How to Make Lemon Curd

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.

Homemade lemon curd in a mason jar, surrounded by fresh lemons.

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…

An induction burner topped with a saucepan filled with eggs and sugar, surrounded by butter, lemon juice and cornstarch.

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.

A bowl containing a whisk and a slurry made from cornstarch and fresh lemon juice.

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.

Pouring the slurry into the egg and sugar mixture while whisking.

Whisk the slurry into the eggs and sugar.

Whisking the lemon juice into the saucepan.

Whisk in the remaining lemon juice.

Whisking the lemon curd ingredients together until thick.

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.

Adding butter to the lemon curd recipe.

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.

A close up shot of the finished homemade lemon curd.

Lemon Curd Uses

There are so many ways you can use this lemon curd recipe! Here are some ideas to get you started:

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?

Check out my Wild Blueberry Lemon Cream Tart, Lemon Sage Curd, and Milk Panna Cotta with Coffee Syrup!

Lemon curd in a mason jar.
Print Pin Recipe

Lemon Curd

4.88 from 8 votes
This lemon curd recipe is easier to prepare at home than you might think, and the results taste incredible! Use this spread on pastries, biscuits, and as a filling in pies and cupcakes.
Course Condiments, Dessert
Cuisine American, British
Keyword lemon curd
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 54 (1-tablespoon) servings; approximately 3 cups total
Calories 75

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 18mg | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3.1% | Vitamin C: 4.2% | Calcium: 0.7% | Iron: 0.8%

Recipe Troubleshooting

For help troubleshooting a recipe, please email recipehelp@savorysimple.net. I’ll try to respond to urgent questions as quickly as possible! This email address is only for recipe troubleshooting; Solicitations will be ignored.

This lemon curd recipe is easier to prepare at home than you might think, and the results taste incredible! Use this custardy spread on pastries, biscuits, and as a filling in pies and cupcakes. Learn how to make lemon curd with this step-by-step photo tutorial!

About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

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