Meyer Lemon Curd is a quick way to jazz up your biscuits, muffins, or toast. Instead of the harsh pucker-factor that plain lemons impart to curd, these lemons offer a floral, mellow tartness. This version of curd is sure to become a favorite of your entire family. This curd is a favorite treat of my family’s. So much so, my twins almost got grounded because they got an attitude with me for making a batch to use in cupcakes instead of letting them eat it on their breakfast toast. It’s that good. Y’all better come get them before I disown them! Because of these ingrates, though this recipe makes a pint of lemon curd, I’ve yet to make that small amount. I always double this recipe because a single recipe never lasts long.
By the way, this post is an updated version of one I posted back in 2019 and before that in 2017. The new images allow me to hold my head up a little higher because the old ones sucked. I’m just keeping it real with you. In my growth, I realize that all those pictures I used to take, which I thought were fly, are garbage. Growth is a great thing. It’s a humbling thing, but great nonetheless.
What is a Meyer Lemon?
Though this recipe is interchangeable with regular (Eureka) lemons, I think you’ll love the floral flavor of Meyer lemons. The skin and flesh are milder than the common Eureka, and because of that, I think they’re perfect for making curd. Meyer lemon is rounder, and the fruit has an almost antiseptic aroma to it when cut open. They have a slight pink tint to their flesh and, instead of that in-your-face pucker of regular lemon flavor, you get an almost orange-lemon combination. They are also less acidic than the common lemon.
I love this fruit so much that I’m attempting to grow a couple of trees from some seeds I harvested. Wish me luck because I’ll more than likely kill them.
Whenever I see Meyer lemons in the grocery store, I grab a bunch. Though they bloom year-round, their season is early spring and in the fall. That’s why you see so many recipes floating around the internet this time of year. Mine’s the best, but we’re supposed to be humble, right? Curd is the most popular way to use Meyer lemons, but they’re also great in cocktails, sauces, and other recipes where you don’t want or need too much pucker.
Can I use regular lemons for this recipe if I don’t have Meyer lemons?
Since the Meyer lemon is just a different variety of lemon. You most certainly can swap it out for a Eureka lemon.
If you opt to use the lemon-lemon in this recipe, add an additional tablespoon or two of sugar. I, personally, love for anything with “lemon” in the title to hit me in the back of my jaw with tartness. I don’t usually increase the sugar even when I make it without Meyer lemons, but you may want to if you’re not a huge fan of sour.
What else do I need to make this Meyer Lemon Curd?
In addition to the fruit itself, you need large eggs, unsalted butter, a pinch of salt, and sugar. Those 5 are all that go into this sweet-tart spread.
The cooking takes place in a pot, preferably one with sloped sides. You are also going to need a whisk and a ladle for tempering the eggs later.
What’s the easiest way to juice and zest the Meyer lemon?
Before getting to the eggs, let’s see the most efficient way to use the lemons. Because you need both the zest and the juice from your lemons, I recommend that you get the juice first. Roll the lemon between your hand and the countertop to break up the inner fibers that hold the juice in place. This will help you extract more juice from the lemons. Slice the lemons in half and juice them using a citrus juicer. Set the juice aside for now.
Next, use a microplane to grate off just the yellow part of the lemon peel. Don’t go berzerk with zesting the lemon. If you zest the white part (the pith), the curd will take on a slightly bitter flavor.
Once you’ve zested the lemons, set that aside as well.
Why do curd recipes use eggs?
Whenever you add and heat eggs in a recipe, those eggs become a thickener. This rule works for most anything. Anytime you’ve eaten pudding, you’ve, more than likely, eaten a liquid that has been thickened with eggs. That’s how we’re going to thicken our curd, as well. Here, the yolks are what give our curd its rich, velvety texture. The whole egg, on the other hand, contribute to the curd’s body. As is, this curd will remind you of tart custard.
In a medium-ish bowl, combine the eggs and the lemon zest. You’ll need a medium-size bowl to accommodate a whisk and more liquid being added later.
Use a whisk to whip the egg mixture slightly. You want the eggs to be frothy and a slightly pale yellow color when you’re done whipping. I have found that using an electric hand mixer to beat the eggs gives me a lemon curd that is super light when it’s cooled. You can whip it by hand, but try it once with light and airy (almost lemon-yellow) beaten eggs once to see which you prefer.
Any Swaps or Subs for this Meyer Lemon Curd?
Let’s talk about ways to customize your curd. We already know that the common lemon is a good swap, but you can also make this curd with limes or grapefruit.
Instead of regular kosher salt, try a flavored or smoked salt. Herbs, smokiness, or fruity flavored salts will add another flavor element to your already fantastic Meyer lemon curd. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Lemon sea salt
- Smoked sea salt
- Lavender sea salt
How long do I need to heat the juice and sugar mixture?
The base of this curd- the soul of it, if you will- is the tart lemony flavor created from thickened lemon juice. That’s all any curd is- juice that has been thickened with that egg mixture we whipped.
