How to Make Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd Recipe

Do you ever teach yourself how to make something new and as soon as you finish, slap yourself on the forehead and wonder why you haven’t been making it for years?

I do quite often.

This time around it was homemade lemon curd.  I’d never given lemon curd much thought, but I had an itch to make some sort of lemony shortbread dessert so I figured out how to make it.  It was so easy and the results were so much better than I imagined that I’m now having a hard time thinking about a refrigerator void of a bowl of lemon curd.

My lemon curd is adapted from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion cookbook.  Do you have this one?  I love it.  The recipes are great as is or perfect as a jumping-off point if you want to add your own flair to baked goods.

I wanted a puckery, sweet-tart, in-your-face lemon curd, so I used  a lot more lemon juice than the original recipe called for and cooked the curd longer to reduce the juice and yield a waaaay-citrusy curd.

Juice and zest 2 lemons.  Combine with sugar, a couple of egg yolks, and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl.  I add a decent pinch of salt to help the flavors pop and keep the sweetness  in check.

Lemon CurdPlace the bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.  It will be the consistency and color of orange juice at this point.

Making Lemon CurdCook until the lemon curd has become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Whisk often.

Lemon Curd

Easy as that!  Half an hour later, you’ll be looking at the most lovely bowl of homemade lemon curd and wondering where it has been all your life.

Lemon Curd


How to Make Lemon Curd
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is an ultra citrusy lemon curd, perfect to use as a tart filling or sandwich between shortbread cookies. A spoonful of leftover lemon curd is a delicious dolloped on a bowl of fresh strawberries and plain yogurt.
Recipe type: Dessert, Condiment
Serves: yields 1 c.
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • zest & juice from 2 medium Lemons (about ½ c.)
  • ¾ c. Sugar
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 3 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  1. Combine all ingredients in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, making sure that nothing sticks to the bowl and the temperature doesn't get too high and scramble the eggs. Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens to the point of coating the back of a spoon, about 30 minutes. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Stay Tuned…

I didn’t make lemon curd just to eat by the spoonful (though it’s so good I wouldn’t mind!).  There will be an Earl Grey Shortbread & Lemon Curd Tart coming your way later this week.  I would bet you’ll be seeing other fruit curds on my site in the coming months.  Orange, strawberry, raspberry-lemonade…the future is full of possibility!


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