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Homemade lemon curd in a bowl after being thickened in the fridge.

Lemon Curd


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5 from 16 reviews

Description

Lemon curd is thick, rich and luscious. Use it as a filling for desserts, or as a tea-time spread for baked goods. Make this easy recipe in a saucepan, no double broiler needed! This recipe’s a keeper. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 large egg yolks (no whites)
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or more if desired
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from Meyer lemons)*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (the clear type)

*MEYER LEMONS: You’ll need about 4 or 5 large Meyer lemons to extract 2/3 cup lemon juice. It just depends on their size and how juicy they are. Always have extras on hand, just in case. 


Instructions

MESSAGE FROM THE KITCHEN: Lemon curd thickens while cooking on stovetop. But it will continue thickening in the fridge while it cools. After 2 to 3 hours it will be beautifully thick and luscious.

  1. In a small saucepan, whisk egg yolks and whole eggs. Add granulated sugar and salt. Whisk 1 minute or until the mixture is well combined and pale yellow. Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk to combine.
  2. Set the pan on stovetop over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and cook about 5 minutes more, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It should be the consistency of pudding. It’s very important not to raise the heat too high, and to keeping whisking the entire time so the lemon curd doesn’t scorch or curdle. 
  3. Once lemon curd has thickened, remove the pan from heat. Add butter and vanilla extract. Whisk well to incorporate. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the lemon zest and any bits of egg that may have scrambled during cooking. During straining the mixture will shed some heat. Stir briefly to allow more heat to escape.
  4. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl. Cover the surface with a buttered piece of plastic wrap. Press down to make sure the plastic is in direct contact with the surface to block out all air. This will prevent a skin from developing. Before using, refrigerate 2 to 3 hours so the mixture can thicken and cool.

IMPORTANT: Store lemon curd in an airtight container and refrigerate. It can last up to 1 month.

Notes

BEST TIPS FOR LEMON CURD

  • Use Meyer lemons for a classic lemon curd taste. Small and round, they have a deep yellow skin that’s darker and smoother than bright-colored lemons. They’re also much sweeter than other lemons. Look for plump fruit with no blemishes.
  • Zest lemons first before juicing them. When zesting lemons, avoid extracting the white pith (underlying membrane) with the zest. It has a bitter unpleasant taste.
  • Use good-quality butter for richness and flavor.
  • Be patient when cooking lemon curd. Keep whisking the entire time. 
  • Don’t raise the heat to speed things up. If the temperature is too high the mixture will split and the eggs will scramble.
  • Store lemon curd in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Condiments, Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: English