Creamy and vibrant, this Easy Lemon Curd is made with only 4 simple ingredients including lemons, sugar, eggs, and butter. With a burst of citrus flavor this homemade lemon spread can be used as sweet filling for tarts and cakes or spread on anything from pastries to scones!
This easy to make lemon curd recipe takes only 20 minutes to make and will be one of your favorite new lemon recipes! It’s creamy like the best part of a lemon square and perfectly balanced with a sweet and tangy taste.
It’s simple to make from scratch with ingredients you probably already have on hand including lemons, butter, sugar and eggs. Perfect for people who love lemon desserts, it not only tastes great spread on baked goods at breakfast but you can use it to fill cakes, cookies and tarts, too.
While you could purchase this condiment store-bought, homemade really tastes best! And with this fool-proof recipe that only requires 4 ingredients, there is really no excuse not to add this to your next brunch or afternoon tea.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Simple ingredients: You only need 4 all natural ingredients to make this easy recipe.
- Homemade: Making lemon curd from scratch means there are no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.
- No special equipment needed: Made on the stovetop without the need for a double boiler means anyone can make this recipe!
- Versatile: Enjoy it now on baked goods or freeze it for later to use between layers of a cake. There are so many uses for this fresh lemon curd that can be frozen to use later if you would like.
What is Lemon Curd?
Made with lemon juice, sugar, eggs and butter, lemon curd originated in England and is a spread that is used for cookies, cakes, toast, scones or can be spooned into a pie crust and tarts.
It has a custard-like consistency although there is no milk or cream in it. With its intense lemon flavor that is balanced by the sweet sugar, this velvety spread is a favorite when it comes to breakfast spreads and dessert toppings!
Fresh lemon juice is what makes this easy lemon curd recipe taste the best! Avoid the bottled stuff for the best fresh lemon taste.
- Granulated sugar: This is needed to cut the tartness from the lemons.
- Eggs: You will need three large eggs, room temperature is best although straight from the fridge can work, too!
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice from approximately 2 ½ lemons. You may need more or less fresh lemons depending on how much juice your lemons produce. Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons, reduce added sugar if using them.
- Butter: Unsalted butter is best.
How to Make Lemon Curd
In a large heatproof bowl using an electric mixer beat sugar and eggs on high speed until completely blended approximately 2-3 minutes.
Set the bowl over a pot of low boiling water on medium-low heat, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
Add the lemon juice and butter to the bowl then cook, stirring continuously until the fruit curd is thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
Spoon the creamy lemon curd into a sterilized mason jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Enjoy!
- How to know it’s done: Lemon curd is cooked through and ready at 170˚F. Use an instant-read thermometer for best results.
- Keep the heat low: Overheating the curd can cause graininess while it sets.
- Continue to stir: It’s best to keep the liquid mixture moving so it heats evenly and it’s the perfect way to avoid any clumping that may occur.
- Extra lemon taste: Feel free to add up to 1 tsp of fresh lemon zest for extra taste. Proceed with straining if you are using zest.
- Strain it: If there are any solids after making, straining your curd through a fine mesh strainer can help remove them.
How to Use Lemon Curd
There are so many ways to use this smooth lemon curd from spreading it onto a cranberry scone to just eating it by the spoonful! Here are a few more ideas:
- It’s the perfect filling for lemon curd cake or this lemon tart
- Spooned over Italian sponge cake or pound cake
- This creamy spread also make a great topping for pancakes
- Stirred into yogurt or this ricotta cream dessert
- Adds additional bright flavor when swirled through this lemon ice cream
Why is my curd not thickening?
This could be the case if you did not cook it long enough. Your curd should coat the back of a spoon when it is done.
Why is my curd runny?
If you have reduced the sugar or not followed the recipe as written, your lemon curd may be runny. Place it back on the stove and continue cooking it until it coats the back of a spoon or when you draw a line around the edge of the pan it doesn’t immediately run.
How to fix grainy curd?
Grainy curd is often caused by the ingredients not emulsifying correctly. It can be caused by not stirring the mixture enough while cooking, overheating or a combination of both. You can try to fix it by whisking an egg yolk with one Tablespoon of lemon juice. Add this back to your pan on low heat and then add one Tablespoon of curd back at a time. Continue to stir and cook until the temperature reaches 170°F.
Can I use less sugar?
You can try to reduce the sugar to ¾ cup. The curd will have a more intense tart lemon flavor and not be as sweet.
Can I use lemon juice from concentrate?
No. Do no use bottled lemon juice as that will drastically change the taste of the curd. This recipe is best with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Once cooled to room temperature, store the jar of lemon curd in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
To freeze homemade curd, cool completely then transfer to freezer safe containers leaving ½” space for it to expand. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving cold.
More Lemon Recipes
- Lemon Pudding Cake
- Italian Lemon Cookies
- Glazed Lemon Yogurt Cake
- Lemon Muffins
- Lemon Cheesecake Squares
Easy Lemon Curd
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup lemon juice (approximately 2½ lemons)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- In a large heat resistance bowl beat the sugar and eggs on high speed until completely blended approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Place the bowl over a pot of low boiling water on medium heat, make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl, add the lemon juice and butter to the bowl, cook stirring continuously until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Spoon the curd into a sterilized jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Enjoy!