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This Lemon Curd is sweet, tart, smooth and super easy to make with only 4 ingredients! It’s bright flavor is WAY better than store-bought and can be used for layer cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes and more!
Easy Homemade Lemon Curd
If you’re are looking for an easy way to up the game of your next baking endeavor, look no further. This custard-like lemon curd is the perfect addition to a vast array of cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and breakfast goods. The tanginess of the lemon. The sweetness of the sugar. The richness of the egg yolks. When combined, it truly is lemon heaven in a spoon.
And if you’ve never had it homemade before, you are 100% missing out! The flavor isn’t even comparable. Store-bought lemon curd totally lacks flavor, while this homemade lemon curd is bright, refreshing, tangy and so amazing. And considering it only takes about 20 minutes to make, it’s so very worth the effort.
What is Lemon Curd?
Lemon curd is a rich dessert spread or topping. It has an intense tart lemon flavor that is also sweet. It uses egg yolks to thicken the custard-like topping and is made up of lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, egg yolks, and butter. It is served cold as a spread, filling, or a topping for a variety of baked goods.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Quick and Easy. This recipe only takes 10 minutes of cook time and then some chill time. It is as simple as mixing a few ingredients together, cooking them over a double broiler, covering the whole thing in plastic wrap, and placing it in the refrigerator to chill. Not too bad for a goodie that will absolutely blow your mind.
- Only 5 simple ingredients. If you think about it, it’s really only 4 because the lemon plays two roles in providing its juice and its zest. Check your kitchen. You might already have everything it takes.
- Versatile. This lemon curd complements so many different baked goods impecibly. Use it as a cupcake filling, a cake filling, a topping for buttermilk biscuits, to top a cheesecake, or as a midday pick-me-up (just savor a spoonful…no shame). The possibilities are endless.
What You’ll Need
Only 4 ingredients (used as 5 because of the lemon zest and juice) and you’ll be on your way. Here is what you will need to make creamy lemon curd. Scroll to the recipe below for specific measurements, etc.
- Fresh lemon juice: Don’t be tempted to grab the bottle! It’s not suitable for this recipe. Use only fresh lemon juice.
- Lemon zest: Zest only the yellow part, not the white part, which can have a bitter taste.
- Sugar: To give some sweetness and cut the tartness a bit.
- Egg yolks: Used to thicken the curd and brighten the lemon flavor.
- Salted butter: To add creaminess and flavor. I use salted butter to add a touch of extra flavor without adding too much, but feel free to use unsalted butter.
How to Make Lemon Curd
All it takes is a quick 3 steps and you’re on your way. Cook, chill, and use with reckless abandon. Here is an overview of how to make this yummy dessert spread. Scroll to the recipe below for more detailed instructions.
- Combine. In a double broiler set over simmering water, combine all of the ingredients. Heat until they begin to melt/thin out.
- Cook. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F or coats the back of the spoon.
- Chill. Transfer the lemon curd to a large bowl, press a layer of clear wrap over the top, and chill in the refrigerator.
- Serve. Once the curd is properly chilled, use it as you will!
Tips for Success
- Use fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice will not give the same flavor.
- Cook over low heat. This in combination with constant whisking (see my next point) will help keep the eggs from scrambling. It will also ensure that the lemon curd doesn’t burn at the bottom of the double broiler. Don’t turn the heat up to cook it more quickly.
- Whisk constantly. When cooking the lemon curd, it is essential to whisk constantly. This will help prevent the eggs from scrambling with the added benefit of aerating the custard.
- Don’t over cook. The curd will become to thick and lump if over cooked.
- Cool completely. The curd will thicken as it cools. Be sure to cool it completely before using and adding as a fill for cakes, etc.
- Strain. I don’t normally strain my lemon curd, but if you find it has ended up lumpy for some reason, feel free to strain it through a sieve.
Ways to Use Lemon Curd
This dessert spread and filling is so versatile and can be incorporated into an almost endless list of baked goods. Lets look at some of my favorite ways to use this lemon curd
- As a topping. Plop it on top of pancakes, waffles, yogurt, scones, or buttermilk biscuits.
- As a dip. Use it as a dip for your favorite shortbread cookie or fresh strawberries.
- As a filling. Spread lemon curd between the layers of your favorite cake (my Lemon Cake with Lemon Bavarian Cream and Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake are great examples) or use it in filled cupcake recipes such as these Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.
- Spread it. It spreads beautifully on top of cheesecakes. Check out this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake or these Mini Lemon Raspberry Cheesecakes to see how its done.
How to Store
Once chilled, transfer the lemon curd to an airtight container such as a mason jar, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space between the curd and the lid, and seal. Store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks (the sooner you use it the better).
You can also store the sealed container in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use it, move the container to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw completely before spreading, filling, or dipping.
More Lemon Dessert Ideas
- Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Lemon Loaf Cake
- Lemon Coconut Macaroons
- Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake
- Lemon Poppyseed Cake
See How It’s Made
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This lemon curd is such an easy thing to make and delicious on just about everything! It’s sweet, tart and so much better when it’s homemade!
- 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice (about 1–2 lemons)
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1/3 cup (69g) sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tbsp (42g) salted butter
- Combine all the ingredients in a double boiler (or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water). Heat while whisking constantly until mixture thickens and reaches 160 degrees, or coats the back of a spoon.
- Pour the lemon curd into a heat proof bowl, cover with clear wrap pressed onto the top of the curd to avoid a film developing, and refrigerate until cold.
- Serve with your desired treat. Lemon curd is best when well covered and consumed within 1-2 weeks.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 797
- Sugar: 68.6 g
- Sodium: 308.1 mg
- Fat: 52.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 73.9 g
- Protein: 11.4 g
- Cholesterol: 829.4 mg