This easy homemade Lemon Curd is smooth and bright with the best sweet-tart lemon flavor that tastes like a jar of liquid sunshine! There are countless ways to use a batch of lemon curd from filling cookies, cakes, and tarts, to spreading over biscuits and scones!

An image of a jar of homemade lemon curd.

Easy Lemon Curd

There is nothing like a batch of homemade lemon curd. The store-bought jars of lemon curd just cannot possibly compare!

This really is the best lemon curd I've ever tried, and I went through multiple batches, testing lemon curd made with whole eggs, batches using some egg yolks with one or two whole eggs, and batches (like the one I settled on here which is the classic approach) using just egg yolks. I find that the egg yolk approach gives the richest, best flavor and texture.

This lemon curd recipe is one of my favorite things to make when I'm making something like divinity, macarons, or pavlova, which each call for a lot of egg whites. No sense in letting those yolks go to waste!

And if you are facing the dilemma of what to do with egg whites if you are only wanting to make lemon curd, you can always add them to omelettes, or you can even use whole eggs in this recipe without any other alterations if you are adamant about not wasting egg whites.

If you love lemon desserts, be sure to try our Meyer Lemon Pudding CakeNo-Bake Sour Cream Lemon Pie, and Double Lemon Glazed Cookies next!

An image of a bowl of lemons.

What is lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a simple fruit spread made with fresh lemon zest and juice, granulated sugar, egg yolks, water, and butter. It can be cooked right in a pot on the stovetop, although my preferred method is in a double boiler so as not to risk scrambling the egg yolks over direct heat. Once thickened from the gentle heat of the double boiler, which you can mimic with just a heat-safe glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, the lemon curd is cooled completely before serving.

I have always thought of lemon curd as typically British, since it is served in England over scones at tea, but it has so many other uses and is becoming more and more popular elsewhere in the world!

Lemon curd is naturally gluten-free, which makes it allergy-friendly.

An image of a spoon in a jar of homemade lemon curd.

Lemon curd uses

There are so many ways to use a batch of lemon curd that you might be surprised how often you find yourself whipping up a batch after this. Think of lemon curd like jam. Almost any recipe that calls for jam or mashed berries on top or in the middle will work well with lemon curd instead!

This list is by no means exhaustive, but here are some ideas that we have tried and loved for ways to use lemon curd.

  • Use it to top biscuits, scones, muffins, or toast
  • Spoon it over ice cream or yogurt to create a sundae or parfait
  • Serve it with whipped cream over a slice of pound cake, angel food cake, or other basic white cake
  • Spread it on pancakes, waffles, french toast, or in crepes
  • Stir it into your morning oatmeal
  • Use it to fill a tart shell, cupcakes, or layer cake
  • Mix it with softened cream cheese or whipped cream for an easy fruit dip 
  • Use as a filling for lemon macarons or linzer cookies
  • One of the simplest uses is to just scoop it up with graham crackers like a fruit dip!

How to make lemon curd

Combine sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg yolks in a heat-safe glass bowl set over pan of simmering water to create a double boiler.

I recommend the double boiler approach because it is more foolproof than cooking the lemon curd directly over heat on the stove. Although if you want to skip the double boiler and just make this recipe in a pot on the stovetop, you absolutely can. Just be extra careful of the heat to not overcook the egg yolks because nobody likes bits of scrambled eggs in their lemon curd. Just to be safe, you might want to strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer after cooking this way.

An image showing how to make lemon curd in a double boiler.

Regardless of the approach you decide on, you will heat while whisking almost constantly for about 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Literally stick a spoon down in the lemon curd, then run your finger down the back of the spoon. A noticeable line will be visible, letting you know it is cooked enough. You can also use a thermometer to make sure the temperature of the curd reaches between 160 and 170 degrees F.

Remove the cooked mixture from the heat and the cubed butter until it is completely melted. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools until it is about the consistency of Yoplait yogurt.

An image of butter melting into lemon curd in a glass bowl.

Pour the finished curd into a clean bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap right onto it to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, then serve. 

Storing and Freezing Instructions

A batch of this fruity dessert spread will be good in the fridge for up to about 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container. 

Or you can freeze lemon curd in a freezer safe container or jar for up to 3 months. Just be sure to leave at least ½-inch of space at the top of your container for expansion when sticking the lemon curd in the freezer. Thaw the curd in the fridge overnight, then stir well before serving.

