been wanting to bake better, and some recipies I try go wrong and I don’t know why, or I have questions. So I LOVE thatyou explain everything and add in the type of tips I’m looking for! I will be perusing your whole site in the not too distant future…. very excitef to try some of theses recipes.
ShiranJuly 10, 2017 at 3:45 am
Thank you so much, Britta! Baking takes practice, but it’s worth it!
AneesahJuly 15, 2017 at 2:00 am
Hi. I have never made lemon curd before but I desperately wanted to try something new to take to my in laws so I could WOW them lol. And from all the recipes I googled I tried yours. And I have to say that the raves were awesome. I served it on lil pavlovas. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I’m making it again today ?
ShiranJuly 17, 2017 at 9:23 am
Thank you so much Aneesah! I love the combination of lemon curd and meringue!
joJanuary 2, 2018 at 12:35 am
i have made your recipe and i am wondering if i can preserve it like a jam. i have placed the sterilized jars in a warm bath and simmered for 20 minutes. will it keep??
ShiranJanuary 3, 2018 at 9:32 am
I’m not sure for how long it will keep or if it’s safe. You can read more about it here.
TriinApril 25, 2018 at 9:07 pm
This lemon curd recipe is awesome! Especially for people who like it not-too-sweet. First time making it myself and whole family was raving. I made it few days ago and whole jar is almost gone. Im never gonna buy lemon curd again. Thank you so much! 🙂
SARAApril 29, 2018 at 5:55 pm
This is the BEST lemon curd I have ever eaten. Hands down. I made it and used it as a filling for macaroons. Outstanding!! Thank you for this recipe!
AniMay 9, 2018 at 5:10 pm
Thank you so much for sharing! One of the best recipe!
Have one question, what do you think about other fruits curd? Can we just use other fruit insead of lemon? Such a raspberry or grapefruit ?
ShiranMay 10, 2018 at 2:10 pm
I’m glad you like it 🙂 Fruits like berries won’t work here but you can make curds from oranges or other fruits that provide both juice and zest. But, the amount of ingredients may vary between fruit so you will not be able to use this exact recipe.
SJuly 10, 2018 at 8:55 am
Where do you get those cute jars?
ShiranJuly 11, 2018 at 8:30 am
I buy them in supermarkets or any store really! You can find similar ones in Amazon or in The Container Store.
SJuly 11, 2018 at 11:11 am
Thanks! I love the roundish one. I’m hoping to give this recipe a try this weekend.
BelAugust 20, 2018 at 3:06 pm
I found this recipe when searching for lemon curd using whole eggs instead of just egg yolks. This recipe was much easier than having to temper the eggs & the curd thickened nicely in the double boiler. Thank you!
Michael BrooksDecember 12, 2018 at 4:04 pm
I am just starting to bake cakes and going to make your lemon cupcakes and wondered how long lemon_curd will keep in the fridge.Thanks mick
ShiranDecember 15, 2018 at 5:51 am
Hi Michael, I usually mention it at the end of the recipe it. Lemon curd can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Michael BrooksDecember 15, 2018 at 12:29 pm
Thank you for the recipe I made it today it is yummy will try lemon cupcakes tomorrow and put some lemon curd in the centre Thanks Mick
StephanieFebruary 4, 2019 at 12:47 am
Hi Shiran, thank you for a great recipe! The second time I made it it, the lemon curd did not thicken as expected, and is still liquid after chilling for one night. Any thoughts on what could have gone wrong, or how I can salvage it?
ShiranFebruary 6, 2019 at 5:02 am
Hi Stephanie, it’s hard to tell without being there, sorry! It could be that it wasn’t cooked long enough or that there was more liquid than the first time.
Vicki WilsonFebruary 17, 2019 at 11:06 pm
Amazing.! I am visiting my sister in California and we picked a bunch of Meyer Lemons from the tree in her back yard and used them to make your delicious recipe (also used fresh eggs from her chickens). We both loved that your recipe called for the whole eggs. The curd was light, creamy and delicious and perfect slathered on fresh made scones topped with creme fraiche. We followed directions from another blog to heat process (can) for a slightly longer shelf life and enable me to pack in my suitcase and take back to St. Louis.
