Lemon Curd Recipe

This is a pretty easy thing. What you want to guard against — just as with all custards — is overcooking it, which will cause the egg proteins to clump up and fall to the bottom. You want to bring the mixture to a target of 196 degrees F, a degree or two more is no biggie, just don’t get it to boiling temperature. But truth be told even that isn’t a disaster…there are more than a few pastry pros out there who let their curd boil (the “curds” can be strained out and hey — at least you know your eggs are cooked completely!). I don’t recommend it. Use a thermometer. The formula is:

4 egg yolks
5 ounces sugar
3.25 ounces (by weight) lemon juice
2 ounces softened butter
pinch salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Whisk the yolks and sugar together until combined in a heavy saucepan (NOT aluminum…ever seen green eggs? You will.). Add the remaining ingredients — save for the zest — to the pan. Over medium-low heat, and while whisking constantly, bring the mixture to 196 degrees, until it coats the back of a spoon. Promptly strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Stir in the zest and allow to cool.

12 thoughts on “Lemon Curd Recipe”

  1. hi joe,
    the lemon curd looks absolutely heavenly.
    can lime be substituted for lemons?

      1. Hi Joe!

        I have a lot of juicing oranges at home, and want to try making some kind of orange cream tart. Would you use the same amount of sugar, or would you reduce the sugar, since orange juice is much sweeter than lemon?


        1. Hi Joe!

          An orange curd would be a stellar use of all those oranges. And yes, you can certainly reduce the sugar in the recipe, but how much is up to you. I’d be inclined to cut it back by 25% or so if the juice is very sweet.

          Let me know how it goes!

          – Joe

  2. Hi Joe, I just made this… But it has that eggy smell. I don’t think its supposed to be that strong. Could it be because the eggs where extra large? Or perhaps I overcooked it? Thanks

    1. Hey Kenny! You nailed it. That eggy smell is from the yolks over-cooking. Look closely and you may see some fine yellow grains in there…bits of cooked egg that give off those sulfur notes. There’s nothing wrong with it…heck I’d eat it! But that’s the issue.

      – Joe

      1. Thanks again Joe… I guess my digital thermometer might be off… It was around 170ish when I saw the mixture bubble (indicating a boil). I took it off the heat right then but it was likely too late. I’ll heed the other signs quicker next time!

        1. Hey, Kenny!

          It’s always a good idea to a) whisk a lot and b) try the temperature at different parts of the pan, since temps can get out of control in different regions depending on how the burner is operating. Low, low heat is always a good thing. Better luck next time!

          – Joe

  3. Hi Joe! I love this lemon curd. The consistency is perfect. I was wondering if I sub other fruits like raspberry or strawberry, would it throw off the recipe? What do you suggest?

    1. Hey Trina!

      Thanks very much and great to hear it’s working so well. This recipe will work with any citrus fruit, but berries are a different matter. There are some recipes out on the internet for raspberry and strawberry curds, have a look around and see what you think. The raspberry ones are more similar to this that the strawberry, many of which call for cornstarch. I’m not sure why that would be, though all berries are watery, maybe that’s the issue.

      Best of luck with the search — and happy berry season!

      – Joe

    1. Hey Kevin!

      Yes it is. You can do that couple of ways. If you tend not to worry about the doneness of egg whites, you can prepare the bars as instructed in the recipe, then as a finishing touch apply your meringue in an even layer on top, and brown it under the broiler (takes about 30 seconds). If you do tend to worry about the doneness of egg whites, then you can re-bake the whole pan in a 350 oven until the whites are about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature should lightly brown the meringue, but if not you can still briefly employ the broiler trick!



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