Lemon Curd

Lemon curd, oh lemon curd. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Since the first time I made my own lemon curd a few years ago I have been obsessed. Every spring I make several batches of it and slather it on everything from biscuits to pancakes, I use it to fill cakes and tarts, and even enjoy it straight with a spoon.

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

This recipe has never failed me. I now use less butter than I used to and haven’t missed it one bit (the recipe below reflects that change). This lemon curd is wonderful, it’s bright, and it’s insanely lemony.

Don’t be intimidated by the all of the squeezing, zesting, and tempering of egg yolks (see baking tip below). Follow the recipe and you can’t miss. And you really should try it, because it will seriously change your life. Okay, maybe it won’t change your life, but it will definitely brighten your day.

Lemon Curd

Tempering Eggs

Tempering eggs is a critical step in making any egg-based custard or sauce on a stovetop. It slowly brings the temperature of the eggs up as they’re cooked, heat them too quickly and you’ll end up with a scrambled mess.

How it’s done is you bring a liquid (cream, lemon juice, etc.) just to a simmer and then add it in a slow steady stream to the eggs while whisking constantly. After the two have been combined, you can return the mixture to the stove and continue with your recipe.

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd
This rich, creamy, and fragrant lemon curd is perfect on everything from biscuits to layer cakes.
Yield: About 3 cups
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (141 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup (237 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 10 large egg yolks
  1. Add ½ cup butter, ½ cup sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  2. In another bowl, combine the egg yolks with the remaining ½ cup sugar. Slowly add the hot lemon juice mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously. When fully combined, return the mixture to the saucepan and continue to cook over medium heat until the whisk leaves a trail in the curd. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter until melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and pass through a mesh strainer set over a bowl to remove the zest and any egg clumps. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and let set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Store in the fridge for up to one week.
Adapted from Cake Art.

Recipe updated March 2013.

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26 Responses to Lemon Curd

  1. Red Couch Recipes says:

    What a nice tutorial on lemon curd! I sooo love lemon curd! Joni

  2. Sam and Jen Chesnut says:

    I have never had lemon curd before (the name is kinda creepy), but I do love me lemons!!! I am going to have to make this with homemade scones this week!

  3. Valen says:

    What wonderful looking lemon curd! I have never made the classic recipe, but my own variations. I bet it is very good.

  4. Memória says:

    Whoa, 10 egg yolks?!! Wow. This curd looks delicious. Thanks for the process photos.

  5. Silvia says:

    It looks yummy! But what did you do with the egg whites?

    • Lindsey Campbell says:

      Make Swiss meringue buttercream! Martha Stewarts Recipe calls for 10 egg whites.
      Make a cake, fill with lemon curd, frost with buttercream, too with fresh berries. A+

  6. Bernideen says:

    Thanks for a greatrecipe and photo demonstration!

  7. Anonymous says:

    10 egg yolks=10 egg whites = a lot of meringue I'm guessing.

    Lemon meringue pie anyone?

  8. Annalise says:

    Yes, there are plenty of egg whites left over! I usually try to use them up somehow, but this time I just wastefully dumped them down the drain.

  9. Sarah says:

    Just finished making this! I was glad to find a delicious way to use the leftover egg yolks from an angel food cake. I'll probably pair the cake and this lemon curd. Delicious!

  10. Ally says:

    How long will the curd keep after you make it (if it's refrigerated)?

  11. Suzanne (You Made That?) says:

    love lemon curd, I did a post also on lemon curd but your tutorial is so much better great job!

  12. StyleNectar says:

    looks beyond fabulous!! ~Juliane at http://www.StyleNectar.com

  13. Elise Meyer says:

    Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I reposted it on my blog after a lot of passover desserts that left me with 14 yolks!
    Much Ado About Stuffing

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wait.. how much butter does this recipe use? The ingredient list says 1 cup, but the directions only use 1/2 cup.

  15. Diana says:

    You put the half cup of butter in with the zest, juice and sugar at the start, then you add the other half cup of butter at the end, when you stir it through the hot curd. I just made this from lemons in my back yard and it is delicious!

  16. iis says:

    why you just use the egg yolks? can't we use white egg as well?

  17. Kara Brown says:

    I typed in 10 egg yolk lemon curd and your site came up and im glad it did i made this over the weekend and its so Delicious i used it to fill vanilla cupcakes.


  18. Patty says:

    Hi Annalise 🙂

    Thank you for this great recipe and tutorial. I posted your recipe to pintrest. Are you on pintrest? if so I’d like to follow you. If your not on pintrest and want to join let me know…I’ll send you an invite.

    Patty 🙂

  19. Michele says:

    I am making a round 3 tiered cake – 6 in, 8 in & 10 in. Would you be able to help me figure out how much of this curd I would need to fill this cake? Each tier will be two layers. Also, would I need to spread icing on the cake before putting the curd on to prevent seepage?

    • Annalise says:

      The recipe should make about 3 cups of lemon curd, so you should have about 1 cup to put between each tier layer (more for the 10 in, less for the 6 in). I think you’ll find it’s plenty. And you’ll need to create a dam of frosting along the perimeter with whatever you’re using to ice the outside of the cake. That will keep the curd from seeping out the sides. Use a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip or a knife to make the dam. Good luck!

  20. Suemo says:

    ….into the 21st century girls & boys!!
    Make your lemon curd in the microwave. Sublime!
    I like a little more set curd that won’t run but sits where I put it!
    You’ll never look back.
    Egg whites freeze well. Frozen in individuall small containers or in pairs work well for me. Use for meringues, pavlova etc.
    Why not dress them up with the curd?Deeeevine!!

  21. Kylie says:

    Just made this to use up the egg yolks I have left over after making Christmas meringue nests. OMGoodness I have never had lemon curd before except maybe in a tart. This recipe is amazing and easy. Thank you so much will make now every year and have no waste!
    Put this first lot in jars. Next batch is going to become tarts!
    Thanks for the recipe.

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