Home > Desserts > Lemon Curd Lemon Curd May 9, 2014 | 11 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Lemon Curd is a delicious dessert spread and topping made with lemons, butter, sugar, and eggs. It’s ideal for spreading on scones or biscuits, topping desserts with, or adding it to a stack of pancakes or crepes. While you can sometimes buy it from a store (near pie fillings or jams), there is truly nothing like homemade lemon curd! We’ll share all our tips and tricks for how to make the best lemon curd and our favorite ways to enjoy it! Our Favorite Lemon Curd Recipe Of all the hundreds desserts shared on this website, this lemon curd recipe is the one made most frequently at my home. It elevates simple breakfasts, biscuits, cakes, and desserts into restaurant-worthy dishes. It’s rare I don’t have a batch of this curd in my fridge to spoon on some pancakes or waffles or use in desserts or treats. And this curd is always on the table when we do a brunch “crepe bar” for holidays or baby/wedding showers. And, without fail, people always ask to get the recipe for lemon curd when they’re served it! There are practically endless ways to use this creamy lemon curd recipe. Below are our favorite ways to use this sweet topping. What To Eat Lemon Curd With As a breakfast addition: add a spoonful to homemade crepes, french toast, pancakes, waffles, etc. Served over: this incredible biscuit recipe or homemade scones. Drizzled over vanilla cheesecake: buy or make cheesecake bars and spoon curd on top. Add to cookies: we love this curd so much we use it in these lemon curd cookies. OR you can make sugar cookie cups (directions in this fruit tart recipe). Once the cookie cups are completely cooled, add in the curd and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Make an irresistible lemon whipped cream: fold a few spoonfuls of the curd into freshly made whipped cream for a delicious lemon whipped cream Make one of our favorite lemon curd desserts: Eton mess: prepare fresh whipped cream (how to make whipped cream tutorial) into a bowl, crumble up some meringue cookies, and add a few spoonfuls of curd, and finish it off with some fresh berries. Scoop it on some ice cream or frozen yogurt: spoon it on top of some vanilla frozen yogurt and add some crushed meringue cookies on top. Add to a cake. The restaurant I used to work at was famous for their lemon carrot cake. Make this carrot cake and add lemon curd in the center, right on top of the cream cheese frosting–delish! What Is Lemon Curd Made Of? This dessert spread needs only five ingredients! Fresh lemons, eggs, sugar, butter, and salt. Butter. Use unsalted, room temperature butter. Unsalted so we can perfectly control the amount of salt in the curd. Room temperature so it can properly cream butter and sugar together. Lemons. Bottled lemon juice doesn’t pack the same flavor as fresh, so be sure to use real lemons. And we also need the zest of real lemons for flavoring. We love zesting the lemons with a microplane and then juicing them with this citrus juicer. Eggs. A lot of lemon curd recipes use just the yolks, but we actually use the whole eggs in this recipe. The eggs are what thickens the curd. Salt. This helps intensify and balance all the flavors in the curd — a little goes a long way! Sugar. White granulated sugar is best for this lemon curd recipe. QUICK TIP When zesting the lemon, avoid the white pith of the lemon — this is very bitter. Using a microplane zest only the very outside yellow part of the lemon. The full recipe is below, but here’s a quick overview of the process. How do you make lemon curd? Pulse in food processor: combine sugar and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse 15-20 times. This will get the sugar to a super fine consistency and break down the zest nicely so you don’t have huge pieces of zest in your lemon curd! Add butter: beat the sugar and lemon zest mixture with butter until light and creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients: beat in the eggs one at a time and then the salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a medium sized saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly for about 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for at least an hour and preferably 8 hours before serving. QUICK TIP When chilling the lemon curd press the plastic wrap to touch the surface of the curd which will help avoid a film from forming during the chilling. Lemon Curd FAQs1What is the difference between Lemon Curd and lemon pie filling?Lemon pie filling is thickened with flour/cornstarch while Lemon Curd uses the natural pectin in the lemons and egg yolks to thicken. While they are similar, the texture is smoother and the flavor is more intense in Lemon Curd. 2Where do you buy Lemon Curd?You can generally find prepared Lemon Curd with jams/jellies or on a baking aisle alongside pie fillings. (Make sure you don’t grab lemon pie filling though!) 3Does Lemon Curd have to be refrigerated?Definitely refrigerate Lemon Curd–it will go bad sitting at room temperature. Refrigerate freshly made Lemon Curd for 1-2 weeks in an airtight container. 4Is Lemon Curd a jelly or jam?Actually neither! Curds are made by cooking down fruit juice with sugar rather than using the whole fruit which is how jams and jellies are made. 5Why does Lemon Curd taste bitter?Your curd may be sour or bitter tasting if the wrong part of the lemon is zested. The white pith directly below the zest is very bitter. Be careful to zest only the very outside yellow part of the lemons. 