Tips for making homemade lemon curd

  • Use fresh lemon juice. Here is my trick for getting the most juice out of lemons: roll the lemon on the counter first, pressing down quite firmly while doing so. This breaks up some of the membranes inside the lemon before you ever even slice into it and helps the juices flower better. If your lemons are cold, you can even microwave them for 15 seconds first to make sure they are juicier.
  • When zesting lemons, try to only get the outer yellow rind, not the layer of white pith below, which has a bitter aftertaste to it.
  • You can actually make any citrus curd with this recipe using meyer lemons, limes, grapefruit, or even pomelo.
An image of easy homemade lemon curd in a jar next to fresh lemons.

When life gives you lemons, make these lemon recipes!

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Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Homemade Lemon Curd Recipe

4.85 from 13 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Spreads & Sauces
Cuisine French
Servings 8 servings
This easy homemade Lemon Curd is smooth and bright with the best sweet-tart lemon flavor that tastes like a jar of liquid sunshine! There are countless ways to use a batch of lemon curd from filling cookies, cakes, and tarts, to spreading over biscuits and scones!


  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter


  • Combine all ingredients except butter in double boiler over simmering pot of water. Heat, whisking constantly, for 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (betweeen 160-170°F on a candy thermometer (affiliate link)).
  • Remove from the heat, then add the butter, whisking until combined.
  • Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed right onto the curd. Refrigerate until cold.


  • Yield: This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups of lemon curd.
  • Storage and Freezing: You can keep the lemon curd in an airtight container in the fridge for up to about 2 weeks. Or freeze for 3 months and thaw in the fridge overnight, stirring well before serving.
  • Using whole eggs: I made this recipe with whole eggs instead of just egg yolks and it turned out fine. I just prefer the richer, more concentrated flavor of lemon curd made solely with egg yolks.
  • No double boiler? No problem. If you don't have a double boiler and don't want to bother with the bowl nestled in a pot approach, you can make this recipe in a saucepan over direct heat. Just be careful not to overcook the eggs, and consider straining the finished lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer to remove any possible bits of scrambled egg.
  • Variations: This recipe will work with other types of citrus as well, including meyer lemons, limes, and grapefruit.


Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 306IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Brad crawford says:

    What happened to the cornstarch? It was mentioned in the lengthy intro and was not in the recipe?

    1. Amy says:

      Whoops! Sorry - idk why I mentioned that in the post, because there is no cornstarch in the recipe. I corrected the mistake. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  2. Bailey says:

    I followed this recipe to a T, even using a candy thermometer, but the curd has a slightly gritty mouth feel and leaves tiny little bumps on the spoon after removed from your mouth. Is this normal or did I do something wrong? Thanks! The lemon curd tastes absolutely delicious!

    1. Amy says:

      That's a very strange result! It sounds like the sugar didn't dissolve completely.

  3. Rian says:

    This was my first time making lemon curd and it turned out great! I wanted it a bit thicker than it was at 10 minutes so I just kept it on the heat for an extra two minutes while whisking and it is perfect!!! I never knew lemon curd could be so easy, I was always intimidated by it for some reason. Thank you for the simple and delicious recipe!

  4. Julie Conley says:

    Should the cubed butter be softened or cold when you add it? Also, is it salted or unsalted butter?

    1. Amy says:

      I use salted butter and it's usually cold.

  5. DeRae Rivera says:

    Thanks for this recipe. My son love a recipe I have for orange chicken, it takes 8 egg whites. It has killed me to try to use 8 egg yokes. This will be great both me and my son love lemons. Thanks for your post.

    1. Amy says:

      You are very welcome! If you have lots of egg yolks leftover, you might also want to try making any of my ice cream recipes or my french fruit tart also!

  6. Kelsey says:

    About how much curd does this make? (Cups, etc)

    1. Amy says:

      It makes about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups.

  7. Mike T says:

    5 stars
    Have made it twice and it has been delicious both times. It is great in shortbread tartlet crusts.

  8. Chris says:

    5 stars
    I have made this with lime, lemon and tangerine! Comes out great every time. I blend the curd with buttercream for cakes mostly but have used it in thumbprint cookies, linzers, macarons and tarts. I love it.

    1. Amy says:

      I'm so glad to hear you have enjoyed this recipe so much and used it for other citrus fruits! I am going to have to try blending it with buttercream!