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Homemade Small Batch Lemon Curd Recipe

The store-bought variety can’t compete with this homemade small batch lemon curd recipe made from scratch.  Lemon curd is tangy, creamy, and has just the right amount of sweetness.  You only need 5 ingredients for this small batch recipe and it’s ready in under 20 minutes.

You might also like this small batch orange curd recipe.

small mason jars of homemade lemon curd

What is Lemon Curd?

Curd is a dessert spread and topping usually made with citrus fruit, such as lemon, lime, orange, or tangerine. You can also make curd using a variety of other fruits like raspberry, blackberries, or cranberries.  

The main ingredients for fruit based curd recipes include egg yolks, sugar, and fruit.

How To Make Lemon Curd on the Stovetop

  • In a medium bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs slowly one at a time.
  • Mix in the lemon juice.
  • Transfer to a heavy saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thickened about 7-8 minutes.
  • Transfer lemon curd to a bowl or jars and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  • Lemon curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Best saucepan for cooking lemon curd.

Use a Stainless steel or enameled cast iron, or a similar Mauviel Jam Pan for larger amounts.   Don’t use aluminum cookware,  the acid in the lemon juice will react with the aluminum and impart a metallic flavor to your curd.

The reason to use unsalted butter is so you can control the amount of salt otherwise you can use salted butter and omit the salt from the recipe. Also, the cooking time is only 10 minutes so stay with the curd and keep stirring it so it’s nice and smooth.

You can also substitute lime juice and zest for tasty Lime Curd.

Stir your curd often.

Stirring often and scraping the bottom sides of the saucepan with a wooden spoon will help prevent burning, and the stirring gives you a nice creamy curd.

Watch the cooking temperature.

Never let the curd boil! In about 10 minutes or less, the curd will thicken and reach the right consistency.

How to tell if the lemon curd is done.

When the curd reaches  170 degrees Fahrenheit, right before it simmers,  it’s done.   The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. If you are making a double batch the cooking time will be longer.

How to make Microwave Lemon Curd

Yes, there is another way to make homemade lemon curd.  Making a small batch of lemon curd in the microwave is so simple and a great way to save some time.

What you need:

Microwave-safe bowl, prefer glass, wooden spoon, and a fine mesh strainer

  • 1/4 cup of butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large lemons, juiced 1/2 cup lemon juice
    • and zest of both lemons

In a medium microwavable bowl whisk together the sugar, butter, and eggs until well combined. Next, stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest.  Microwave for 5-6 minutes in 45-second intervals, stirring in between each interval. The curd should be thick.

Strain the curd using a fine mesh strainer, pushing the curd through with a wooden spoon, spoonula, or spatula.  This process should catch any lemon seeds or large pieces of zest.

Give the lemon curd a nice stir to break up any residual lumps and transfer to a mason or jelly jar.  Let cool down a little and then refrigerate to chill.  The lemon curd will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to one week. 

Some ways to use lemon curd: 

This time of year I use lemon curd in a variety of ways.  There are so many ways to enjoy this sweet, tangy, and tart topping.

  • A dollop of curd on pancakes or waffles
  • Use as a filling for cupcakes, or lemon cream pie
  • Layered on top of a cheesecake
  • Classic lemon bars
  • Use in a lemon & berry trifle
  • As a spread on homemade biscuits, or croissants
  • Yummy stirred into yogurt
  • As an ice cream topping

If you have any tips to share, please let me know in the comments section!

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small mason jars of homemade lemon curd

Small Batch Homemade Lemon Curd

Tart and tangy lemon curd, great for lemon bars or lemon cream pie.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 214kcal
Author:Sydney Dawes

Ingredients

  • 4 large lemons (1/2 cup lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of lemon zest grated
  • cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature
  • A pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs slowly one at a timne.
  • Mix in the lemon juice.
  • Transfer to heavy saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thickened, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Transfer lemon curd to a bowl or jars and cover with a plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour. Lemon curd can be stored in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Notes

  • When the curd reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit, right before it simmers, it’s done. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. If you are making a double batch the cooking time will be longer.
  • Never let the curd boil! In about 10 minutes or less, the curd will thicken and reach the right consistency.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 118mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 21g
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