Lemon curd is a sweet, lemony, tart, creamy, rich, magical spread that is perfection on all your favorite desserts and baked goods.
This simple lemon curd recipe with only 4 ingredients is proof that magic happens in the kitchen! Enjoy it on our homemade scones recipe or over a bowl of vanilla ice cream!
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Why you’ll love this classic lemon curd recipe!
📌 Absolutely bursting with bright and delicious lemon flavor.
📌 A great addition to all your sweets and baked goods.
📌 Use as a dip, a filling, a spread, or just enjoy with a spoon!
Lemon Curd Ingredients
- Egg yolks – Separate the egg white from the yolks. You can save the whites for an egg white omelet 0r for brushing over homemade breads (like this French bread recipe)!
- Sugar – White granulated sugar.
- Lemon – Both lemon juice and lemon zest is use. You definitely need fresh lemon for this recipe!
- Butter – Salted butter, softened.
How do you make lemon curd? (step-by-step directions)
⭐ First, in a double boiler (totally okay if it’s makeshift!) whisk together egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
⭐ Then, continue whisking until mixture has reduced by about half and it has begun to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in softened butter.
⭐ Next, pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
⭐ Finally, transfer to an air tight container and chill overnight in the refrigerator to thicken.
Scroll down to the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this article for ingredient measurements and detailed cooking instructions.
Can you make lemon curd ahead of time?
Yes, in fact you’ll need to prepare it at least several hours in advance so it can cool completely.
How do you make lemon curd without a double boiler?
You can use a saucepan if you have no access to a double boiler, but we strongly prefer the double boiler method as you’re much less likely to scorch the mixture.
To make a makeshift double boiler, just place a heat proof glass bowl over a pot of boiling water (making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
We do not recommend using a metal bowl or metal double boiler.
Can I use bottled or packaged lemon juice?
Please for the love of all that is holy do NOT use bottled, packaged, or concentrated lemon juice.
How do I know when the lemon curd is thick enough to take off the stove?
Your curd will be ready to remove from the heat when it has reduced by about half and thicken to the point that it will coat the back of a spoon without dripping off.
Storage and leftovers
Does lemon curd need to be refrigerated?
Yes, lemon curd requires refrigeration.
How long does lemon curd last?
This recipe will keep for about a week when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep longer in the freezer.
Can you freeze lemon curd?
Yes, to freeze lemon curd, allow it to cool completely then transfer to the freezer. Make sure it is stored in a freezer safe container and that there is enough headroom (at least 1″) to allow for expansion.
Frozen lemon curd is best when enjoyed within about 3 months, but it will be safe to eat indefinitely. Thaw in the refrigerator and stir to reincorporate if there was any separation.
Frequently asked questions
Is lemon curd the same as lemon pie filling?
While they are very similar in flavor, lemon curd is not the same as pie filling. Lemon curd is thickened with egg yolks and butter while pie filling is typically thickened with corn starch.
What do you eat lemon curd with?
A spoon? Kidding (ish) – it’s wonderful on all kinds of baked goods, or over our pancake recipe and even swapped out for the cinnamon and sugar in our crescent cinnamon rolls. I’ll make a longer list of ideas below!
What does lemon curd taste like?
Tart, tart, tart and sweet. Creamy, intensely lemony, and very rich!
Why does my lemon curd taste metallic?
If you used a metal bowl, pan, or even sometimes a metal whisk, the flavor can transfer.
Tips and tricks
✅ Try making this with other citrus fruits like lime, orange, or grapefruit.
✅ Use a glass bowl double boiler and silicone whisk to make sure your curd doesn’t take on a metallic taste.
✅ Don’t stop whisking while your egg + lemon mixture is cooking or you’ll wind up with lemon flavored scrambled eggs!
✅ Make an extra large batch and pass out as neighbor gifts (or freeze some for later!).
What to eat with easy lemon curd (serving suggestions)
Oh, I could go on for a very long time, but here are some of my favorite ideas: on homemade buttermilk biscuits, with Greek yogurt pancakes, on blueberry scones, over no bake cheesecake, or traditional cheesecake, in your yogurt bowl, stirred into overnight oats, or on your cheese danish.
It would also be amazing if swapped for the chocolate in this chocolate pastry recipe!
More delicious lemon recipes
- Lemon poke cake
- Lemon pasta
- Lemon pie
- Lemon pudding cookies
- Lemon bars
- Frosted lemonade
- Lemon mousse
- See all our lemon recipes here!
Other awesome sweet fillings, dips, and spreads
Tools we love
- Silicone whisk – This whisk set has all the sizes you need for your cooking and baking. And it’s cute!
- Airtight glass jars – These are perfect for all your curds, and pickles, and dressings. (Also very cute!).
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How to Make Lemon Curd
- 4 egg yolks
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice about 3 lemons worth
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest about 2 lemons worth
- 6 tablespoons salted butter room temperature
- In the bottom of a double boiler (see notes if you don't have a double boiler) bring water to a boil.
- When water is boiling, add egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the top portion of the double boiler and whisk until smooth. (We recommend using a glass bowl on top and a silicone whisk).
- Continue whisking gently for 10 to 20 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by about half and begun to thicken. (It will be done when it will coat the back of a spoon without dripping off).
- Remove from heat, and gently stir in the softened butter. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and dispose of remnants.
- Transfer curd to an air tight container and chill for at least 3 hours.
- You can use a saucepan if you have no access to a double boiler, but we strongly prefer the double boiler method as you're much less likely to scorch the mixture.
- To create a makeshift double boiler, just place a heat proof glass bowl over a pot of boiling water (making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water).
- We do not recommend using a metal bowl or metal double boiler.
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