Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

I bet you didn’t know this,  but Me and Lemon Curd…….. yeah we go way back.

I have a secret love for this stuff.

So much love that I basically eat it by the spoons full before it ever makes its way to any dessert it may have been intended for.

I used to head into the walk in refrigerator at the bakery with a disposable spoon to dip into the pan of curd at every chance I could get!

To me, lemon curd is dessert.

I have been realizing lately that I am way too Chocolate Tunnel Visioned.

Is that even possible?

Not that Chocolate Tunnel Visions could ever even be a bad thing really, but what seems to happen, is I forget about all those other recipes I have tucked away in the fruit department.

You will see by my reaction at the end of the video tutorial for Lemon Cheesecake just how much I forgot!

It was like “OH WOW! Wake up taste buds!  You’ve been asleep too long!”

So whether you are making this Lemon Curd just for the Curd of it, or to accompany some other dessert;

You will find this recipe will win it’s rightful place in your recipe file of “keepers”.

Oh and by the way….you can use up some of those egg yolks you are piling up from all that Swiss Buttercream!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Curd
Cook time
Total time
Be sure to read about how to properly cool this delicate custard to avoid the Danger Zone and any health risks that could be associated with egg based custards
Serves: 4 cups
  • Whole Eggs large 4 (200g)
  • Egg Yolks large 4 (72g)
  • Granulated Sugar 1 cup (200g)
  • Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice ¾ cup (180ml)
  • Lemon Zest from 2 lemons
  • Unsalted Butter 2 sticks (226g)
  1. Using a large mixing bowl over a double boiler combine all ingredients together.
  2. Whisk constantly until the butter has melted and then switch to a spatula.
  3. I find the spatula is best at getting the bottom and sides and I can get a better feel for how thick the custard is getting.
  4. Insert an instant read thermometer and continue cooking and stirring until you reach 170° F
  5. Remove from the heat and strain entire mixture through a mesh sieve and into a shallow pan.
  6. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and cool immediately and quickly to at least 45°f in less than 2 hours.
Lemon curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Any cakes or pastries made with lemon curd must be refrigerated at all times

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  1. What happened I am so upset everything is gone I feel like I am paralyze. I need Lemon meringue pie and pecan pie recipe. Can I use your lemon curd in lemon meringue pie.
    wish you all the best for you dear

    1. Hello, the Woodland Bakery Blog business has been shut down due to some major business dysfunction since February,
      I know much of the content that you are used to seeing is gone 🙁
      But I have been forced to start over again from zero and I am working as hard as possible to get the most popular and most requested videos and recipes done first.
      Please be patient but in the meantime if you go to my Gretchens Bakery facebook page in PHOTOS I have alot of the most popular recipes and also there are so many people who have saved the recipes and can share with you right away! Just ask on the main page! Thanks!

      Yes to lemon curd for lemon meringue pie (after you cook it, pour it into a prebaked pie shell to set in the fridge

  2. Hi Gretchen. I have a question. How I can know when the lemon curd is ready without a thermometer ? I don´t have one and I really want to make it.

    1. it will start to get thick, and you will see it coats the spoon in what is called Nappè
      Its almost as if the eggs are starting to cook – like scrambled eggs, but not quite if that makes sense?
      Just be careful- you do not want to undercook this recipe for fear of making someone sick!

  3. Hi Gretchen, Thank you for your many recipes and your videos. I love watching them. I made this lemon curd and it tasted delicious! I was slightly disappointed in the texture – it seemed almost gritty? I am assuming I did something wrong LOL? Any ideas? I used a thermometer and made sure it was cooked to the proper temperature. I also strained it like you said but maybe not fine enough?? Thank you!!!!
    -Chelsea C.

