When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Or make this easy lemon curd recipe. It is so yummy and incredibly simple to make.
Do you have a bunch of lemons that you aren’t sure what to do with? Maybe you have already made homemade lemonade, lemon poppy seed muffins, lemon bars, lemon butter cookies, etc., and want to make something else. This easy lemon curd is just for you. If you aren’t familiar with lemon curd it is similar to a custard or pudding. With a tangy/tart and sweet lemon flavor.
There are so many uses for it. You can spread it on top of toast or scones, use it as a filling for cupcakes, cakes, tarts, etc. Or you can fold in some whipped cream and make a yummy lemon curd pastry cream for cream puffs, eclairs, and donuts! If I can do it, you can do it, let’s get started!
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
In order to make this delicious homemade lemon curd you need just a handful of easy to find ingredients:
- Lemons – For the zest and the juice. I recommend using actual lemons and not store-bought lemon juice.
- Sugar – White granulated sugar
- Butter – Unsalted or salted butter will work. I generally use unsalted.
- Zester (optional)
- Citrus Press (optional)
- Plastic wrap
- Strainer (optional)
Step 2: How to make lemon curd at home
Begin by zesting your lemons. I always use approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. But the zest is optional. You can leave it out if you desire, although there is so much flavor contained in the zest. Just run your lemon across the zester and turn it as you do it. Allow the zest to fall into a bowl.
Then roll the lemons a little bit and cut them in half. Rolling helps to get more juice out of them. Squeeze them into a measuring cup until you have about 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Use your hands or some sort of manual or electric juicer. I always use my manual citrus press, haha, I don’t like getting the lemon juice on my hands.
You can also use store bought lemon juice, but it won’t be as good.
Now add the eggs to a medium saucepot. A heavy bottom and thicker-walled pot work the best. I normally use 3 full eggs, and then the yolk of an additional egg.
Some people/recipes use 4 full eggs. Some recipes use only 5 to 6 egg yolks without any egg whites, and some people use a combination of them. I like it like this, so that is what I do, haha.
Whisk the eggs for about a minute or so.
Then add the white granulated sugar and whisk for another minute or two. Mix in the lemon zest (if using that) and the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Whisk until well combined.
Step 3: Cook the lemon curd
Add the pot to the burner and set the heat to medium-low on my burner it is #3. Continuously stir the lemon curd with a whisk the whole time while it heats up.
It will take 8 to 12 minutes to thicken to the right consistency and cook the eggs properly. You will know when it is done when you stick a spoon in the lemon curd and it clings to the bag of it.
The temp will be roughly 170F, but you don’t have to worry about using a thermometer.
Once it thickens, remove the pot from the heat and then add in the butter. I usually will cut the butter into chunks, they will melt easier in the homemade lemon curd.
The cold butter will add flavor, ooh I love butter. It will also help to create a smooth consistency, and cool it down. Stir until the butter is all melted and combined. And just like that, the lemon curd is done!
To get the smoothest lemon curd possible, you may want to strain it into a bowl. This will leave behind any bigger pieces of lemon zest. But if you didn’t use lemon zest you won’t need to do this. Or if you don’t mind it being in there, just skip this step.
Step 4: Chill and Serve/Use
Add a piece of plastic wrap on top of the bowl of curd, or place it in a mason jar with a lid. Make sure the plastic is touching the top. This will prevent an unwanted film from developing. Place it in the fridge for about an hour before using.
Although if you wanted to serve/eat it as is while warm, you certainly can!
Once chilled you can spread it on toast, scones, use it as a filling for other baked goods, or of course make a pastry cream with it by folding in some whipped cream. Enjoy!
How long does lemon curd last?
It will last up to about 2 weeks in the fridge if stored in an airtight container. You may also freeze it in a freezer-safe container for several months.
How do I make pastry cream with lemon curd?
To make pastry cream for cream puffs, eclairs, doughnuts, etc. Fold in about an equal amount of whipped cream. So a 1:1 ratio, but you can certainly adjust to your liking.
Here are some other recipes you may like:
Easy Homemade Lemon Curd
- Zester (optional)
- Citrus press (optional)
- Plastic wrap
- Strainer (optional)
- 2 to 3 lemons depending on the size
- 1 tbsp lemon zest it doesn’t have to be exact (6g)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice 118ml
- 4 large eggs I use 3 full eggs and then 1 extra yolk
- 1/2 cup sugar 100g
- 1/2 cup butter unsalted or salted (113g)
- Wash and dry the lemons. Then zest and juice them. You need about 1 tbsp of zest and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Or leave the zest out completely.
- In a medium pot, add the eggs. I use three full eggs and an additional egg yolk. Whisk for about a minute or so.
- Add in the sugar and whisk for another minute or two. Follow that up with the lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk until well combined.
- Place the pot on the burner and set the heat to medium-low. Continuously stir and whisk the mixture until it thickens. About 8 to 12 minutes. It is done when it clings to the back of a spoon. The temp will be right around 170F or a little hotter.
- Once it thickens remove it from the heat and add in the butter. Stir until the butter has melted.
- Pour the warm lemon curd into a strainer over a bowl, this will leave behind any larger bits of zest that you may not want in your curd. This is an optional step.
- Cover the bowl/container with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic touches the top of the curd. Then chill in the fridge for about 1 hour. Eat it as is or spread it on toast, scones, biscuits, etc. It can be used as a filling for cupcakes, cakes, tarts and combined with whipped cream for pastry cream for cream puffs, eclairs, and donuts. Enjoy!
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love your recipe for lemon curd
Thank you so much, Nancy! 🙂
This lemon curd is so smooth and creamy! Perfect for all my Spring desserts!
Thank you, Anna!
Oh, how I love lemon curd!! It’s so refreshing & creamy. I love adding inside crepes, too!
Yes!! inside crepes, so yummy!
Wonderful recipe for lemon curd. I love the use of whole eggs & not just the yolk. It’s a little healthier. I love putting lemon curd in my homemade turnovers. My father-in-law is a huge fan of lemon curd filled turnovers!
Thank you, Betsy! Mmm lemon curd-filled turnovers sound awesome!