This quick and easy lemon curd recipe is sweet, bright and tangy all in one. It's the perfect ingredient to add to toast, fill cakes or cupcakes, add to waffles, or mix into whipped cream. This foolproof lemon curd uses full eggs to produce a thicker curd and a far less eggy taste.
Published: 1/20/21; Updated: 1/5/22
Many lemon curd recipes are made with egg yolks. However, I have found the taste of yolk-only curds to taste too "eggy" and find that using whole eggs provides a lighter and brighter flavor, without that eggy taste.
Using whole eggs also produces a thicker curd, which makes it the perfect lemon curd recipe for cake fillings (since it's sturdier). I also choose to make my curd directly in a pot rather than in a double boiler, and have found this to be the quickest and easiest method. This is truly the best lemon curd recipe!
Ingredients and Tools
This lemon curd uses only 4 ingredients, requires only one pot and a strainer, and uses full eggs! No separating necessary.
- Large eggs. Three of them! The recipe comes together more quickly if they're at room temperature, but you can also use them straight from the fridge.
- Whole lemons. You'll need about 2-3 large lemons. Both the zest and juice will be used. Do not use bottled lemon juice.
- Granulated sugar. Only ½ cup (100g) is needed.
- Unsalted butter. At room temperature, and cut into tablespoon sized pieces.
The main tools you'll need are: microplane, medium sized saucepan, and fine mesh strainer. You'll also need a whisk and rubber spatula.
How to Make this Easy Lemon Curd Recipe
STEP 1: Gather your ingredients and zest 3 tablespoons of lemon zest. Then, cut and squeeze the lemons (removing any seeds) until you have ⅓ cup of juice. Also, prepare a bowl with a fine mesh sieve on top and cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces.
STEP 2: Add the lemon juice, zest, sugar, and eggs into a saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine.
STEP 3: Whisk the mixture constantly until the curd thickens considerably and just begins to bubble. As the mixture thickens, you'll want to increase how vigorously you're whisking.
On my gas range, this takes about 5 minutes, but can take longer depending on your stovetop.
STEP 4: Transfer the curd to the sieve and pass it through to the bowl, stirring in circles. I prefer to use a rubber spatula for this, but a wooden spoon or whisk can also be used.
This step removes the lemon zest and any pieces of egg that cooked during the heating process, which is key to a smooth, silky curd.
Be sure to scrape the bottom of the sieve to get all usable curd into the bowl!
STEP 5: After the curd has been passed through the sieve, add one tablespoon of butter at a time. Be sure to fully whisk in the full piece of butter before adding the next. The curd will slowly turn glossy and more smooth.
Cover the curd with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Allow it to rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours before using, allowing it to cool and thicken.
Want a runnier curd?
If you'd like a curd that is slightly thinner, once the curd is set and cooled, simply whisk in more fresh lemon juice. Start with 1-2 tablespoons and increase, as desired. Note that this will produce an even tangier curd.
Storing Lemon Curd
Transfer the lemon curd to a jar or tupperware with a tight sealing lid, adding a piece of plastic wrap directly on the curd. Lemon curd will last in the fridge for one week. Be sure to whisk the curd prior to serving.
Store the curd with a piece of plastic wrap directly on top in a tightly sealed container for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge for 1-2 hours, then give it a whisk before using. Use within a week.
FAQs & Tips
Lemon curd can be used in so many ways! It can be spread on toast, added to cake layers, piped into cupcakes, added to pavlovas, donuts, waffles, or even eaten by the spoonful!
It's also great to fold into whipped cream and serve with fresh berries for a light, delicious dessert.
The slow cooking process of the eggs is what naturally thickens the lemon curd. There are no thickeners or leavening agents added to this recipe.
Use full eggs! This is why I specifically make my curds with full eggs instead of solely egg yolks. Curds can have very overpowering egg taste, which can be off-putting. Using full eggs decreases that flavor profile, creates a thicker curd, and lets the citrus flavor shine.
Curd takes about 1-2 hours in the fridge to set. This is mostly allowing the butter to re-firm up, after having whisked it in (in turn melting it) to the curd hot off of the stove.
Recipes using lemon curd:
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Easy Lemon Curd Recipe
- Medium saucepan
- Fine mesh sieve
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- ⅓ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature (85g)
- Zest about two lemons until you have 3 tablespoons of zest.
- Cut and juice the lemons until there is ⅓ cup of lemon juice - remove any seeds.
- Cut the butter into tablespoon pieces and place a fine mesh sieve on top of a bowl.
- Add the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest to a medium saucepan over medium low to medium heat.
- Whisk constantly until the curd thickens considerably and it just starts to bubble, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the curd to the fine mesh sieve and pass it through into the bowl using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Scrape the underside of the sieve to remove all curd.
- Adding one tablespoon of butter at a time, whisk it in completely to combine before adding the next tablespoon of butter.
- Cover the lemon curd with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly onto the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
- Chill for 1-2 hours before using or eating. Re-whisk before using.