    1. HI Chelsea! thanks and Im sorry this happened 🙁
      Do you mean grainy? Or gritty as in there was sugar bits??
      If you mean grainy- thats one thing, and Ive had grainy curd before too and I will say it was probably a bit too much on the temperature.
      I cannot (for liability reasons) tell you guys to cook it under 170°f but I always do :/
      I take it from the heat at about 165 keeping in mind that it will continue to have residual heat and cook even more after you take it off the stove. With that being said, if you went a bit over 170 you can experience some of that extra cooking too, bringing the eggs to coagulate more than we want and perhaps give a gritty texture

      1. WOW! Thank you for the prompt reply and the expert techniques and advice. You sure do know what your talking about and I LOVE the way you explain the “science” of everything in the videos. Keep up the amazing work! My hubby sure does appreciate you too! His love language is sugar and delicious baked goods:) I love to try all of your recipes:)
        Chelsea C.

  4. Hey Gretchen,

    First of all, thanks for all the great recipes- I was so disappointed to see your videos had been removed, so thank you for taking the time to film them again. I just wanted to ask, in regards to the cooking and cooling temperatures, why does this recipe have to be heated to a certain temperature, and cooled quickly? I assumed it was because of the raw egg, but you don’t mention having to do this in your swiss buttercream recipe, so I wasn’t sure. Thanks!

    1. HI Thank you for the understanding with the old biz and being patient with me for this new biz! Great question actually! A swiss meringue is heated to 115° (well, thats the temp we used way back when I was in school 20+ yrs ago! YIKES, but some have pointed out that that is not a sufficient temperature for a swiss & they prefer to go to 140°f now) I still do 115°- im a risk taker LOL but I do write more about that on the actual Swiss Buttercream recipe
      anyway- the heating is for dissolving that sugar, since the trouble with eggs is not exactly with the WHITES- but with the YOLKS, and why in lemon curd- we must for safety reason cook that custard to the point of avoiding the DANGER ZONE when a food (mainly custards and dishes made with eggs – like mayonnaise for example) gets to a certain temperature and stays at that temperature for a time period, it will start to breed bacteria more than any other food, and why we put away the mayo salads at the summer BBQ before any other food! AM I right!?
      Egg whites are just safer to star with (there is more about it on the BC blog post too!)

  5. Hi Gretchen

    I was making the lemon curd and while i was just mixing things around at the end waiting to hit 170F the temperature on my candy thermometer started going down once it reached 150F. i made sure the bulb was immersed but the temp wouldnt go back up. The thermometer is fairly new so im hoping thats not the problem. Any insights on why this couldve happened?

    Thank you for all the recipes and help youve given us all!


      1. lol @ lemons! good pun!
        i tried googling up to see possible causes and nothing came up except somebody mentioning that if the size of the mixing bowl is too large, the mixing can cool down the mixture too much. i dont know if that was the case here. i really hope it wasnt the thermometer though, since i got it primarily for your swiss buttercream recipe that i had planned to try next week and candy thermometers are expensive here in Saudi. ughhhh!

        Thank you for replying though.. tc

  6. Hi Gretchen, please tell me, is it possible to freeze the lemoncurd? Or does it break after thawing?
    The reason for this question is, the curd goes moldy in the fridge already after one week.

    Thanks Gretchen!


    1. Yeah not great to keep this around for longer than 1 week, I probably should change the storage time to less than 1 week since this is a fragile mix & could breed bacteria so quickly if not handled properly, best to make this recipe with the intention to use it right away, as for freezing yes it will weep and break and be very loose not as thick as freshly made

  7. Hi Gretchen: is correct te weight 56 g for the 4 egg yolks? When you talk about egg sizes you say:
    1 Large Egg- 50g
    1 Egg Yolk- 18g
    1 Egg White- 30g
    The weight for the yolks should be 72 g instead of 56?

  8. Hi Gretchen!
    I want to make Lemon French Macarons, so, can I use the Lemon Curd for filling? Do the macarons will be good if I put in the refrigerator? (Because of the Lemon curd filling)
    Sorry if I am not clear, I am not fluenty.
    Thank you!

  9. I have a question. I know what my gut tells me but you have far more experience and probably a more trustworthy gut feeling.

