Small Batch Creamy Lemon Curd with Egg Yolks

The best homemade lemon curd recipe you will ever need. Easy to make and super creamy, this small batch lemon curd is made with egg yolks and uses both lemon juice and zest.

Belula February 13, 2022
The lemon curd inside a glass jar placed on top of 3 plate with a spoon inside of the jar.

Learn how to make this easy small batch lemon curd recipe. This recipe will take you through every step of the way to get a smooth and super creamy lemon curd. This recipe is made using only egg yolks with both the juice and the zest of the lemon for extra flavor. It is perfect and versatile as it can be used for many different things: as a filling for a lemon curd tart, filled cookies, or even to fill doughnuts. It can also be used as a spread over brioche bread or to swirl into a scoop of ice cream. The sky is the limit. Hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

What is lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a spread or topping made with lemon juice, sugar, butter, and lemon zest. Curd can be made with other citrus fruits, like orange, tangerine, or lime. Lemon curd is usually cooked to 83-85 C° (185 F).

The lemon curd inside a glass jar placed on top of 3 plate with a spoon inside of the jar.
Closeup of the lemon curd inside a glass jar placed on top of 3 plate with a spoon inside of the jar as seen from above.

Material & Ingredient notes

  • Lemon zest: must be used freshly grated
  • Butter: at least 82% fat content and must be cut into small cubes and at room temperature before adding in.
  • Kitchen Thermometer: to cook the lemon curd. However, if you don’t have one, you can easily make this creamy lemon curd recipe without it. See the notes section for precise instructions.
  • Unsalted butter: half the butter must be added into the curd cold and cut into small cubes.

How to make this recipe

Making this small batch lemon curd tart is amazingly simple and straightforward. To make this easy creamy lemon curd recipe, you must:

  • Prepare all the ingredients and materials you will need
  • Cook the lemon curd on the stove
  • Store the lemon curd to let it cool down.
  • Use as needed! See below all the things you can make using this homemade lemon curd.
  • Enjoy!
The lemon zest and sugar mixed inside the bowl of the food procesor.
The butter and half the sugar inside a pan ready to start making the creamy lemon curd.
The creamed egg yolks and sugar inside a bowl.
The lemon curd inside the pan with the remaining half of the butter on top.
The lemon curd ready inside a pan with a black handle.
The lemon curd inside a glass jar placed on top of 3 plate with a spoon inside of the jar as seen from above.

Recipe Notes

  • Zest is added in with the sugar to help the zest release all its flavor.
  • I recommend mixing the sugar and the zest in a food processor to keep the curd as smooth as possible.
  • If you want to take it a step further, you can strain the lemon curd once it’s done.
  • To blanch eggs and sugar means that you should whisk until they have gained in volume and changed to a pale-yellow color. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Mixing constantly when cooking the lemon curd is important as it will prevent the curd from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • The butter must be whisked into the lemon curd cold so that it properly emulsifies it.

Notes on cooking this homemade lemon curd

  • It doesn’t have to boil, if it does, you have gone too far.
  • If using a thermometer, lemon curd is done when it has attained 83-85 C° (185 F).
  • If you are not using a thermometer, you can tell lemon curd is done when it has thickened enough that it can coat the back of a spoon.
  • If you feel lemon curd is not as smooth you can mix it using an immersion hand blender.

Storage Tips

You can keep the lemon curd, stored in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

You can make a double or triple batch of this small batch lemon curd as it keeps nicely for a rather long time.

Freezer Instructions

This small batch lemon curd recipe can be frozen stored in an airtight container and can be kept for up to 3 months in the freezer.

To defrost, place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Lemon curd uses

Lemon curd can be used in many different types of recipes:

  • As a doughnut filling. You have a killer filled donut recipe here, only replace the raspberry jam with the lemon curd.
  • As a tart filling, to make lemon curd tart or to replace the cranberry curd in this cranberry curd tart topped with whipped white chocolate ganache.
  • As a spread over brioche bread or toast.
  • As a topping on cheesecake and even ice-cream.
  • This creamy lemon curd can be used as a cake filling too. You can make this lemon cake and bake it in a round pan instead, then slice in 2 and fill with the lemon curd. Simple and delicious.
  • To fill cookies.
The ingredients used in all recipes on this site are measured using the metric system. I use a scale to be precise with my measurements and ensure good results. If you would also like to use a scale, here are some: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, France.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition: 170 cal
Cuisine: French


  • Egg Yolks 4
  • Granulated Sugar 150 g
  • Lemon Zest (zest of two lemons) 2
  • Lemon Juice 100 g
  • Unsalted Butter 100 g


  • 1. Prepare the ingredients and materials: prepare a clean airtight container or a clean glass jar to store the lemon curd in. In a food processor, mix the sugar and the lemon zest for about 2 minutes.
  • 2. Make the lemon curd: Blanch the sugar/zest and egg yolks using a whisk. In the meantime, bring the lemon juice and 50 g of butter to a simmer. Add the blanched sugar/egg yolk/zest mixture to the pot and cook over medium heat, constantly mixing with a spatula, until it has thickened. Mixing constantly is important because it will prevent the curd from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Lemon curd is ready when it has thickened, and you can coat the back of a spoon (at 85 C°/185 F if you use a thermometer). Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 50 g of butter. Mix until completely incorporated.
  • 3. Store the lemon curd: Once the butter is properly incorporated into the curd, remove from the pan and place in an airtight container covered in saran wrap in contact with the curd, then cover the container with the lid. Refrigerate until cold and ready to use.
If you made this recipe I would really appreciate it if you leave a rating or comment below! Also, if you share on social media please use #cookwithbelula, I would love to see what you create!
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Kathryn February 19, 2022

what do you do with the orange peel in the lemon curd recipe???

Belén Gowland
Belula March 04, 2022

HI Kathryn,
You don't do anything with it!!!! It was a big overlook and mistake on my end! So grateful you have pointed this out, I have already changed the recipe to remove the orange peel!

Lily April 15, 2022

Wow this is the best I’ve ever tasted! Perfectly balanced 10/10 can’t wait to taste my macarons after filling them with this.

Belén Gowland
Belula June 03, 2022

HI Lily!!
Ohhh I could not be happier! Glad you enjoyed the recipe! I am a fan too :) Hope the macaron turned out fantastic (lemon are my favorite!). And thank you for taking the time to leave this review! I appreciate it!

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