I like heating the juice mixture before adding the eggs because there’s less risk of the eggs curdling with this method, and I don’t have to use a double-boiler to accomplish this. Bring the lemon juice, sugar, and room temperature butter up to the steaming point in a non-reactive (or non-aluminum) pot. A non-reactive pot is the best to use when working with highly acidic ingredients like lemon juice. An aluminum pot (or a similarly reactive pot) will impart a tinny flavor to your curd and may also discolor it. Use a pan with sloped sides to work in, too. Corners are the enemy when making curds, custards, and sauces. Things tend to get stuck in the crannies, and you end up with lumps or uneven sauces.
Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring with a whisk, until the mixture steams and the sugar is dissolved.
Do I have to temper the eggs for this curd?
You know me, you don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to. That said, unless you plan to babysit the heck out of this curd, tempering is your best bet. The culinary technique of tempering is important to know and learn. Tempering is the process in which the eggs are gradually heated before being added to a hotter ingredient. This prevents them from cooking too fast (and curdling) when introduced to the hot liquid in the saucepan. Adding the eggs directly to the hot liquid would guarantee scrambled eggs, I mean unless you’re into hawking the pot, which I’m not. You’d have to nurse the eggs by constantly stirring if you added the eggs right from the start. Can it be done? Yes. Do I want to go through the hassle of straining the curd when I’m done? No.
So, this is why I temper my eggs before combing all of the ingredients in the pot. To temper the eggs:
- Scoop out a 1/2 cup of the hot lemon mixture and slowly stream it into the bowl with the eggs- WHISKING CONSTANTLY. Don’t rush this process. I’d rather you go too slow than too fast. Too fast, once again, equals scrambled eggs.
- Once the hot mixture has been added, reverse the process: add the egg mixture to the lemon mixture in the pot sllooooooowwwwllllly. No need to rush this tempering process.
You’ve just tempered the eggs!
How do I fix curdled eggs in my curd?
So, what happens if something goes awry during the tempering process? Often, straining the curd after it’s thickened resolves the issue, but if you’re looking into a pot of scrambled eggs, you might as well chuck it all down the drain.
The key to tempering your eggs and making a lumpless curd is going slowly. Take your time, and don’t stop whisking while the hot liquid is being poured into the eggs and vice versa. Another trick is to put a damp towel under your bowl before you start whisking the hot liquid into the eggs. This keeps the bowl from spinning like a top while you’re trying to focus on tempering. If you feel overwhelmed, turn the stove off so the juice doesn’t continue to simmer. The most important thing is to take your time.
If all of these tips fail you, just strain any lumps of egg from the curd after it thickens. Heck, you have to strain it to remove the zest anyway, so no harm, no foul
While we’re troubleshooting the curd here are more tips:
- For a lighter (less eggy) curd, omit the 1 egg yolk from the recipe. This also works if you want a thinner curd since the curd will be thinner anyway.
- For a richer curd, replace the whole egg with an additional yolk or add another 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Choose one or the other but not both.
- Don’t stir the curd like a psycho after you add the tempered eggs. I tell myself, “Self, stir like your whisk is you, and the curd is a park. Stroll through the curd and enjoy the weather. Don’t race through it.” So, I hope that gives you a visual of how gently and leisurely to stir.
- Cook the curd just until it thickens. Overcooking will cause them to break.
How long do I heat the Meyer lemon curd after adding the eggs?
After you add the eggs back into the hot liquid, whisk them into the curd, and bring the mixture up to a very gentle simmer.
Another surefire way to end up with lumpy curd is to crank the heat up under the lemon curd after tempering. I don’t want to feel like I’ve failed you, so be sure to keep the temperature low and allow the curd to thicken slowly.
After 4-5 minutes, the curd will begin to look and feel like thick cream. Bubbles will barely break the surface and look like the lava that flows from volcanoes. It’ll sound like the faint rustling of a newspaper. Don’t let it boil at all. Little bubbles are fine. Whisk (or stir) gently the entire time. Remember: we’re strolling through the park.
How do I know if my curd is the proper thickness?
Nappe (pronounced just like what I need in the middle of the afternoon) is when a sauce or mixture coats the back of a spoon or a spatula. The curd is properly thickened when you can run your fingertip through it on the utensil, and the line made by your finger holds its edges. The curd doesn’t have to be thick like mayonnaise. In fact, if it’s super-thick, that means it’s overcooked. As it chills, it will thicken even more, so shoot for the consistency of thin yogurt.
Once the curd has thickened to the point where it coats the back of a spoon, transfer it to a glass jar or a food storage container.
Do I have to cool the curd? If so, how long?
You can also transfer the curd to a shallow ceramic or glass dish and press a piece of wax paper or plastic film directly onto the surface. This prevents a skin from forming on the surface of the curd as it cools. I usually do this when I plan to use the curd as a filling. If I’m using it as a spread, I just transfer it into small jars since I’m going to do that later on anyway.
