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Small Batch Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is so easy to make and this incredible small batch lemon curd recipe requires just 5 ingredients! Enjoy this sweet, tart, velvety smooth cream on just about everything - from desserts to pancakes to baked goods. Ready in minutes!

A small jar of lemon curd with a knife on a dark surface with scattered lemons and a white cloth napkin

If you're a lemon lover like I am, you most likely love lemon curd. This creamy, sweet spread is my favorite topping for biscuits and scones.

For a very long time, I resisted making homemade lemon curd. I'd pay for the overpriced jars in the grocery because making it from scratch seemed labor intensive. How could something that tasted so decadent be easy to make?

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Well, I'm here to tell you that lemon curd is so very easy to make and if you've never made it before, you definitely should. Once you make it, you'll never go back to store bought lemon curd again.

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What Is Lemon Curd?

Lemon curd is silky smooth, sweet, tart, and beautiful! Just look at the color - so bright and sunny!

It's a spread made from...you guessed it, lemons!

It's a delightfully rich topping or spread that's buttery and sweet and has an intense tart flavor. It's made with simple ingredients and comes together quickly on the stove.

Lemons on a table cut in half

Ingredients

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

Recipe yields about 1/4 cup.

  • sugar
  • butter
  • egg
  • fresh lemon juice
  • lemon zest

How To Make Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is made by gently cooking the ingredients together on the stove until thickened. It comes together quickly and I have a secret method to share with you that will deliver extra smooth lemon curd.

A chief complaint from those who make lemon curd is that sometimes bits of cooked and curdled egg wind up in the curd. This is a common problem, but if you follow my method your lemon curd won't have curdles.

Follow this method for making lemon curd. You will have perfect, ultra-smooth lemon curd every time.

  • Begin by creaming the sugar and softened butter together in a bowl with an electric mixer just as you would if you were making a cake or cookies. Mix them together until fluffy and then mix in the egg. After the egg is mixed in well, add the lemon juice and zest.
  • After you've mixed the ingredients together, don't worry about how the mixture looks. Trust me, as the curd cooks on the stove, it will thicken and become satiny-smooth.
lemon curd in a mixing bowl on a brown table.
  • Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and cook over a medium-low heat, whisking frequently until the curd is thick and the curdled appearance disappears, about 10 minutes.
A small jar of lemon curd on a dark surface next to a lemon and a white cloth napkin

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Lemon Curd Uses

You'll want to hang onto this easy lemon curd recipe because once you see how easy it is to make and how glorious homemade lemon curd tastes, you'll refer to it over and over again.

The possibilities are endless!

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Lemon curd spread over a rice krispie treat

Tips For Making Lemon Curd

  • Follow this lemon curd recipe and mix the ingredients separately as noted in the recipe. I recommend using an electric mixer for vigorous beating.
  • Stir the sauce often so that it stays creamy.
  • Don't let the curd boil. Boiling will cause the curd to curdle. Keep the heat at a moderately low temperature.
  • You'll need a little patience and a watchful eye
  • Lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools
  • Lemon curd keeps well if covered and stored in the refrigerator. It will last for 1 week.
  • You can freeze lemon curd by storing in an airtight container. It will last for 2 months.

Other Lemon Recipes

For this lemon curd recipe, I use a 1-quart saucepan, an electric mixer, and a whisk.

If you would like additional information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

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lemon curd in a jar

Small Batch Lemon Curd Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 17 minutes
Course: Breakfast/Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords: lemon
Servings: 4 tablespoons
Calories: 118kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoon butter , softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, beat sugar and butter together with an electric mixer, 2 minutes.
  • Add egg and beat for 1 minute more.
  • Mix in lemon juice and lemon zest. The mixture will look curdled, but will become smooth as it cooks.
  • Pour mixture into a 1-quart saucepan and cook over a medium low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick and curdled appearance disappears, 10-12 minutes. Do not let the curd boil.
  • Remove curd from the heat and transfer to a bowl or jar. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until cold, 1 hour.

Notes

Lemon curd will last for one week, covered in the refrigerator and 2 months in the freezer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 76mg | Potassium: 28mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 5.2mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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About The Author

6 thoughts on “Small Batch Lemon Curd”

  1. 5 stars
    I was looking for a small portion of lemon curd and found this recipe and it’s great. also, this is the first time I do lemon curd.

  2. 4 stars
    Hi Joanie — I want u to know I saw this recipe on Pinterest awhile back, and specifically went to look for it again (I hadn’t pinned it) and what an awesome idea — the small batch is perfect, I needed to whip up a bit for Indian Chicken Biriyani – of all things — thank you again.

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