Looking for the perfect topping for your cheesecakes, crepes, scones, and biscuits? Homemade lemon curd is a luscious topper with a creamy consistency and a citrusy-sweet flavour that you’ll find yourself sneaking spoonfuls of before it makes it onto the table!
With a short list of ingredients - eggs, sugar, butter, lemon juice and zest, this lemon curd comes together quickly with some determined whisking in about ten minutes. Once you’ve mastered this lemon curd you’ll want to make lemon curd anytime you have a batch of the citrus fruit hanging around. Plus, canning lemon curd ensures that you have a stockpile of it year-round for any tea time or dessert!
This recipe is inspired by my lemon and lime curd recipe that you can find here. Both my lemon and lime curd recipe and this lemon curd recipe would pair perfectly with this No Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake for a little extra citrus packed punch along with decadent white chocolate.
You’ve probably enjoyed a lemon meringue pie made with lemon filling. While lemon filling is similar in ingredients, it is generally thinner than lemon curd, and made with cornstarch instead of butter. Sometimes referred to as “lemon cheese”, curd is made when eggs, sugar, and butter are made slightly acidic by the presence of fresh squeezed lemon juice.
Lemon curd, or any fruit curd, differs from preserves due to the addition of butter and eggs. You could make a simple lemon preserve with just lemons and sugar, and expect it to be slightly bitter, tangy, with a light sweetness. Lemon curd, unlike jams, however, depends on the addition of the egg yolk to give it a creaminess and thickness in the finished lemon curd that is different from jams and preserves.
This custard-like easy lemon curd recipe uses the whole egg, which makes it a bit lighter than just using just egg yolks to make lemon curd, which gives it a denser property. You can also use a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks instead to thicken lemon curd, in order to create a texture that is somewhere in between.
Lemon curd is a great way to use up lemons if you have a tree in your backyard, or happen to be lucky enough to know someone that does. You can freeze lemon curd, or any fruit curd, for up to one year and it will keep just as well as if you decide to can it for preservation.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- It’s easy to make
- You only need a double boiler to make it
- It’s so delicious on its own or spooned over cheesecake
- It’s tangy, citrusy, and sweet
Special Equipment Needed to Make this Recipe
- Large saucepan - use a large saucepan to create a double boiler so that you can slowly cook your lemon curd recipe without scrambling the eggs over high direct heat
- Heatproof glass bowl - a heatproof glass mixing bowl placed over your large saucepan for a double boiler is better to use than one made of metal, which can react with acids such as citrus, leaving an aftertaste
- Non-metal whisk - use a silicone coated whisk to emulsify your lemon curd instead of a metal whisk to avoid reaction with the acid and metal and to prevent a metallic taste.
- Jam funnel - use a jam funnel to put your cooked homemade lemon curd into glass jars for storing. A jam funnel prevents a big mess and also keep the rim of your jar clean and free of contaminants
- Glass jars - store your lemon curd in smaller jars so that you don’t run the risk of your opened lemon curd going bad before you use it all up.
Use freshly squeezed lemon juice from fresh lemons instead of bottled lemon juice for the best flavour in your homemade lemon curd. Store bought lemon juice often contains preservatives and sometimes even lemon oil, which affects the flavour, giving you a less quality lemon curd.
What to Serve with your Lemon Curd
- Use to make these drizzled lemon curd cupcakes that are perfect for afternoon tea time. These tasty lemon cupcakes are finished with a drizzle of homemade lemon curd for a real treat.
- This lemon curd recipe is stunningly simple, and will impress as a cheesecake topper, for filling cakes, or simply spread over your favourite baked goods.
- Use lemon curd to make lemon bars or a lemon tart and finish with a fresh dusting of zest and powdered sugar to add a beautiful garnish.
- Add to this decadent and easy brioche french toast casserole as a topping or simply swirled into the egg mixture. The lemon curd will give it some brightness and slight acidity that will complement the sweetness of the casserole.
- Enjoy lemon curd over vanilla ice cream for a real out of this world combination
- Replace jam and butter on your toast or pancakes with lemon curd instead. The creaminess and richness of the curd is enough to enjoy on its own without any additional butter.
Popular Substitutions for this Recipe
- Lemons - use Meyer lemons, which are less acidic and sweeter than regular lemons.
- Sugar - use caster sugar, which is finer than granulated sugar, in its place. Replace granulated sugar with a 1:1 ratio of caster sugar for the same results.
Variations to This Recipe
- For a thicker curd, replace whole eggs with egg yolks. You can also use a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks. Remember that as it cooks, the lemon curd will thicken, and when it cools it will thicken even more.
- Add other citrus such as orange juice to make a combination lemon and orange curd that will have a unique flavour and colour.
Make sure to keep the heat at a low to medium low temperature when you cook your lemon curd. If the temperature is too high you will end up with overcooked and scrambled eggs in your finished product. You want the mixture to slowly emulsify while it cooks - think a hollandaise sauce. If you end up with little bits of egg in your curd, you can later strain out the bits for a smoother consistency.
Store unopened jars of lemon curd in the fridge for up to three months for food safety. Although the lemon curd is sealed, keeping cooked eggs and dairy in a temperature controlled environment is the safest way to store it.
Store opened jars of lemon curd in the fridge for up to three weeks, if you don’t finish it on the first go around!
Yes, you can freeze lemon curd. Keep it in the freezer for up to one year, unopened. To defrost, place it in the fridge overnight, and then enjoy it for three weeks.
Lemon, and other acidic foods, react with metal and create hydrogen gas, which is a toxic material. To avoid this from happening and tainting your food, always use glass, stainless steel, or copper when dealing with acidic liquids.
Yes or no, it depends on the texture that you prefer for your lemon curd. Although the zest cooks down and becomes very soft while cooking your lemon curd, you may want to pour curd through a strainer to get a smoother end result. If you happen to overcook your eggs slightly, straining the curd will eliminate any small bits of egg that show up in the lemon curd.
You can also choose not to strain your lemon curd to incorporate the zest into the finished curd.
- 6 large eggs
- 2½ cups sugar
- ⅔ cup butter
- 2 tbsp large lemon zest only
- ⅔ cup lemon juice
- Quarter fill a large saucepan with boiling water and place over a low heat.
- Place a mixing bowl over the saucepan, if the bowl is touching the water tip some of the water out.
- Remove the mixing bowl from the top of the saucepan.
- Place the eggs in the bowl and whisk until the mixture turns pale.
- Tip in the sugar and whisk in until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the butter, lemon zest and juice.
- Place the mixing bowl back on top of the saucepan.
- Whisk constantly until the mixture resembles a thick custard.
- Remove from the heat.
- Using a jam funnel, pour the curd into sterilized jars and immediately seal with the lids.
- Serve with whatever you like but we would serve it on a No Bake Lemon Cheesecake. Enjoy!
- After the jars are sealed, they are best stored in a cool, dark place.
- Once the jar is opened, store in the fridge and consume within 1 month. It won’t last that long though!