Do you love homemade lemon curd? We do! Lemon curd is a rich and deliciously tart spread made of fresh lemon juice and zest, sugar, butter, and eggs. We enjoy it on warm toast or use it to fill cakes, cupcakes, and tartlets. Poured into small jars, it also makes a pretty gift – you can download the recipe and printable labels at the end of this post. We also share some tasty variations and tips for storing!
Watch the video tutorial to see how easy it is to cook lemon curd!
Homemade lemon curd tastes delicious on its own, and it’s a great starting point to create an infinite number of desserts. Think lemon meringue pie, sponge cake with a lemony layers or macarons dripping with lemon filling.
Before you start…
Before you start, weigh out the ingredients and assemble all the tools required for this recipe. It’s a good practice to have everything you need close at hand so don’t have to rush to get anything. We recommend to use fresh, whole-range eggs. While cooking, the curd reaches over 60°C (140°F), which pasteurises the eggs.
Use fresh, whole-range eggs and organic lemons.
Prep Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 5 to 7 min
Cooling Time: several hours
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) freshly lemon juice, strained (approx. 3 lemons)
- the finely grated zest of 2 organic lemons
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs (UK & Europe: M / US, CA: L)
- 170g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
- 115g (1 stick / 1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- a pinch of salt
For a firmer lemon curd, you additionally need:
- 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- citrus press
- citrus grater
- a large heat-proof glass or stainless steel bowl
- cooking spoon
- oven gloves or kitchen towel
- fine mesh sieve
- large spoon
- a mixing bowl
- cling film (Saran/plastic wrap)
1) Mix ingredients
Mix the lemon juice, egg yolks, and eggs. Stir in the sugar and lemon zest. Mix the sugar and eggs immediately or the sugar might burn the eggs.
2) Set up a double boiler
To make a double boiler, fill a pot one-third with water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place a heat-proof bowl on top of the pot. You can use both a stainless-steel or glass bowl. The bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water. Use oven gloves or a kitchen towel when handling the bowl as it can become quite hot. Be careful not to burn yourself and use oven gloves or a kitchen towel.
3) Cook the curd
Cook the mixture in a double-boiler on low heat. Stir constantly but not too forcefully as we don’t want to whisk in any air. If the mix starts to boil, pull it off immediately and lower the heat before continuing to cook. Allow the mixture to thicken on low heat, so the eggs don’t curdle.
4) Check doneness
Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the foam disintegrates and the mixture starts to thicken. To see if the curd is done, run your finger over the back of a spoon coated with curd. If the sides stay apart and don’t run together, the curd is perfect. Be careful when testing as the curd might be hot.
5) Strain the curd
Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the lemon zest and any egg that might’ve overcooked.
6) Add the butter
Stir in the cold butter and gently mix until the butter is completely incorporated.
7) Chill the curd
Cover the surface with clingfilm (saran/plastic wrap) and put the curd in the fridge for a couple of hours to cool.
Troubleshooting homemade lemon curd
If the curd seems too runny or you prefer a firmer lemon curd, for example, to fill fruit tarts, combine a tablespoon of each cornflour (corn starch), sugar, and water until smooth and add it to the lemon-egg-mixture. Cook the curd as described above.
Lemon curd as a gift
Homemade lemon curd makes for an excellent gift. Simply use a funnel to fill the curd into sterilized jars and decorate the jars with our pretty labels and cute mop top caps.
Lemon curd variations
The lemon juice and zest can be easily replaced to create some delicious variations. These variations are exactly prepared as the classic lemon curd. It’s best to use sour fruits as sweet fruits, like strawberries or bananas, are too mild, and the taste of the eggs might become too prominent.
Other Citrus Fruits
To create other citrus variations, substitute the lemon juice with the same amount of lime, orange or grapefruit juice, and zest.
For raspberry curd, puree 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries and strain trough a fine mesh sieve to remove the solids. Prepare the curd with the raspberry puree instead of the lemon juice and zest.
And for passion fruit curd, replace the lemon juice and zest with 1/2 cup of passion fruit puree.
Storage and shelf life
Homemade lemon curd can be stored in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to 4 days. It also freezes beautifully and can be kept in the freezer for a month. Allow frozen lemon curd to defrost in the fridge for a couple of hours and give it a good stir before use.
Free printable recipe & label
Click on the button to download the free printable recipe and labels.
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