Simple Sundays | Lemon Curd

Have 15 minutes? Make this homemade lemon curd. You’ll be licking the spoon in no time. (Make a double batch - it makes a good gift!)

Today’s post comes by way of a special request from a reader comment when I published my recipe for No Bake Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars a few weeks ago. When I made the bars, I used the convenient (yet divine) lemon curd from Trader Joe’s. However, we don’t all have a Trader Joe’s nearby, and the truth is, Lemon Curd is really very simple to make. Thanks to Stef the request!

Lemon curd – I could eat it by the spoonful. I must confess, as simple as it is to make, I usually buy it. Honestly, I’m not sure why. Habit, perhaps. Or maybe because the Trader Joe’s lemon curd tastes so damn good.

But, it really is so easy to make; store bought lemon curd isn’t exactly time saving. You can whip up a batch in 15 minutes, and it will keep for a long while – about a week in the refrigerator, and much longer in the freezer.

Simply put, lemon curd is a custard, but take a look at all the recipes in the books and online, and you will see that there can be quite a variation when it comes to the critical ingredient (other than the lemon, of course) and the methodology. There seems to be a debate as to whether one should use whole eggs, just yolks, or a combination of the two. They probably all work. But for the purpose of today’s recipe, I wanted to recreate the lemony lusciousness I have grown accustomed to in the TJ’s jar. This recipe is a marriage of Martha Stewart and David Lebovitz. If their lemon curds could marry, this would be their child.

Have 15 minutes? Make this lemon curd. You’ll be licking the spoon in no time.

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Lemon Curd

Yield: Makes 1 cup.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Have 15 minutes? Make this homemade lemon curd. You’ll be licking the spoon in no time. (Make double - it makes a good gift!)


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes


In a small saucepan, whisk together egg yolk and egg until combines. While whisking, pour in sugar, lemon juice and zest, and continue whisking until creamy and well incorporated, about one minute. Place over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the custard thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, one cube at a time. Strain into a bowl or jar, cover surface with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Keep refrigerated.

This makes a delicious homemade gift. Just be sure to let your recipient know to keep it refrigerated.

Adapted from David Lebovitz's Improved Lemon Curd and Martha Stewart's Lemon Curd, The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook (MSL Omnimedia, 2000).

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by Liren Baker on August 7, 2011

92 Responses to “Simple Sundays | Lemon Curd”

  1. Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane August 7, 2011 @ 11:59 am (#

    I actually DO eat lemon curd by the spoonful — and have even been caught eating it this way in the middle of the night. Shameful, I know. But, it’s too tough to resist and, I definitely agree, homemade is best. Lovely photos, Liren!

    • Liren replied: — August 7th, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

      Glad to know I’m not alone, Elizabeth :)

  2. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } August 7, 2011 @ 12:02 pm (#

    Liren – I have LONG wanted to make my own lemon curd! Now I have a supreme recipe to make it. Yours looks just wonderful. Hope you are having a great weekend!!!

    • Liren replied: — August 7th, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

      I was thinking of you – perhaps this is something for your next canning adventure. I have read that due to the variations in acidity, they often recommend bottled lemon juice for canning, but that seems a shame, doesn’t it? Good thing it keeps in the freezer!

  3. Stef August 7, 2011 @ 12:33 pm (#

    OMG thank you so much for posting this recipe Liren (and for the special mention!)! It looks divine and I can’t wait to try it! =)

    • Liren replied: — August 7th, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

      You’re so very welcome, Stef! I hope you enjoy it, let me know how it works out for you.

  4. The Cilantropist August 7, 2011 @ 12:35 pm (#

    Liren I *love* making my own lemon curd and I am happy to see your recipe here too! I use a recipe from “The Good Egg” by Marie Simmons and it never fails me (made it at least 15 times now) and it is a little different from yours. I will have to try yours to see the difference! Beautiful!

    • Liren replied: — August 7th, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

      Thank you! I would love to try your recipe, too, Amanda! Always looking for a good version of lemon curd!

  5. Liz August 7, 2011 @ 12:57 pm (#

    Lemon curd is on my to do list…and yours looks fabulous!

