Easy Citrus Lemon Curd
Learn how to make the most amazing citrus lemon curd at home without any special equipment! Zingy with the zest of lemons and limes. This recipe can easily be made with regular or meyer lemons and requires just 5 simple ingredients!
Spring is all about the lemony desserts. Just look at that shiny, perfect lemon curd.
This is the last year that I can say i’m in my ‘late twenties’ *gulp* and i’ve made it a personal goal to conquer all or most of my kitchen fears. Call it my culinary bucket list of recipes I want to conquer before the big *shhhh* 3-0. Things like vietnamese fresh spring rolls, homemade lemon curd, and perfecting a recipe for an all butter pie crust that’s both flakey and tender are just some of the things i’ve set out to do. And unlike perfecting pie crust, this lemon curd is a breeze to whip up.
As a child, I didn’t much care for any desserts that contained a lemon flavor. But oh, boy, has that changed! I love adding citrus to berry trifles, making key lime pie bars, and even lemon tartlets during the winter. But when it comes to lemon curd, homemade is always best. Store-bought lemon curds always contain questionable ingredients and the consistency is never quite the same as homemade.
What’s your favorite way to eat homemade lemon curd?
I’m probably the only one that loves it on buttered toast. Something about that sweet lemon curd and the saltiness of butter together make it the perfect breakfast spread for toast. So good. But I have to say, for the more normal folk, lemon curd is delicious on homemade scones and muffins too. And recently, I folded it into a berry trifle, and kids — game changer. I mean, I knew that citrus fruit and berries were meant for each other, but i’ve never experienced anything so delicious. But possibly the best way to eat lemon curd is with a spoon straight out of the jar. The first thing that hits you is the zing and then a hint of sweetness followed by a nice little creaminess. It’s perfect in every way.
Homemade curd can be made with a variety of different citrus fruit. I like simple lemon curd but I LOVE curd made with a combination of regular and meyer lemons and I also sneak in a little lime zest and a hint of lime juice to make it more of a double citrus whammy. This recipe is easily adaptable, so use all regular lemons, all meyer lemons, all limes, or a combination. You simply can’t go wrong.
Homemade lemon curd doesn’t have to be difficult. My recipe contains just 5 simple ingredients – eggs, sugar, lemons or citrus fruit, butter, and a hint salt. That’s it! You don’t need a double broiler or even a makeshift double broiler. No need for a thermometer or anything else really. Just a whisk, a wooden spoon, and a saucepan.
A few things I want you to remember. Please, oh please use real lemon/lime juice for this recipe. The stuff that comes packed in a bottle is never 100% pure juice and won’t yield the bright citrusy flavor that traditional lemon curd is known for. Secondly, no margarine or oils! This needs all real 100% butter. No replacing it with frozen coconut oil, or olive oils. The butter is what adds the much needed creaminess. It also helps loosen the curd to the perfect consistency.
We start by whisking the sugar, salt and eggs/egg yolks together in a saucepan off the heat. Once everything is combined, add in the zest and the citrus juice and continue to whisk until smooth, then switch to a wooden spoon for the remainder of the cooking process. The key to making lemon curd on direct heat is to always keep the flame on the lowest setting and continuously whisking the mixture. It takes about 10-15 minutes from start to finish and you need to be present at all times, whisking and keeping an eye on it. You’ll notice it thickening significantly around the 8-9 minute mark. Keep going, you want it to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and stay put. Then pull it off the heat and just stir in the cold cubed butter and watch it develop that shine that citrus curd is known for!
See how the curd stays put on the spoon? Mine took exactly 13 minutes on the stove. After that I stirred the butter until the curd was shiny and smooth. Also, when you’re storing lemon curd, be sure to place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the curd. Like custards, a skin will develop on the curd if you don’t do so.
How simple was that? This would be the perfect gift for close family and friends during the holidays. Nothing says you care like a homemade gift right? And coming up later this week — the perfect spring dessert for your Easter brunch. How about a citrus berry trifle to use up all this delicious curd?
Easy Citrus Lemon Curd
- 3 egg yolks + 2 whole eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice (see note)
- zest of 2 lemons + 1 limes
- 6 tablespoons butter, cold cubed
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Place the egg yolks, whole eggs, and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan (off the heat). Using a whisk, whisk the mixture for 1 minute. Add the lemon/lime juice and the zest and continue to whisk for an additional minute until combined and sugar dissolves.
- Place the saucepan on the low heat setting, switch to a wooden spoon and continuously stir the mixture as it cooks for 10-15 minutes. You can tell the lemon curd is done when it is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon without dripping. If after 8-9 minutes the curd has not thickened much, you can turn up the heat to the medium low setting. Mine took exactly 13 minutes. You'll notice the curd is lightly shiny. When done right, there is no need to run the curd through a fine mesh strainer.
- Remove the curd from the flame and stir in the cold cubed butter until the curd is shiny and smooth.
- STORING: Keep in an air-tight container with a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the curd to keep from forming a skin. Curd may be refrigerated for up to 1 week and frozen for up to 3 months.
- My favorite combination of citrus for this recipe is 1/4 cup lime juice 1/4 cup regular/meyer lemon juice. For the zest, I used 1 regular lemon, 1 lime, 1 meyer lemon.
IS THIS A GOOD CHOICE FOR YOU?
*Please note: the nutritional facts calculated are an estimate based on the ingredients i’ve used. If you’d like a more accurate count, please calculate them using the ingredients/brands you’ve used to prepare the recipe. The nutritional facts are for 1 tablespoon of citrus curd. This recipe yields about 32 servings. *
Wow this looks fantastic! Thanks for all the notes on cooking- it seems much less intimidating than other recipes I’ve seen 🙂
Not that it prob matters much, but when do you add sea salt. Made this and it is delish!