Lemon Curd Recipe

Yields: About 1 1/2 Cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3-4 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

Instructions

  • Prepare your work area: Set up a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water). Make sure the water in the bottom pot isn’t touching the bowl. Have a fine-mesh strainer and a clean jar or bowl ready for straining the finished curd.
  • Whisk the base: In the top part of your double boiler (or the heatproof bowl), whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt until completely smooth.
  • Cook the curd: Place the bowl over the simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10-15 minutes. Be patient and don’t let it boil – you want a gentle thickening. An instant-read thermometer should read around 170°F (77°C).
  • Add the butter: Remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk in the cold butter, one cube at a time, until it’s fully melted and incorporated.
  • Strain: Pour the curd through the fine-mesh strainer into your clean container to remove any zest or bits of cooked egg.
  • Cool and store: Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Cool slightly, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours to allow the curd to thicken completely.

Tips:

  • Freshest lemons: Use fresh, juicy lemons for the brightest flavor. Roll them on the counter before juicing for more yield.
  • Low and slow: Gentle heat is your friend for the smoothest curd. Watch for simmering water, not boiling.
  • Double boiler substitute: If you don’t have a double boiler, use a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Ensure the bowl doesn’t touch the water, or it risks overheating the curd.

How to Use Lemon Curd

  • Spread on toast, scones, or English muffins
  • Fill tarts, cupcakes, or cakes
  • Swirl into yogurt or ice cream
  • Dollop on pancakes or waffles
  • Enjoy by the spoonful!

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