Homemade lemon curd is one of those recipes that proves time and again just how versatile it is. Homemade lemon curd is easy to make (and master) and is a simple way to elevate any dessert.

Overhead photograph of lemon curd in a glass jar set on a marble table.Whether you top a store-bought angel food cake with a few dollops of this vibrant yellow sauce, spoon it into a tart shell for a quick but impressive dessert, or layer it between two shortbread cookies, lemon curd is there to make a statement. This easy-to-make sauce also does wonders in the appetizer department and is right at home atop a whipped ricotta crostini

This naturally sweetened lemon curd recipe is a slight variation on a lemon curd recipe from America’s Test Kitchen which was featured in this Blueberry Lemon Curd Tart  from their Naturally Sweet cookbook.

This honey lemon curd is perfectly balanced between sweet and tart and can be used in a variety of different ways.

Photograph of lemon curd in a glass jar set on a marble table.How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd

Step 1: Use fresh lemon juice & zest

It’s absolutely necessary to use fresh lemon juice. The fresh tart flavor is incomparable to the bottled stuff.

It’s also important to use fresh lemon zest—yes, ¼ cup is the correct amount. You’ll strain it out before serving, so don’t worry, you won’t be picking zest out of your teeth.

Overhead photograph of lemon curd ingredients set on a marble tableStep 2: Whisk Ingredients Together

Whisk yolks, egg, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt together in a saucepan until smooth.

Photograph of a saucepan with with eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest whisked together inStep 3: Cook lemon curd on stove top

Cook lemon curd mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture has reached 165-degrees and mixture has thickened, this should take 5 to 8 minutes.

Using an instant-read thermometer takes all the guesswork out of making lemon curd (and candy, meat, fish, etc.) This is my all-time favorite instant-read thermometer. 

Step 4: Remove from heat & stir in butter

Remove saucepan from heat and stir in butter until melted. The butter is important for adding flavor and creating a silky smooth texture. Be sure to use unsalted butter!

Photograph of diced butter being added to a saucepan with lemon curdStep 5: Strain

This step is important for two reasons. First, it strains out all of the zest we added at the beginning. And secondly, it acts as a failsafe by straining out any specks of cooked egg (occurs when the mixture is heated too quickly without being agitated or stirred).

Photograph of lemon curd being strained through a fine-mesh sieve. Step 6: Stir in cream (optional)

This step is totally optional. Adding just a splash of cream creates a silky smooth, luscious curd. The addition of cream to homemade lemon curd is not traditional and can easily be left out! It’s delicious either way.

How Do You Store Homemade Lemon Curd?

Lemon curd can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 week in advance. Transfer lemon curd to a glass container, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd so a skin doesn’t form, and store in the refrigerator.

You can also freeze lemon curd! Homemade lemon curd can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. Transfer lemon curd to a zipper-lock freezer bag, remove air, seal and transfer to the freezer. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. Thawed lemon curd should be used within 1 week.

Photograph of lemon curd in a glass jar set on a marble table.How to Use Homemade Lemon Curd:

Photograph of a honey dipper let on a marble table with lemon curd set in the background

Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make this Homemade Lemon Curd. 

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can click the button on any of the photos, or the red button on the side bar or below the recipe.  Happy cooking!

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Photograph of lemon curd in a glass jar set on a marble table.

Naturally Sweetened Homemade Lemon Curd

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 ⅓ cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American


Learn how to make homemade lemon curd with this step-by-step tutorial. Naturally sweetened with honey, this foolproof recipe creates the best homemade lemon curd every time!


  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ¼ cup minced lemon zest
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and chilled
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


Whisk yolks, egg, honey, zest, juice, and a pinch of salt in medium saucepan until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with whisk or rubber spatula, until mixture thickens slightly and registers 165°F, about 8 minutes.

Off heat, whisk in chilled butter until melted. Strain lemon curd through fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; gently stir in cream.


To use regular sugar instead of honey:

  • Use ¾ cup regular sugar instead of the honey.
  • Decrease to 4 yolks.
  • Increase to 2 whole eggs.

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Saucepan
  • Fine-mesh sieve (strainer)
  • Whisk


  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 111
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Sodium: 43mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 127mg

Keywords: Homemade lemon curd, naturally sweetened lemon curd, honey lemon curd, america's test kitchen lemon curd

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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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