Lemon curd is often used to add a smooth textural layer to lemon cakes or to fill a lemon pie, but there are many more lemon curd uses beyond a lemon curd filling. Lemon curd can also be used as a sweet and tart ingredient in morning oatmeal and yogurt or as a mix-in for ice cream and frozen yogurt. No matter how you use lemon curd, try new combinations for different spins on routine recipes. Follow an easy, no-fail lemon curd recipe to master the sweet treat, and keep a jar of it on hand in the fridge for last-minute additions to meals and desserts alike.
Lemon Curd Recipe
Total Time: 30 minutes | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 3 cups lemon curd
- 4 large lemons, juiced
- 4 large lemons, zested
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup salted butter, cut into blocks
- 5 egg yolks
- Using a fine-toothed grater, remove the zest of the lemons taking care to leave the white pith below the lemon skin on the flesh of the lemon.
- Combine the lemon zest with the sugar in a food processor and pulse until the zest is well-mixed into the sugar.
- In a medium mixing bowl on medium speed, cream the butter. Slowly add in the lemon and sugar mixture.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
- Add the lemon juice, mixing until well-combined.
- In a large saucepan, pour in the thoroughly combined mixture and cook for 10 minutes over low heat while whisking the whole time.
- The lemon curd should thicken just before it simmers.
- Once the lemon curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat and allow to cool at room temperature. It can be used immediately or stored in the fridge.
The egg yolks and butter ensure that the lemon curd is smooth, creamy and rich, making this a thick, decadent filling and topping. For a thinner consistency, replace the five egg yolks with four whole large eggs. The lemon curd recipe can be adjusted to have more of an acidic bite by slowly adding lemon juice.
Uses for Lemon Curd
Though the first use for lemon curd that comes to mind might be lemon curd filling in cake, cupcakes, tarts or pies, there are tons of other lemon curd uses. With a little creativity, the citrus custard can be featured at the center of a wide range of desserts from baked to frozen. While you can find many recipes featuring lemon curd on recipe databases like Food52 and Cooking Light, take a tip or two to inspire your own dessert creations.
For baked desserts, lemon curd can be spooned into pie shells or phyllo dough tart shells for indulgent and airy desserts, depending on the type of shell dough used. Lemon curd can be used over pancakes when warmed, on top of baked meringues or stirred into oatmeal for a zingy start to the day. Adding lemon curd to baked treats adds acidity to cut through the richness while sweetening a tart dessert. Remember to keep a balance of flavors and textures in mind when creating your own lemon curd dessert recipes.
Try adding a spoonful of lemon curd to frozen yogurt, serve chilled with fresh berries or sandwich between two graham crackers and a cut square of frozen cool whip for a sandwich cookie spin on frozen lemon pie. When making a cold dessert with lemon curd, remember that frozen or chilled lemon curd will have a diminished citrus flavor. To increase the lemon flavor, make good use of fresh lemon juice or zest in cold desserts.