Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

It’s so easy to make delicious homemade lemon curd – you need just four ingredients and less than 30 minutes to make this bright, creamy spread, which also happens to be the best filling for lemon or strawberry lemonade cupcakes!

[Jump to Recipe]

This post contains affiliate links; for more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

It’s taken me many, many years to accept that any food with “curd” in its name was something I may actually want to eat, let alone go to the trouble of making from scratch. At last, however, I came around, and am grateful for it.

Perhaps it would have happened faster if this were known as something like smooth, sweet, creamy lemon spread. Because that, fundamentally, is what lemon curd is. And there’s an awful lot to like about it.

Scattered, juice lemons, a hand juicer, and a small bowl of lemon zest, on a light white cutting board.

How To Make Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

The process is simple, and the ingredient list is even simpler: lemons, sugar, egg yolks, and butter.

First you’ll whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Zest and juice the lemons, and whisk in both of those, as well.

When it comes to zesting and juicing citrus, some very small and simple kitchen tools can make your life a lot easier. If you don’t already have at least a small hand juicer (mine is pictured above) and a microplane grater, do yourself a favor and add them to your next Target list or Amazon cart. For under $15 each, they will make these routine kitchen tasks easy and fast!

Be sure to zest the whole lemons first, then cut them in half and squeeze out the juice. This saves you the considerable awkwardness of zesting a half a lemon, which is at least twice as difficult as zesting one intact. Speaking from experience. 🙂

After whisking in the lemon zest and juice, it’s a simple matter of cooking the mixture over low heat until it thickens to a creamy consistency, then stirring in the butter.

Let it cool, and you will be rewarded with a beautiful jar full of smooth, sweet, creamy lemon spread. Also known as, lemon curd.

A jar full of bright yellow homemade lemon curd on a white and light blue dishcloth.

What To Do With Lemon Curd?

The better question would be, what NOT to do with it? Lemon curd is delightfully sweet and custard-y, but of course with a bright citrus flavor. It’s very traditional as a spread on fresh muffins or scones. Go for a double lemon effect and spread a bit on a warm lemon poppy seed muffin straight from the oven!

I also love to mix a dollop into yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast. And, of course, my absolute favorite way to enjoy lemon curd is in the middle of a cupcake. 🙂 Lemon cupcakes with cream cheese poppy seed frosting are extra amazing with a spoonful of lemon curd in the middle. And filled strawberry lemonade cupcakes… well, the name speaks for itself.

Perhaps needless to say, it’s also quite delicious eaten straight from the fridge with a spoon. I’ll never even tell if you double dip.

A jar full of bright yellow homemade lemon curd on a white and light blue dishcloth.

If you could bear to give it away, lemon curd would also make a lovely gift from the kitchen.

Bottom line, you could buy lemon curd at the store, but, as always, the texture and flavor are likely to be so much better when made at home, not to mention you’ll be sparing yourself all the preservatives and added sugars, etc. that are in so many ingredients off the shelf.

Plus it’s a fun little project, very do-able in a short amount of time, even with “help” from kiddos. (Especially those that can be trusted to whisk or stir with some supervision.) So I hope you try this at home and love your results as much as I do!

Enjoy! ♥

A jar full of bright yellow homemade lemon curd on a white and light blue dishcloth.

6 votes

Print

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 1.5-2 cups

It's so easy to make delicious homemade lemon curd - you need just four ingredients and less than 30 minutes! And it makes the best filling for lemon or strawberry lemonade cupcakes!

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons) 
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces, 86 grams) unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. In a small Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, combine the egg yolks and sugar; whisk briskly for about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest and juice; whisk again for 1 minute to blend. Cut butter into small pieces, about 1 inch each.
  2. Set the pan over low heat and cook gently, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture visibly thickens, about 15 minutes. (See recipe note 1.)
  3. Remove pan from heat and add pieces of butter. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture comes approximately to room temperature. Strain the curd through a fine mesh sieve, if desired. (See recipe note 2.)
  4. Cover tightly and store in the fridge.

Notes

Note 1 - You may be tempted to turn up the heat, but don't do it! Cooking low and slow, and the near-constant stirring, is important to prevent the egg from "cooking" into little clumps, rather than forming the sweet custard that you want. Many recipes call for doing this in a double boiler, which would achieve the same effect, but I have never found the extra effort of setting up a double boiler to be necessary.

Note 2 - Straining the curd through a fine mesh sieve is not strictly necessary - I actually don't do it most of the time - but it just depends on your personal preference. Straining it will obviously result in an even smoother finished product, as it will filter out any small pieces of lemon zest or other solids. IF you think some small pieces of egg may have cooked to a solid state, straining will help get those out!

Curd will keep well in the fridge for 7-10 days.

Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma.

This post was originally published on March 29, 2017, and updated on March 6, 2018 to include new photos and slightly more specific recipe instructions.

