citrus curd

Great Aunty Joyce’s citrus curd

Citrus curd was the first preserve I ever made and is much simpler than making jam or marmalade. It is a brilliant one to make with children as it only takes 10-15 minutes (depending on how helpful children are being you may need to add a few minutes) and is a great way to get them using scales and understanding some of the science of cooking.

Citrus curd cookalong video to help you

I’ve created this 10 minute video showing you exactly how to make it. It is quite a visual recipe so I recommend watching it before you make it for the first time.

How to use your citrus curd

This curd is great on scones and toast but I also love it on pancakes, yoghurt, oatmeal or ice cream. I also use it as a filling for Victoria sponge. I adapted this recipe to made an amazing blood orange curd with black pepper recently (juice and zest of 2 blood oranges instead of the lemon below). It was gorgeous on ice cream with homemade shortbread biscuit for a grown up, easy dessert.

When we lived in California we could pop out into the garden to pick our citrus, now I need to settle on buying it (or smuggling it back to England in my case when I’m over in California teaching).

citrus pop up
Citrus for your curd

Columbo and citrus curd tarts

This lemon curd recipe comes from my Great Aunty Joyce. She died in 2022 age 96 and we still have some of her cakes in the freezer because she never turned up anywhere without a parcel of homemade treats. Her house always smelled of baking. Her lemon curd tarts were my favourite treat when I was little and I loved helping make them with her – we’d eat them on a Saturday night when I stayed at her house, usually whilst watching Columbo on TV. Luckily my boys were able to grow up with her baking too. 

Citrus curd ingredients

Makes one and a half jars (depending on the size of your jars), you can easily make double the amount and I usually do

  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons. Or zest of 2 grapefruit and juice of 1 grapefruit.
  • 115g (4oz) salted butter, straight from the fridge is fine
  • 140g (5oz) unbleached/golden granulated or caster sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of fine grain sea salt
  • 2 large free range eggs


You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe (a Microplane zester and a good citrus juicer make all the difference) through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools. I receive a small affiliate fee from Amazon if you buy via my link. The products don’t cost you any more. These small fees help me keep creating all the free content I share.


  • If you buy waxed citrus, soak them in boiling water for 2 minutes before scrubbing them to get rid of any wax.
  • Use your imagination – try any citrus you like, just be sure to balance the acidity and volume of juice. The above recipe is based on lemons or grapefruit but can easily be switched to other fruits (lime, blood orange, orange, mandarin). Add more zest rather than more juice to balance the sugar if you have a less sour, more juicy fruit such as oranges.
  • Be sure to sterilize your jars. Wash and rinse the jars and lids then put them in a 120C fan (140C conventional)/240F convection (275F regular) for 20 minutes then fill them while still warm. Otherwise you can store the curd in a clean covered bowl.
  • The curd must be kept in the fridge and eaten after 7 days.

To make:

  1. If using jars, wash and sterilise them (see note above) and set aside.
  2. Weigh the butter and sugar straight into a large saucepan by putting the pan directly onto your scales. Then use a Microplane zester to zest your fruit straight into the pan. Then juice the fruit into the pan and add the salt.
  3. Put the pan over a medium heat and wait until the butter has melted, stir occasionally with a whisk.
  4. Break eggs into a separate bowl and whisk to break them up. Set aside.
  5. One the butter has melted, take around half a cup of the hot melted butter and sugar mixture and slowly pour and whisk it into the bowl of eggs. This will stop the eggs scrambling when you add them to the pan. Then quickly pour the egg mixture back into the pan, over a low heat, whisking the contents of the pan as you do. Whisk constantly, being sure to get into all the corners of the pan to stop lumps of egg collecting. This should take around 4 minutes to thicken, depending on the size of your pan and your heat. The lower the heat, the longer it will take but the less risk of you ending up with lumps so pick your battle!
  6. The curd is ready when it thickens to a custardy texture and can coat the back of a spatula. It will still be liquid but will set and firm up when it chills.
  7. Pour the curd into the clean jars and pop a lid on. Or put it into a clean bowl and cover it. Keep in the fridge for an hour until it sets and becomes thicker.

To make citrus curd tarts

To make tarts, just put shortcrust pastry circles into a muffin pan (use a scone or cookie cutter to cut the circles). Top with a teaspoon of the lemon curd, being careful not to fill to the brim as otherwise it bubbles up and burns. Bake at 160C (fan) 180C regular /310F (Convection) 350F regular until the pastry is golden – around 10 minutes. Allow to cool before eating.

Get more recipes like this

Find more recipes for citrus and sweet things/baking here.

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