    I have a bride who wants a butter yellow cake with lemon curd filling. Whole thing iced in buttercream. Great, yummy. These are the keep in the kitchen extra sheet cakes since the main cake in the grooms favorite flavor doesn’t have a refrigerator filling so good on that front.

    My concern for these butter/lemon sheet cakes is that cold butter cake isn’t so great. Do I have to have to refrigerate the curd til the very end? My gut tells me as long as it is refrigerated until day of it’s fine if the kitchen takes them out an hour or two in advance to come to room temp and then serves right away?

      1. Thanks! Soothed my nerves. I’m addicted to lemon desserts as is the bride. Didn’t want to use in the display cake that will be out a huge chunk of the day but now she’ll get her fave as an option!

  10. Hi Gretchen!
    Is there a lemon cake filling that doesn’t require the stringent refrigeration that this one does? I’m a novice so I’m not sure what my options are.

  11. Hi Gretchen,

    If I wanted to make an orange curd would this recipe be suitable (with orange juice of course)? Also, I wanted to make an orange tart, would the filing need to be baked one more in the pre baked pie crust to firm it up or would it do to simply freeze it?

    Love your recipes! Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Dear grtechen,

      The orange curd was a total success (yaay)! I used your pie crust recipe and followed the instructions for pre-baking them. The orange tart was a hit!! Thanks again 🙂

  12. Hi Gretchen,

    Is lemon curd cooked enough to be safe from salmonella?
    It looks soooooo delicious, but I do not want to make my kids sick.

    Thank you!

  13. I followed your directions , weighing all ingredients. I substituted fresh orange juice and orange zest, but otherwise as directed.
    My mixture came to 170 degrees, but was not thick. What did I do wrong?

  14. I’m baking your Lemon Cheesecake as I write this as a trial run. I’m trying to do some advance planning and intend to freeze the cheesecakes for some upcoming events. My question is about the lemon curd that will be on top. Can I freeze that as well or should I make it fresh? Can it be frozen on top of the cheesecake or will this create a problem?

    Thanks in advance for the fantastic recipes and all your advice. Your site is always the first one I visit when I’m looking for something to make.

  15. Thank you for your knowledge and generosity .May i ask , Can substitute the milk for Asian coconut milk ( due to dairy intolerance ) to make your pastry cream recipe / lemon custard.
    Once again thanks and looking forward to learn from you

  16. Hi Gretchen,

    I love your recipes but I can’t seem to find your Lemon mousse recipe. I saw above that you suggested looking through the photos on FB and still can’t seem to find it. Do you think that that will be posted soon? It’s my very favourite, but I didn’t write it down because I thought I could just google it.

    1. Hey there I havent re-filmed or reblogged that recipe here as Gretchen’s Bakery Im sorry
      But you can follow the recipe for mango mousse and just use either lemon curd for the puree part or just straight up lemon juice

  17. Hi how are you?

    Would it be the same measurements if i wanted to use key limes instead of lemon?

    Thanks in advance!

  18. The best curd ever!!! I’ve made this recipe so many times and I could just eat it all by itself!!! Sooooooooooo good!!! Gretchen, you are amazing!

  19. I tried to make a lemon cheesecake with lemon curd topping, and the cheesecake seemed fine and had been in the fridge for an hour or so, the lemon curd was cooled to room temperature, I put the curd on top of the cheesecake, it was in the fridge again looking good, but about an hour and a half later the cheesecake suddenly had a big crack in it 🙁 what could have happened? My lemon curd was also runny but I think that was because I tried to rush it. Any help appreciated.

    1. Cracking cheesecakes can be caused by too much mixing (or rather I should say too FAST mixing which whips air into the better which will ultimately want to escape – typically through cracks in the surface)
      Also too hot an oven temperature and no water bath may cause cracking.
      Too fast cooling will also cause this, which is why we leave the cheesecakes in the oven for an hour after you shut it off to cool down slowly

      The curd must come to 170°F for the eggs to coagulate and set properly

  20. Pingback: Lemon Coconut Cake

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