This sweet and bright lemon curd is an easy and irresistible spread that is like tasting a bit of liquid sunshine. Possibly the best curd you will ever try.
I love lemon curd. I love curd in general. Maybe you’ve noticed that with all the curd recipes on the site (see blood orange curd, citrus curd, and pomegranate curd). Lemon curd is by far my favorite and I’ve made a few versions on the blog, but this lemon curd recipe….. this is by far my favorite. I loved it so much that I knew it needed its own blog post.
I added a bit of lavender to my curd. It is a very subtle lavender flavor and it completely optional. If you don't like or have dried food-grade lavender around, feel free to omit! I get my lavender from World Market. You can add a splash of vanilla extract for even more flavor.
Tips for Making Curd
Making curd for the first time can seem really intimidating, especially if you aren't used to tempering eggs.
What tempering eggs means. Tempering eggs is slowly heating up your eggs so it does not scramble. No one likes scrambled eggs in their curd! You temper the eggs by slowly drizzling hot liquid into the eggs while you stir the eggs. This should slowly raise the temperature of the eggs without cooking them through.
It can be tricky, especially if it is your first time, so if you have someone around, ask them for a hand whipping the eggs or drizzling in the hot lemon mixture.
Once you've heated your eggs, they should be transferred to the saucepan with the remaining lemon mixture. For the best results, I recommend drizzling it in.
Keep stirring the mixture continuously. Run your spoon around the sides and bottom of the saucepan to prevent anything from sticking and/or burning.
Always strain your curd before you store it. There is always a chance some of the egg did cook, and you also don't want bits of zest everywhere in your curd.
How to Use Lemon Curd
What I love so much about curd is how versatile it is! There is so much you can eat with your curd.
- Use it as a dip for shortbread cookies
- Swirl it into ice cream
- Turn it into lemon meringue pie or bars
- Thin it out and use it in cocktails
- Slather it between layers of cake
- Fill cupcakes
- Eat it by the spoonful (kidding - or am I?)
Troubleshooting and Storage
Lemon curd is really simple to make, but sometimes it doesn't come out exactly the way you want.
How to Thicken Lemon Curd
The first thing to remember is that the curd thickens when it cools. While you are cooking your curd, it might seem as though it will be too runny, but once you put it in the refrigerator, it will thicken and be nice and spreadable.
If you are still in the process of making the lemon curd, you can cook it a little longer. It should completely coat a wooden spoon. You should also see a clear, unmoving line when you drag a finger down the back of that coated spoon. Continue cooking until you reach that point.
You can also use cornstarch to thicken your curd. Add a teaspoon of cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of cold lemon juice or water together. Stir that into your curd and gently heat the curd.
Keep your curd in an airtight container. I personally recommend using a canning jar. It keeps your curd fresh the longest without you even having to properly seal your jars each time.
You should store your lemon curd in the refrigerator, and it should keep for about 1 - 2 weeks.
If you would like to freeze your lemon curd, remember to leave headspace in your container for your curd to expand as it freezes. It will last for several months. To ensure there is no change to the flavor or texture, thaw the curd in the refrigerator overnight.
And because I know some people enjoy making food like lemon curd to give as gifts, I've made FREE jar labels for you! Simply use sticker paper to print them on and cut out.
Recipes Using Curd
If you are looking for more specific ways to use your curd, you should try my lemon blueberry cake. My lemon meringue cheesecake is one of the best things I've ever made, same with these lemon meringue popsicles.
Lemon Curd Recipe
- Zest of two lemons
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender optional
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- In a saucepan, mix together lemon zest, lavender (if using), and granulated sugar together. Rub the zest and lavender into the sugar to help release the oils.
- Add the salt and lemon juice and turn on the heat to medium-high. Stir well until the mixture is hot and simmering.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well.
- Slowly add one-third of the lemon mixture to the egg, beating the eggs well as you pour.
- Transfer the egg mixture to the saucepan, beating the mixture in the saucepan as you pour.
- Continue to mix continuously until the mixture thickens.
- Test doneness by sticking a wooden spoon into the mixture and running your finger down the back of the spoon. When the line stays where you ran your finger, it is ready.
- Remove from heat and add in the butter, stirring until completely combined.
- Strain to remove the zest, lavender, and any egg that may have cooked. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.