Creamy, zesty and so easy to make – homemade lemon curd is so good, you’ll never want to buy the packaged kind again! My easy lemon curd recipe is made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, eggs and butter. This simple lemon filling needs just 5 simple ingredients and comes together in 10 minutes! Use this ‘Back to Cake Basics’ recipe as a cake filling, or for tarts, cupcakes, cookies and macarons! Check out my recommended recipes below!
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Ingredients for Easy Lemon Curd
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this easy lemon filling:
- Lemons: The most important ingredient in lemon curd are the lemons! I love, love to use meyer lemons when they are in season – they are sweeter than regular lemons and have a slightly different flavor. When they’re not in-season, regular lemons work just as well! Using FRESHLY squeezed lemon juice makes all the difference between a mediocre lemon curd recipe and an excellent one! For a smooth and creamy curd, squeeze the lemons over a fine-mesh strainer to get rid of any seeds and pulp.
- Eggs & Egg Yolks: for the richest tasting lemon curd, use organic, free-range eggs. These will also make the curd extra bright yellow in color.
- White Granulated Sugar: this type of sugar works best for this recipe.
- Butter: use softened, unsalted butter to make this curd extra creamy.
- Vanilla: a little bit of vanilla helps mask any egg flavor. You can also add lemon extract.
- Lemon zest: this is optional and I recommend adding it only after the curd is finished. Adding it too early will cause clumps to form in the curd.
How to Make Lemon Curd
- Prepare the freshly-squeezed lemon juice first. Make sure to strain it of all pulp and seeds!
- The second step to making a great curd is whisking the eggs and sugar to the right consistency. I vigorously whisk my eggs, egg yolks and sugar for a good 4 minutes until the mixture is thick and pale. The more you whisk the egg mixture, the creamier your lemon curd will be. You can use a hand mixer, a regular whisk or a stand mixer for this step.
- Step three is cooking the lemon curd. Combine the egg mixture and lemon juice and cook over medium-low heat – low and slow does it! Stir the lemon curd constantly with a rubber spatula until it thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. As soon as it starts to bubble and thickens, remove the curd from the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Don’t add the vanilla before; heat will destroy/evaporate the flavor.
- If desired, add lemon zest at this step.
- Transfer the lemon curd into a glass bowl or glass jar to cool completely in the refrigerator. Make sure to cover the lemon curd with plastic wrap to prevent a film from forming on the top.
- This recipe makes 2 1/4 cups of lemon curd.
How to Avoid That Metallic Aftertaste
The number one complaint I hear about any citrus curd recipe is that it has a metallic aftertaste. This can be caused by a few different things. Keep these in mind when making this recipe:
- Do not use any metal other than stainless steel – this includes non-stick pans, cast-iron and/or copper pans. The acid from the lemon juice will strip the metal and it will be mixed into the curd, resulting in a metallic-tasting filling.
- Do not use a wooden spoon, try a rubber spatula instead. Wooden kitchen tools absorb old flavors and seasonings and you will be able to taste them! Use a clean rubber spatula – it doesn’t absorb odors and it works even better at preventing the curd from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
This easy, 5-ingredient recipe can be made with other citrus fruit and even with berry flavors! Try this recipe with other, freshly-squeezed citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lime, or even blood orange. I love lime curd for cheesecakes and cake recipes, like this ‘Coconut Lime Cheesecake’. You can also add raspberry sauce, blueberry preserves, more lemon zest, or strawberry preserves/emulsion.
This recipe yields a very aromatic and flavorful lemon curd filling. If you want to experiment with the recipe, you can add a few drops of lemon oil or even add a bit of lemon zest after adding the butter and vanilla.
How to Store Homemade Curd
To store this creamy lemon curd, I recommend using glass jars. Carefully pour the hot curd into clean, sanitized jars and close them with lids. Place the lemon curd into the refrigerator to chill completely. Keep the jars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks unopened. Throw away the curd at the first sign of mold forming. You can also cool the curd in a small bowl. Just cover the curd with plastic wrap touching the surface so a film doesn’t form on the top.
Using Lemon Curd as a Filling
Use this easy recipe as a zesty lemon filling as a cake filling and for your favorite desserts! I use this recipe for many of my cakes and treats. Try it for cakes, cupcakes, macarons, tarts or even on toast as a spread. Here are some recipes that are worth trying:
- Lemon Mousse Cake – the best lemon cake with lemon curd, lemon mousse and sponge cake!
- Triple Lemon Meringue Cheesecake – delicate and fluffy cheeseacke with lemon curd and meringue topping!
- Raspberry Lemon Surprise Cupcakes – these sweet cupcakes are filled with lemon and frosted with raspberry buttercream!
- Lemon Meringue Cake from my new cookbook, ‘The European Cake Cookbook’.
- Classic Fruit Tart with cheesecake filling – this one is so good!
This easy recipe is from ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series, where I share basic dessert recipes! Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Creamy Pineapple Curd – this tropical and fruity curd is also great for filling cakes and desserts!
- Lime Curd – check out my recipe for lime curd, prepared for a Blackberry Lime Cake!
- Raspberry Curd – I love this fruity raspberry curd, prepared for my Chocolate Raspberry Cake with meringue frosting!
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Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- Make sure you use a stainless steel pot for cooking the curd recipe.
- And these nesting glass mixing bowls are great for baking and meal prep.
- Use this handy lemon juicer to make freshly-squeezed lemon juice in no time.
- Visit my Amazon store for more cooking, baking and cake decorating supplies!
How to Make Easy Lemon Curd (video)
- 2/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- This recipe makes 2 1/4 cups of lemon curd.
- Juice approximately 4 to 5 large lemons over a fine mesh strainer set up over a glass bowl or large measuring cup. Double strain the juice for smoothest lemon curd. Set juice aside.
- In a separate glass mixing bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is thick and more pale in color. It should ribbon off the whisk. Pour the mixture into a stainless steel pot and add the lemon juice; whisk to combine.
- Cook the lemon curd over medium-low heat, stirring constantly along the bottom of the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the curd thickens and starts to bubble lightly. Remove from heat immediately. Add the unsalted butter and vanilla and whisk until the butter is completely melted.
- Transfer the curd into a glass bowl or glass jar and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a film from forming over the top. Allow the lemon filling to cool slightly, then place into the refrigerator. Lemon curd can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.