This Lemon Curd Tart features a silky smooth lemon curd flooded into a tender cookie-like pastry crust. Made in a similar style to a classic French lemon tart, this recipe is simple to make and will make you look like a professional baker. We’ve tested this recipe numerous times to make sure it’s foolproof to make any time of the year!

A lemon curd tart, made the French way, is one of our favorite classic dessert recipes. We make it all year round for any occasion. Each bite is creamy with a sweet and sour lemon flavor that leaves you wanting more. We’ve made the best lemon tart recipe to share with you, and it’s been tested multiple times to make sure it always comes out perfectly.

I’ve studied lemon tarts thoroughly (and read many pie and tart cookbooks) because I knew I wanted to replicate the professional bakery-style treat right at home. I’ve eaten them in Paris, tried them from bakeries all over the US, and learned the tricks to a good homemade tart during my time at America’s Test Kitchen. This is one dessert that’s always requested in our home!

Our reader’s love this recipe because it’s foolproof and delicious. It’s a dessert recipe that works well to make ahead of time before entertaining or bringing to a party to impress your family and friends.

If you’re looking for other delicious tart recipes, you also have to try our Raspberry Lemon Tart, Rhubarb Tart, and Blueberry Lemon Tart.

This is so pretty and delicious. I like that I can make the curd and crust ahead of time. It makes preparing so much easier. Great tart!!!

-Lori
butter, cream, honey, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice set out on a counter

Ingredients

You only need a handful of simple ingredients to pull together one of the most stunning and delicious dessert recipes. Many of these ingredients overlap between the filling and the crust such as the butter, eggs, and cream.

  • Lemons: You’ll need 4–6 lemons, depending on size, to make the lemon curd for this tart. Zest the lemons using a microplane (< this is our favorite) before juicing them. You will need a ¼ cup measure of lemon zest and ½ cup lemon juice.
  • Large Eggs: This recipe requires a total of 10 eggs—though we only need the yolk from most of those (2 whole eggs and 7 yolks are used in the curd while 1 yolk is used in the crust). Save the egg whites to make an egg white omelette or frittata, or mix them into your morning eggs for a low-fat, protein-packed scramble.
  • Honey: We love the floral note that honey adds to our homemade lemon curd. You will need ½ cup. If you’d prefer to use sugar you can substitute the honey with ¾ cup granulated sugar.
  • Unsalted Butter: You will need 12 tablespoon unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks or ¾ cup)
  • Heavy Cream: Unlike make other recipes, both our crust and our lemon curd feature a splash of cream for silkiness and decadence.
  • All-purpose Flour: We’re keeping the pastry crust simple and using all-purpose flour. But if you want to make a whole-wheat crust, go for it!
  • Confectioners’ Sugar (Powdered Sugar): Confectioners’ sugar, also called powder sugar, is ideal for making tender sweet pastry crusts. First off, because it’s powdered it blends into the crust smoothly. And secondly, the cornstarch present in confectioners’ sugar makes for a very tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
side angle of a slice of lemon tart pulled away from the rest of the tart

How to Make Lemon Curd Tart

Step 1: Make the Tart Crust

The beauty of our Classic Tart Crust Recipe is that is uses a food processor to make the dough! Quick and easy and versatile—use it to make a Pear Tart and a Lemon Blueberry Tart.

  1. Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until a coarse meal is formed.
cubes of butter on top of flour in a food processor
  1. Add the egg yolk and cream and pulse until a dough comes together.
tark dough crumbles on a counter
  1. Form the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill.
tart dough formed into a disk

Step 2: Bake the Tart Crust

  1. Roll the dough out into a round then transfer it to a tart pan with a removable bottom (this one is our favorite).
tart crust dough set inside a tart pan
  1. Press crust into edges and trim anyoverhang.
tart crust dough in a tart pan
  1. Loosely wrap the crust in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the plastic from the dough and line the dough with two layers of aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or baking beans.
  1. Blind bake the crust until edges are golden and base is set, this will take about 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the pie weights and foil, then return the crust to the oven and continue baking until deeply golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Let the crust cool completely.
baked tart crust in a tart pan

Step 3: Make the Lemon Curd

While the tart crust cools on a wire rack, get started on making our favorite lemon curd recipe.

