Classic Lemon Curd

The Best Lemon Curd – Gluten Free. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.
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This Classic Lemon Curd is so easy to make – and even easier to eat!

The Best Lemon Curd – Gluten Free. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.

You may know it as lemon spread, lemon butter or even lemon cheese. Lemon Curd is the colour of sunshine, smooth and creamy, sweet with an irresistible lemony tang. Spread on a slice of toast, it is a great way to start the day.

Lemon Curd originated in England, with variations of this delicious spread appearing in cookbooks as early as the 1700s. A curd differs from all other preserves in that it generally contains eggs and butter.

Curd can be made from all varieties of citrus along with many other fruits. Passionfruit and mango curd is delicious and berries are often used. The basic ingredients are always eggs/egg yolks, sugar and fruit juice. Butter is most often added to assist with setting the curd. Also, it provides a lush, creamy silkiness.

You can buy Lemon Curd in the supermarket but I like to make it from scratch. No commercially prepared curd can compare with the homemade version. Whilst this Lemon Curd contains just 4 ingredients, commercially prepared curd often contains artificial colour, preservative and other unnecessary additives.

Homemade curd is generally made in relatively small quantities.

This is due to the fact that, unlike jam, it does not keep well. However, little jars of this lovely spread make beautiful gifts.

This very simple method produces luscious, creamy, silky-smooth curd. By using just the yolks of the eggs the curd has a vibrant, yellow colour. As a matter fact, this easy curd does not even require the use of a double boiler.

I make the curd directly in a saucepan with all ingredients added at the same time. It takes just minutes for the curd to cook and then you are only limited by your imagination in the many ways to use it. I have listed some suggestions below.

The Best Lemon Curd – Gluten Free. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.

This Classic Lemon Curd contains just 4 ingredients:

  • Lemons
  • Egg Yolks
  • Sugar
  • Unsalted Butter

About these ingredients:

Lemons:

For this Classic Lemon Curd, I have used lemons which I purchased at the Adelaide Central Market.

However, if you are using Meyer lemons they are less acidic than other lemon varieties and require slightly less sugar. See Note 1 below.

This recipe includes lemon juice and zest. Not all recipes include the zest but I feel it is essential to boost the bright, tangy, lemon flavour. When grating the lemon zest, avoid grating the white pith as it will impart a bitter flavour to the curd.

Egg yolks:

This Classic Lemon Curd recipe uses only the yolks from large eggs, resulting in a curd which is silky-smooth and rich in flavour with vibrant colour.

Sugar:

I use caster/superfine sugar as it dissolves more readily than granulated sugar.

Butter:

Most lemon curd recipes rely on butter to assist with setting the curd. As well, it provides richness, flavour and a creamy texture. For those who are lactose intolerant a non-dairy spread is an alternative but the curd will be a little softer.

The Best Lemon Curd – Gluten Free. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.

This is how I make it:

To begin, I whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until they are just combined. Then, I add them to a saucepan. Next, I add butter, lemon zest and juice. Over medium heat, I bring all the ingredients to a simmer. As the bubbles appear, I remove the saucepan from the heat.

Finally, after cooling, I transfer the curd to sterilised jars, seal and refrigerate them. It is that simple.

Tips for making a Classic Lemon Curd:

You don’t need any special equipment to make Lemon Curd. However, it is necessary to use a non-reactive saucepan. Non-reactive saucepans are those which are made from stainless steel, glass, ceramic or enamelled cookware. Aluminium, copper and iron pans are reactive. Acidic foods, such as lemons, may discolour and take on a metallic taste if cooked in these pans.

Further, whilst some may recommend a wooden spoon to stir the curd, I prefer to use a whisk. Using a whisk makes it easier to get into the edges of the pan. Lemon Curd is prone to sticking so it is necessary to whisk almost constantly. This will ensure that the curd is creamy and smooth. If you don’t stir enough you will end up with specks of scrambled egg in your curd.

Many recipes use whole eggs but I find that using just the yolks produces a smoother texture and a brighter colour. When separating the eggs it is important to remove as much of the white as possible so that it does not leave white specks in the curd.

In addition, the zest should be extremely fine, unable to be detected. For this, you will need a very sharp, fine grater and ensure that you only grate the surface of the lemon and not go deeper to the white pith.

This pretty much goes without saying; you must use fresh lemon juice, not bottled juice.

The Best Lemon Curd – Gluten Free. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.

