5 Ingredients or Fewer

Lemon Curd

July 11, 2013
4 Stars
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Everyone needs a recipe for lemon curd, and this is the easiest one of them all. All of the ingredients go into the pot, and away you go. Don’t be afraid of cooking the egg mixture over direct heat: the lemon juice and sugar will prevent the eggs from scrambling even when the mixture starts to simmer. Use the yolkier version if you want egg whites for meringues or pavlova. Adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2012). —Alice Medrich

  • Makes 1 1/2 cups
  • 3 large eggs, or 1 large egg plus 3 large egg yolks
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice (from about 3 medium lemons)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
In This Recipe
  1. Set the strainer over a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk the eggs (or egg and yolks) in a small nonreactive saucepan to blend. Whisk in the lemon zest, juice, and sugar. Add the butter. Whisk over medium heat, reaching into the corners and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan, until the butter is melted and the mixture is thickened and beginning to simmer around the edges, then continue to whisk for about 10 seconds longer.
  3. Remove from the heat and scrape into the strainer, pressing gently on the solids. Scrape any lemon curd clinging to the underside of the strainer into the bowl.
  4. Refrigerate until chilled before using. Lemon curd keeps in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Smaug
  • Kriti Gupta
    Kriti Gupta
  • Danna Farabee
    Danna Farabee
  • dianetoomey
  • Kayleigh
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

25 Reviews

Smaug January 7, 2022
After years of making lemon curd in a double boiler (a pretty slow process) I recently converted to a saucepan method, surprisingly little problem. I would recommend a silicone spatula for stirring (along with a whisk) to get into corners and clear the pan surface. A flat whisk also works better than a balloon whisk for corners, if your quantity is small enough. A lot of curd recipes call for adding the butter after it's cooked- this starts the cooling process to some extent; other than that I haven't seen that it makes much difference.
shush October 31, 2021
Add a pinch of salt!
DC's P. October 5, 2021
This is a really good tasty recipe and a great curd to have handy. It comes together in 10 minutes once you've juiced the lemons. I used the 3 whole egg recipe to put on the Lemon Bar Cheesecake (delicious and easy!) from this site.
Kriti G. July 5, 2020
I made this using egg yolk version. It is a bit too sour..what can I do to improve it?
Danna F. February 17, 2020
Straightforward recipe and works with ease. I only had two lemons so included one small blood orange. Worked great!
dianetoomey February 17, 2019
Best of all recipes I searched, meaning mid-range of ratios. Lemon curd recipes ranged from 4 whole eggs and 8 oz butter to 3 yolks only and 3 Tbps butter.
This one has excellent flavor and firms up a bit more (not as jiggly) when refrigerated. Borrowed a tip from another to use a food processor to make lemon zest sugar first, adding as instructed. It still comes out with the straining, so not sure it’s worth it, just had to wash up more items.
Rick February 4, 2017
Cooked to 170F (measured via infrared)....used 1 blood orange (for color = pink) + 1.5 lemons + zest of 2 lemons.....had made meringues & thus had 3 left over yokes, and so I went with the 3 yokes + 1 whole approach
Kayleigh January 8, 2017
I made the egg yolk version of this to accompany a pavlova, as a way of killing two birds with one stone: using the yolks, and topping the pavlova in utterly delicious fashion. I ended up having so much extra that I used it to swirl inside a lemon bundt cake as well. Even though I think I may have slightly overcooked the egg yolks, it was still a fantastic lemon curd. I've never made it before so this was a wonderful, easy to follow recipe for me to get into it!
Stephanie H. December 3, 2016
Excellent lemon curd! First recipe I've found that uses the whole egg--much more convenient! Cooked up thick and creamy.
Ana S. January 27, 2016
how much is 6 tbs butter in grams?
CarlaCooks January 27, 2016
1 tbs is 15g, so 90g for this recipe. I just made this last night using bergamot juice and I added 100g butter without any problems.
Melanie August 30, 2015
This was great, and so quick to make. I also like that I can use whole eggs. I stirred the zest in after straining. Thank you!
Rach May 19, 2015
HOT DIDDLY DANG I made this tonight and it's better than I expected. I think I used a little more lemon juice than the recipe called for (1-2 tbsp whoops^_^), and I used about a lemon's worth of zest in the pot and after straining added another third-lemon's worth of zest. My eggs were XL so I took out about a tablespoon's worth of egg white before whisking. I found this recipe after looking for an "easy" version of lemon curd (so many complicated recipes, so little time for frustration in my busy schedule). Definitely a winner.
Hiromi M. March 28, 2015
Tastes great! Like somebody else said, I added lemon zest after I strained the lemon curd.
Sandra March 22, 2015
Could one store this in the freezer for later use?
icharmeat August 3, 2017
i make a different recipe but mine is unharmed by freezing it.
SandraMostacci January 17, 2022
I’d be more inclined to can like jam.
Lo December 24, 2014
This recipe is easy and delicious.
I followed the recipe using 3 whole eggs but, did not strain, it's beautiful creamy and smooth without.
The flavor is tart, tangy, and sweet just like lemon curd should be.
trampledbygeese December 24, 2014
I just finished making this, just waiting for it to set in the fridge. I did the three yolk version, ran out of lemon juice, so topped it up with lime. I hope it's okay, but I didn't strain it, as the only lumps were from the lemon zest.

Flavour from licking out the pot was perfect, just the right blend of sweet and tart.
Jo B. November 16, 2014
best lemon curd ever, and so much handier to use whole eggs. The one thing I do differently is to add the zest after straining, per Rose L Beranbaum, as it makes it quicker and neater to strain.
NancyfromVictoria March 24, 2014
I guess I could process this - water canning method?

Made it last night - wonderful!
Kat September 1, 2017
I'm wondering if you've tried processing the curd and if you had any success? Thanks!
Sara W. February 26, 2014
I just finished making this, and at the rate I'm spooning little tastes of it out of the bowl, it's never going to make it into the tart it was originally destined for, but I'm kind of okay with that because it's just that good. Definitely loving the foolproof, stress-free technique, too!
CarlaCooks January 16, 2014
I made this last night but with bergamot instead of lemon, and I used 3 whole eggs. Such a great recipe! The curd came out perfect. Thanks for this great technique.
CarlaCooks October 6, 2014
I made this again on Saturday to use as a filling for lemon meringue pie. I went with the 3 whole eggs method, used the zest from all 3 lemons, and had terrific results! The curd set perfectly and was nice and tart. This is the only way I'll cook lemon (or bergamot) curd from now on!