Homemade lemon curd is worth 15 minutes! With a brighter lemon flavor than the store bought kind, this lemon curd recipe is easy, freezes well, and most importantly – tastes fabulous.
I’d like to thank Ina Garten for being amazing. Back in the days of my dance studio (another lifetime ago), I would do my admin work at home, with Food Network playing. This was back when Food Network had more cooking shows than contests. Work was relegated to commercial breaks only when Ina came on. While an East Hampton life was nothing like my life at the time, she made cooking feel accessible. For a girl who comes from a “why cook when takeout is an option” family, this was big! The Godfather and I couldn’t afford takeout at the time. I’d always wanted to become a better cook and a baker, and watching Ina played a big role.
For the first time, making things from scratch felt accessible with a little planning. Watching her provided confidence to experiment with the recipes – making many lighter – and learn about balancing flavors and textures. And I learned about where to be discerning about quality in my food purchases. A 24-year-old Godmother took notes, darlings.
Why am I fan-girling over Ina Garten in a post about homemade lemon curd? This lemon curd recipe is Ina’s, with one minor modification. It was one of my first non-cake/cupcake/cookie/brownie forays into sweets. Before I was brave enough in the kitchen to make things like homemade caramel sauce, I had to get confident with lemon curd. I don’t remember if I first made her recipe for a cake. Since I was still using the occasional box mix at the time, it was probably to serve with something like pancakes for brunch.
The point is, I felt like a total kitchen goddess! I made lemon curd! For less than what I’d spend on a not-quite-to-my-liking jar of lemon curd, I could make a creamy, easy, crazy lemony curd BY MYSELF. Like an adult. Some days I still feel that way when I make a batch of lemon curd. So thank you for the kitchen confidence, Ina. I appreciate you.
And now for a few practical tips about this lemon curd recipe…
You can use standard lemons or Meyer lemons, the measurements are identical. Meyer lemons provide a more mellow flavor because they are more mellow lemons. Looking for a lime curd recipe instead? Click here. For orange curd, click here.
I always strain my curd to get a smoother texture. You could always blitz everything in a high-powered blender (not your standard blender) for a “no strain” version, but that’s silly. More dishes. Just grab your trusty fine mesh strainer and pour your hot curd through. You’ll catch any accidental eggy bits and a good amount of your lemon peel. Egg bits don’t always happen for me, but I’ve found that if I have a particularly tart lemon, I’m more likely to find some. Or if a distraction happens while you’re cooking and you stop stirring for a minute.
You can freeze lemon curd. In fact, I have a batch of lemon curd in my freezer right now. Just wait until it’s cool, place some plastic wrap over the top (touching to prevent freezer burn and a skin), cover it well, and freeze. Thaw in the fridge.
Lemon curd keeps in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. just keep it covered with a piece of plastic wrap touching the top of the curd. If not, it may darken a tiny bit because of oxidation.
I haven’t canned mine, but according to this site, you can (haha) in a water bath. The thing is, you then have to keep the jars in the fridge and they only last 3 months. So… freezer wins for me! That just seems like a lot of work to go through to also lose fridge space. I’m linking here though because I feel you should go for your happy.
I hope you enjoy this homemade lemon curd recipe! Now that it’s up I get to share some other desserts I like making with it, like this no-churn lemon curd ice cream. And of course, lemon curd pairs perfectly with scones. So that’s exciting. Happy cooking, darlings!
- 3 lemons, for zest, additional may be needed for juice
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cups lemon juice, 3-4 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Either zest the lemons by hand using the fine side of a box grater and stir into the sugar. Alternatively, carefully remove the zest with a vegetable peeler and pulse with the sugar in a food processor until fine.
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, then whisk in the sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk for 1-2 minutes until well combined, then increase the heat to medium and start stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Continue stirring constantly about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. You'll feel this happen, and the lemon curd will also coat the back of the spoon when the spoon is lifted out of the mixture. Stop just short of the thickness you'd like, because the lemon curd does thicken once cool.
- Remove the curd from the heat immediately and run through a fine mesh sieve placed over a mixing bowl to remove any bits of lemon peel or accidentally cooked egg. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Allow to cool and then store covered in the refrigerator up to a week or in the freezer up to 3 months.