I love citrus curd; it’s sharp, sweet, creamy, tart, and fresh all at the same time. It’s super easy to make your own homemade citrus curd, and I’m showing you how to do it.
Making a curd is very easy and you need only a few ingredients - eggs, sugar, your citrus juice of choice and usually butter. This recipe provides a dairy-free version that works great to make lime curd, lemon curd, yuzu curd, and more.
Why this Recipe Works
This recipe works by combining the ingredients in a saucepan over heat. The liquid coagulates from the addition of citrus yielding a custardy texture.
A classic curd uses butter to increase the creaminess and firm it up a bit. In this dairy-free version, we use the help of arrowroot powder to mimic that firmness.
I use whole eggs because I find it less wasteful and enjoy the texture better than the extra custardy yolk-version curds. The eggs are beaten well before added in, making sure it tempers properly and the whites do not curdle.
The sharp and sweet flavors in curd make them a perfect complement to heavy and/or doughy counterparts like pastries, doughnuts, and pies.
Ingredients & Citrus Options
citrus - I have made this recipe with lemon, lime, grapefruit, and yuzu. I have even used combinations of them. Choose your favorites and experiment.
arrowroot powder - This is the thickening agent used in this recipe. You can substitute with cornstarch.
eggs - I use 3 whole eggs in this recipe, but it also works well with 2 whole eggs and 1 yolk. The texture will be more custardy with this second option.
Butter vs. Dairy-Free
Lemon curd traditionally has butter in it, adding a richness, creaminess, and firms it up a bit. You will often find suggestions to swap the butter for coconut oil. In my dairy-free version, we use the help of arrowroot powder to mimic that firmness.
Both versions taste great, and you can choose whichever method suits your needs.
Adapt this Recipe for Yuzu
Yuzu is a very powerful flavor. As long as you use at least 1/4 cup of yuzu juice, you can fill in the rest of the citrus in the recipe with lemon or lime juice.
How to Make this Recipe
Whisk together the beaten 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of fresh citrus juice, 1.5 teaspoons of arrowroot powder, and 2 teaspoons of (optional) zest in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until thick enough to coat a spoon, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to an airtight glass container and chill 2 hours minimum.
As a filling for cakes and cupcakes.
Spread on top of biscuits, muffins, toast, waffles, cookies, or cream puffs.
Pie or tart filling.
As a yogurt mix-in.
Layered in a parfait or trifle.
Store in an air tight glass container in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.
Yes, it can be frozen for up to 1 year in an air tight glass container. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and use within 3 weeks.
Sometimes you get pieces of cooked egg in the curd. If that is the case, strain them out. If you don't have the pieces of egg in your curd, you do not need to strain it.
Recipes that Use Citrus Curd
Because citrus curd has such a long shelf life in the refrigerator, I like to always keep some around for moments I want to make my favorite desserts like some of these:
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- 3 large eggs or 2 eggs and 1 yolk, beaten
- 1/2 cup sugar granulated or turbinado
- 1/2 cup fresh citrus juice lime, lemon, yuzu, grapefruit
- 1.5 tsp arrowroot powder
- 2 tsp citrus zest optional
- Whisk all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until thick enough to coat a spoon, 5-8 minutes.
- Transfer to an airtight glass container and chill 2 hours minimum.