Lemon Curd – rules and bending the rules


Lemon Curd is one of those recipes that everyone has a spin – and an opinion – on. You should use whole eggs, you must only use egg yolks. You must adhere to x ratios of sugar to juice to make it very sweet, you must keep it tart. Use more butter, use less butter – mix it in before, mix it in at the end. Cook in a saucepan, cook over a double boiler. Strain the juice, strain the cooked curd. And on and on it goes.


The versatility once made is as varied as the list of recipe options. Fill a blind-baked pie shell, cover with meringue and bake, grill [broil] or blowtorch for a quick Lemon Meringue Pie. Use as a topping for a Chiffon Cake in place of icing. Spoon over natural yogurt or ice cream for a tangy twist. Layer between vanilla cake rounds then swirl through buttercream before icing for a sky-high Lemon tower. Or just dollop on toasted bread or scones instead of jam. All before even considering other things – like whipped cream or crushed raspberries – you can combine with it!


Lemon Curd is one of those things that surprised me the first time I made it – it is so simple. So simple in fact that you should never, ever, buy it in a jar. And there is no need to be put off by the reasonably vast number of versions out there because in reality, with a few simple guidelines, it’s easy as pie to make. Lemon Pie to be exact.





  1. says

    looooove all your tips. i am the hugest fan of lemon curd and i do occasionally make it, can’t even think right now which recipe i use? but i’ll be back here when i’m making it next, thanks :)

  2. Paula says

    Lemon curd is a huge favorite of mine…so much so that I can’t have it in the house beause it never makes it into a recipe. I’ll try this when I know there is company coming (Cathe) so that I don’t eat it all myself. And the photo of the eggs and lemons will be a watercolor soon…stay tuned.

  3. says

    Thanks a lot for the explication about lemon curd.. it’s typical of anglo-saxon world, while here it’s not known so much.. so thanks!

  4. says

    I am sooo with you on this – there is no need to ever buy commercial versions of this. It is so easy to make and well worth the small effort it takes.

    • Lesley says

      Right now I am sous viding
      2 batches of curd, one is blood orange, and the
      other is pink grapefruit.
      the options are limitless really as in the past I have
      used mango, and lime separatly and togehter

      Keep playing!!!!!

  5. Ada says

    I just made this lemon curd and it is most delicious! I licked my utensils clean and even opted for a second piece of bread just so I can eat more of this deliciousness. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  6. Roberto Leibman says

    I just made some hibuscus curd… same recipe but replace lemon juice with some brewed hibiscus tea and a bit of lime juice and zest.

  7. Viv says

    Great topic! You were saying to make an extra thick curd add an egg or yolk only. What’s the difference in the outcome in taste of adding just the egg yolk vs whole egg? And what is it that actually sets a curd? I see some lemon tarts with the curd soft and others are a lot firmer( looks nicer to cut into)? Thanks!

    • JJ says

      Hi Viv, there is little change in taste between a whole egg and egg yolk but yolks are richer. The eggs are what makes it set so a higher ratio of eggs to liquid will result in a thicker curd, want it thinner then add more juice!

  8. says

    Thank you so much for breaking down the process of making curd! Have you experimented with other flavours as well? I’m interested in making a berry curd, but I’m wondering if I need so much lemon juice? Any insight would be greatly appreciated – thanks :)

    • JJ says

      Hi Abby, you can replace the lemon juice with an equal amount of pretty much anything. One of the comments above mentions using hibiscus tea and lime juice! If using a berry puree I’d add a few Tbsp of lemon juice to it to help raise the tartness level but stick with the liquid to egg ratios and it should work just fine :)

  9. Teresa says

    I am going to make lemon and blueberry curd by blending blueberries with the lemon juice. I use this for my yogurt. What I’m wondering is can this be frozen and then thawed instead of canning?

