Lemon curd is faster to prepare at home than you might think, and the results taste incredible! It comes together in around 15 minutes and tastes WORLDS better than jarred versions. It’s tart, sweet, and buttery, with a custard texture that works well on biscuits and scones. You can also use this easy lemon curd recipe in pies, homemade ice cream, or as a cupcake filling! The possibilities are truly endless. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to make lemon curd, this step-by-step photo tutorial will show you how quickly it comes together. You’ll be amazed.
This site may be called Savory Simple, but it’s no secret that I absolutely love preparing sweet recipes. When people ask me about my favorite homemade desserts, curd is always near the top of my list (along with ice cream and layer cakes).
How to Make Lemon Curd
I’ve demoed this recipe for many friends now, and no one can believe how fast and easy it is. The ingredients are very basic. There’s no reason to buy jarred lemon curd. Here’s how it works…
Whisk together eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan.
I recommend using a silicone whisk, because you’ll want to press the whisk directly against the bottom of the saucepan as the curd thickens. A silicone whisk will prevent scratches on the bottom of the pan.
Create a slurry from cornstarch and lemon juice.
A slurry serves two purposes:
- to thicken the curd
- to prevent the cornstarch from clumping, which would happen if it was added directly to the saucepan.
You don’t need to add all of the lemon juice to the slurry. I typically add around half without measuring. Slowly whisk the lemon juice into the cornstarch until you have an opaque liquid with a consistency similar to milk.
Whisk the slurry into the eggs and sugar.
Whisk in the remaining lemon juice.
Whisk until the curd thickens.
You don’t need to give your biceps a serious workout with vigorous whisking, but don’t simply stir, either. Whisk the curd to activate the slurry and help the ingredients cook evenly. As I noted above, you want to make sure the whisk hits the bottom of the saucepan to prevent a layer of curd from forming and burning.
The lemon curd is ready when it reaches the consistency of pudding. Keep in mind that it will continue to thicken as it cools.
Add the butter.
Whisk in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until evenly combined. The lemon curd will be shiny and taste delicious. Grab a spoon; you’ll see.
After it has a chance to cool for a few minutes, transfer the curd to a medium-sized bowl and press plastic wrap directly against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
Lemon Curd Uses
There are so many ways you can use this lemon curd recipe! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Spread it on biscuits and scones
- Use it as a filling in cupcakes (such as these pumpkin spiced cupcakes with orange curd)
- Make homemade ice cream (this grapefruit curd ice cream is always a hit)
- Mix it with whipped cream and use as a tart or parfait filling
- Lemon meringue pie (here’s a recipe from Epicurous)
- Eat it with a spoon
How long can you keep lemon curd in the fridge?
While some articles suggest you can store homemade lemon curd in the refrigerator for up to one month, I recommend storing it for no longer than 2 weeks at most. If you plan on storing it beyond that, I’d consider freezing or canning.
Can you freeze fresh lemon curd?
You can freeze the curd in an airtight container or, to save space, use a resealable freezer bag, pressing out as much air as possible while sealing. I try to use up freezer items within 6 months to avoid that unpleasant freezer taste, but you can realistically store it for up to one year. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Can lemon curd be canned?
Yes, but canned dairy actually has a shorter shelf life than if you freeze it. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends using canned curds within 3-4 months.
Looking For More Custard and Curd Recipes?
- 5 large eggs
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (approximately 10-12 lemons)
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar together until smooth. In a small or medium-sized bowl, whisk the cornstarch together with around half of the lemon juice until smooth (this is called a slurry and will prevent the cornstarch from clumping).
- Whisk the slurry and remaining lemon juice into the egg mixture until smooth.
- Turn the heat to medium and continue quickly whisking until thick, 10-15 minutes. Make sure the whisk hits the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. The curd is ready when it’s the consistency of pudding.
- Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the butter until smooth. Allow to cool for a few minutes, whisking periodically.
- Move the curd to a bowl, and then press plastic wrap against the top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the refrigerator to chill. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months (I recommend using a resealable freezer bag for this with as much air removed as possible). Thaw in the refrigerator.
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