Allow the curd to cool completely. Remember, the curd has to cool for it to thicken. Now, if you plan to stir your curd into oatmeal or hot cereal, you can use it while it’s still warm. If you want to spread a light coating onto your toast, you can do so now. But, if you want thick curd, chill it thoroughly. Warm curd is going to be the consistency of a thick syrup.
How do I store the Meyer Lemon Curd?
Meyer lemon curd keeps well in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Store the curd in a non-metallic container (remember that it doesn’t jive with the curd’s acidity). I prefer to store mine in a glass jar or a ceramic food storage container. I avoid plastic containers since it often holds onto the smell of the last thing that was in it.
Be sure not to let the curd sit out for long periods since it contains eggs. Remove the amount of curd you want to eat, then pop the rest of it back into the fridge for safekeeping.
While you can keep the layer of wax paper (or plastic) on its surface after it’s cool, it’s not a must. Just keep it covered tightly and give the curd a good stir to smooth it out.
Can I freeze fruit curds?
I’ve never had time to freeze my Meyer lemon curd. My family runs through it like crazy people. Because there’s nothing in it that is compromised by freezing, I’m fairly certain freezing it is okay.
Transfer the cooled curd to a freeze-safe container and freeze it for up to 6 months. Thaw it in the fridge and give it a stir before enjoying it.
How do I serve it?
Slather this Meyer Lemon Curd on your scones, biscuits, or pancakes. Fill your favorite tart or pie shell with it. Top your morning dish of yogurt or fruits with it. Hell! Eat it with a spoon on its own! The ways to serve and enjoy this recipe are endless. If you want more recipes to incorporate it into, try these:
Don’t forget to pin this recipe, then share it with your friends!
Meyer Lemon Curd and Filling
- heavy-bottomed non-reactive pot (not aluminum)
- 2 large meyer lemons zested and juiced
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- pinch kosher salt optional
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 ounces (85 grams or 6 tbsp) unsalted butter sliced and at room temperature
Combine the Eggs and Zest
- After zesting and juicing the lemons, measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest and 1/2 cup of meyer lemon juice. Reserve any remaining zest or juice for another recipe.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon zest, egg yolks, whole eggs, and the kosher salt. Use a whisk to whip the mixture vigorously until it is frothy, then set the bowl aside.
Heat the Meyer Lemon Juice Mixture
- In a large saucepan with sloping sides whisk together the sugar and lemon juice. Add the butter slices and bring the mixture up to the steaming point over medium heat, stirring frequently to encourage the sugar to dissolve. After five minutes of heating, the butter should be melted and the sugar completely dissolved.
Temper the Eggs
- Using a measuring cup or a ladle, remove 1/2 cup of the hot lemon juice mixture from the pot and slowly stream it into the egg yolks, stirring constantly to keep the eggs from curdling. Once all of the hot liquid has been added to the eggs, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan.
Finish the Meyer Lemon Curd
- Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, for 4-5 minutes, gently stirring. Be sure to scrape the whisk against the sides of the pot to avoid clumping. Remove the pot from the heat once the mixture thickens and lava-like bubbles start to break the surface.
- Pour the hot curd into a clean storage container or glass jar. Place a piece of wax paper or plastic film directly on the surface of the curd, prior to covering, to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.
- Cover and refrigerate until completely cold.
Swaps and Subs:
- Replace the kosher salt with Lemon sea salt, Smoked sea salt, or Lavender sea salt
- Use regular lemon, lime or grapefruit juice and zest instead of meyer lemon
- Omit the butter for a thicker, low-fat meyer lemon curd
Troubleshooting the Meyer Lemon Curd:
- For a lighter (less eggy) curd omit the 1 egg from the recipe. This also works if you want a thinner curd.
- For a richer curd, replace the 2 of the whole eggs with yolks or add another 1-2 tablespoons of butter.
- Don't stir the curd like a psycho after you add the tempered eggs. I tell myself, "Self, stir like your whisk is you and the curd is a park. Stroll through the curd and enjoy the weather. Don't tear through it." So, I hope that gives you a visual on how gently and leisurely to stir.
- Cook the curd just until it thickens. Over cooking will cause them to break.
- Transfer the curd to a non-metallic container (glass or ceramic are perfect). Store in the fridge for 2 weeks or less.
- Be sure not to let the curd sit out for long periods of time since it contains eggs. Remove the amount of curd you want to eat, then pop the rest of it back into the fridge for safekeeping.
- Give the curd a good stir to smooth it out before serving.
- Transfer the cooled curd to a freeze-safe container.
- Freeze it for up to 6 months.
- Thaw it in the fridge and give it a stir before enjoying.
- stir into hot oatmeal or cereals
- marble it into plain cheesecake
- top cakes with it
- as a spread for toast or breads
- as a filling for donuts or cupcakes
- eat it by the spoonful