This lemon curd recipe is quick and easy to make and the sweet lemon condiment is so versatile! You can use it to make lemon desserts, or enjoy it for breakfast! It’s delicious on toast, biscuits, pancakes, and more!
I’m realizing the older I get how much I prefer fruity, citrus desserts over chocolate. I feel crazy saying that, but lemon bars, lemon cake, key lime cookies….I’d pick up one of these over a chocolate cookie any day!
Lemon curd is always something that has sounded strange to me. I mean…curd…who wants to eat that? But trust me…this smooth, custard like tart lemon curd is so perfect for fillings, toppings or just eating with a spoon.
What’s the difference between lemon curd and lemon pie filling?
In case you’re not familiar with lemon curd, it’s a sweet mixture of lemon juice, sugar, butter, whole eggs, and egg yolks. Both lemon curd and lemon pie filling have a similar, bright citrus flavor but curd is richer and more intense.
Both lemon curd and pie filling are thick and creamy, but lemon pie filling is usually thickened with flour while curd is thickened with eggs.
In addition to pie, lemon pie filling is great in desserts like cheesecake bars, parfaits, and as a cupcake filling. But lemon curd is good for so much more than that!
What do you eat with lemon curd?
- As a condiment or spread for toast or biscuits
- Layered in trifles
- Lemon bars
- Filling for tarts
- A topping for pancakes or waffles
- Yogurt parfaits
- Lemon cupcakes
Lemon Curd Recipe Tips
When you make this lemon curd recipe, it’s important to know how to tell when the curd is cooked. As you first start cooking the lemon curd, the consistency will be very thin and soupy. Then, as it continues to cook, the lemon curd will thicken. You want the lemon curd to be thick, but you don’t want it too thick or it will become gummy and taste pasty.
Keep in mind that as it cools, your lemon curd will continue to thicken.
How can I tell when lemon curd is cooked?
You can tell when the curd is perfectly cooked by performing this simple “trail test”.
While the curd is cooking, drag a wooden spoon or silicone spatula through it. Make sure that your spoon is touching the bottom of the saucepan as it drags through the curd. When your spoon leaves a clear trail (that quickly disappears) in the bottom of the pan, the curd is ready.
Do you have to strain lemon curd?
To remove any unmelted butter or large pieces of lemon zest, some people like to strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer. I think this step is completely optional. Personally, I don’t strain lemon curd and it always comes out perfectly smooth and creamy. If for some reason you have any little unwanted lumps, you can use a strainer to make it 100% smooth.
Can I use lemon juice concentrate instead of fresh lemons?
For this recipe, because lemon is the star flavor, we recommend using fresh lemons. This will give the lemon curd the best flavor.
Does lemon curd have to be refrigerated?
Because this lemon curd recipe uses butter and eggs, it should be kept in a tightly sealed jar in a refrigerator.
How long will lemon curd last?
Lemon curd will last in the refrigerator for 5-6 days if sealed properly.
Can you freeze lemon curd?
Yes! Freeze lemon curd in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let it defrost completely before opening the storage container.
Other Lemon Recipes
- Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
- Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- Lemon Madeleine Cookies
- Lemon Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
- Lemon Twist Bread
Lemon Curd Recipe
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup cold butter (cut into 1/2 tbsp squares)
- In a medium saucepan, mix together lemon juice, sugar, and egg yolks.
- Place on medium-high heat and stir constantly until mixture starts to thicken. ** This will take about 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add salt, zest and chunks of butter, a few at a time. Stir well until the butter is completely melted.
- Allow the lemon curd to cool to room temperature. Place in an airtight container.
- Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or until chilled completely through.
- After using, store any leftovers in the refrigerator.