HApril 13, 2019 at 1:41 pm
Awesome recipe! Can’t wait to try it out!
However I do have a question: does sugar make the curd thicker or thinner?
Thank you, in advance.
PaigeApril 23, 2019 at 12:37 am
Hi! I’ve made this recipe so many times and it’s my absolute favorite. If you would be able to pipe it (so it holds its shape), and if not what you would suggest doing (adding it to a certain type of buttercream or something similar) so it could reach piping consistency.
haileeFebruary 12, 2020 at 10:25 pm
adding lemon (or any) curd to buttercream frosting is a quick trick for big flavor!
Soitza DevlinApril 23, 2019 at 10:32 pm
Is this recipe enough for the 9 in. tart crust or I should doble the recipe?
AnnaMay 10, 2019 at 11:42 am
Delicious! Never tried making lemon curd before, but had two egg yolks left over, so added two whole eggs (love how this recipe is so versatile) and made it. I probably shouldn’t have, because it’s so good I’m going to have to resist eating it all at once. Chose this recipe because of its versatility with eggs and the fact that it has less sugar and butter than others. It’s perfectly creamy (after straining ) and lemony tart. Will definitely save this recipe!
HaileeFebruary 12, 2020 at 10:24 pm
I’m a classically-trained pastry chef and this is my go-to lemon curd recipe. Nailed it!
JunieJuly 25, 2020 at 2:48 am
Just perfect, so easy and fuss free. I reduced the sugar since I don’t have a sweet tooth, and had to keep it on Bain-Marie for 20min to thicken (maybe because I made a bigger batch). Taste was glorious!
Srividya DantuluriNovember 6, 2020 at 5:09 am
It was truly Pretty Simple and Sweet. Loved It!
Sinead HealyDecember 25, 2020 at 10:19 pm
Tried it and loved it!
I used 2 whole eggs and 2 yolk. For me it was the perfect tartness and not too sweet (used the lemon and sugar amounts as per recipe).
I only gave 4 stars because I don’t have much to compare against and I normally reserve one star unless I’ve tried lots of versions and I’m sure one is better, having said that I really liked this version and I’m not sure if I’ll try another one, for a while anyway
JJanuary 7, 2021 at 8:44 am
This looks awesome, i am wondering if i can use this for a lemon tart? Will this lemon curd set enough for a tart? Also, could you kindly share the estimated weight of one large egg you use? So i can make sure i am using the right size of eggs. Thank you.
ShiranJanuary 14, 2021 at 9:35 am
You can follow my lemon tart recipe. 3 large egg whites weigh 100 grams.
DijanaApril 17, 2021 at 5:04 am
Hello, this looks aeesome.
Can we put gelatin in this cream and use it for mousse cakes.Tnank you
Rachel KleinJuly 25, 2021 at 8:53 pm
I make this recipe almost every week (I make it non dairy and it is still amazing!)
I want to increase the volume of the curd I get. I imagine I would add another egg (I use three whole eggs) and then another quarter cup of sugar? Thank you so much!
Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.July 26, 2021 at 10:25 am
Hi Rachel, to increase the amount of lemon curd you make, just be sure to increase all the ingredients proportionally. For example, this recipe calls for 3 whole eggs. If you add an extra egg, you would be increasing the amount of eggs by 1/3 or .33. You will then need to increase the rest of the ingredients by the same amount. You can do this by multiplying each ingredient by 1.33. To get more round numbers, you can add 2 more eggs and multiple all ingredients by 1.5 and you should get the same result. Hope this helps!
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LaurenSeptember 6, 2022 at 2:36 am
Oh my gosh this lemon curd is amazing and is now my go to recipe!! It tastes amazing! I don’t strain the batch though and leave all the lemon rind in!