Forget about making lemon curd the old-fashioned way by whisking the ingredients over a double-boiler and keeping your fingers crossed that it doesn't turn into scrambled eggs. This easy method allows you to make lemon curd in the microwave in only 2 minutes - with not a scrambled egg in sight!
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Flop-proof lemon curd
Who doesn't love the taste of homemade lemon curd? It's sweet, sour and tangy all at the same time. This homemade lemon curd recipe takes only 2 minutes to cook in the microwave and you will only need 4 ingredients - lemons (obviously), sugar, eggs and butter.
What you will end up with is a lusciously thick spreadable lemon curd that you can use for filling or topping your favourite cake, for spreading on scones, for making jam tarts (why not try in in these jam turnovers instead of strawberry jam?) or just eating by the spoonful out of the jar because it is so delicious! Or why not try a spoonful over a scoop of vanilla ice cream?
Now that I've got your interest ( 🙂 ) here's a word of warning! If you do make this recipe, please keep to the stated ingredients. This recipe doesn't take long to make at all, so if you want to make a larger batch I would suggest you make the recipe twice rather than doubling up on the ingredients.
The reason I'm saying this is because even though I'm calling this flop-proof lemon curd, my first attempt ended up in the bin. It was a dismal failure!
I used way too much butter, too many eggs, not enough sugar and far too much lemon juice. It tasted like a very sour thin custard, with a texture to match.
So, after pouring it down the sink, it was back to the drawing board with my (
adjusted) new and improved ingredient measurements, and I'm delighted with the result.
You have to cook this lemon curd in 4 x 30-second bursts on full power in your microwave, and after the third 30 seconds I thought I had another failure on my hands - it was still thin and runny.
But after the 4th and final 30 seconds, the magic happened! I took the bowl out of the microwave and gave it a stir. The lemon curd was thick and creamy - and just what I was looking for. Plus the taste was perfect! A whole lot better than my first failed attempt.
I have a 900-watt microwave - if your microwave has a different wattage you may have to adjust the cooking time slightly. Obviously, I can't test all the different microwaves out there, but I've given some suggestions on different cooking times further down the post.
What you will need
Obviously a microwave! I'm not going to give you any Amazon links for this because different people have different needs. I have a Kenwood 900-watt microwave and it does the job for what I need.
You will also need a microwave-safe bowl. I always use Pyrex bowls in the microwave because they are made with toughened glass and are less likely to shatter.
You can store your lemon curd in the refrigerator in any old jam jar that you might have lying around. If you want to be fancy you might like to invest in some mason jars.
This recipe makes slightly less than 2 cups of lemon curd, which is more than enough to layer in between a cake and also spread on top of 12 scones.
**You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making microwave lemon curd on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
Lemons - you will need the juice of 2 to 3 lemons, which should provide you with half a cup or 120 ml (depending on how juicy your lemons are). The lemon zest is optional (I don't like it so I didn't add it). If you want to add lemon zest you can grate it off the lemons before you squeeze them. If you are going to be using the zest you should buy unwaxed lemons, or give your lemons a good scrub in hot water to get rid of any waxy coating.
Sugar - plain old granulated sugar is fine. I used half a cup of sugar because I didn't want the curd to be too sweet. You can add more or less sugar to your own taste.
Eggs - you will need 2 whole eggs and one egg yolk.
Butter - I like to use unsalted butter. Please don't try to use yellow margarine in this recipe - it will be far too oily. Did you know you can make your own butter using double cream? It's almost as quick to make butter as it is to make this lemon curd!
The butter should be at room temperature, and should be cut into cubes.
What to do
If you are going to be adding lemon zest you should wash your lemons and grate about one teaspoon of the yellow zest from the skin. Try not to get any white bits in as the pith is bitter.
Now squeeze the lemons into a measuring jug until you have half a cup of juice. Don't worry about the pips, we are going to be straining the lemon juice through a sieve.
Place the eggs, egg yolk and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are foamy. I used an electric hand mixer, you could use a balloon whisk instead.
Stir in the lemon zest (if you are using it) and then add the lemon juice. Strain it through a small sieve or tea strainer to catch any pips.
Add the cubed butter.
Microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Remove the dish from the microwave and stir with a whisk. The butter should be starting to melt. Taste for sweetness and if the curd is too tart you can add another tablespoon or so of sugar at this stage.
