How to Make Lemon Curd

Homemade lemon curd.

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Managing the perfect balance between sweet and tart, homemade Lemon Curd is a bright citrus spread that is perfect to use in a variety of desserts. It's simple and quick to make on the stove, requiring just a handful of ingredients and about 10 minutes of your time.


  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar (see notes)
  • ½ cup (112 grams) fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon very finely grated lemon zest
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 tablespoons (112 grams) unsalted butter, cold, diced into pieces


  1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer on medium on the stove, which will act as a double-boiler. 
  2. Add egg yolks and sugar to a medium heat-proof bowl. Vigorously whisk the yolks into the sugar until the mixture is lightened in color and increased in volume. Whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest and pinch of salt.
  3. Set the bowl over the simmering saucepan. 
  4. While stirring with a rubber spatula constantly, cook the mixture for 8-10 minutes, until the mixture has just thickened and reached a temperature between 170ºF-180ºF. To double-check the curd has thickened properly, take a wooden spoon and coat it with the curd. Draw a horizontal line on the back of the spoon with your finger. If the line “holds” then your curd is set. If the line collapses right away, the curd needs another minute or so. However, do not bring the mixture to a boil, this will overcook it.
  5. Take the curd off the heat. If desired, to make it completely smooth, pour the hot curd through a fine-mesh strainer. This is entirely optional.
  6. Whisk the cold butter into the curd, a few pieces at a time, until it is fully emulsified.
  7. Transfer the curd to a jar, and let cool completely before covering.


To make for a slightly less sweet, and more equally tart curd, reduce the amount of sugar to ½ cup. This will make for an equal parts sweet and tart lemon curd.

Make sure to only use stainless steel or lined metal pots or utensils. If you don't know if your whisk is stainless steel, make sure to only use it briefly when whisking together the ingredients. Use a rubber spatula when stirring the pot to prevent any prolonged contact with unlined metal.

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