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Easy step-by-step instructions for making a small batch of lemon curd. Ready in minutes! It’s sweet, tart, velvety smooth and completely wonderful!

This is perfect for those looking for a refreshing treat, a unique spread, or a zesty ingredient to level up their dessert game. Join us as we walk you through every step of this delightful recipe!

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

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Curd Recipe

  • Ease of Preparation: No advanced cooking skills needed, just simple stirring and whisking!
  • Bright & Zesty Flavor: Lemon curd adds a burst of fresh, tangy sweetness to any dessert.
  • Versatile Use: It’s perfect as a spread, a topping, a filling, or eaten right off the spoon.
  • Small Batch Convenience: This recipe makes just the right amount to enjoy now and save for later.
  • No Artificial Colors or Flavors: With fresh lemon juice and zest, enjoy the pure, natural taste of lemons.

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Lemons on a table cut in half


The recipe yields about 1/4 cup.

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

How To Make Lemon Curd

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a small batch of lemon curd. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

Lemon curd preparation involves a careful process of heating the ingredients on your stove until they reach a thick consistency. The entire procedure is swift, and I have a special technique to ensure that your lemon curd is exceptionally smooth.

One common issue often faced by lemon curd enthusiasts is the presence of cooked, curdled egg pieces in the finished product. This can be a recurrent issue, but by adhering to my approach, you can ensure your lemon curd is free from any such curdles.

  1. Start off by blending the sugar and softened butter in a bowl using an electric mixer, similar to how you would for baking a cake or cookies. Continue mixing until the blend becomes fluffy, then incorporate the egg into the mix. Following that, add in the lemon juice and zest.
  2. Even if the combination of ingredients may appear unusual at this stage, there’s no need for concern. Once it’s heated on the stove, the mixture will gradually thicken, transforming into a silky-smooth lemon curd.
lemon curd in a mixing bowl on a brown table.
  1. Transfer the mixture into a 1-quart saucepan. Then, over a medium-low flame, cook the mixture while whisking it frequently. Continue this process for about 10 minutes, until the curd thickens and the previously curdled texture smooths out.
A small jar of lemon curd on a dark surface next to a lemon and a white cloth napkin

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Expert Tips

  • Whisk Constantly: This prevents the egg from curdling.
  • Low Heat: Cook the curd over low heat to ensure that it doesn’t burn or turn grainy.
  • Strain the Curd: For a smoother curd, strain it to remove any bits of cooked egg or large pieces of zest.
  • Cool Completely: Let the curd cool before using it in any recipe, as it thickens further when cooled.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Lemon Curd Grainy?

It may be due to overheating or not whisking enough. Remember to whisk constantly and maintain low heat.

How Do I Store Lemon Curd?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last up to 2 weeks.

Can Lemon Curd Be Frozen?

Yes, it can be frozen in an airtight, freezer-safe container. It will last for 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Can I Use Other Citrus Fruits?

Absolutely! Substitute lemon juice and zest with other citrus fruits like lime, orange, or grapefruit for a unique twist.

Serving Suggestions

Keep this straightforward lemon curd recipe close at hand, because once you discover the simplicity of its preparation and experience its exquisite homemade flavor, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself returning to it time and time again.

Recipe Variations

  • Citrus Twist: Swap lemon juice and zest for other citrus fruits like grapefruit, lime, or orange.
  • Herb Infusion: Add a little finely chopped rosemary or thyme during cooking for an herbaceous note.
  • Berry Lemon Curd: Blend in some raspberries or strawberries for a fruity, summery version.
  • Vanilla Lemon Curd: Add a splash of vanilla extract for a deeper, sweeter flavor.

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Lemon curd spread over a rice krispie treat

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If you’ve tried this easy lemon curd recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

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Small Batch Lemon Curd

4.73 from 11 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 17 minutes
Servings: 4 tablespoons
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!


  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoon salted butter , softened
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  • 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.


Expert Tips
  • Whisk Constantly: This prevents the egg from curdling. 
  • Low Heat: Cook the curd over low heat to ensure that it doesn’t burn or turn grainy.
  • Strain the Curd: For a smoother curd, strain it to remove any bits of cooked egg or large pieces of zest.
  • Cool Completely: Let the curd cool before using it in any recipe, as it thickens further when cooled.


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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Recipe Rating


  1. I love lemon curd except sometimes it tastes “eggy” to me. Somebody mentioned that this will not happen if you use ***only the yolk***; it’s the white that tastes eggy. Is this true?

  2. Great recipe, and really easy to whip up a batch. Also works really well with limes, and even mandarin oranges.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. Forgot to say that I tried it in the microwave and worked brilliantly! just sit and keep an eye on it – whisk frequently.

    2. Joanie, this would make a great Christmas gift along with the recipe on a card. Can this be made and sent through the mail?

      1. It would make a great gift, Nancy but lemon curd made this way needs to be refrigerated. I don’t recommend sending it through the mail.