This homemade Lemon Curd is bright, silky, and rich. With a tart lemon flavor, it is the perfect base recipe for adding lemon to many of your favorite desserts. 

Lemon curd served in a white bowl.

This lemon curd recipe will become a staple in your home baking handbook. It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and it is incredibly easy to make! The secret is using freshly squeezed lemon juice. This makes the curd bright with slight floral notes! 

Use the curd to top this strawberry custard tart or fill raspberry cupcakes. Add it to Swiss meringue buttercream, whipped cream, or make lemon butter to serve with sourdough pancakes! Stabilize with some gelatin and make a lemon meringue pie or lemon bars. It truly is a perfect delivery system for a well-rounded lemon flavor. 

Why You Will Love This Lemon Curd

  • Can be made over a water bath for a hands-off method. You can combine all the ingredients in a bowl over a water bath for slow cooking that doesn’t need your constant attention. Just give the curd a good mix every few minutes in the beginning. You will have to pay more attention toward the end of the cooking process to ensure you get the perfect texture. 
  • Silky, bright, rich, and smooth texture. Adding egg yolks helps add fat to the curd without adding more moisture from the egg whites. Stirring the butter at the ends adds to the beautiful, rich, smooth texture. 
  • Pastry Chef developed recipe. This lemon curd recipe has been a staple in my career as a pastry chef. Between my years in the restaurants and when I started my bakery, Les Filles. I will share all the tricks I’ve learned over the years so you can make perfect lemon curd every time. 
Lemon curd swirled in a bowl.

Professional Tips for Making Lemon Curd

  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. I will say it till I’m blue in the face. Freshly squeezed lemon juice will give you the most well-rounded, full lemon flavor. If you must use store-bought lemon juice, look for fresh to frozen lemon juice. You can also squeeze and freeze your lemon juice ahead of time!
  • Whisk together the eggs before adding the sugar and lemon juice. The order of operations is critical here. Whisking your eggs together first is very important. The protein in the eggs needs to break down to help protect the eggs, especially the egg yolks, from the sugar and the lemon juice. You don’t want the eggs to sit with the sugar or lemon juice before cooking. The sugar will eventually absorb all the water from the yolk and leave them hard and clumpy. 
  • With all stirred custards, be prepared. Be sure to read the recipe through so you know the proper steps. Scale all your ingredients before you start mixing. And have your strainer near in case of slight overcooking. 

Ingredients & Substitutions

Ingredients for making lemon curd laid out on a table.
  • Whole Eggs: The egg in a stirred custard is integral to thickening the custard. Whisking them and the yolks first with sugar helps protect them from heat and acidic ingredients like lemon juice. 
  • Egg Yolks: Egg yolks in a stirred custard are also thickeners like whole eggs, but they add more fat than whole eggs without the added moisture from the whites. This makes a thick, rich custard. 
  • Granulated Sugar: Sugar is here for sweetness and to protect the eggs from heat and additional acidic ingredients like lemon juice. 
  • Lemon Juice: Just like I mentioned above, fresh lemon juice is worth the squeeze! (Yes, I had to say it!) You can make this curd with another citrus or acidic fruit. I’ve used passion fruit puree for a passionfruit curd. You can use orange juice with some lemon because you need that extra acid to ensure curding. Lime, key lime, and grapefruit will also be excellent. I would suggest using a bit of food dye because lime and grapefruit can give the curd an off-looking appearance. 
  • Kosher Salt: Kosher Salt is here to enhance the flavor of the curd without adding more sweetness. 
  • Unsalted Butter: Using unsalted butter helps control the amount of salt in the curd. And stirring the butter in at the end adds to the silky and buttery goodness of the curd. You can omit it to make it dairy-free.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to use homemade lemon curd

How to Make Lemon Curd

Use these instructions to make the perfect bright and silky lemon curd every time! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Add the whole eggs and egg yolks in a large saucepan and whisk together until they are homogenous. There should be no visible egg whites.   

Step 2: Add the granulated sugar and salt to the eggs and whisk until fully incorporated. 

Whisking the eggs together first is integral to a smooth and creamy lemon curd. You want to break down the proteins in the eggs and break up the egg yolks. This step will help protect the yolks and eggs from denaturing in the sugar and the lemon juice. 

Step 3: Slowly add the lemon juice to the egg and sugar mixture. Whisk to combine. 

Whisking eggs and yolks for lemon curd.
Lemon juice being added to lemon curd mixture.

