The Best Lemon Curd (Easy!)

Never buy lemon curd from the store again! No really, don’t, it’s gross. And making it at home is so easy! This lemon curd is creamy, tart, and perfect for topping your toast. Or topping your spoon. 

The Best Lemon Curd from The Food Charlatan

Last night Eric and I were sitting around the dining room table eating ice cream with his family. There was a lull in the conversation, so Aunt Joy poked her 9-year-old son Blake. “Tell us a joke, Blake.” Mumble mumble mumble. “What?”

“They wouldn’t be appropriate for the table.” 9 YEARS OLD MY FRIENDS.

The Best Lemon Curd from The Food Charlatan

Speaking of inappropriate jokes, we were at my sister-in-law’s wedding reception last week, and I went over to Nana and Bumpa (Eric’s 85-year-old grandparents) to get them on the dance floor. Uptown Funk was playing. I was singing. The first time I said “Uptown funk don’t give it to you,” Nana gives me this shocked look and says, “Oh!” with her mouth hanging open. “No, no, no, Nana, FUNK, not the other one, you know, funk, like funky music.” It was a lost cause from the start.

The Best Lemon Curd from The Food Charlatan

The Best Lemon Curd from The Food Charlatan

Have you bought lemon curd at the store? That stuff is like pure corn syrup plus gelatin I think, and I’m not even talking about the cheap brands. The homemade stuff is absolutely incomparable. It is perfectly tart and creamy and gives you that little zing in your mouth that is a must for any citrus dessert.

The Best Lemon Curd from The Food Charlatan

It’s a super easy recipe, too. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool down in the fridge, although I certainly wouldn’t say no to a nice hot spoonful of lemon curd. I made several batches to get it just right, but originally I made it to use as a filling for a layer cake. Here are some other ideas:

  • spread it on toast
  • top ice cream
  • Use it as a filling in this Coconut Layer Cake
  • stuffed cupcakes
  • filled donuts
  • top pancakes
  • Throw it in a pie shell and top with whipped cream
  • fruit dip (I love it with bananas, strawberries, in a bowl with blueberries or raspberries)
  • Stir into plain Greek Yogurt and top with granola and/or fruit
  • Fold into whipped cream and top a cake with it
  • Top a bagel or breakfast pastry
  • Top a pavlova
  • Fill crepes
  • Spoon a bunch on top of softened cream cheese and serve with crackers
  • Spread on gingersnaps or these Soft Ginger Cookies
The Best Lemon Curd from The Food Charlatan

Oh snap

Good luck with all these suggestions, by the way. When I make lemon curd I hardly ever make it past the spoon.

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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The Best Lemon Curd

Yield: Makes about 2 and 1/4 cups

Recipe by The Food Charlatan


  • 1+ tablespoons lemon zest, optional*
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 large lemons)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs + 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), chopped**


  1. In a small saucepan, stir together lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Set over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat together 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks. Whisk it very well.
  3. When the liquid on the stove is ready, slowly pour some of it into the bowl with the eggs, whisking constantly. I usually pour in about half, but you can do more or less. This is called tempering the eggs.
  4. Return the pot to the stove and add the rest of the eggs while stirring. If you don't stir you may curdle your eggs.
  5. Continue to whisk pretty constantly over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. When you drag your whisk over the top of the mixture, it should leave marks.
  6. Pour the curd through a mesh strainer into a new bowl (or the same one, washed). Unless you are an expert curd maker, you will probably have a few solid egg pieces in there, which is totally okay! Just strain them out.
  7. Stir the chopped butter into the lemon curd until it's completely melted. This is a good time for a large spoonful of hot lemon curd.
  8. Press a square of plastic wrap directly on top of the lemon curd. If you just cover the bowl, you will get a film on your curd.
  9. Refrigerate until cold, about 2-4 hours. It will thicken up some as it cools.
  10. Transfer to a tupperware. Keeps for 1-2 weeks.


*The lemon zest adds great flavor and will make it more tangy. If texture is more important to you than flavor and you are looking for a super creamy lemon curd, then leave it out.

**I've seen similar recipes that call for up to 8 tablespoons of butter. Go for it! I think it tastes great with 4 tablespoons, but I'm not one to turn down extra butter...

The Best Lemon Curd from The Food Charlatan

 You might like these recipes too!

This lemon curd would be amazing on top of these Gingerbread Pancakes:

Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Syrup from The Food Charlatan

Meyer Lemon Tart:

Meyer Lemon Tart from The Food Charlatan

Cinnamon Honey Butter:

Cinnamon Honey Butter from The Food Charlatan


Raspberry Lemon-Glazed Muffins (One of my most viewed recipes!)

