This bright and refreshing lemon curd is the perfect dessert if you love all things tangy and lemony. Easy to prepare from scratch, this lemon curd recipe is made with lots of fresh, tart lemon juice and aromatic lemon zest, and makes for a terrific topping, filling, or mix-in!
Little Says Sweet and Tangy Like Lemon Curd
Lemon is one of those wonderfully flavorful pieces of produce that I just couldn't do without!
I adore lemon and all things lemon flavored, and use at least a little squeeze of this delicious, juicy, and sour citrus fruit in all of my cooking ranging from desserts, to dressings, to dips, to soups.
It's zippy presence simply brightens everything it's added to, and infuses it with something a little special!
So it makes perfect sense to me that cool and tangy lemon curd—that smooth, velvety, and creamy dream of a sweet treat—would be a personal favorite of mine to whip up and indulge in, spoonful after rich spoonful.
Truly, nothing speaks of sunshine and fresh air quite like the wonderfully cheerful flavor of lemon does, and this easy lemon curd recipe captures that deliciously!
My Recipe for Lemon Curd
The way that I like to describe lemon curd is as a sweet topping, filling, or spread that is made using the juice and zest of lemons.
It is quite similar to a pudding in that the main ingredients—the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, zest and juice—are whisked together in a bowl and cooked over gentle heat until thick and creamy.
This is typically done in a double boiler, or by simply placing the bowl with the mixture over top of a small pot with simmering water (making sure the bowl is not touching the water), and gently stirring until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Lemon curd is delicious used as a spread for tea biscuits, as a component in parfaits such as my lemon curd parfaits, as a tart filling, or as a spread on a rich brioche bread or croissant.
Heck, my personal favorite way to enjoy it is swirled into thick and creamy low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt. It's so refreshingly cool and zingy, and the perfect sweet snack!
Here's a sneak peek at my lemon curd recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I combine the sugar with the lemon zest, and whisk to incorporate, then add the whole eggs, egg yolks and lemon juice, and whisk gently until completely combined.
- I place your bowl over a pot of gently simmering water (making sure that it properly fits and is not actually touching the water), and using your spatula, stir and fold the mixture as it cooks, scraping the bottom and sides as well, until it has thickened and has a pudding-like consistency.
- Once it is thickened, strain the lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer, add in your little pat of butter and stir until melted in, then let it cool.
Lemon Curd Recipe
by Ingrid Beer
This cool and creamy lemon curd recipe made with fresh lemons is a delectably tangy treat to use as a spread, mix-in or topping!
Yield: 1 ½ cups
Nutrition Info: 91 calories (per 2 tablespoon serving)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 22 minutes
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- ⅔ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your lemon curd ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- In a medium glass or steel bowl, add the sugar and the zest, and incorporate the two together with your fingers. Next, add the whole eggs and the yolks, and then the lemon juice, and gently combine with a whisk, just until the sugar is dissolved (be careful not to whisk too hard as you don’t want to incorporate air into the mixture).
- Set the bowl with the lemon curd mixture over a pot of gently simmering water (double-boiler method), making sure that the bowl is not actually touching the simmering water.
- Using a rubber spatula, continuously and gently stir the lemon curd mixture (it will be quite thin in the beginning) making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl for even cooking and to avoid “scrambling” the eggs. Cook for roughly 10-12 minutes, or until the curd mixture thickens and has a pudding-like consistency.
- Remove the bowl from the pot of simmering water and wipe the condensation off of it with a towel.
- Strain the curd into a clean bowl, add in the butter (if using) and stir that in until it melts, then cover the top with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Place into refrigerator to completely chill. Enjoy as a spread, as a dip, or swirled into yogurt!
Tips & Tidbits for Lemon Curd Recipe:
- Fresh, juicy lemons: Choose lemons that are fresh, bright and fragrant, and that have a thinner skin, as those produce more juice.
- Patience is a virtue when it comes to lemon curd: Preparing curd is not necessarily a long process, but it does require gentleness. Make sure you keep your water at a simmer and not boiling vigorously under the bowl with the ingredients in it. You want the consistency to be as smooth as possible, rather than scrambling the eggs because they cooked too quickly, with too much heat. It takes about 10-12 minutes for the lemon curd to thicken, so just be patient, and fold/stir with gentleness.
- Adding butter is up to you: Adding a little touch of butter is optional (maybe a tablespoon or even a little less), but it does impart a little extra richness and flavor to the curd. Simply add it at the end, after you have strained the mixture into a clean bowl, and stir until it melts in.
- Cooling your lemon curd: You can cool a lemon curd recipe a couple of ways. You can strain it into a clean bowl and place plastic wrap directly onto its surface, and place into the fridge for a couple of hours until chilled. Or, and this one can be a little tricky, you can fill a large bowl with ice, and carefully place the bowl with the curd into it to sit and chill, mixing the curd occasionally to cool it evenly. You must take care with this method, however, that the bowl with the curd doesn't slip around on the ice and turn over, spilling the curd. Make sure it is fixed and steady, and the curd will cool quite rapidly.
- How to store lemon curd: I love to keep my lemon curd in a mason jar with a lid in the fridge. You can also keep it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Lemon curd keeps well for a couple of weeks, if it lasts that long!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2018, and has been updated with even more love!