Lemon Curd

lemon curd recipe

This tart, ultra-smooth lemon curd recipe is easy to make and adds a puckery addition to tarts, cakes, cupcakes, doughnuts and more. Any extra can be spread on muffins and scones. The zest adds more flavor, but a great texture as well. If you want the cream to stay silky smooth, leave it out. Also, while you can make this in the top of a double boiler, we have found that with constant supervision – do not walk away from the stovetop – you can make this more quickly and easily over low direct heat. Just use a pan with a heavy bottom and watch it carefully. If you have a saucier pan with a rounded bottom you will be able to whisk the lemon curd most easily without any scorching.

Lemon Curd
Makes: Makes about 1½ cups
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
  1. Place eggs, yolk, sugar and juice in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk together to break up the eggs and incorporate the sugar. Add butter. Cook over low-medium heat, whisking frequently. When the mixture looks like it is about to bubble around the edges, lower the heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and reaches 180˚ F. (The temperature is more important than the time it takes, and the mixture should not boil.) The curd will thicken and form a soft shape when dropped by a spoon. It will also begin to look a bit translucent. If desired, stir in zest after removing from the heat. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to release heat. Refrigerate in an airtight container at least 6 hours and up to 1 week.

Bakepedia Tips

  • OK, we admit it. In a pinch we have made this with frozen lemon juice (defrosted, of course). It has a superior flavor to bottled, but really, try to plan ahead and use fresh squeezed.
  • There are four ways to approach the “zest” issue. Citrus zest holds a lot of flavor, but cooking with it or adding it raw result in different levels of intensity. In terms of strength, from least to most intense flavor: leave it out completely, add it after cooking, add it before cooking and strain it out, or add it before cooking and leave it in. Try each to see which you prefer.

5 Responses to Lemon Curd

  1. Ivette December 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    On this recipe Which lemon would be better to use.Green or yellow?

    • Dede Wilson December 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

      Unripe yellow lemons will be green, but depending on your sources there also exists green lemons that are ripe! Sounds confusing, but this recipe was developed with the typical yellow lemons found in American supermarkets. These are usually either Eureka or Lisbon lemons, although there will most likely be no signs or labels telling you that fact. Use a ripe, yellow lemon for best results.

  2. Ivette December 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Thanks. Can the lemon curd be refrigerated a day before you make it or does it have to be use that same day?

    • Dede Wilson December 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

      It is best to chill before using, which can take several hours, but then it can be refrigerated for up to 1 week – and we have seen it last even longer.

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