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close up of lemon curd

Lemon Curd Recipe

Tart and tangy homemade lemon curd that is thick enough to use as a cake filling, tarts or filling pastries. Making your own lemon curd is so easy and a great way to use up extra egg yolks.
4.74 from 19 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Serves: 2 cups
Calories: 787kcal


  • 8 ounces (227 g) lemon juice (1 cup) About 6 large fresh lemons
  • 2 Tablespoons (zest 1) lemon zest
  • 6 ounces (170 g) granulated sugar (1 cup) add 2 more ounces if you like sweeter lemon curd.
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 tsp) salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (1 Tbsp) cornstarch
  • 4 ounces (113 g) unsalted butter (1/2 cup)


  • Zest the lemons, then slice them in half and juice them into a measuring cup. Use a small colander or a lemon juicer to keep out any seeds.
  • Place the egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine and set aside. (You will be adding more to this later, so make sure it's a large enough bowl.)
  • Add your lemon juice, granulated sugar, and lemon zest to a large, shallow sauté pan.
  • Stir constantly with a whisk and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • When it has reached a simmer, scoop about 1 cup of the lemon juice mixture and slowly add it into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Add about 1 cup of liquid total.
  • Add the tempered egg mixture back into the lemon mixture while whisking constantly. Keep an eye on it and keep whisking, if you walk away for even a minute, the eggs can curdle.
  • Whisk constantly and cook over medium heat until desired thickness. I cook mine for about 2 minutes because I like thick lemon curd. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the lemon curd.
    Removing the curd at 170ºF (76ºC)will yield a thinner consistency while removing at 180ºF (82ºC) will be thicker.
  • Add your butter in chunks to the lemon curd and whisk until the buter is melted and combined. Remove the lemon curd from the heat. It will continue to thicken as it cools. 
  • Pour the finished lemon curd into a heat-proof jar or bowl. Cover the curd with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the curd without any air bubbles in between, this will prevent a skin from forming on the top of the curd.  Store it in the fridge for up to one week or freeze it for up to a year.


  1. Weigh your ingredients to avoid failure. Using a kitchen scale for baking is super easy and gives you the best results every single time. 
  2. Roll your lemons before slicing to release the juices better. Make sure you avoid the pith (white part) of the lemon. That part is super bitter and will make your curd taste weird.
  3. Adding some of the hot lemon mixture into the egg yolks is called "tempering." This helps the eggs mix in smoothly and not curdle. 
  4. Test the thickness of your curd by dipping the back of a spoon into your lemon curd and drag your finger across it. If it holds the shape without dripping off too quickly, it's done!
  5. If you intend to use this as a cake filling, make sure to cook your lemon curd to at least 175º F. If you don’t, you could end up with runny lemon curd.
  6. If your mixture is lumpy, you can strain it to remove any large pieces of zest, seeds or curdled eggs.
  7. Meyer lemons are not the same as regular lemons. You'll want to use regular lemons for this recipe. You can also use bottled lemon juice if needed, but fresh is best.


Serving: 2ounces | Calories: 787kcal (39%) | Carbohydrates: 98g (33%) | Protein: 1g (2%) | Fat: 47g (72%) | Saturated Fat: 29g (145%) | Cholesterol: 149mg (50%) | Sodium: 301mg (13%) | Potassium: 117mg (3%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 88g (98%) | Vitamin A: 1453IU (29%) | Vitamin C: 52mg (63%) | Calcium: 28mg (3%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)