Lemons are an interesting fruit – on their own, they’re so sour they’re almost punishing to your tastebuds, but when you add sugar and put them in baked goods, they basically taste like sunshine. Rock on, lemons, you make everything better.

This is my favorite no-frills recipe for lemon curd. Just lemons, sugar, and eggs. And there’s no butter here, so it’s practically a health food!

Lemon curd

Lemon curd on a slice of challah

Lemon Curd

Adapted from Baking Bites
Makes roughly 11 oz.

  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained (2 medium lemons)
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 10 tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  1. In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine sugar and lemon juice. Add zest and stir until sugar is dissolved completely.
  2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg. Whisking constantly, very slowly stream the hot lemon-sugar syrup into the egg. Beat for 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth and syrup has been fully incorporated into the eggs. 
  3. Transfer mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the curd comes to a boil. Keep whisking for another minute or two – mixture will thicken up to the consistency of a plain yogurt (think Dannon or Yoplait).
  4. Transfer to a small airtight container. urd will develop a slight film over the top as it cools, so place a small square of plastic wrap over the top, then transfer to refrigerator.

I had never had lemon curd before making this recipe, so I don’t know how much better it is with butter. All I know is that I love this version without butter – it’s so tart and creamy and wonderful. I actually think butter might do the lemons a disservice in this case since that buttery heaviness might take away from the brightness of the lemons.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s a great base for other types of fruit curds. I’ve made this before with limes (which is even better than the lemon version), oranges, and grapefruits, and they’ve all turned out amazing.

I know spring is just a month away, but for the days when it feels like winter will never end, a bite of this tangy lemon curd will (temporarily) make everything better.

Lemon prep

Yes, that is my sink – zesting lemons is messy business, okay? And the zester was an impulse purchase because I just can’t help myself around holiday themed kitchen items.

Fresh lemon juice

That poor lemon has no idea what’s about to happen to it

Lemon curd at a boil

Bubbles mean it’s done!

Lemon curd

Fresh lemon curd

Lemon curd

Guaranteed to put a smile on your face