Some delicious ways to enjoy Lemon Curd are:

The Best Lemon Curd – Gluten Free. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.

What to do with the leftover egg whites:

Alternatively, freeze the whites for future use. Add the whites to containers suitable for the freezer. Seal the container tightly and label with the date, the number of egg whites and then freeze. Or, freeze individual egg whites in an ice cube tray. When frozen, transfer the whites to a container or zip-lock bag.

There is something very special about homemade Lemon Curd. This recipe will take less than 40 minutes of your time and uses just 4 ingredients. It is extremely simple to make and tastes so delicious!

Luscious, thick and bright, sunny yellow, it is bursting with fresh, tangy, lemon flavour. The most difficult part of this recipe is waiting for it to cool! And in case you don’t eat it all at once, little pots of Lemon Curd make lovely gifts.

Enjoy, and do let me know in the comments below when you give this recipe a try!
Alex xx

I have adapted this recipe from one of my favourite recipe books:
Stephanie Alexander’s “The Cook’s Companion”.

The Best Lemon Curd – Gluten Free. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.
The Best Lemon Curd – Gluten Free. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.
5 from 35 votes
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Classic Lemon Curd

This Lemon Curd is so easy to make. Made from just 4 simple ingredients, it comes together quickly on the stove. However, you will need to exercise your patience whilst waiting for it to cool! (In fact, there will be no judgement if you can’t resist a little taste). During this time you will be able to ponder which of many ways you will enjoy it. This delicious condiment, which is smooth, creamy and sweet, yet tangy, will delight all lovers of lemon.

Course Condiment, Spread, Sweet
Cuisine English
Keyword delicious, easy, easy lemon curd, edible gift, lemon, lemon butter, lemon curd, simple
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 small jars
Calories 653 kcal
Author Alexandra

Ingredients

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine/caster sugar See Note 1
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 tsp finely grated lemon zest, loosely packed See Note 4
  • 200 ml strained lemon juice 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp
  • 4 large unwaxed lemons See Note 5

Instructions

  1. Add the egg yolks and sugar to a medium-size bowl (See Note 2).

  2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well combined.

  3. Tip the whisked yolks and sugar into a heavy-based, non-reactive saucepan – See Note 3. Add the butter, lemon zest and juice to the pan.

  4. Place the saucepan over medium heat and, using a whisk, stir constantly until the mixture just comes to simmering point. As soon as the bubbles appear, remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir for a minute or so. The curd will thicken as it cools. Stir occasionally as the curd cools to prevent a skin forming.

  5. Transfer to sterilised jars (See Note 6) while the curd is still slightly warm. When the curd is cold, add the lids and seal well.

    The Lemon Curd will keep for 1 – 2 weeks if well sealed and refrigerated.

    The Best Lemon Curd – Gluten Free. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.

Recipe Notes

  1. If making Lemon Curd using Meyer lemons, I reduce the amount of sugar and use 1 1/3 cups as they are less acidic than other varieties.
  2. Do not add sugar to yolks and leave to stand. The sugar changes the chemical structure of the eggs and “cooks” the yolk. So, once you add sugar to the yolks, be sure to mix right away for a smooth and creamy result.
  3. Non-reactive saucepans are those which are ceramic, stainless steel, glass or enamelled cookware. Copper, iron and aluminium pans are reactive. Acidic foods, such as lemons, may take on a metallic taste and discolour if cooked in such pans.
  4. When removing the zest from lemons, I prefer to use those which are un-waxed.  You will most likely find these at grower’s markets or an organic fruit store. Should only waxed lemons be available, place them in a colander and pour over freshly boiled water. Then, scrub them gently under cold running water with a nail brush.
  5. The number of lemons may vary, depending on how much juice they contain.
  6. Choose small glass jars with an airtight lid. Wash the jars and lids either in the dishwasher or with hot soapy water and rinse well. Place the jars into an oven which has been preheated to 130 Degrees C/270 Degrees F. Place the jars into the oven for at least 20 minutes. Remove the jars and leave to cool a little before adding the curd. The jars and curd should both be slightly warm.
  7.  The Nutritional Information is based on one whole jar.
Nutrition Facts
Classic Lemon Curd
Amount Per Serving
Calories 653 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Cholesterol 452mg151%
Sodium 24mg1%
Potassium 240mg7%
Carbohydrates 90g30%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 79g88%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 1252IU25%
Vitamin C 79mg96%
Calcium 87mg9%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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128 Comments on “Classic Lemon Curd”

    1. We are on the same page, Robyn. I also love the bright, tangy flavour of lemon curd and the fact it is all natural, no unnecessary additives that some commercial varieties may contain.


