Lemon Curd is a delicious lemony spread perfect for spreading on scones or biscuits, topping desserts with, or adding it to a stack of pancakes or crepes. While you can usually buy lemon curd from a store (near pie fillings or jams), there is NOTHING like homemade lemon curd.
Today I’m sharing how to make lemon curd (step-by-step photos) and our favorite ways to enjoy lemon curd.
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 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 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Pour the mixture into a medium sized saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes or until thickened.
- Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for at least an hour and preferably 3-4 hours before serving.
Tips for making the best lemon curd:
What is Lemon Curd used for?
As mentioned earlier, it makes a great topping for baked goods or breakfasts (scones, biscuits, crepes, etc.) but there are so many different ways to use lemon curd. Below are our favorite ways to use lemon curd:
- Fill up sugar cookie cups: add sugar cookie dough to a miniature muffin and bake for about 8-10 minutes and then indent the centers of the cookies with the back of a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon. Remove the cookie cups from the tin and once they are completely cooled, add in the lemon curd and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
- Serve it over vanilla cheesecake: buy or make vanilla cheesecake bars and spoon curd on top.
- Top with whipped cream and berries: spoon some fresh whipped cream into a bowl, add a few spoonfuls of curd, and finish it off with some fresh berries.
- Thumbprint cookies: add some lemon curd to your favorite thumbprint cookie recipe.
- 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
- Breakfast addition: add it to crepes, french toast, pancakes, waffles, etc.
- Lemon whipped cream: fold it into freshly made whipped cream for a delicious lemon whipped cream
The BEST EVER lemon curd -- simple to make and sure to impress!
- 1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
- 3-4 large lemons (~3 tablespoons zest and 1/2 cup juice)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- Pinch of salt
Prepare the lemon curd, by combining the sugar, lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons, about 3 tablespoons) in a food processor. Pulse 15-20 times and then pour into a medium sized bowl.
Add in the room temperature butter and using hand mixers, beat until light and creamy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time and then the salt and 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Pour the mixture into a medium sized saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes or until thickened. The curd should reach 170 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for at least an hour and preferably 3-4 hours before serving.
Recipe time does not include essential chilling time.
Lemon Curd FAQs
What 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 lemon curd and pie filling are similar, the texture is smoother and the flavor is more intense in lemon curd.
How long can you keep lemon curd?
Stored in an airtight container or jar in the fridge, lemon curd will last 1-2 weeks. (We like it best within 1 week)
Can you freeze lemon curd?
If you are canning lemon curd, it freezes well. I’m not an expert on this, but here is a great resource.
Can you buy lemon curd?
While not as good as homemade, you can buy lemon curd! You can generally find prepared lemon curd with jams/jellies or on a baking asile alongside pie fillings (make sure you don’t grab lemon pie filling though!)
Does it have to be refrigerated?
Yes! It will go bad sitting at room temperature. Refrigerate freshly made lemon curd for 1-2 weeks in an airtight container.