  6. Vicki @ WITK August 7, 2011 @ 3:06 pm (#

    Your lemon curd looks so delicious and smooth! I’ve only ever used storebought stuff, I should totall give this a try.

  7. skip to malou August 7, 2011 @ 3:28 pm (#

    your pitures are too irresistable. i want some now. i would lick that spoon clean if it was in sight LOL!
    I hope you are having a great Sunday!

  8. janet@fromcupcakestocaviar August 7, 2011 @ 4:09 pm (#

    Love love love Lemon Curd! And yep, straight form the spoon is best :-D

  9. Emily @ Life on Food August 7, 2011 @ 4:38 pm (#

    I don’t like lemon flavor so I am not a big fan of lemon curd. I have made it several times though for my mom who loves the stuff. It is so easy to make. I hope more people give it a try with this recipe!

  10. Jennifer (Delicieux) August 7, 2011 @ 4:50 pm (#

    I LOVE lemon curd! I love it’s tart sweetness! Yours looks to die for!!! I could eat it by the spoonful too. Yum!

  11. Kim Bee August 7, 2011 @ 6:03 pm (#

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have never made lemon curd but now I can. So happy you posted this. Did I say thank you? lol

  12. Brian @ A Thought For Food August 7, 2011 @ 7:15 pm (#

    I think i’ve only had lemon curd once in my life. Now it’s time for a reintroduction because this looks marvelous!

  13. Elizabeth of AsianinAmericamag August 7, 2011 @ 8:36 pm (#

    Liren, this is lemon-licious ! I love lemon curd, and in fact was looking for a great recipe when I made the Victoria Sandwich for my son last June. Well, now here it is. Must try your version.I’m positive it is as superb as it looks. Thanks for sharing !

  14. kankana August 7, 2011 @ 8:39 pm (#

    I ate lemon curd only in puff pastries .. and i love it. I am not sure why I never thought of making it at at home. Looking so nice !!

  15. Carissa @ Pretty/Hungry August 7, 2011 @ 9:15 pm (#

    Lovely photos! But I’m with ya… if I can buy an equally good-tasting product, I’m probably going to. I don’t have a Trader Joe’s, but do you know of a good brand they might carry at Whole Foods?

  16. Ann August 7, 2011 @ 9:23 pm (#

    Incredible! It’s funny….I don’t often bake, but when I do – I’ll make lemon curd over buying it. Probably because we don’t have a store with a decent curd nearby…Beautiful pictures, too!

  17. Terra August 7, 2011 @ 9:45 pm (#

    I am so happy to find your blog, just beautiful! I love your photography:-) This lemon cure looks, and sounds ama

  18. Terra August 7, 2011 @ 9:47 pm (#

    Sorry, on phone….posted on accident…your lemon curd also sounds amazing!!! Take care, Terra

  19. PolaM August 7, 2011 @ 10:25 pm (#

    That lemon curd looks more than great: I can see how you would eat it by the spoon: I think I would do that too!

  20. Valerie August 8, 2011 @ 11:25 am (#

    The color of your curd is gorgeous… I so have to make one!

  21. roz August 8, 2011 @ 11:22 pm (#

    ohhhhh, what a gorgeous lemon curd; having never made it before, you have certainly inspired me to do so. grazie!

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  23. Peggy August 13, 2011 @ 1:54 pm (#

    This sounds great! It’s been a while since I’ve had lemon curd of any kind (homemade or store-bought) and this looks so decadent – no wonder everyone eats it with a spoon!

  24. Roxana GreenGirl August 13, 2011 @ 11:02 pm (#

    Hi Liren.
    I love making lemon curd and actually eat it straight from the jar with the spoon.
    love your photos!

  25. Zo @ Two Spoons September 26, 2011 @ 10:06 pm (#

    I’ve just made this with a little addition of lime juice (ran out of lemons) from a packet and a few drops of tangerine oil. Used frozen yolks and was worried it’d turn out weird but it has turned out beautifully. Still needs to cool but the warm stuff is simply DIVINE. Thank you for the recipe AND the useful but also gorgeous photos :D

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  27. Carin October 4, 2011 @ 2:22 pm (#

    Can this be processed in a water bath and used at a later date like Christmas gifts?

