Lemon Curd

Lemon curd with jar and spoon

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  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Canning Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 1.5 pints (48 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
52 Calories
4g Fat
3g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1.5 pints (48 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 52
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 1g
Calcium 6mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Here is a silky smooth, sweet and tangy treat that makes a terrific gift, especially around the winter holidays when citrus is in season. It is fantastic as a filling between cake layers, as well as spooned over fresh fruit. A favorite way to enjoy lemon curd is to serve a dollop of it on top of gingersnap cookies.


  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 to 5 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 7 tablespoons butter (a little less than 8 ounces)
  • 2 lemons (zested)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Grate the lemon zest off of two of the lemons.

  3. Alternatively, use a vegetable peeler to strip off just the yellow part of the zest, leaving the bitter white parts behind. Pulse these strips in a food processor until they are ​very finely minced.

  4. Cut the zested lemons in half and squeeze out and strain the juice. Measure the juice. You need 1/2 cup to make the lemon curd. If necessary, add the juice from an additional lemon.

  5. Add an inch or two of water to the bottom part of a double boiler, or improvise a double boiler by placing a heat-proof bowl over the top of a pot (put an inch or two of water in the pot). Bring the water to a boil over medium heat.

  6. In the heat-proof bowl or top part of the double boiler, whisk together the 2 eggs plus the third egg yolk. Add the sugar and the butter (in small chunks), along with the lemon juice and zest.

  7. Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved and the butter is completely melted. Switch from a whisk to a spoon and stir, very frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.

  8. Meanwhile, sterilize the jars.

  9. From the moment the curd begins to thicken until the end you're on duty—stir nonstop until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If you're not sure, a backup test is to put 1/2 teaspoon of the curd on a cool plate. Within a minute it should set up to a thick consistency somewhere between a custard and a pudding.

  10. Spoon the curd into the sterilized jars leaving between 1/4 and 1/2 inch headspace. Secure the lids.

  11. Enjoy!


  • Save the seeds and the white parts of the lemon peels to make citrus pectin for future jams and jellies.
  • The stirring constantly is important: if you don't stir enough, you will end up with small pieces of scrambled egg in your lemon curd. Also, if you've never made fruit curds before, it's helpful to know that the curd won't be fully thickened to the soft pudding consistency you want while it's still hot. It needs to cool down first.
  • Unless the jars are sealed by processing, fruit curds will only keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks. For longer storage, process 1/4 or 1/2-pint jars of lemon curd in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Once processed, jars of lemon curd will keep in the refrigerator for 3 months until they are opened (after opening, they will only last 1 to 2 weeks). The surface of curd in sealed jars may darken slightly if kept longer than a month, but that is only an aesthetic concern, not a health hazard.
  • Experienced canners may raise an eyebrow in query: Do you really need to refrigerate the sealed jars even though you've processed in a boiling water bath? Yes, with fruit curds, you do.
  • Lemon curd can also be frozen for up to 1 year.

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