Homemade lemon curd is a rich, bright, and zesty topping for everything from biscuits to cakes!
Since I made my first batch of homemade lemon curd a few years ago I have been obsessed. I love to make it in the spring and slather it on practically everything, and even enjoy it straight from the jar with a spoon.
This recipe has been on my site since 2010 and it’s never failed me. The lemon curd is smooth, creamy and saturated with bright lemony flavor. If you’ve never had lemon curd, or have never made it at home, it’s definitely something you need to try! It’s actually quite quick and easy, and only requires 4 ingredients.
How to make homemade lemon curd
Lemon curd is a mixture of lemon juice and zest, egg yolks, sugar, and butter. It’s similar to a custard and made over the stove.
First you’ll juice and zest the lemons (see below for my favorite tools!), then you’ll separate eggs since we just need the yolks. (If you’re looking for ways to use the egg whites, how about an angel food cake or coconut macaroons?)
Then you’ll heat the lemon juice, zest, butter and granulated sugar until the butter and sugar are melted and mixture is hot, and slowly add it to the egg yolks. This is called tempering and it slowly brings the yolks up to temperature. If you throw the egg yolks straight onto the stove, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. Warming them up gradually keeps them smooth.
Once the yolks and lemon mixture are completely combined, add it all to a saucepan and cook it over the stove for a few minutes until thickened. Then remove from heat Pass the lemon curd through a find mesh strainer to remove the lemon zest and any egg bits that didn’t cook evenly. This will leave the lemon curd silk and smooth.
The final step is to completely chill it in the fridge. Homemade lemon curd will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, but it also can be frozen for several months or more.
Ways to use lemon curd
So you’ve made a batch of lemon curd, now what should you do with it? (Besides eating it with a spoon, of course.)
As I’ve mentioned, you can use homemade lemon curd as a topping or filling for so many things like biscuits, scones, pancakes, french toast, waffles, cake, and pie. Some of my recipes that use lemon curd are lemon berry shortcakes, lemon mousse pie, and lemon vanilla layer cake.
So many delicious options! Enjoy!
Shop tools for this recipe
Note: This recipe was originally published April 2010. Changes and improvements to the original recipe have been made.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (113 grams), cut into cubes
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (237 ml), about 3-4 lemons
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 10 large egg yolks
- Add butter, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- In another bowl, combine the egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 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 thickened and the whisk leaves a trail in the curd.
- 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.
- Store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Lemon curd can also be frozen for several month.