Raspberry Lemon Muffins from The Food Charlatan


Coconut Syrup:

Coconut Syrup from The Food Charlatan


Other great recipes from friends:

Lemon Curd Pound Cake from Cookies and Cups
Easy Lemon Tarts from Crazy for Crust
Lemon Curd Stuffed Cupcakes from A Side of Sweet





  1. says

    Yes! Woman, you’re speaking my language! Great recipe. I’m giggling about that song. Whenever it’s in the car and my kids are riding with me…I always instinctively want to turn it down. Especially the “funk you up” part. These kids don’t know what funk is!!! And if my son can’t even say truck without it sounding like F#$% than we’re in serious trouble if he decides to sing along. I thought dump truck sounded bad…
    Kathleen @ Yummy Crumble recently posted…Andes Mint Whoopie PiesMy Profile

    • says

      HA! I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels a little weird about that song, even though I love it. And my sister and I were just talking about the truck-f*** phenomenon. Haha! Oh, toddlers.

      • PJ says

        My nephew got quite a few sounds mixed up, pork became puck, so when he would announce at dinner that he needed a fork, the kids would all giggle while the adults quickly found a new subject to discus and pretend they didn’t just hear what came out of a three year olds mouth!!

  2. says

    yum!! I love how easy your recipe is, Karen! I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing a lemon curd filled cake for awhile because it’s summer and all, and this just gave me the motivation to go ahead and do it. P.S. 9 year olds are like practically full grown adults now..its scary!

  3. says

    Bahaha – I feel like grandma might need some hearing aids or she’s gonna start thinking you’re saying all kinds of inappropriate things while singing! I agree – homemade lemon curd is the bee’s knees. Also – I wish I had a jar of this and a plate of ginger cookies right now…
    Sarah @ SnixyKitchen recently posted…Blackberry Fig Sage PopsiclesMy Profile

  4. says

    Great recipe!
    Just made it and it turns out perfectly smooth and delicious!!!
    Needed 6 small lemons and got 3 glasses (all together about 300g curd)!
    Thank you so much :-)

    Sweet regards from far-away-Vienna

  5. says

    Wonderful Recipe! I actually made this using nondairy butter and only adding 2 Tbsp instead of the 4 Tbsp it called for. Turned out great!! Thanks for a recipe that’s a sure keeper.

  6. says

    My recipe came from a Friend’s Grandma Sweetman….
    I used to make this in a double boiler – simple recipe
    3 lemons (+ zest)
    3 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    One Cube butter.

    Now I do this in a microwave! I’m going to try your way!

  7. Sarah says


  8. Marcy says

    Do you have 3 eggs plus an additional 4 egg yolks or 3 eggs and an additional 1 yolk?
    I think I’m reading to far into this. It seems too easy to be true.

    • says

      Hi Marcy! The recipe calls for 3 large eggs (including the yolk and white) and 4 egg YOLKS. So the total comes out to 3 egg whites and 7 egg yolks used in the recipe. Enjoy!! I hope you love it!

  9. Erinni says

    I LOVE this recipe! I’ve made it 5 times now…about to do number 6! I love things that are tart –and apparently can enjoy things that are more tart than usual according to my husband, but attribute this to being Greek (as my excuse). My toddlers gobble this up right along with me! The best way to eat this is SLOWLY to truly appreciate the taste! I’ve even turned a few batches into popsicles! SO SO GOOD!

      • Erinni says

        Question for you… I’m new to using stevia and still learning about how it can be used as a replacement for sugar… apparently it may not be suitable for certain types of recipes (like things that are tart, for example). Are you able to elaborate more on this or is stevia not something you are very familiar with either? I wanted to try stevia with this recipe, but I also don’t want to ruin this either!!! I’ve always used Sugar in the Raw brand. I know sugar can be necessary for certain recipes because of the role it plays in baking certain things. I also know of the existence of Splenda and if you are diabetic, that is something I would recommend, if you had to “pick your poison” (Splenda vs sugar). Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you in advance!

        • says

          Hey Erinni! I’m sorry, I’ve never tried this recipe with stevia and don’t have much experience with different sweeteners. I’m afraid the only way to find out is trial and error. Good luck!

  10. Ashleigh says

    Hi! I have lemons coming out of my ears at the moment and was wondering if this is something I can make and freeze?

  11. says

    We just made the lemon curd! It is unbelievably yummy! And so do-able. If I’d known it wasn’t so very difficult, would have started making my own sooner. It is very difficult to get lemon curd in the stores in Singapore, so we’ve just been doing without!

    Thank you!

  12. Charlene says

    I have made your lemon curd recipe several times and I absolutely love it! I have used it to fill cupcakes and cakes and even topped a New York style lemon cheesecake with it. I’m about to switch it up a bit and make orange curd and will attempt a Cream Cycle cake for a friends birthday! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!!

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