Step 4: Over medium-low heat, cook the lemon mixture. Constantly stirring with a rubber spatula. Be sure to keep the rubber spatula touching the bottom of the pot, and ensure you are also scraping the edges of the pot. 

Bubbles disappearing from cooking lemon curd.
Perfectly cooked lemon curd in a bowl.

Step 5: Continue to cook the lemon curd to nappant. Nappant means when you dip the spatula or spoon into the curd, which coats the back. The curd will hold its line once you run your finger through it. 

Keep your whisk on hand. When the lemon curd thickens, you may want to use it to break up any lumps that may form. Like with pudding, you can remove the curd from the heat and whisk to help ensure the custard stays smooth. 

Step 6: Once the curd has reached nappant, remove it from the heat and whisk or stir in your butter. I prefer the whisk to help keep the residual heat from over-cuddling the custard. 

Butter being added to lemon curd.
Plastic wrap on the surface of lemon curd to prevent skin forming.

Step 7: Pour the curd into a bowl or a plastic lined sheet tray. Cover with plastic wrap, ensure it touches the curd’s full surface, poke a few holes, and cool in the refrigerator. If there are any lumps in your curd, strain the hot cooked curd into the bowl or tray and proceed as usual. 

If you want a more stabilized lemon curd that is smooth and cuts perfectly, just add 2 sheets of silver gelatin or 1 packet of powdered gelatin. Both need to be bloomed and added with the butter. Make sure to incorporate the gelatin fully. Once cooled, you won’t be able to remelt the gelatin into the curd. 

Step 8: Move the cooled curd into an airtight container or mason jar.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I store my homemade lemon curd?

Store your lemon curd in an airtight container or glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one month. It will keep for up to three months in the freezer.

Can you freeze lemon curd?

Yes, you can freeze lemon curd. Lemon curd that is stabilized with gelatin will freeze and reheat more evenly and will be less likely to separate. You can still freeze unstabilized lemon curd; you will just need to reheat it very slowly.

How do you reheat the frozen lemon curd?

Heat the lemon curd over a water bath. I like to break the curd up into smaller pieces so it will melt faster and more evenly. If your curd is unstabilized just be sure to keep a close eye on it and keep stirring.

Will this lemon curd recipe multiply?

Absolutely! My team and I have made this lemon curd recipe in batches of 18 quarts. It depends on your pot size and the strength of your whisking arm! ?

Lemon curd in a bowl with a silver spoon.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below! I love hearing from you and your comments make my day!

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A bowl of lemon curd on a blue background.

lemon curd

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  • Author: Lindsey Farr
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Chill Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups
  • Category: Sauces and Spreads
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: British
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This homemade Lemon Curd is bright, silky, and rich. With a tart lemon flavor, it is the perfect base recipe for adding lemon to many of your favorite desserts.


Ingredients


Instructions

  • Add the whole eggs and egg yolks in a large saucepan and whisk together until they are homogenous. There should be no visible egg whites.
  • Add the granulated sugar and salt to the eggs and whisk until fully incorporated.
  • Slowly add the lemon juice to the egg and sugar mixture. Whisk to combine.
  • Over medium-low heat, cook the lemon mixture. Constantly stirring with a rubber spatula. Be sure to keep the rubber spatula touching the bottom of the pot, and ensure you are also scraping the edges of the pot.
  • Continue to cook the lemon curd to nappant. Nappant means when you dip the spatula or spoon into the curd, which coats the back. The curd will hold its line once you run your finger through it.
  • Once the curd has reached nappant, remove it from the heat and whisk or stir in your butter. I prefer the whisk to help keep the residual heat from over-cuddling the custard.
  • Pour the curd into a bowl or a plastic lined sheet tray. Cover with plastic wrap, ensure it touches the curd’s full surface, poke a few holes, and cool in the refrigerator. If there are any lumps in your curd, strain the hot cooked curd into the bowl or tray and proceed as usual.
  • Move the cooled curd into an airtight container or mason jar.

Notes

Yield – 3 cups of lemon curd 

Flavor Tips – Use fresh lemon juice and unstated butter for a full and bright lemon flavor. 

Technique – Cook the lemon curd to nappant. Nappant is when you coat the back of your spoon or spatula with the curd and it doesn’t run off. Also it will hold a line when you run your fingers through it. 

Storage – Store in an airtight container or a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 0.2 cups
  • Calories: 308kcal
  • Sugar: 38g
  • Sodium: 190mg
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 230mg

Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed this professional chef tested recipe. Check out our other delicious sauces and spreads recipes!