    • Liren replied: — October 8th, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

      Hi Carin,

      I know friends who do make and gift lemon curd. In general, what I have found is frozen lemon curd can be kept much longer (up to 1 year) than lemon curd that is preserved by canning (3-4 months), but the key in doing it the latter way is using bottled versus fresh lemon juice. The worry is that fresh lemon juice lacks the acidity to make the canning safe. I recommend checking out these two links that have info/recipes for canning lemon curd:

      I hope that helps, and good luck! They would make delicious presents!

  28. Dan November 20, 2011 @ 1:35 pm (#

    Have you ever tried subbing in softened cream cheese for the butter in lemon curd? It makes it even more delicious

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  31. Kristy January 13, 2012 @ 5:10 pm (#

    WOW. I made this. That is my reaction. WOW!! I made everyone I passed at work try it and they all loved it! Can’t wait to make the cranberry curd!

  32. Erin February 20, 2012 @ 6:10 pm (#

    OMG this looks divine! Can’t wait to give it a whirl

  33. terry February 24, 2012 @ 10:10 pm (#

    there is a microwave lemon curd in this cake that takes 5 min… sorta… but yummy!!

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  36. paula April 11, 2012 @ 7:28 am (#

    With a surplus of meyer lemons a couple of years ago, I also searched online and came up with a hybrid recipe of my own. One thing I incorporated was a mixing method that suggests creaming the butter and sugar first, then adding the eggs and lemon juice before heating on the stove. In theory this eliminates the need to strain. I like this because I like to keep the zest in the curd. I freeze most of it (and you can take out by the spoonful from the freezer as needed). Our favorite is to mix a few spoonfuls into whipped cream right at the end of whipping and serve with fresh strawberries!

  37. Jamie April 14, 2012 @ 2:58 pm (#

    I am just wondering if you have any recipes that call for lemon curd? Please email at

    Thank you!

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  39. Priscilla - She's Cookin' April 29, 2012 @ 12:03 pm (#

    I’m taking 15 minutes to make your lemon curd so I can then make this refreshing citrus frozen yogurt AND have some with Lisa’s coconut lemon scones! Happy Sunday, Liren :)

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  41. Vic May 7, 2012 @ 1:18 pm (#

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I will make it soon. One thing, though: why put the lemon zest in the saucepan, only to strain it out later (as opposed to mixing it into the strained curd)? Is it just to extract its wonderful lemony goodness?

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  44. Felia October 9, 2012 @ 5:10 am (#

    This colour… wow! Need to make this today!

  45. Sharon Clyde November 4, 2012 @ 5:42 am (#

    I use a good deal of lemon curd as an addition to my swiss meringue butter cream as a filling in wedding cakes and this recipe is my brides’ hands down favourite. The ease in making it allows me to spread a generous amount on my morning scones as well! Bravo and thank you so much for sharing..

  46. Lisa Dawson November 26, 2012 @ 8:22 pm (#

    I used this recipe as a start for some cranberry curd. I replaced the lemon juice with 100% cranberry juice, and the lemon zest with orange zest. I also like things a little more tart so I cut my sugar in half, and added 2 more tbsp of butter. It was delightful! Thank you for the recipe!

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  48. Iacob Diana December 12, 2012 @ 2:45 am (#

    Can I also make orange curd? Can I use the same recipe? (just replacing lemon with orange?)

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  50. Gail Dee January 18, 2013 @ 6:51 pm (#

    I’ve been meaning to write. I made a bath of this, and canned it up and gave it away as Christmas gifts.
    It couldn’t be easier to make, and it was DELICIOUS.
    Everyone loved it. Thanks for posting the recipe. I will definitely be making it again.

    • liren replied: — February 23rd, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

      Hi Gail! A very belated thank you for stopping back and letting me know that the lemon curd made for wonderful Christmas gifts! That makes me so happy and I’m glad everyone loved it!

