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This lemon curd recipe makes the best citrusy spread and topping! Use it for scones, pancakes, cakes and more.

Lemon curd recipe

Are you smitten with citrus? Then you absolutely must try this lemon curd recipe! This simple method makes curd with the absolute best flavor and texture. It’s positively bright and zingy, with a creamy, thick texture that will make your heart skip a beat. Use it as a topping for scones, biscuits, shortcakes, pancakes and waffles, or it even works as a cake filling. Welcome to your new favorite lemon recipe!

What’s in lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a citrus spread that originated in England in the 1800’s. It’s a mixture of eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter, which when heated form into a smooth, thick custardy texture. Citrus curds were originally eaten as a spread for scones at British tea time, but they work in a variety of uses: in tarts, as a cake filling, on shortcakes, pancakes, waffles, and French toast, on ice cream, or on toast.

What do you need for lemon curd? Before we mastered this method, we had no idea lemon curd was so simple! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Whole lemons (lemon juice and lemon zest)
  • Butter
Lemon curd recipe

How to make lemon curd

Lemon curd is quick to make, but it’s important to be precise in the method. It’s easy to undercook or overcook the lemon curd, resulting in a thin or split curd. The most important thing to know: use a food thermometer! It’s the best way to make sure you don’t overcook the curd. Here’s how to make lemon curd (or jump to the recipe below):

  • Whisk: In a medium saucepan, whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  • Heat: Add medium heat and cook, stirring constantly and slowly with a spatula, for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken into a yogurt-like consistency. This happens at a temperature between 160°F and 170°F. Avoid simmering or overcooking, which will result in a lumpy texture.
  • Add butter: Immediately remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until the butter is melted.
  • Chill: Transfer the lemon curd to a container and press plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Lemon curd

Why is my lemon curd runny?

Runny lemon curd means the curd has not been heated enough: it must be heated to 170°F in order to thicken. You can “save” a runny curd and thicken it. Place it in a saucepan and use a food thermometer to heat it back to 170°F. Then whisk in another tablespoon or two of butter, which will help it become even thicker when cooled.

Why is my lemon curd lumpy?

Lumpy lemon curd means the curd was overcooked, causing the eggs to cook and become scrambled. The most important part of making lemon curd is cooking the mixture gently so that the eggs do not cook.

Can you save a lumpy lemon curd? It depends. If you have only small lumps in the curd, you can pass it through a fine mesh sieve to strain out the cooked eggs. However, if the entire mixture is split, you’ll have to start over.

Ways to use it!

There are so many ways to use lemon curd (though you’ll probably want to lick it right off of the spoon!). Here are a few of the top ways to eat it:

Lemon curd recipe

Storage info

How long does homemade lemon curd last? You can store lemon curd for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. You can also freeze lemon curd for up to 3 months, stored in an airtight container.

More lemon recipes

Want to make more with this zingy citrus fruit? Here are a few favorite lemon recipes:

This lemon curd recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Lemon curd recipe

Easy Lemon Curd


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 ½ cups 1x

Description

This lemon curd recipe makes the best citrusy spread and topping! Use it for scones, pancakes, cakes and more.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk the eggs until smooth. Then whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  2. Add medium heat and cook, stirring constantly and slowly with a spatula, for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken into a yogurt-like consistency. This happens at a temperature between 160°F and 170°F: measure with a food thermometer for most accurate results! Avoid simmering or overcooking, which will result in a lumpy texture.
  3. Immediately remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until the butter is melted.
  4. Transfer the lemon curd to a container and press plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Store refrigerated for up to 1 month.
  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: English
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Lemon curd, lemon curd recipe, how to make lemon curd

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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