Brighten up your breakfast and desserts with a luscious lemon curd sauce! Rich and creamy, this sweet lemon sauce recipe is a fruity fresh addition for pouring over pancakes, waffles, French toast, and ice cream.  

lemon curd sauce

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Sweet lemon sauce for pancakes and desserts

Move over maple syrup, my rich and creamy lemon curd sauce is here! It’s a light and bright citrus sauce with bold lemon flavor and delicious tanginess. It tastes like liquid sunshine!

And with just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes from start to finish, it doesn’t get much easier than this lemon curd sauce recipe. It will take your favorite breakfast to a whole new level without much effort.

We love to use this citrus sauce in place of maple syrup and drizzle it over pancakes, French toast, and waffles. But it’s every bit as good with cake or an ice cream sundae. I also love it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of treats like fruit kabobs and shortbread. So yummy!

lemon sauce recipe

Reasons to love lemon dessert sauce

  • The lemony taste is incredible: It’s true this dessert sauce tastes exactly lemon curd, just in liquid form. Once you try it, you’ll want it all the time for your pancakes!
  • Simple ingredients: Using only 5 ingredients, this lemon cream sauce goes to show that simple things can be turned into something magical.
  • Quick + easy: A saucepan, a whisk, and 15 minutes of your time are all you need to whip up this delightful lemon custard sauce.
lemon curd sauce ingredients

Ingredients

It only takes 5 ingredients to make this incredible lemon dessert sauce! The recipe includes ingredients you’d typically find in lemon curd, such as lemon juice, butter, sugar, and egg yolk. Scroll to the recipe card for specific quantities.

  • Lemon juice is the basis for this sweet lemon sauce and creates the tangy taste. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is a must for this recipe!
  • Butter creates an amazing buttery flavor and a rich creaminess. You can use salted or unsalted butter, whichever you prefer or have handy.
  • Sugar: Granulated (white/caster) sugar provides sweetness.
  • Egg yolk: 1 egg yolk helps to thicken the sauce and creates a beautiful yellow color.
  • Heavy cream lends the sauce a smooth, silky consistency. Feel free to use fat-reduced cream for a lighter sauce.
how to make lemon curd sauce

How to make lemon curd sauce

This 5-ingredient lemon curd sauce is quick to make, definitely plus on busy mornings. No need to worry about making it in advance, you can whip it up with pancakes and have a decadent breakfast ready in no time! Let’s go over the steps!

Step 1: Combine sugar and cream

Pour the sugar and heavy cream into a medium saucepan and whisk until the sugar is fully moistened.

Step 2: Mix in egg yolk

Next, stir in the egg yolk until perfectly combined and you no longer see streaks of yolk. This step is important to avoid curdling.

Step 3: Add lemon juice and butter

Finally, add the salted butter and lemon juice.

Step 4: Cook

Warm the mixture over medium-high heat (or medium heat for strong stoves) until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved. Whisking constantly, continue to heat until the mixture gives off steam and begins to simmer.

Info: Once you see steam, the egg yolk is sterilized and any bacteria that could be present eliminated.

Step 5: Cool

Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully place a piece of plastic wrap (cling film) directly onto the surface of the lemon curd sauce. This helps to prevent skin from forming. Serve the sauce warm or let the mixture cool at room temperature, then in the refrigerator.

lemon dessert sauce

Adjust the acidity

I love this lemon sauce exactly as written. It’s sweet, tart, and full of bright lemon flavor. However, if you find the sauce a little too sour, you can use baking soda to balance out the acidity.

Lemon juice is very acidic, making it taste tangy and tart. Baking soda is a base. If you combine the 2 ingredients, the baking soda will neutralize some of the acidity, creating a milder lemon curd sauce.

To do this, cook the lemon sauce as indicated in the recipe. After removing the sauce from the heat, sample it to see how you like it. If you find it too sour, whisk in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda until dissolved.

The mixture will foam as the baking soda dissolves, and that’s okay. Mixing lemon juice and baking soda causes a chemical reaction, and as a result, bubbles and foam form.

citrus sauce

Tips & variations

Homemade lemon sauce is such a fun dessert sauce and even more fun to eat. It can be played with and customized and still taste amazing. I’ve put together a few tips and tricks to guarantee that your lemon sauce for pancakes turns out perfect!