  1. Whisk the egg yolks, egg, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt together in a saucepan until smooth. Add the butter.
lemon curd mixture in a saucepan
  1. Cook the lemon curd mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture has reached 170-degrees and mixture has thickened, this should take 5 to 8 minutes.
lemon curd in a saucepan with a thermometer set in it
  1. Remove the saucepan from heat and strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer.
lemon curd in a strainer set over a glass bowl
  1. Stir in the cream. 
lemon curd with a splash of cream in a glass bowl with a whisk

Step 4: Bake the Tart

  1. Pour the curd into the tart shell, spreading with an offset spatula if needed.
lemon zest being spread into a tart crust
  1. Bake just until the filling has a nice sheen and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, this will take about 10 minutes.
close up image of a bite of lemon tart on a fork

Expert Tips & Substitutions

  • Be sure to not over-bake the tart or it will crack and the texture will be gummy. The lemon filling should jiggle slightly when you remove it from the oven.
  • If you overcook the lemon curd (this is when you see small egg pieces) simply strain the curd through a fine mesh sieve and continue with the recipe.
  • Be sure not to overwork the pastry dough in the food processor, this will make the crust tough and not flaky when it bakes.
  • You can also make this tart with other citrus juices! Try orange or lime, they’re also delicious.
  • If you prefer not to use honey to sweeten the curd, then feel free to use 1 cup granulated sugar. We love the floral note the honey gives the tart.
  • It is absolutely key that you use eggs labeled as large. If smaller eggs are used you won’t have enough filling to flood the crust.
close up overhead image of a lemon tart with a slide set on its side

What to Serve with Lemon Tart Recipe

Now this lemon curd tart recipe is a showstopper on it’s own. But if you do want to serve with a garnish of some sort we have some ideas for you.

We like to keep the serving of this tart simple—a dusting of powdered sugar and some fresh berries do the trick. If can take it a step further with whipped cream, a berry compote or even a berry coulis. This will really impress your guests.

Make Ahead Tips

  • Make the tart crust dough ahead of time: wrapped the dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, let the dough thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
  • Make the dough and line the tart pan ahead of time: make the dough, roll it out and line your pan as directed in the recipe. Wrap the dough-lined pan tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Do not thaw the tart shell prior to baking; blind bake the frozen shell as directed in recipe.

Storing Leftovers

  • Fridge is best. For the best quality, enjoy this lemon tart on the same day as it is made. However, this dessert lasts well for up to three days wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator. Stored any longer and the crust will start to soften and the lemon curd will start to weep. 
  • Don’t freeze or store at room temperature. Because the filling is made with eggs, we do not recommend storing this at room temperature overnight.
side angle of a piece of lemon tart being held up on a spatula

FAQs

Why did my lemon tart crack?

The most common reason why your tart cracked is because the oven was too hot (375ºF is as hot as your oven should be) or the tart was overbaked. It’s best to pull your lemon tart from the oven when its center is still slightly jiggly when the pan is gently shaken.

I don’t seem to have enough filling for my tart, what happened?

We have heard from a few readers who experienced this and it comes down to the size of eggs you used. Although we love using farm fresh eggs, we recommend buying eggs labeled as Large from your grocery store. This will guarantee your eggs are the correct size and you will get the necessary volume of lemon curd for the tart.
If you are not sure what size eggs you have, you can measure the eggs. A raw egg, without the shell, should weigh 50 grams.

Can you freeze lemon tart?

We do not recommend freezing your lemon tart. As much as it may save time, the sacrifice in texture just isn’t worth it. 

However, we’ve got some great make ahead tips below that will save major time—making this totally doable for a dinner party.

Are there raw eggs in lemon tart?

Lemon curd is made with both whole eggs and egg yolks. However, the curd mixture is cooked on the stove top to 170-degrees fahrenheit which is above the recommended food safety temperature of 160-degrees. So, lemon tarts are safe to eat!

More Tart Recipes to Try

Tarts are one of our favorite desserts to make so we’ve got quite the archive of recipes for you to try!

  • Our Fresh Fruit Tart is unlike any fruit tart you’ve ever had before. Featuring a flavorful whole-wheat crust and a silky mascarpone filling, it’s truly a showstopper.
  • In the citrus mood? Our Lemon-Blueberry Tart has been a reader favorite for years!
  • When rhubarb season is in full swing, put the fresh ruby stalks to use in our stunning layered Lemon-Rhubarb Tart.
  • For something a little funkier and more adventurous, try our Pear, Hazelnut & Blue Cheese Tart.
  • In the fall, give our Pumpkin Butter Pop Tarts a try. They’re a fun brunch treat!
  • If you’re looking for something a little easier, try our Upside Down Puff Pastry Tarts! We offer 7 different varieties including desserts and savory appetizers.

Lemon Curd Tart

4.77 from 17 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Chilling Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Yield 8 servings (one 9-inch tart)
Category Dessert
Cuisine French
Author Lauren

Description

This Lemon Tart features a silky smooth lemon curd flooded into a tender cookie-like tart crust. Made in a similar style to the classic French lemon tart, this recipe is simple to make and will make you look like a professional baker. We've tested this recipe numerous times to make sure it's foolproof to make any time of the year!