6Can you over- cook Lemon Curd?Yes, overcooked curd will become lumpy instead of being silky smooth. 7How thick should Lemon Curd be?While it’s hot, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (Quick test: lift up the spoon and immediately trace a line across the back of the spoon with your fingertip. If the line retains a clear track, the curd is thick enough). When it’s chilled, it should thicken up to the consistency of a snack pudding cup. While it does thicken more as it cools, it should be quite thick (like a pourable pudding) before removing from the heat. 8Can you freeze Lemon Curd?Lemon Curd can be frozen up to 6 months in an airtight container in the freezer. Thaw in a container in the fridge for 24 hours before using. 9How long does Lemon Curd last in the refrigerator?Lemon Curd is best when used within 1-2 weeks, but it can last up to a month in the fridge. QUICK TIP Remove all the guesswork from your lemon curd with a candy thermometer! Here is the candy thermometer I use and highly recommend adding to your kitchen. And when you have one, you’ll love making this buttercrunch candy, toffee, and honeycomb candy! More Tasty Lemon Treats: Lemon Bars with a shortbread crust Magnolia Lemon Pie with a graham cracker crust Lemon Cookies with a lemon glaze Peach Lemonade with real peaches and lemons Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls with a lemon glaze FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Lemon Curd 5 from 3 votes - Review this recipe Lemon Curd is a delicious dessert spread and topping made with lemons, butter, sugar, and eggs. It's ideal for spreading on scones or biscuits, topping desserts with, or adding it to a stack of pancakes or crepes. While you can sometimes buy it from a store (near pie fillings or jams), there is truly nothing like homemade lemon curd! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Lemon Curd 5 from 3 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Lemon Curd is a delicious dessert spread and topping made with lemons, butter, sugar, and eggs. It's ideal for spreading on scones or biscuits, topping desserts with, or adding it to a stack of pancakes or crepes. While you can sometimes buy it from a store (near pie fillings or jams), there is truly nothing like homemade lemon curd! Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack Cuisine American, Vegetarian Keyword lemon curd Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Chilling Time 8 hours Total Time 8 hours 35 minutes Servings 1 batch of fresh lemon curd (16 servings) Calories 151kcal Author Chelsea, recipe adapted from Epicurious Cost $4.87 EquipmentCandy Thermometer (Note 1) IngredientsLemon Curd▢ 1-1/2 cups white, granulated sugar▢ 3-5 large lemons (3 tbsp zest & 1/2 cup juice)▢ 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature▢ 4 large eggs, at room temperature (Note 2)▢ 1/8 teaspoon fine sea saltUS - Metric USMetric InstructionsPREP: Pull out eggs and butter to get to room temperature. Use a microplane to zest just the very outer yellow part of the lemon (avoid the white pith below -- this is very bitter!) and then juice lemons with a citrus juicer to get 1/2 cup juice. MAKE LEMON SUGAR: Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse 15-20 times or until zest is broken down and incorporated in sugar. Pour into a large bowl or a bowl attached to a stand mixer. MIX IN BUTTER: Add in the room temperature (NOT softened or melted!) butter and using hand mixers, (or the whisk attachment for a stand mixer), beat until light and creamy about 2-4 minutes. Scrape sides of the bowl as needed.ADD EGGS & JUICE: Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing just briefly to incorporate each egg. Finally, add in the salt and 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix briefly just to combine. THICKEN: Pour the mixture into a medium-sized saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula for about 10-15 minutes or until nicely thickened. The curd should reach 170 degrees on a candy thermometer. (If it doesn't reach this heat, it won't properly set up -- See Note 3.) Pour curd through a fine mesh sieve and use a spatula to press through the sieve into an airtight container/bowl. CHILL: Cover container with plastic wrap so the plastic wrap is touching the top of the lemon curd and store in the fridge for at least an hour and preferably 8 hours before serving. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Candy Thermometer: Remove all the guesswork from your lemon curd with a candy thermometer! Here is the candy thermometer I use and highly recommend adding to your kitchen. Note 2: Room temperature ingredients: It's really important the butter, lemon juice, and eggs are all at the same room temperature. Otherwise the butter won't properly cream with the sugar. And/or the mixture can turn grainy/curdled-looking if cold eggs get added into room temperature butter. Note 3: Curd Thickness: While it's hot it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (quick test: lift up the spoon and immediately trace a line across the back of the spoon with your fingertip. We're looking for the line to retain a clear track. While it does thicken more as it cools, it should be quite thickened (think like a pourable pudding) before removing from the heat. When it's chilled it should thicken up to a snack pudding cup consistency. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1.8g | Fat: 7.1g | Cholesterol: 61.8mg | Sodium: 37.3mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 19.9g We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.