The Easiest Way to Make Lemon Curd

The Easiest Way to Make Lemon Curd

Apr 16th 2018

Tangy, sweet lemon curd can be a valuable addition to your repertoire in the kitchen. Not only does it complement toast, pancakes, biscuits, and muffins, it's also excellent as a filling for pastries and cakes. When life gives you lemons, make lemon curd.

Traditional recipes involve double boilers, tempering eggs, and lots of stirring. Less experienced cooks may be too intimidated to try their hand. However, this simple recipe will turn out delicious lemon curd in less than ten minutes using your microwave.

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd: Before You Start

Because this is meant to be the easiest way to make lemon curd, let's start with a few tips to help make sure it goes as planned.

1. Use a large bowl

Microwave recipes can boil over quickly. If your bowl is too small, you will have quite a mess to clean up. Use a bowl that's at least twice as large as you think you'll need.

2. Keep it smooth

If you want your lemon curd to be smooth, you have two options. One, you can leave out the lemon zest. Two, you can press the warm curd through a fine mesh sieve.

Easiest Lemon Curd: About four large, juicy lemons will yield one cup of lemon juice.

3. Stock up on lemons

About four large, juicy lemons will yield one cup of lemon juice. 

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd: Recipe Details

Ready to get started? Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup of lemon juice
  • Zest of two lemons, grated or finely chopped
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and the sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the eggs and the egg yolk and whisk again. Be sure to thoroughly incorporate the eggs, or you risk having small pieces of cooked egg white suspended in your lemon curd. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and stir very well.

Microwave the mixture on high. Stir it well every 45-60 seconds to help the eggs cook slowly and avoid ending up with chunks of egg white in the finished product. After a total of 5-6 minutes in the microwave, the curd should begin to thicken. When it coats the back of a spoon, it's finished.

Easiest Lemon Curd: After a total of 5-6 minutes in the microwave, the curd should begin to thicken. When it coats the back of a spoon, it's finished.

Remove the lemon curd from the microwave. If you spot telltale chunks of egg white, press the warm curd through a fine mesh sieve. You can add the heavy cream to make it even creamier, or leave it as-is.

Transfer it to a covered storage container and refrigerate until cool. The lemon curd will thicken as it cools, so don’t worry if it seems too runny. To prevent skin from forming on top, place a layer of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface.

Once it has cooled, use your lemon curd however you like. Spread it on toast or pancakes, stir it into yogurt, use it as filling for cake or pastries.

Lemon curd will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also freeze it in a tightly sealed container for up to a year. Thaw frozen lemon curd by placing it in the refrigerator about 24 hours before you want to use it.

As an avid farmer, gardener, and cook, April Freeman is an expert in the food production process. She raises pigs, chickens, beef cattle, and grows a wide variety of vegetables and fruits on her family farm in Tennessee. Learn more about April’s firsthand experience with farm-fresh food on her blog, Feeding My Family.