  1. Having been recently gifted with a lovely supply of homemade lemons, I knew the only thing to make was this delightful Lemon Curd.
    It is a classic recipe as the name suggests, and truly delicious.


  2. I never knew how easy it was to make Lemon Curd before coming across this recipe – and I am SO happy I did. My whole family is loving the batch I just made. It isn’t going to last the day I think haha 🙂


  3. Lemon curd is always such a great item to keep in the fridge, I love that it can be used in so many different ways too! I usually make mine with a little bit of cornstarch to get it really thick but I definitely need to try your recipe as well!


  4. I love lemon curd! The lemons from the market sound delicious. I bet they were fresh and zesty. I can see this being used for so many recipes! Thanks also for sharing my Blueberry Lemon Curd Tart recipe.

    1. Hi Adrianne, I am also a fan of lemon curd. There are so many ways in which to enjoy it. And yes, the lemons were so beautiful that I was inspired to make the curd. I am so pleased that I did. Now looking forward to enjoying it. 🙂


  5. Homemade Lemon Curd! It sounds delicious and easy to make! I just imagine to make a few jars as a gift for my friends. I am gonna make it this weekend. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is such a classic recipe and so perfect for summer, can’t wait to try your version! Thanks for sharing!


  7. Lemon curd is one of my fave things to make (and enjoy). Love the tartness it has and the beautiful colour always amazes me! This looks super delicious, Alexandra! Bet it would be lovely on my morning toast 🙂

  8. I enjoy lemon curd, but I have never attempted to make it myself. My favorite way to eat it is with buckwheat crepes and pecans!


  9. Looks very easy to make classic lemon curd. And the best thing we dont need anything special to make this, Thanks for the recipe


  10. It seems like it is easy to make lemon curd at home by following your recipe. 🙂 Thanks for sharing tips such as using only egg yolks for making smooth lemon curd.

  11. It looks delicious and an easy recipe to make. I will make this at home and will try topping it on my vanilla ice cream.

  12. I never knew how simple it was to make Lemon curd. This looks so good! I have to try to make this on my own. You always have the best recipes.

    1. Thank you so much Adriana for the lovely comments. I am delighted that you like our recipes. I look forward to hearing how you enjoy the curd. 🙂


  13. Liked the recipe. I love curds especially because of its ability to flush toxins. Would definitely try this recipe.

  14. I’m not sure I’ve ever tried lemon curd before. I’ll have to make it for my 10 year old. She loves all things lemon, especially baked goods!


  15. I had no idea that Lemon Curd had been around so long! This is a great recipe & I think others will realize it’s easier to make then they thought.

  16. My all-time favorite pie is lemon meringue so I know I would love this lemon curd. I am thrilled that the recipe is so simple and it is something that I could whip up in no time.

    1. Mmmmm, lemon meringue pie, so delicious. And yes, if you like that you will love the curd. I like to put the curd into little tartlet shells, maybe with a little cream. It’s lovely. 🙂


  17. Yum! I love anything lemon flavored and lemon curd is no exception. I agree, a jar of homemade lemon curd would make a great gift.


  18. I never knew this was that easy..! Sounds really great with vanilla ice cream. Can’t wait to try this.. Thanks..!

  19. I love Lemon Curd. It can be used in so many recipes. I’ve never tried to make it myself, but now that I know how simple it is, I’m going to give it a try myself.

  20. You had me at lemons. I absolutely love anything lemon, including the smell (like cleaning stuff) … even plain in water. Great recipe, thanks so much!


  21. I can imagine how it tastes already.. I’m so excited to try this..! Thanks for sharing..!

  22. This one is absolutely nice to be paired with many things. All I can think about know is this. This might be best with vanilla ice cream.


  23. I absolutely agree that a homemade curd knocks the socks off the storebought kind! Plus, it’s surprisingly easy to make curd at home. I love putting a dollop of curd on a toasted English muffin…or smearing a whole layer of it on top of cheesecake. 🙂 Great recipe, my friend!

    1. Thank you David. We are on the same page with lemon curd. In fact, thinking of it topping a cheesecake means that I will have to make one tomorrow. Yum! 🙂

  24. i love lemon curd! it’s so easy; i make it via the 6 minute method so it’s really quick too. that delicous sweet tang is a delight. cheers sherry

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