This easy lemon curd recipe requires only 4 ingredients and takes approximately 30 minutes to prepare. The result is a lemon curd that bursts with a refreshing and lively lemon flavor, striking the perfect balance between sweetness and tanginess.
I’ve also included a recipe to make it in the microwave. It won’t be as silky smooth, but it will still be delicious and miles better than store-bought.
Lemon Curd Ingredients
One of the keys to making lemon curd is starting with high-quality ingredients!
- Salt – Unsalted butter is used to control the amount of salt added to this lemon curd recipe.
- Lemon Juice & Zest – Use fresh, ripe lemons.. Meyer lemons can be used but the flavor will be slightly sweeter and less acidic.
- Sugar – Basic granulated sugar works fine.
- Eggs – The eggs thicken the curd and this recipes uses two whole eggs plus two egg yolks.
Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.
How to Make Lemon Curd
- Beat: Combine all ingredients except the lemon zest and mix.
- Cook Low & Slow: Slowly cook the curd while continuously stirring until the mixture thickens.
- Add Lemon Zest & Chill: Remove the curd from the heat, stir in lemon zest and cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Lemon Curd Tips & Variations
Consider a double boiler to ensure that the lemon curd doesn’t burn during the cooking process and don’t stop stirring.
To achieve the perfect consistency and ensure the lemon curd is properly cooked without burning, it should be heated low and slow until it is just below the boiling point. The curd is considered ready when it visibly thickens, coats the back of a wooden spoon, and reaches a temperature of approximately 170 ºF.
You can make all sorts of curds using different fruits such as orange, lime, grapefruit, mango, cranberry or any berry variety curd.
Creaming the butter and sugar together initially will help prevent the formation of any cooked egg pieces. If you happen to notice any, I recommend straining them out with a fine mesh strainer.
How to Use Lemon Curd
Lemon curd is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many ways including as a topping, filling, layer or in a recipe. Here are some ideas for using lemon curd:
- Create a tasty lemon curd cheesecake.
- Make lemon curd bars.
- Fill tart shells with lemon curd and top with fresh berries or a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Mix lemon curd into whipped cream or cream cheese for a creamy frosting.
- Dollop onto angel food cake, shortcake or pound cake.
- Use as a filling for cookies, cakes, cream puffs, or even donut holes.
- Bake into flaky pastries.
- Create lemon curd tarts or individual tartlets.
- Heap curd in spoonfuls on top of ice cream or sorbet.
- Topping for a cheesecake or pavlova.
- Add as a dip on a dessert charcuterie board.
- Create a lemon curd smoothie by blending it with yogurt, ice, and your favorite fruits. A milkshake would be a refreshing treat too.
- Spread on pancakes, waffles or French toast or use as crepes filling.
- Use anywhere you use jam and butter such as toast, bagels, croissants, crumpets, and muffins.
- Dollop on top of biscuits or scones.
- Make a delicious lemon curd pie or lemon meringue pie.
- Whip up a batch of lemon curd cookies or macarons.
- Swirl curd into yogurt, parfait, or oatmeal.
- Fruit salad “sauce.”
- Craft a cocktail.
- Serve as a side dish with a main meal such as roasted chicken.
- Enjoy it right out of the jar or freeze first.
Flavors I like with lemon curd: Berries, lemon, cheesecake, cream cheese, whipped cream, granola, vanilla, white chocolate, coconut, almonds, ginger, lavender, cinnamon, cardamom, mint, basil, rosemary and thyme.
If you need a fantastic recipe for your Lemon Curd, try this Lemon Tiramisu. It’s one of the only reasons I make this easy lemon curd recipe in the first place!
Homemade Lemon Curd Ingredients
- 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs (egg white + egg yolk)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Easy Microwave Lemon Curd Ingredients
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, strained to remove any pulp (2 to 4 lemons)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (together with the whole eggs)
Homemade Lemon Curd
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
- In a medium, heavy-based saucepan or double boiler, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don’t let the mixture boil.
- Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The curd will thicken further as it cools.
Easy Microwave Lemon Curd
- Mix butter with the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the whole eggs and yolks and blend well.
- Cover with parchment paper and microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring well after each minute. Continue until mixture thickens and coats the spoon. You might need more or less time depending on your microwave.
- Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.
Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for 3-5 months.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 243Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 95mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 0gSugar: 34gProtein: 5g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.