    • JJ says

      Sounds like a delicious combo! Not sure about the freezing as I’ve never done it. Perhaps try to freeze a small amount of it (1/4 c or so) then defrosting a day later to see how it goes :)

  10. Melissa says

    Hi, I made some lemon curd last night (not this recipe) but similar and mine has turned out more orange colour than yellow? Am I doing something wrong? I only used egg yolks as well.

    • JJ says

      Hi Melissa – I’d guess your egg yolks were a gorgeous orange colour before you started! The colour of any curd using a clear-ish juice will be determine by the shade of the eggs you use (lime curd will look just like the lemon version too). Random tip – adding salt to eggs before they are cooked and letting them sit for a white will turn them more orange as well. :)

  11. debi deimling says

    Made a white cake and wanted to use my curd between the layers (we also added some lemon zest) The curd, as you know, is kind of thin and I really don’t want to add more egg yolks to thicken it up … has anyone ever used corn starch to thicken it up. As we placed the layer on top of the curd layer, the curd all ran out between layers. 😉 believe you me, it was delicious but not what we intended … then I dropped dots of lemon curd on top of the vanilla icing and everyone loved it … but how do I thicken up the curd so it does not run out? thanks peoples and curd lovers 😉

    • JJ says

      Hi Debi, just a quick question – did you use the recipe above (no more than 1/2 c juice to 3 eggs) or another one? The one above shouldn’t be too runny. However, yes, you should be able to thicken curd with corn flour (corn starch). Simply dissolve a Tbsp or two of starch in a bit of cold water, add during the last 4 minutes of simmering. As warning corn starch can be neutralised by highly acidic substances (like lemon juice) but it’s worth a try!

  12. Annabelle says

    Hi, I found your post as I was trying to search for ‘how to thick cooled lemon curd’, I’m a big fan f the lemon curd and I always do it homemade to use inside my cakes, I use Delia smith recipe which calls for whole eggs and this time turned out very runny it’s more pourable than spreadable! I cooled it overnight and it’s still runny. Do you think I can add cornstarch now that is cooked? I think this happened because my lemons where too big!!
    Thanks in advance.

    • JJ says

      Hi Annabelle, I’d try with a small bit of it first but should be fine! Bring the curd to a simmer over low heat, dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of cold water, pour in while whisking then whisk for 4 mins before returning to fridge to cool!

      In this recipe (http://84thand3rd.com/2011/12/03/america-land-chocolate-pudding/) I use 2 c milk to 3 Tbsp corn flour (cornstarch) – depending on how much curd you have I’d use half the amount of starch (ie 2 c curd add 1 1/2 T cornstarch) as it’s already a bit thickened. Good luck!

  13. Nic says

    Hi I made some passion fruit curd and ended up adding cornstarch as it was too funny. The only problem is now is has a pasty starchy taste is there anything I can do to remove this? Would cooking it for longer take that away? Thank you

    • JJ says

      Hi Nic, curd should be cooked 8-10 mins to allow the eggs to set properly, it then thickens further as it cools. If you add cornstarch dissolved in cold water you’ll need to cook the curd for 4 mins after adding – whisking constantly. If it tastes starchy after that you may have added too much but without seeing all your measurements I’m afraid I can’t offer any more advice! ~ JJ

  14. Ingrid says

    I am looking for a more tart than a sweet lemon curd. I’m told that lemon cheese would fit the bill but I can’t seem to find any recipes. The recipe I have used in the past is far to sweet. Can I reduce the amount of sugar and if so what is the ratio?

    • JJ says

      Hi Ingrid, I’ve never heard of ‘lemon cheese’ however if you follow this recipe and have a look at the notes under ‘Sugar’ in the COOK’S NOTES section you can adjust the curd to your taste. ~ JJ

  15. Nana says

    Thanks for this great info! I believe the best way to thicken lemon curd, for pie or inside cake layers, is to add gelatin to the recipe, as in Cooks Illustrated’s “Lemon Chiffon Pie”.

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