Lemon Curd

Anything that has the word curd in its name is fighting an uphill battle.  Just the word curd evokes images of rotten milk and bad cheese.  Tell someone you made them a jar of curd and they will probably widen their eyes and politely refuse the gift.  This will be before they taste the delicacy know by the worst name ever … Lemon Curd.

Scones with Curd

This spread is rich and lovely when spread atop a fresh scone or muffin.  It is fragrant beyond belief and you’d think you were eating the pure, sweet insides of a lemon from Candyland.  Tangy, sweet, aromatic, and nothing resembling a curd in sight.  Therefore, given the difficulties presented with the name, I am giving you permission to call this heavenly concoction a lemon spread, a lemon glaze, a lemon anything-other-than-curd.

Jar of Lemon Curd with Spoon

I had never had lemon curd until I decided to make it as part of a thank-you gift (scones, lemon curd and tea … something of a British afternoon themed gift).  Everyday Food made it look so painfully simple that I couldn’t image it turning out poorly.  Lemons.  Egg yolks.  Sugar.  Butter.  How can that be bad?  Oh, and people let me tell you … it’s not.  In fact, it’s so addicting that I was glad to be giving it away as a gift.  If not, I may have started to brush my teeth with it.  So.  Delicious.

Lemon Curd on Spoon

My one word of caution when making this recipe is to be extremely careful when you are whisking the mixture over the stove.  Keep the temperature low and only keep it over the heat as long as necessary to get the right consistency.  A moment too long and you will end up with little specs of browned butter in your lemon curd and nobody wants that.  This simple yet impressive spread is utter perfection with fresh almond scones.  Give it a try.  Don’t call it a curd.  Spread it on a scone.  Go for it.  No one is watching.  You can thank me later.

Lemon Curd from Above


Lemon Curd


1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
8 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces


- In a medium saucepan, off of the heat, whisk together the sugar, zest and egg yolks.
- Add lemon juice and salt. Whisk until combined.
- Add the pieces of butter and place the saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.
- Continue whisking until all the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth, approximately 4-5 minutes. Small bubbles will begin to appear around the edge of the pan and the mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Don't worry if it is still a bit runny, it will firm up in the fridge. Be careful not to boil or burn the mixture.
- Remove from heat and continue whisking.
- Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a glass bowl, removing any lumps or remaining pieces of zest.
- Press plastic wrap against the surface of the curd and wrap thoroughly. Refrigerate until cool, at least an hour. Curd will firm up while refrigerating.
- Store in a refrigerated airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Adapted from Everyday Food's Lemon Curd

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9 Responses to “Lemon Curd”

  1. 1
    Q. — September 8, 2009 9:31 am

    Totally agree – Lemon Curd by another name might be more popular:) I used to be turned off by the sound of it myself, until I realized, “OH! It’s lemon pie filling! AWESOME!” I could eat the stuff by the spoonfull. Yours looks fabulous!

    • kate replied: — September 8th, 2009 6:30 pm

      Q — Exactly! I forgot to mention that this is the same stuff that they use in lemon pies. It would also be brilliant as the filling of a cupcake or between layers of a cake. I’m already dreaming up different ways to play with this amazing stuff … and not call it curd.

  2. 2
    J — September 10, 2009 9:23 am

    Is there an alternative to egg yolks maybe? i would love to make this but i dont eat eggs…

    • kate replied: — September 12th, 2009 9:43 pm

      J — I have never tried it myself, but I have seen recipes that use cornstarch instead of egg yolks when making a curd. This might be a good option for you. I would suggest starting by adding a tablespoon and gradually adding more as needed to get the right consistency. Like I said, I’ve never tried it but if you experiment with it let me know how it works out!

  3. 3
    J — September 15, 2009 2:41 pm

    I’ve tryed it, but I used a 1,1/4 cup of water, cause just 1/4 seemed too little, must be a typo.. and it was great! :) soooo yummy I couldn’t belive, and very easy to make :)

    • kate replied: — September 15th, 2009 9:02 pm

      J — The link to the recipe you used didn’t come through, but I’m glad you found one that worked for you!!

  4. 4
    Justine — December 23, 2009 5:59 pm

    Hi kate! I recently made the lemon curd on your website because it looked so great, but mine did not come out nearly as firm as yours looks in the pictures you have posted, any ideas as to why? I followed the recipe but was a bit confused at the wrapping of the curd at the end part. Did you literally wrap all of the curd or just the top in the bowl?


    • kate replied: — January 4th, 2010 6:39 pm

      Justine — Perhaps you didn’t let the curd refrigerate long enough? Mine got firmer the longer it sat in the fridge. I believe I even left it in there overnight before taking the pictures. As for the plastic wrap, it should be pressed to the surface of the curd and then wrapped around the rest of the bowl. Sorry for the confusion!

  5. 5
    Brittany — May 2, 2010 6:45 am

    My grandma always called it lemon butter… sounds so much nicer :)

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