Lemon Curd Recipe

Lemon curd is one of those shining stars that can bring brightness to any day. Simply dollop it on scones, oatmeal, yoghurt, or biscuits for a livelier morning. Or you can turn it into dessert by spreading it into a baked tart shell and allowing it to set in the fridge for a few hours. Rich in the yin consolidating sour flavor, and full of yin nourishing eggs and fat, this is a winter treat that nourishes physically and emotionally.

Ingredients: vegan substitutes in italics.

  • 3 large lemons (preferably organic b/c you will be using the zest)
  • 1 stick of butter or 14 ounces of coconut cream
  • 4 egg yolks, or 3 whole eggs or 2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar (I like mine more sour, you may want to increase the sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp salt


You’ll need either a saucepan, double boiler, or a makeshift double boiler (what I do).

First, prepare everything. Use a microplane or the fine side of a grater to remove the zest from all 3 lemons. You’ll need 1 Tablespoon of zest. Set aside. Juice all three lemons into a small bowl and combine with the zest. This should make about 1/2 cup.

Cut the butter into 1/2 inch wide sections and set aside. You’ll use it at the end. (simply set aside the coconut cream if making vegan curd).

You can do this all in a saucepan, but it requires extreme diligence to avoid burning. I prefer to put a glass or other heatproof bowl over a saucepan filled about 50-60% full with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, medium low to simmer the water.

In your medium heatproof bowl, place eggs (or arrowroot starch), sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, then whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, or in your double boiler. Cook on moderate heat, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes thick and coat the back of a wooden spoon easily. If you run your finger through the curd on the wooden spoon, it should leave a clear pass where your finger trailed (mine was ready in 10 minutes, but it can take up to 20). 

Remove from the heat. Pour the curd into a fine meshed strainer, and push it through with a spatula to strain. Once strained, whisk in the butter or coconut cream until fully melted and combined. Lemon curd will store in the fridge for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months.

If making a tart, allow the lemon curd to completely cool before filling the tart shell. Once the tart shell is filled, refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

Lindsey Thompson is an East Asian Medicine Practitioner at the Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic in Walla Walla, WA. She has a passion for holistic nutrition and lifestyle practices associated with Eastern Medicine. Practicing medicine and helping people find ways to improve their health at home is one of the most fulfilling aspects of her career.

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