  • Add the ingredients in the right order: When making lemon curd sauce, the ingredient order matters. Follow the recipe instructions and combine the sugar and cream first, next the yolk, and then the lemon juice. The cream prevents the sugar from drying out the egg yolk, and the yolk protects the cream from splitting when you add the lemon juice.
  • Whisk constantly as you cook: Whisking ensures that nothing burns to the bottom of the pot and the egg doesn’t curdle.
  • Double it: Sweet lemon sauce is a great recipe to double and save the leftovers for another time. Just be sure to use a large pot!
  • Citrus variations: Try limes, grapefruits, or a mix of lemon and orange juice to create flavorful variations. Pineapple juice is another tasty idea.
  • Coconut cream:  For a tropical aroma, swap out the heavy cream for coconut cream.
easy lemon sauce

Serving suggestions

You must try this creamy lemon sauce recipe with your favorite breakfast treats! It’s a welcome change from maple syrup and honey and has such a yummy refreshing fruity flavor.

You can serve the sauce cold, at room temperature, or warm. Drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, French toast, and bread pudding, or hand it as a dipping sauce for fruit and cookies. Here are a few ideas to try!

Lemon curd sauce is also a fantastic topping for dessert, cake, and ice cream. Pour it over ice cream, a slice of angel food cake, cheesecake, trifle, or cinnamon rolls. I love it with this homemade lemon curd ice cream and lemon parfait.

lemon sauce for pancakes

Storage instructions

How to store lemon curd sauce

Leftover lemon pancake sauce keeps really well in the refrigerator. Keep the lemon sauce in a bottle or airtight container and store it refrigerated. It will last for up to 2 weeks. To warm it up before serving, microwave the lemon dessert sauce in 30-second intervals to prevent burning.

Can you freeze lemon curd sauce?

Of course! To store this easy lemon sauce recipe for longer, pour it into a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 2 months. Allow to defrost in the fridge.

lemon custard sauce
Yield: 2 cups

Lemon Curd Sauce Recipe

lemon curd sauce

Brighten up your breakfast and dessert with a luscious lemon curd sauce! Rich and creamy, this sweet lemon sauce recipe is a fruity fresh addition for pouring over pancakes, waffles, French toast, and ice cream.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup / 200 g / 7 oz granulated (white/caster) sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml / 4 fl oz heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup / 1 stick / 115 g / 4 oz salted butter (or unsalted butter + 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml / 4 fl oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

    1. Combine sugar and cream. Pour the sugar and heavy cream into a medium saucepan and whisk until the sugar is fully moistened.
    2. Mix in egg yolk. Next, stir in the egg yolk until perfectly combined and you no longer see streaks of yolk. This step is important to avoid curdling.
    3. Add lemon juice and butter. Finally, add the salted butter and lemon juice.
    4. Cook. Warm the mixture over medium-high heat (or medium heat for strong stoves) until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved. Whisking constantly, continue to heat until the mixture gives off steam and begins to simmer.
      Info: Once you see steam, the egg yolk is sterilized and any bacteria that could be present eliminated.
    5. Cool. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully place a piece of plastic wrap (cling film) directly onto the surface of the lemon curd sauce. This helps to prevent skin from forming. Serve the sauce warm or let the mixture cool at room temperature, then in the refrigerator.
    6. Serve. You can serve the sauce cold, at room temperature, or warm. Drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, French toast, and cake, or hand it as a dipping sauce for fruit and cookies. Enjoy!
    7. Store. Keep the lemon sauce in a bottle or airtight container and store it refrigerated. It will last for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Adjust the acidity

I love this lemon sauce exactly as written. It’s sweet, tart, and full of bright lemon flavor. However, if you find the sauce a little too sour, you can use baking soda to balance out the acidity.

Lemon juice is very acidic, and the acid makes it taste tangy and tart. Baking soda is a base. If you combine the 2 ingredients, the baking soda will neutralize some of the acidity, creating a milder lemon curd sauce.

To do this, cook the lemon sauce as indicated in the recipe. After removing the sauce from the heat, sample it to see how you like it. If you find it too sour, whisk in 1/2teaspoon baking soda until dissolved.

The mixture will foam as the baking soda dissolves, and that’s okay. Mixing
lemon juice and baking soda causes a chemical reaction, and as a result,
bubbles and foam form.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 81Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
lemon curd sauce recipe

FAQ

What is lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a rich, luscious preserve and dessert topping. It tastes sweet and buttery with an intense lemon flavor. Traditional lemon curd is prepared with eggs, butter, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

Is lemon curd the same as lemon sauce?

No, lemon curd and lemon dessert sauce are different. Although the ingredient lineup is similar, lemon curd and lemon sauce vary in texture.

Lemon curd is a thick, spreadable preserve. It can be slathered on toast and scones and makes an excellent filling for cakes and muffins. Lemon sauce is pourable and can be drizzled over treats.

Can you use lemon curd as a sauce?

Yes, but you need to thin it out a bit. To turn a jar of lemon curd into a dessert sauce, mix it with 1/2 to 3/4 cup cream until smooth and pourable.

lemon dessert sauce
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