Skip to Content

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Jump to Recipe | Save Recipe

Homemade lemon curd is buttery, rich, and full of tart lemon flavor. Make a batch for yourself and another batch for giving to friends and family!

Jar of lemon curd with spoon and lemons in background

If you’ve never made homemade lemon curd before, now’s the time to start. While a store-bought jar of lemon curd is good, the homemade version is so much better. It’s rich and creamy, but the richness is cut by the acidity of the lemon, and it’s got just the right balance of sweet and tart flavors.

Spread it onto toast, English muffins, or even blueberry muffins, spoon it into yogurt parfaits, or use it as a filling for cupcakes. Lemon curd gives an instant upgrade to anything you add it to. (Or, do what I did and eat it with a spoon. No shame.)

And unlike some DIY recipes, making homemade lemon curd is easy. Combine everything in a double-boiler, let it thicken, and then press it through a sieve to make sure it’s creamy and smooth. That’s it!

Jar of lemon curd set next to spoonful of curd

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Eggs
  • Egg yolks – No need to discard the whites! You can use them to make egg white omelets or meringue.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemons – You’ll need both juice and zest from the lemons; zest them first, then juice them.
  • Unsalted butter – Cut this into small pieces so it’s easier to incorporate into the lemon curd.
  • Cornstarch – This helps aide in thickening!
  • Vanilla extract

How Do You Zest a Lemon Without a Zester?

If you don’t have a zester or microplane, you can use a paring knife to cut pieces of peel from the lemon, being careful to avoid the white pith. (You can also use a vegetable peeler to take off strips of zest.) Once you have the strips of peel, mince them as finely as you can.

Jar of lemon curd with spoon, with fresh lemons in background

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd

Here’s how easy it is to make your own lemon curd at home:

Combine the ingredients. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together in a small saucepan then whisk in the lemon juice, zest, sugar and cornstarch.

Cook the lemon curd. Place the saucepan on the stove over medium low. You’re going to have to keep whisking the mixture constantly as it heats up. Keep whisking and cooking it until it thickens to the point that it will coat the back of a spoon.

Add the butter. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and stir in the butter a piece at a time; the butter should be incorporated into the curd before you add more.

Add the vanilla. Once the butter is incorporated, stir in the vanilla.

Strain. If the curd is not totally smooth, pour the curd into a fine-mesh sieve and strain it into a storage container or another bowl. Cool for 15 minutes, then press plastic wrap onto the top of the lemon curd to prevent skin from forming.

Chill. Place the lemon curd in the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours before serving.

Spoonful of lemon curd set on jar

Tips for Success

Making homemade lemon curd is easy, but these simple tips will help you make it perfect:

  • Use fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice won’t have the same bright lemon flavor.
  • Give it the back-of-the-spoon test. Cook the lemon curd until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it drips off, it’s not ready.
  • Add the butter slowly. You want it to melt into the mixture, not just sit on top, forming an oily layer on the surface.

How to Store

Lemon curd can be stored in the fridge for 7 to 10 days. You can store it in an old jam or jelly jar, a Mason jar, or any airtight container.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

You can freeze lemon curd for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before using.

Spoonful of lemon curd held over jar

What Can Lemon Curd Be Used For?

Here are some ideas for using your homemade lemon curd.

Jar of lemon curd with spoon and lemons in background

Lemon Curd

Top all the things with this thick and creamy lemon curd! It's easy to make and so much better than store-bought!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chill time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 3 cups
Author: Julie Chiou
Save Rate Print

Ingredients 

  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks, save the whites for a meringue!
  • cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup butter cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Then whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and cornstarch.
  • Place the saucepan on the stove and turn the heat to medium low. You will need to whisk the mixture constantly as it heats. Keep whisking and cooking the mixture until it thickens to the point that it will coat the back of a spoon. If you have an instant read thermometer, you want it to reach 170 °F. (It may take up to 10 minutes, and remember that it will continue to thicken when it is chilled.) You must whisk it constantly, even while checking the temperature.
  • Once the curd has thickened, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the butter until it is incorporated, then stir in the vanilla.
  • If the lemon curd is not completely smooth, you will want to strain it through a fine mesh sieve.
  • Allow the curd to cool for about 15 minutes. Then place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd (so it doesn’t develop a film) and place this into the fridge. It should chill for at least 3 hours.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 3 cups | Calories: 685 kcal | Carbohydrates: 72 g | Protein: 10 g | Fat: 42 g | Saturated Fat: 23 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 504 mg | Sodium: 319 mg | Potassium: 156 mg | Fiber: 0.3 g | Sugar: 68 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Jam
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy lemon curd, fruit curd, homemade lemon curd
Recipe Rating




Angeline Kueh

Tuesday 27th of September 2016

Dear Julie,

Can I know what is the measurement for 12 tbsp of unsalted butter in gram.

Thank q.

Julie

Tuesday 27th of September 2016

According to Google, I think it's 165 grams.

Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen

Saturday 11th of June 2016

Ugh traveling while sick is the absolute worst!! Iceland is on my bucket list, cannot wait to see your post on it. A good lemon curd recipe is perfect to have, so versatile.

Lady A. Janet

Thursday 9th of June 2016

This looks sumptuous and fascinating. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us. I can't wait to try it out with my friends over here. Brilliant post, kudos!!!

Julie

Thursday 9th of June 2016

I hope you enjoy it!

Bree

Wednesday 8th of June 2016

Oh thank you so for this! I love love love ANYTHING lemon! And curd? Oh my! Definitely trying this on Saturday! Feel better!!!

Julie

Thursday 9th of June 2016

Thank you!

Charlie Ralph

Tuesday 7th of June 2016

Can I use meyer lemons with this recipe?

Julie

Wednesday 8th of June 2016

Yes! That would be delicious :)