If you love lemon curd but are looking for a thicker version than what you normally make, let me share this dish with you! The Best Thick Lemon Curd has it all! Thickness, flavor, and consistency. I will teach you all the tips and tricks for getting the perfect lemon curd.
What Makes This Lemon Curd So Good?
A lot of recipes for lemon curd produce a thinner curd. These are great for certain things, but a lot of times you need a thicker curd. This recipe is that!
I love to use this as a cake filling. Or even a curd to fill macarons or cookies with. Or let's talk about this for an ice cream topping...how about drizzled on an angel food cake? It is also a great tart filling tart or lemon pie. Yes, please! It is really versatile and really good.
Some recipes produce a really sweet curd. While I like these recipes, I actually like a more tart curd. This is sweetened, don't worry, but it isn't too much! This is a lemon lovers recipe.
It is pretty easy to make. I mean curd is a little time-consuming, but not for what you get out of it! Some recipes call for a double boiler, but this isn't one of them. I simplified the process as much as I could!
It holds well in the fridge for several weeks and can even be frozen! So this can be made well in advance.
With just a few simple ingredients you will be on your way!
- Fresh Lemons- I used regular lemons, but if you want a more mild flavor, go for Meyer lemons. You will be using lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. This is how you get the ultimate lemon flavor.
- Egg yolks- some recipes call for whole eggs, but I prefer my curd made from egg yolks, it is much richer. Save those egg whites for making meringue. If you are using this recipe to make my mini lemon meringue pies, the egg whites are perfect for that meringue. I like the egg yolks to be at room temperature as they blend better. Make sure these are large eggs. Medium will not give you the same thickness on your curd.
- Granulated Sugar- I have not tested other sweeteners, so I cannot give recommendations for this.
- Unsalted Butter- That yummy creamy texture comes from a mix of the thickened cream and also the butter. Don't skip this! Also, make sure to use cold butter.
- Pinch of salt- I promise it only takes just a touch, do not overdo it!
How To Make
Wash your lemon and zest. If you aren't sure what that means, basically you will grate off the lemon rind. I have a Microplane I use for this and love it! The zest is only the yellow part. If you get into the white part, that is the pith and is bitter.
Start by combining your lemon zest with granulated sugar. Mix them well. I like to do this first as it ensures the zest is evenly distributed and the sugars take on the lemon oils as well. This is also a trick I use in my baked goods as well.
In a pan, add in your egg yolks, then whisk in your lemon sugar. I like to whisk this until it is a lighter color. Next, whisk in the lemon juice until the mixture is fairly smooth (it won't be perfectly smooth as you have the zest in there).
Turn your heat on low and mix consistently until the mixture starts bubbling just a touch and the curd has thickened. I know some cook this on medium heat, but without the double boiler, I play it safe with low heat.
At this point, when you swipe the back of the spoon through the curd, you should be able to run your finger through it and have the curd stay in place. Or you can also check if it coats the back of a spoon.
Now, add in the chilled butter that has been cut into chunks and the salt. Mix until it is well blended.
I like to leave my curd a little chunky, so I don't strain. I really like the lemon zest left in it. If you want a smoother curd, go ahead and strain through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
Once it is where you want it, cover the surface with plastic wrap. You will want to make sure this is right on the top of the curd or a skin will form.
That is it! I told you it was easy to make your own lemon curd. That tangy flavor is irresistible!
Bottled lemon juice is not the same as fresh lemon juice. The juice is bottles is a concentrate and will produce an almost bitter curd. If you want the traditional lemon curd taste, stick with fresh lemons.
You will need to mix this constantly while it is cooking. The curd with burn easily and you will wind up with chunks if you don't. Be mindful to mix in the corners of the pan as well.
A thick-bottom pan is essential. This will also keep the curd from burning when it is cooking.
As noted above, as soon as the curd is cooked, make sure and wrap it right on the surface. The skin that will form is not good!
While some recipes use corn starch to thicken, this recipe does not need it!
Make sure and whisk the curd well when you are cooking and when you add in the butter. This will ensure you get the best creamy lemon curd.
You can also make other curd flavors by using different citrus fruits. You can sub the zest and juice straight across for the lemon in this recipe.
One of my favorite ways to use this curd is in these Mini Lemon Meringue Pies. For some reason, I prefer the mini version to the full pie.
Total time is about 15-20 minutes at the most! It is actually a really easy lemon curd recipe.
First, if you are planning on using it in the next few weeks, make sure and store it in the fridge. I like to store mine in a glass jar with a lid on it. You can also store it in a small bowl, just make sure the wrap stays on the surface.
I cannot say for sure on this one as I have not tried it before. I will say however that the molasses flavor in the brown sugar does not sound good to me in lemon curd. But, if you are wanting to, give it a try!
You can. Lemon curd freezes really well.
Other Lemon Desserts
- Lemon Chiffon Cake
- Creamy Lemon Mascarpone Dip
- Strawberry lemon Scones
- Chewy Lemon Cookies with Lemon Drizzle
- Lemon Chamomile Cake
- Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Blueberries
Thick Lemon Curd
- thick bottom sauce pan
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 5 egg yolks reserve those egg whites and save them!
- ½ cup lemon juice This is fresh squeezed, not bottled.
- 6 tablespoon chilled butter cut in chunks I cut mine into a about ½ inch cubes.
- dash salt this won't be much. Just about ⅛ teaspoon
- Start by washing your lemon, dry, and zest. It took 2 lemons to get the 2 tablespoons I needed.
- Mix the granulated sugar and lemon zest together in a small bowl.
- Add the egg yolks and whisk for about 30 seconds. Then add in the lemon juice and mix that to combine as well.
- Move them to a medium-size heavy bottom saucepan.
- Heat over low heat stirring constantly. Remember that this will burn quickly. So be sure to mix even in the corners of the pan.
- Once this comes just barely to a boil and is thickened, remove from heat.
- Add in the cubes of butter and mix until it is melted and well combined.
- At this point, you can use it like it is, or you can strain if you want a really smooth curd. I personally like the zest in the curd, so I do not strain. This will be a personal choice though, strain if you like.
- If you are not going to use it right away, make sure and cover the surface with plastic wrap. This will need to be right on top of the curd, otherwise, it will form a "skin" on the surface.
- If you are not planning on using this right away, allow it to cool, then place in the fridge.
- It will hold in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Or, you can freeze it for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
- Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!
About how much lemon curd does this recipe make please?
It makes almost 1 1/2 cups of curd!
Sarahjane Dooley says
This is a wonderful recipe. I usually use a double boiler to ensure nothing gets burnt, but with a lot of care, this recipe works perfectly, too. I love using this between layers in a Pavlova. My husband says it is the best dessert he has ever tasted!
Thank you! It is a great curd, with simplified instructions! You do need to make sure and stir constantly though. And, yum...I wish I could have tried that pavlova!
Can this recipe be doubled? Thanks 😛
It sure can!
On your ingredients list, you might want to move the "This is fresh squeezed, not bottled" from the lemon zest to the lemon juice measurement. Just sayin' 🙂
Haha, thank you so much for catching that Anne. Sometimes it is hard to keep it all straight:).
Donna A Pollock says
This was so good I mad a double batch. One to eat and one for my Lemon Velvet Cake I made. I love this stuff. I'm making the little pie's next I like them too. Thank you, so much for this delicious recipe.
I am so glad you liked it, Donna, I am addicted to it! That lemon velvet cake sounds dreamy. Send a slice my way please!