Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

The Spruce / Qi Ai

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Canning Time: 15 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 48 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 pints
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
29 Calories
2g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 48
Amount per serving
Calories 29
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 19mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 8mg 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

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from 3 to 5 lemons

  • 2 lemons, zested

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Lemon Curd ingredients

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  2. 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. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat.

    water in a double boiler

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  3. In the heat-proof bowl or top part of the double boiler, whisk together the 2 eggs and egg yolk.

    egg mixture in a double boiler

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  4. Add the sugar and the butter (in small chunks) along with the lemon juice and zest.

    egg and butter in a double boiler

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

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

    lemon curd mixture in a double boiler

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  6. Meanwhile, sterilize the jars (about 1 pint or 2 half-pint jars).

    sterilize jars in a pot of boiling water

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

  7. The curd should be 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.

    lemon curd on a plate

    The Spruce / Qi Ai

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

    Lemon Curd in jars

    The Spruce / Qi Ai


  • Use a fine zester or Microplane grater to zest the lemons. 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.
  • 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.

How to Store

  • 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.
  • 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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