Gluten-Free Lemon Curd is a silky, tangy custard-like spread made from fresh eggs, lemon juice, sugar, butter, and lemon zest. It's perfect for filling cookies, and cakes and served with freshly baked pastries such as gluten-free scones and shortbread cookies. Definitely a must-make if you are a lemon lover.
Making your own lemon curd is easier to make than you may think and will keep up to 2 weeks in your fridge. I would be surprised if you would have a jar of lemon curd for this long on hands.
If you love lemon desserts, make sure to check out my easy gluten-free lemon bars made with an almond shortbread crust.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Lemons: If available, I recommend using organic lemons in this recipe for Lemon Curd. Especially when using their zest. No matter what, make sure to give them a good rinse. I do NOT recommend using bottled lemon juice in this recipe. Juice from fresh fruit is always better than bottled. Meyer Lemons can be used in this recipe.
Eggs: Most curd recipes call for egg yolks only. I feel like that makes the curd taste eggy. This is why we are using two whole eggs and two egg yolks in this recipe. This gives the curd its beautiful yellow colour. Make sure to save the leftover egg whites to make gluten-free vanilla marshmallows or cinnamon-spiced pecans.
Butter: I prefer to use unsalted butter in all my recipes. This way I can control the amount of salt going into them. The butter should be at room temperature, around 65F.
Sugar: For the best results make sure to white granulated sugar and not brown sugar. It will not only change the color of the lemon curd but also the flavor and texture.
Equipment needed to make Lemon Curd
To make lemon curd, you will need a few basic tools you most likely already have in your kitchen. I highly recommend laying out all your tools before starting with this recipe. This way you don't have to scramble around finding a bowl and a strainer while making sure the lemon curd doesn't overcook on the stove.
- Heavy, nonreactive medium saucepan such as stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and enamel to cook the lemon curd. Stay away from plain aluminum or unlined copper since those materials will react with the acid in the lemons. This will not only cause a discoloration but also a metallic taste
- Zester and a juicer – a personal favorite are Microplanes and Hand Squeezers often found in Hispanic grocery stores.
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer. Please use the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer.
- Whisk and a heat-proof spatula
- Fine mesh sieve and a glass or plastic bowl to strain your curd into
How to make Lemon Curd
Over the years I have learned and tested many different ways to make lemon curd. But I always come back to this foolproof technique.
Step 1: Start by gathering all your equipment and setting up a bowl with a fine-mesh strainer so you are ready to strain the curd when it’s done cooking. This way you don't have to juggle several tasks and look for tools while the curd is cooking.
Step 2: Zest a lemon and set aside. Juice the lemons and strain out any seeds if needed. You will need 165 grams of freshly juiced lemon juice which should be 3-4 lemons depending on their size.
Step 3: In the bowl of the stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the granulated white sugar, a pinch of salt, and 85 grams of room temperature butter. Make sure to reserve the additional 30 grams of butter for finishing the curd. Cream the butter and sugar together. This should take about 2 minutes.
Step 4: When the butter and sugar have been creamed together, slowly add your eggs. The mixture most likely will not cream together. No need to worry.
Step 5: Next add the lemon juice and mix together. The mixture will curdle but will smooth out once it's cooked. It will disappear when the butter starts to melt.
Step 6: Transfer the mixture to a nonreactive heavy-bottomed saucepan and over low heat cook until the lemon curd starts to look smooth. Make sure to constantly stir the mixture - especially the bottom of the saucepan.
Step 7: Carefully increase the heat to low medium heat, and while stirring constantly, cook until the mixture starts to thicken. Do not allow for it to come to a boil.
Step 8: The lemon curd is ready when it leaves a clear path on the back of a spoon. Dip a clean spoon into the lemon curd and run your finger through it. The "line" you created with your finger should stay on either side and not flow back together immediately. Alternatively, you can test the temperature with a digital thermometer. It must be above 170F.
Step 9: Remove the curd from the stove top and with a fine-mesh sieve it into the prepared bowl. This will remove any accidentally cooked bits and pieces of cooked eggs and ensure a smooth lemon curd.
Step 10: Whisk the reserved 30 grams of unsalted butter into the still warm curd. Add lemon zest and stir to combine. Allow for the gluten-free lemon curd to cool to room temperature before transferring it to the refrigerator. It will thicken as it cools.