Ingredients

Tart Crust

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • cups (6 ¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (½ cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces and chilled

Lemon Curd

  • ¼ cup lemon zest
  • ½ cup lemon juice (4 lemons)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup honey
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Serving

  • Berries, optional
  • Confectioners' sugar, optional

Instructions

Tart Crust

  • Heat oven to 375ºF (190ºC) with rack set in middle position.
  • Whisk 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla together in bowl.
  • Process 1 ¼ cups flour, ½ cup sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter 8 tablespoons chilled butter over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses.
  • With processor running, add yolk mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 12 seconds.
  • Form dough into 6-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling.)
  • Let chilled dough sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, roll dough out to a 11-inch circle on lightly floured surface. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into pan by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into corners and fluted sides of pan with your other hand (make sure edges are about 1/4-inch thick).
  • Run rolling pin over top of pan to remove any excess dough.
  • Wrap dough-lined pan loosely in plastic, place on a large plate, and freeze until dough is chilled and firm, about 30 minutes. (Dough-lined tart pan can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375°F (190ºC). Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet, discard plastic and line with a double layer of aluminum foil, covering edges to prevent burning; fill with pie weights. Bake crust until golden brown and set, about 30–40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
  • Remove weights and foil and continue baking crust for an additional 5-10 minutes until deeply golden brown.
  • Transfer tart crust to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Lemon Curd

  • Whisk ¼ lemon zest, ½ cup lemon juice, 2 eggs, 7 egg yolks, ½ cup honey, and pinch salt in medium saucepan until smooth.
  • Add 4 tablespoons butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with rubber spatula, until mixture thickens and registers 170ºF (76ºC) 6–8 minutes.
  • Immediately pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into bowl.
  • Add 2 tablespoons cream.
  • Whisk until smooth.

Bake

  • Pour warm lemon curd into cooled 9-inch tart crust. Set tart on baking sheet and bake until filling is shiny and opaque and center jiggles slightly when shaken, 10–15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
  • Transfer tart with baking sheet to wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
  • To serve, remove outer metal ring of pan, slide a thin spatula between tart and tart pan bottom, and carefully slide tart onto serving platter.
  • Top with berries and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using.

Video

Notes

The curd recipe calls for large eggs, but depending on the size of your eggs the yield may differ. To ensure you have enough filling adjust as needed. (1 medium egg = 1.75 oz.; 1 large egg = 2 oz.; 1 extra-large egg = 2.25 oz.; 1 jumbo egg = 2.5 oz.)
DO NOT use the convection setting on your oven when baking tarts. This will cause the tart crust to burn. 
Store tart in the refrigerator covered with plastic for up to 3 days.
Storage Notes: 
  • Fridge is best. For the best quality, enjoy this lemon tart on the same day as it is made. However, this dessert lasts well for up to three days wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator. Stored any longer and the crust will start to soften and the lemon curd will start to weep. 
  • Don’t freeze or store at room temperature. Because the filling is made with eggs, we do not recommend storing this at room temperature overnight.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 388kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 7gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 304mgSodium: 183mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
Overhead image of a lemon tart set on parchment paper with powdered sugar and berries scattered around it

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is so pretty and delicious. I like that I can make the curd and crust ahead of time. It makes preparing so much easier. Great tart!!!

    1. Hi! I have a question about cooking temperature. The recepie says to after pouring the curd into tart crust, bake the whole tart for next 10- 15 minutes. What temperature and fun should I set in my oven. Please let me know. I am really exciting to make this amazing looking tart ;).

  2. 5 stars
    After the coconut curry I read up on your other page… This is now dessert! Your recipes are amazing… I hope they look as amazing as you make them… 😮

  3. 2 stars
    I just made this and followed the recipe 100%. It says to blind bake the crust for 40 minutes at 375 and mine came out so burnt it’s black on the bottom! I just read another recipe with identical ingredients and it says 20 minutes at 375!!!!

    1. Hi Sarah—I’m so sorry to hear that. I’ve made this crust countless times and that has never been the case. I would recommend checking your oven temperature by placing an oven thermometer on the oven rack and heating it to 400. Once it’s been preheated for a while, check the thermometer. Many ovens either run high or low, which could have caused this. Again, I’m sorry to hear this. None of my readers have had this experience before and this crust recipe is used in multiple tart recipes on my site. I’ve updated the recipe with a time range now to account for potential ranges in oven temperature.

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is perfect! I had no trouble with the crust—buttery and cookie-like. I will say, you need to use large eggs like she specifies here. I used medium eggs this last time and I had less filling. This is my new go-to tart recipe!

  5. Could I leave the tart to chill overnight? I really want to make this tart for my friend but the only way I could is if I do it a day before.

    1. Hi Sonia,

      Great question, you can absolutely do it a day ahead of time! Once it’s cooled to room temp, I would wrap it loosely in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. Pull it out of the fridge about an hour before serving and decorate as desired. You may need to dab a bit of moisture off the top of the tart once it has warmed to room temp.

      I hope this helps!

    1. Absolutely, you can definitely swap out the lemon zest and juice for orange zest and juice. When I make orange curd I find it lacks some tartness so I usually add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the orange juice. Let me know how it goes, yum!

  6. 5 stars
    Made this today. SO GOOD! Instructions were clear and accurate. Used uncooked rice as weight during the initial bake of the crust.