Lemon Curd

With its silky smooth texture and sweet/tart lemon flavor, this homemade lemon curd is a delicious treat. Enjoy it on scones, ice cream, and more!

Homemade lemon curd

This homemade lemon curd is so delicious that you’ll want to eat it off a spoon. It’s rich, sweet, and delightfully tart, bursting with bright citrus flavor. Imagine if the top of a lemon bar or the middle of a lemon meringue pie became a smooth and creamy spread. That’s this lemon curd.

As the world’s biggest fan of anything lemon, I’ve always loved lemon curd. But I didn’t try making my own until recently. I thought it would be fussy and hard to get just right, but I was in for a surprise: Lemon curd is super easy to make!

This lemon curd recipe calls for 5 ingredients and comes together in 15 minutes. It’s a fabulous topping for scones, pancakes, ice cream, and more. Once you try it, you’ll always want a jar in your fridge. I certainly do!

What is lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a lemon custard topping or spread. It’s simple to prepare on the stove with basic ingredients like eggs, sugar, and fresh lemon juice. It has a sweet and tart taste and creamy texture.

Lemon curd is commonly used as a filling for desserts like cakes and tarts, but when I make this recipe, I’m more likely to use it as a topping or spread like jam. Find my favorite ways to use it below!

Lemons, whole eggs, sugar, and cubed butter on countertop

How to Make Lemon Curd

This easy lemon curd recipe starts with 5 basic ingredients:

  • Eggs and egg yolks 
  • Granulated sugar
  • Fresh lemon juice and zest
  • Unsalted butter
  • And a pinch of salt

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Whisking eggs, sugar, and lemon juice in saucepan

To make it, first, cook the custard. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and salt in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Place the pan over low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s not really creamy just yet—it will thicken more as it cools.

  • Tip: Stirring constantly over low heat is the secret to a smooth and creamy custard. It helps the eggs cook consistently without clumping. If the stove is too hot, or if you stop stirring, the eggs can scramble.

Whisking lemon curd in saucepan

Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter. Stir until it melts and the custard is smooth.

  • Tip: Cut the butter into small pieces so that it quickly melts into the custard.

Then, chill the curd. Transfer it to a glass container or jar, and cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until completely cooled. It will continue to thicken as it cools.


A note on straining

Some people like to press the curd through a fine mesh strainer after cooking. I skip this step because I like the bright flavor of the lemon zest in this recipe. However, if you don’t like the texture of the lemon zest, you can strain it out.

There is one case where I definitely recommend straining the curd. If your eggs cook unevenly and your curd is clumpy, simply pass it through a strainer to remove the solids!

Adding butter to easy lemon curd

How to Use Lemon Curd

I strongly advocate for enjoying lemon curd by the spoonful, but of course, that’s not the only way to use it! Here are a few other delicious options:

How do you like to use this flavorful spread? Let me know in the comments!


Store lemon curd in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to a week. Note that it keeps best in glass—a metal container can give it a metallic taste.

Can you freeze lemon curd?

Yes! This homemade lemon curd freezes perfectly. Sealed in an airtight container or jar, it keeps in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Lemon curd recipe

More Favorite Lemon Recipes

Love all things lemon? We do too! Try one of our other lemony recipes next:

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Lemon Curd

rate this recipe:
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
This easy homemade lemon curd is creamy, tart, and sweet. Spread it on scones, pancakes, and more, or enjoy it by the spoonful! Find more serving suggestions in the blog post above.



  • In a small saucepan, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and salt.
  • Place over low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the lemon curd thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. It will initially foam as you whisk, but the foam will subside as the curd nears the proper consistency. The curd will thicken more as it cools.
  • Remove from the heat and add the butter. Stir until the butter melts and the curd is smooth. Transfer to an airtight container or jar (glass is best), cover, and refrigerate until completely cooled, about 2 hours, before serving.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Makes about 2 cups.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Mary Ann Miller

    5 stars
    If you cook this too fast, the egg whites may separate and you’ll have little chunks of white in your custard. No fear: just put it thru a strainer as you’re adding it to the jar. Nice that it’s not over the top sweet.

  2. Colleen

    5 stars
    Fantastic flavor and so easy to make. I also made your blueberry scones which also great and so easy to make.

  3. Ellen

    I am looking forward to making this for a babka. I’ve used jarred lemon curd before but it was quite thin. IF yours is thin also, what would you recommend using to thicken it a bit? It needs to be a paste consistency. Thank you!

  4. Rosie

    5 stars
    Thinking of trying this with limes instead of lemon for the curd. Hoping it will work just as well but very open to suggestions..

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I think that’ll be great!

  5. Rosie

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh I love this lemon curd .just made this for the first time and will never make it any other way now .quick easy and absolutely delicious.. just the best ever ..

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Rosie, I’m so glad you loved it!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.