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How to Make Lemon Curd – with video

If you’ve been wondering how to make Lemon Curd I think you’ll be surprised how easy it is. This versatile Lemon Curd recipe can be made with or without gelatin.

a jar of lemon curd with a spoon in it

My custom cake business, Cake Art Studio, had a fairly large menu of cake flavors. One of the most popular was the Luscious Lemon Cake and that cake is now one of the most popular recipes on Baking Sense. The base for that wonderful cake is a really great lemon curd recipe.

For something with such a frankly unappealing name, curd is one of my favorite go-to ingredients for a wide variety of desserts.

I mentioned that I use it as a cake filling, but curd also makes a great cupcake, tart or pie filling, can be used as a filling for shortbread or to sandwich French Macarons, is traditional on a scone with clotted cream and is insanely decadent warmed up and poured over ice-cream.

Tips for making this Lemon Curd Recipe:

  • Always combine the sugar with the eggs before adding the lemon juice. If you add the juice to eggs without the sugar, the acidic juice will “cook” the eggs.
  • The zest has lemon oil which adds a full lemon flavor. After cooking the zest can be strained out since it has already added the flavor.
  • The gelatin is optional. Instructions for blooming gelatin can be found here.
  • If you’re using the curd for a spread or sauce you don’t need the gelatin.
  • Use the gelatin when you don’t want the curd to be oozy, like in a cake or tart that will be sliced.
  • It’s not necessary to cook the curd on a double boiler.
  • You can cook the curd directly on the stove as long as you keep the heat on medium-low and stir constantly to avoid burning.
  • When the curd is ready it should coat the spatula or spoon.
  • The curd will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator and can be frozen for several months.
  • The recipe can be adapted for other citrus fruits. See the notes section of the recipe card.

Once you’ve made this lemon curd recipe you’ll find a million ways to enjoy it.

Lemon curd is just the beginning. Fruit curds can be made with any other citrus fruit, mango, passion fruit, and others. If you’ve got extra egg yolks, try this Yolks Only Lemon Curd.

a bowl of vanilla ice cream with lemon curd being poured over top
a jar of lemon curd on a table surrounded by lemons and scones.

Watch the recipe video to see exactly how to make Lemon Curd!

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a jar of lemon curd

Perfect Lemon Curd

Yield: 3 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Lemon curd is an incredibly easy to make recipe that is unbelievably versatile in the kitchen. Use curd for a spread on scones, as a tart filling, a cake filling or the base for a feathery lemon mousse.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin powder (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz, 336g) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) lemon juice from about 3-4 lemons
  • Finely grated zest from all the lemons
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz, 84g) unsalted butter, cut into 1" chunks

Instructions

  1. If you are using the gelatin, bloom in 2 tablespoons cold water in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
  2. Thoroughly whisk together the sugar and eggs in a medium saucepan. Add the lemon juice, zest and salt.
  3. Place the butter on top of the bloomed gelatin. Put a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and keep it near the stove.
  4. Heat the egg/juice mixture over medium low heat, stirring constantly. You must be sure to keep stirring across the entire bottom and corners of the pot so the custard does not have a chance to stick. The mixture will start out opaque with a fine white foam over the surface. As it heats up the curd will thicken, become more translucent and the foam will disappear.
  5. Cook until the curd will coat the back of a wooden spoon and just begins to boil. Don't allow it to come to a rolling boil. One or two bubbles is all you need to see.
  6. Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the sieve over the butter and gelatin. You can skip straining the curd if you like the bits of zest in the curd.
  7. Stir until the butter and gelatin are melted and thoroughly incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cool a bit before putting in the refrigerator.
  8. Refrigerate until completely cooled. If using gelatin, allow it to sit 8 hours or overnight to gel.

Notes

Lime, Orange, Blood Orange, Pink Grapefruit,

  1. 1/2 cup of juice (about 3-4 limes, 2-3 oranges, 1 grapefruit)
  2. 1 1/4 cup (10 oz) granulated sugar
  3. Zest from the fruits

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