Microwave on full power for another 2 x 30-second intervals, stirring between each 30 seconds. At this point, the lemon curd should be starting to thicken enough to coat the spoon.
Put the lemon curd back into the microwave and cook on full power for another 30 seconds. The lemon curd should now be thick. It will thicken further as it cools.
If you feel the lemon curd is not thick enough, you can give it another 30 seconds in the microwave at 10-second blasts, stirring after each 10 seconds.
Pour the lemon curd into a sterilised glass jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to one month.
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Cooking times for different microwaves
My microwave is 900 watts and this recipe worked perfectly at the times given. Different wattage microwaves will differ in the time needed. Use your own discretion for your own particular microwave, but here are some suggestions.
1000-watt - instead of cooking the lemon curd for 30-second intervals, cook for 25 seconds, stirring after each interval. Add another one or two 10-second cooking periods at the end if the curd hasn't thickened sufficiently.
700-watt - cook for 30-second intervals, but instead of 4 intervals you may find you need 5 x 30 seconds, i.e. 2 and a half minutes instead of 2. You can add one or two 15-second intervals if the curd hasn't thickened sufficiently.
How to sterilise jars
To sterilise jars in the oven:
- Wash the jars and the lids in hot soapy water, rinse, but do not dry them.
- Stand them upside down on a baking tray while they’re still wet.
- Place the tray of clean, wet jars and lids into a preheated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF for 15 mins.
To sterilise jars in the microwave:
- Wash the jars and the lids in hot soapy water, rinse, but do not dry them.
- Place them in the microwave whilst still wet.
- Microwave on full power for 2 minutes
- If the lids are made of metal DO NOT MICROWAVE. Instead, place the lids in a pot of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes.
Microwave lemon curd FAQ
You can freeze lemon curd for up to a year. Allow it to cool and then transfer the lemon curd into a suitable freezer container. Allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before using.
No, this recipe has been specifically formulated to be made in a microwave.
Yes, you can substitute the lemons with oranges. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar depending on how sweet your oranges are.
Save for later
If you would like to make this microwave lemon curd, why not save the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
If you like the sound of this recipe, you make also like these other custardy-type desserts. (Is custardy even a word?)
- Easy Portuguese custard tarts - a puff pastry tart shell filled with creamy custard.
- Puff pastry custard slices - crispy puff pastry slices filled with creme pasissiere.
- Blueberry cream cheese Danish pastries - made with puff pastry, mascarpone cheese and fresh blueberries.
- Traditional South African milk tart - a buttery sweet-crust pastry shell filled with creamy custard.
Microwave lemon curd (2-minute recipe)
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup / 100 grams granulated sugar adjust to taste
- 2 ounces / 60 grams unsalted butter (cubed) at room temperature
- 2 - 3 lemons
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest optional
- If using lemon zest, wash the lemons and grate one teaspoon of yellow zest from the skin. Avoid the underlying white pith as this will be bitter.
- Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a measuring jug until you have ½ a cup of lemon juice.2 - 3 lemons
- Place the eggs, egg yolk and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.2 large eggs, 1 egg yolk, ½ cup / 100 grams granulated sugar
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are foamy. I used an electric hand mixer, you could use a balloon whisk instead.
- Stir in the lemon zest (if you are using it) and then add the lemon juice. Strain it through a small sieve or tea strainer to catch any pips.1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Add the cubed butter2 ounces / 60 grams unsalted butter (cubed)
- Microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Remove the dish from the microwave and stir with a whisk. The butter should be starting to melt. Taste for sweetness and if the curd is too tart you can add another tablespoon or so of sugar at this stage.
- Microwave on full power for another 2 x 30-second intervals, stirring between each 30 seconds. At this point, the lemon curd should be starting to thicken enough to coat the spoon.
- Put the lemon curd back into the microwave and cook on full power for another 30 seconds. The lemon curd should now be thick. It will thicken further as it cools. Total cooking time - 4 x 30 second intervals - 2 minutes.
- If you feel the lemon curd is not thick enough, you can give it another 30 seconds in the microwave at 10-second blasts, stirring after each 10 seconds.
- Pour the lemon curd into a sterilised glass jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to one month.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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