Storage & Freezing
I like to store fully cooled gluten-free lemon curd in tightly sealed glass jars or airtight containers. Homemade Lemon Curd can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and even be frozen.
To freeze lemon curd, place it into a freezer-safe jar or container leaving a ¼" space on the top (it will expand). Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use it, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Use the previously frozen lemon curd within 10 days.
How to use Gluten-Free Lemon Curd
The possibilities to use gluten-free lemon curd are endless. Use it as lemon curd filling between cake layers, and use it as pancake or waffle topping. Serve it with gluten-free blueberry muffins or my easy gluten free shortbread. Fold it into whipped cream and use it to fill gluten-free eclairs. Use the tangy lemon curd to fill gluten-free thumbprint cookies or Linzer cookies. It also makes a wonderful topping for ice cream or use it as a filling to make a Lemon Curd Cake. And then there is always my favorite way to enjoy this sweet treat: by itself, straight from the jar.
FAQ about Gluten Free Lemon Curd
Yes, you may substitute lemon juice with the same amount of lime juice.
Make sure to cook the lemon curd long enough until it covers the back of a spoon or registers at least 170F on a digital thermometer. Lemon Curd will thicken as it cools. I recommend allowing the lemon curd to chill in the fridge for at least 4-5hrs, if not overnight for it to be a perfect consistency for sandwiched cookies.
The only dairy used in my lemon curd recipe is butter which can be easily replaced with dairy free vegan butter. I don't recommend using coconut oil.
No. Lemon Curd is contains mainly eggs while Lemon Pudding contains mainly dairy (My recipe for Lemon Pudding can be found here: Lemon Pudding)
Baking in grams
I share my recipes in grams and by weight since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and very affordable. You can purchase them on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can cause significant errors when it comes to baking. Especially since I bake with gluten-free flours which weigh differently than “regular” flours. I do provide some ingredients like spices and leavening agents in measuring spoons.
Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
All my recipes are tested and developed with a conventional oven. I always bake my baked goods on the rack placed in the MIDDLE of my oven. This way the heat coming from the bottom will not burn my baked goods.
If you are baking with convection (fan-forced), please adjust the recipes accordingly. Be also prepared that the convection oven can cause your baked goods to dry out quickly and still be raw inside. Be aware that it takes at least 15-20 minutes for a standard American Oven to be fully preheated. I highly recommend investing in an Oven Thermometer.
Substitutions and Modifications
Any dietary or ingredient modifications/substitutions to this recipe may alter the end result in appearance and taste. I test my recipes several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you find on our website.
Gluten Free Lemon Curd
- zest of one lemon
- 165 grams fresh juiced lemon juice
- 185 gram granulated white sugar
- 113 grams unsalted butter, room temperature - DIVIDED!
- ⅛ teaspoon/a generous pinch of kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
How to make Lemon Curd
- Zest one lemon and set aside. Squeeze your lemons and strain out any seeds if needed.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine granulated white sugar, a pinch of salt, and 85 grams of room temperature butter. Make sure to reserve the additional 30 grams of butter for finishing the curd. Cream the butter and sugar together. This should take about 2 minutes.
- When the butter and sugar have been creamed together, slowly add your eggs. The mixture will not cream together.
- Once you have added the eggs, add your lemon juice. The mixture will curdle but it will smooth out once you cook it.
- Transfer your butter/sugar/egg/lemon juice mixture to your saucepan and over low heat cook until your lemon curd starts to look smooth. Make sure to constantly stir the mixture. The curdling will disappear when the butter starts to melt.
- Increase the heat to medium, and while stirring constantly, cook until the mixture starts to thicken. Do not allow for it to come to a boil. The lemon curd is ready when it leaves a path on the back of a spoon and has a temperature above 175F
- Remove the curd from the heat and strain curd into your prepared pan.
- Whisk the reserved 30 grams of unsalted butter into the curd. Add lemon zest and stir to combine. Allow for the foolproof lemon curd to cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator. It will thicken as it cools.
- The lemon curd will be good for up to 14 days in your refrigerator in an airtight container. You can also freeze it up to 3 months. Thaw it in your refrigerator before using.
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