Easy lemon curd

Turn sweet, seasonal lemons into a tasty pot of gold with this easy lemon curd recipe. Serve it with pancakes or meringue pie.

1 cup


Note: + cooling time



  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 100g butter, chopped
  • 2 Coles Australian Free Range Eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbs finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
  • Yellow food colouring (optional)



Place the sugar, butter and egg in a saucepan. Add the lemon rind, lemon juice and a little food colouring, if desired. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 5 mins or until the mixture boils and thickens. Set aside to cool slightly.


Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Store in sterilised jars in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

Tip: Use this recipe as a base for any citrus curd, such as lime or orange

Lemon curd recipe

Bright, tangy and sweet, lemon curd is like edible sunshine. But what is lemon curd, exactly? A preserve? A cream? A custard? It’s a kind of combination of all three –  the word “curd” is a bit of a misnomer, hinting at some kind of cheese, which is not the case. It could be explained by one of the first mentions of lemon curd in 1844. Lady Charlotte Campbell Bury’s recipe in The Lady’s Own Cookery Book involves lemon being added to cream to form curds and strained through cheesecloth. 

The lemon curd we know and love today is often used as a topping for scones, a filling for tarts and cakes, as the base of lemon meringue pie, drizzled over pavlova or simply spread on buttered toast for breakfast. Though you can get store bought curd, the beauty of making your own is that you can customise the flavour. And if you’re pleased by the simple ingredients list – lemon, eggs, sugar and butter – you’ll be even more taken with the method. 5 minutes of stirring and you’re done, though you’ll need to be patient while it cools.

How to make lemon curd

Lemon curd is one of those recipes some cooks put in the too-hard basket – it often calls for a double boiler, and many anxiety-wracked minutes of furious whisking, lest the curd become a scramble. This easy lemon curd recipe puts paid to all that. Simply place all your ingredients in a pan over medium heat and stir until bubbles just appear and the mixture thickens – about 5 minutes. If the mixture is reaching the boil too quickly, lower the heat and continue stirring. When the curd is ready, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remember, it will thicken further upon cooling. Strain the cooled curd through a sieve into a sterilised jar and seal.

If you’re worried about creating sweet, lemony scrambled eggs, make sure you use a heavy-bottomed saucepan to evenly distribute the heat. Keep an eye on the temperature, lowering if necessary, and don’t step away from the stove until the curd is ready.

Now get cooking

The lesson here is, when life gives you lemons, make lemon curd recipes. You can add this lemon curd to any number of desserts like basque cheesecake, lamingtons, milk cake, slice, or scones. Combine lemons with blueberries to make this lemon and blueberry curd. Don’t be afraid to get experimental! Try it with strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries with other citrus fruits.

Got more lemons? Lucky you. The lemon is one of the MVPs of the kitchen. Its tart juiciness is perfect for classic desserts such as lemon meringue pie, lemon delicious pudding (the most comforting pud ever), and this clever slow cooker lemon cheesecake. Come to think of it, each of these could be improved with a dollop of lemon curd on top!



In the fridge, the curd will keep up to a week. It’s also possible to keep it in the freezer. Just defrost in the fridge overnight before using.


To sterilise jars, wash the jars in hot, soapy water or put through the hottest cycle of a dishwasher. Place the jars onto a baking tray and slide into an oven set to 160ºC/140ºC Fan/Gas 3 for 10–15 minutes.


Absolutely! Limes work just as well here.


This curd recipe can be made with virtually any fruit that’s easy to juice, but it’s the tart and tangy ones that work best. Experiment with blood orange, passionfruit, grapefruit or lime. If the fruit is sweet, add some lemon juice to balance the flavours – the acid is essential.


Your lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools so allow it to come to room temperature before you use it, otherwise it won’t be the right consistency.


If your curd is lumpy, it’s probably little pieces of egg that have been overcooked. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the curd mixture to a bowl and whisk until it smooths out. If remains lumpy, pass the curd through a sieve to remove the lumps. If the curd is still a bit runny, return it to a low heat and stir until cooking is complete.


Lemon curd, lemon butter, and occasionally lemon cheese: these terms are all somewhat interchangeable. They all describe a lemony spread made with lemons, butter, eggs, and sugar – the rest is semantics. Some recipes use just egg yolks (this creates a richer, eggier flavour), others call for thickening with cornstarch, but none of these differences seems to apply to any particular name.

Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.