  51. Gail Dee January 18, 2013 @ 6:51 pm (#

    oops. That’s supposed to be “batch”, not “bath”. :-)

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  53. amanda lynn February 23, 2013 @ 7:42 pm (#

    hello there! going to try this recipe but possibly triple it – will that be damaging to the recipe? (weird question i know…)

    • liren replied: — February 23rd, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

      Hi Amanda, not a weird question at all. Yes, the recipe can be tripled – in fact, the next time I make some, I may just go ahead and triple it as I always seem to run out too quickly :)

  54. amanda lynn February 24, 2013 @ 10:51 am (#

    thank you so much! i was invited to a “favorite things” party, and i was going to bring lemon curd. i figured why travel over 45 minutes to a trader joe’s… when this recipe is better and homemade?? :)

  55. Desarae February 26, 2013 @ 12:50 am (#

    My girlfriends and I make this lemon curd frequently for our weekly breakfasts! We make this, scones, and Devonshire cream! It is the best breakfast!! Thanks so much for the delicious recipe!!

    • liren replied: — February 27th, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

      Hi Desarae! You have not idea how much that warms my heart! Thank you for letting me (and my lemon curd) join you and your friends for your breakfast, week after week! It definitely sounds perfect with the scones and Devonshire cream!

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  58. LuAnne June 16, 2013 @ 2:16 pm (#

    So glad I stumbled upon this! I love lemon curd – have never made it myself – but you make it sound so simple and do-able! Thanks!!


  59. Athina August 8, 2013 @ 9:32 am (#

    Hi! I’ve made the lemon curd and it’s perfect!! Thank you!
    (my blog is in greek)

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  64. amy November 22, 2013 @ 11:14 am (#

    thank you so much for the delicious receipy, do you know how to do devonshire cream?.

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  66. Kris April 17, 2014 @ 2:56 pm (#

    Hi! I just wanted to say this lemon curd is amazing! I was making Krumkake, and my husband asked for a Lemon Filling for it- so I found this curd and it pairs wonderfully piped into a fresh Krumkake cookie with some homemade whipped cream. I also took the same recipe and made Lime Curd- using the same amounts of juice and zest, just using more limes to get the same amount of zest. It is also fabulous! Thanks!

    • Liren Baker replied: — April 18th, 2014 @ 10:18 am

      Hi Kris! I am SO glad that you loved the lemon curd! Now I must try making Krumkake cookies, that sounds insanely good!

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  68. A_Boleyn May 19, 2014 @ 2:31 pm (#

    I made a batch yesterday and used it in a trifle along with some mixed berry sauce. I only had 1/3 cups of lemon juice so I made up the difference with orange juice. Delicious.

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  71. Donna March 16, 2015 @ 1:18 pm (#

    I made this and it was fast…..easy ……and delicious…..omg…..I had a one year under my feet……and it turned out wonderful…..first time every making this and first time commenting……praises to you…..never will I buy store bought again… was between your recipe and the Barefoot Contessa on the food network….glad I chose you. Thanks for sharing !!!!!

    • Liren Baker replied: — March 17th, 2015 @ 2:47 pm

      Donna, this totally made my day! Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the lemon curd – it totally is my favorite, too :)

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  76. Amanda August 6, 2015 @ 5:51 am (#

    I’ve wanted to make lemon curd forever. I’m totally doing this today :D

  77. Kim December 3, 2015 @ 3:23 pm (#

    I have so many lemons from our tree this year , so I thought I’d try your lemon curd recipe for some Christmas gifts this year! Looking forward to trying it! How long does the lemon curd stay good for (if not canning it)? Thanks! 

    • Liren Baker replied: — December 5th, 2015 @ 9:05 am

      It lasts about two weeks in the refrigerator, Kim! I love that you’re making some for Christmas gifts – enjoy!

  78. Laural May 4, 2016 @ 4:11 pm (#

    I just finished making this! So easy and so yummy! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Liren Baker replied: — May 6th, 2016 @ 10:01 am

      I’m SO glad, Laural! You’re so very welcome!

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