This homemade lemon curd recipe is fast to make, easy to follow, and only requires 5 ingredients! It's the perfect summer "sauce" for both cakes and pastries.
Homemade lemon curd is easily one of our favorite sauces/ spreads for desserts because of its versatility. You can practically pair it with desserts or pastries, and it'd most likely taste amazing. But you know what's even better than lemon curd's versatility? How quick and simple it is to make!
This homemade lemon curd recipe only takes maximum 15 minutes to make. And the result? Tangy, sweet, citrusy, creamy, butter lemon curd! Perfect for putting a pop in anything!
Why did my lemon curd split?
The most common reason why your homemade lemon curd split is cooking the curd on too high temperature. Because lemon curd is an egg yolk based "sauce," it requires gently cooking so that the egg doesn't become scrambled. If the egg yolks become scrambled, the lemon curd will no longer be creamy and will not bind together like a smooth sauce.
Another reason why your homemade lemon curd may have split could be because your butter wasn't cold. Cold butter is essential for proper mounting, aka a technique for emulsifying butter into a sauce. If the butter is melted or softened, it'll melt too rapidly in the lemon curd, which makes it hard for the lemon curd to emulsify the butter.
The last popular culprit is combining the egg yolk and sugar too early. Sugar is known to be hydroscopic. So if the sugar is added to the egg yolks too early or before the rest of the ingredients are prepared, the sugar could potentially "cook" the yolks. The "cook" yolks will turn chunky and no longer be able to produce a smooth sauce.
Do I need to strain homemade lemon curd?
That is really up to personal preference. If you want a silky smooth lemon curd, you should definitely strain your it. We don't usually strain our lemon curd because we want to keep the lemon zests in the curd, and the zest doesn't really interfere with texture so we don't mind it.
Why does my lemon curd taste metallic?
There are a few reasons why your lemon curd may taste metallic. The most common reason is usual due to using aluminum or metal bowls. The acid in lemon juice tends to react with metal, and sometimes eggs can react with aluminum.
The other possible cause is the sugar. Processed white, granulated sugar have the tendency to make lemon curds metallic. So, if you find that your curd have a slight metallic flavor, you can try substituting process sugar for raw sugar, like cane sugar.
Is lemon curd supposed to taste eggy?
No, although lemon curd is an egg based sauce, it should not taste eggy. If your homemade lemon curd taste eggy, then you may have overcooked or scrambled the eggs.
Should I use fresh lemon juice for making lemon curd?
We always recommend using fresh ingredients to cook or bake with. Same goes to making lemon curd. Fresh lemon juice is acidic but it also has a refreshing flavor that bottle lemon juice cannot replace. But with all that said, if bottle lemon juice is all you have, those are absolutely okay to use.
Make lemon curd in a double boiler
Sometimes we just want to be lazy and make things in a pan or pot directly. However, with lemon curds, we highly recommend that you use a double boiler when making it. Double boilers heat things much more gently than direct heat, which will lessen the chance of your lemon curd breaking.
To make a double boiler, simply fill a saucepan or a pot with about 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and set a bowl that sits comfortably over the saucepan or pot without touching the water.
Why is my lemon curd not set?
Properly made lemon curd should be able to coat the back of a spoon when it's hot and becomes thick like pudding when it's chilled. The few reasons to why your lemon curd may not be setting properly are not having enough eggs in the curd, too much liquid/ lemon juice, not enough sugar, not cooked long enough, scrambled eggs, and sometimes too much butter.
How thick is homemade lemon curd supposed to be?
Depending on the recipe, homemade lemon curds could be a little different in thickness. However, the end result after chilling the curd should always be thicken enough to spread, about the stiffness of vanilla or chocolate pudding. While the curd is hot, it'll be a much thinner consistency, but any decent recipe's curd, while still warm, should be at least be able to coat the back of a spoon.
What do you eat with lemon curd?
One of my favorite things about lemon curd is its versatility. You can practically add it to anything and it'd taste AMAZING! Here are some ways to use lemon curd:
- Filling for sandwich cookies, macarons, meringues, cakes, pies, and crepes
- Spread/ topping for tea cookies, scones, pancakes, waffles, or cheesecake
- Sauce for plated desserts or to be added into ice creams
If you're looking for other summer recipes, check these out:
- Fresh Strawberry Cake
- Watermelon and Grilled Peach Salad
- Bourbon Pecan Ice Cream
- All Natural Pink Lemonade with Black Wolfberries
Cook with love!
If you’ve made this recipe or any recipe from our blog, please tag us on Instagram @two_plaid_aprons! We would love to see your creations! It absolutely makes our day! 🥰
Homemade Lemon Curd Recipe
- 4 large egg yolk
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest (optional; about 1 lemon)
- 4 Tablespoon unsalted butter , cubed and kept cold (or ½ stick)
- Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer over medium or medium high heat.
- Meanwhile, in a glass bowl that fits comfortably over the medium saucepan without touching the water, add the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Whisk the mixture together until combined.
- Place the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the lemon curd mixture thickens enough to coat the rubber spatula or the back of a spoon, about 7-10 minutes.
- Once thickened, remove the bowl from heat and mount in the cold butter by stirring the butter into the curd until all pieces are melted and emulsified.*After the butter has been mounted, you can strain the lemon curd if the zest bothers you or if you want a smooth curd with any lemon zests. *
- Transfer the lemon curd into a sterilized jar, airtight container, or bowl. If kept in a bowl, make sure to wrap with plastic wrap and to have the plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the curd.
- Chill the lemon curd in the fridge until needed. When it's completely chilled, it will become much thicker.Enjoy the lemon curd on different pastries, as filling for cakes, for cookies, and more!