Before You Go…

Don’t forget to PIN THIS to save the recipe for later. You can also subscribe to receive recipe updates each week by email, or follow me on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, or Twitter to see a lot more delicious food and other happenings.

It's so easy to make delicious homemade lemon curd - just four ingredients and less than 30 minutes, and you'll have a jar full of the best spread for muffins and scones, mix-in for yogurt and oatmeal, or filling for moist cupcakes! #lemoncurd #homemadecurd

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Lois
    March 27, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    It is a pity that I don’t eat eggs, this would make a gorgeous gift for friends though, especially for Easter

  • Reply
    Lois
    March 26, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Since I don’t eat eggs, I will make this and give it as a gift to one of my friends. She would love it!

  • Reply
    Jenni LeBaron
    March 26, 2018 at 3:50 am

    We love lemon curd in our house! I love to spoon it over granola, yogurt, and biscuits or eat it right out of the container. Your recipe looks lovely!

  • Reply
    Tatiana
    March 26, 2018 at 1:50 am

    I have to be honest here- i think i never tried curd before. I better hurry up making your recipe!

  • Reply
    Karyl Henry
    March 25, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    I’m with you…not eating anything with the name “curd”! But man, this recipe has changed my tune. I have recently become a bigger fan of using more lemons in recipes, and I’m going to have to give this one a try

  • Reply
    Leslie Haasch
    March 25, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    I didn’t realize how many yolks go into lemon curd – I’d better stock up on eggs next time I go to the store so I can make this!

  • Reply
    Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen
    March 25, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    This lemon curd has me SERIOUSLY ready for spring! What a lovely, vibrant color. And that hand juicer is just gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Madi
    March 25, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try lemon curd! This looks like the perfect recipe!

  • Reply
    Anne
    March 24, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    I never realized how easy lemon curd is to make! I can’t wait to give this a try!

  • Reply
    Savita
    March 24, 2018 at 9:01 am

    What a great idea and such simple recipe. Love how smooth this curd looks. I can’t wait to give it a try.

  • Reply
    Michelle Barsness
    March 22, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Oh my gosh, I absolutely love lemon curd, especially in tarts or cupcakes. Your recipe sounds just perfect. I think I may make some for Easter tarts.

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      March 23, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      This would be a fantastic filling for Easter tarts – and so easy, too! I love that idea. 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicoletta @sugarlovespices
    March 22, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    If lemon curd is anything similar to a lemon pastry cream, I adore it! I never made it, but made the lemon pastry cream and I know the countless uses, including eating it right from the jar with a spoon. It looks beautiful like a sunny spring day!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      March 22, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you so much, Nicoletta! I imagine the two are somewhat similar, perhaps with lemon curd being a little bit creamier? I’m not certain, but I would LOVE to do a taste test between them. Ha!

  • Reply
    Monica Le
    March 22, 2018 at 1:53 am

    Oh this homemade Lemon curd looks so healhty and delicious…wish i had some right now!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      March 22, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks so much, Monica!

  • Reply
    Lovely Lemon Cake | Love In My Oven
    March 21, 2018 at 9:01 am

    […] The curd is easy; it took me about 20 minutes in total to make, and then I had to cool it down in the fridge for a couple of hours. I used the method from my friend Monica over at Nourish and Fete. […]

  • Reply
    10 Thoughts for Thursday | Love In My Oven
    March 15, 2018 at 11:00 am

    […] I made this lemon curd from Nourish and Fete this past weekend, to make up part of a cake I’m posting next week for […]

  • Reply
    Patrick@looneyforfood.com
    March 8, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    Curd certainly isn’t an appealing name! But it looks and sounds beautiful!

  • Reply
    Stephanie | 31 Daily
    March 8, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Truly, making a homemade lemon curd has been on my list for a while. So happy to have found your recipe! I’m looking forward to trying it this weekend!

  • Reply
    Albert Bevia
    March 7, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I so love lemon curd, can be used in so many ways, I specially like to use it to make lemon mousse, this is a great recipe you have provided for homemdae lemon curd 🙂

  • Reply
    fearlessdining
    March 29, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I had no idea how easy this was. It looks amazing.

  • Reply
    linda spiker
    March 29, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Beautiful! I love using lemon curd on ciikies and scones!

  • Reply
    Say Grace
    March 29, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I could slather this on just about anything!!! Yum!!

  • Reply
    Gloria Duggan
    March 29, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I love anything that has lemon. This curd looks silky smooth. Perfect for stuffing cupcakes, filling tarts and just eating by the spoonful.

  • Reply
    Janette@CulinaryGinger.com
    March 29, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Lemon curd was my favorite thing to eat growing up and I really need to make my own now as an adult. I can’t wait to try this.

  • Leave a Reply

    633 Shares
    Share1
    Pin614
    Yum17
    Reddit
    Flip
    Tweet1