Lemon Curd | Sous Vide recipe

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This easy homemade lemon curd uses the sous vide method to cook a sweet-tart spread made with fresh citrus juice, sugar, butter, and eggs in Mason jars.

The finished lemon curd in a glass mason jar, with a silver stirring spoon leaning against the right side of the mason jar. In the background are sliced lemons and a small dipping bowl of lemon curd on an off-white towel.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS LEMON CURD RECIPE

Lemon curd is a crowd-favorite spread for breakfast toast and pancakes, ice cream, cheesecakes, and more. It’s super versatile and easy to make in the Instant Pot–there’s no need to babysit a pot on the stove or worry about burning anything.

We’ve been making preserves, spreads, and sauces in the Instant Pot for years. We love serving lemon curd for Easter brunch, so it was time to make our own version using a pressure cooker.

This is one of our favorite Instant Pot sauce recipes that’s perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day Brunch. You can pour this luscious lemon curd over a simple cheesecake, French toast, or zucchini bread. Yum!

An overhead shot of the ingredients required for lemon curd, including lemons, butter, eggs, sugar, and salt.

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED

Here’s what you’ll need to make the best Instant Pot Lemon Curd:

  • Eggs. You’ll need both egg yolks and a whole egg for the recipe. And both should be at room temperature before you start cooking 
  • Sugar. We recommend regular granulated white sugar for the prettiest yellow color. 
  • Salt. Just a pinch brings out the sweet and acidic flavors in the curd. 
  • Lemon juice. We strongly recommend freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor. 
  • Lemon zest. You can get this by running a Microplane over a clean organic lemon. 
  • Butter. We recommend unsalted butter so your curd stays sweet, not savory.
An overhead shot of lemons that have been juiced, with the juice in a stovetop pan

How to Make Homemade Lemon Curd (Sous Vide method)

This easy recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

Start making Instant Pot lemon curd by setting up your Instant Pot to cook using the sous vide technique. Place a trivet in the pressure cooking pot and add 3 quarts of water. Select Sous Vide and set the temperature to 170°F. 

While the water heats, combine the egg yolks and whole egg with the sugar and salt in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and uniform. 

An overhead shot looking into a black speckled sauce pan filled with lemon juice and and a silver mixing bowl filled with the golden yellow egg and sugar mixture with a large silver whisk leaning against the bowl.

Next, you’ll need a small saucepan to heat the lemon juice until it just comes to a boil. Stir the juice as it heats to prevent burning, then remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest.

Then whisk about 1/4 cup of the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture to temper the eggs so they don’t cook. Now, as you whisk constantly, slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture in a steady stream until all of the liquid is incorporated.

An overhead shot of two mason jars inside the pressure cooking pot, sitting on a metal trivet

Divide your lemon curd mixture between two pint-sized Mason jars, filling them about 2/3 of the way full. Gently tap the jars on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Close the jars with their lids without screwing the rings on too tightly. 

Carefully place the Mason jars into the hot water in the Instant Pot. The level of curd in the jars should be below the water level (if not, add additional hot water). Cook the lemon curd in the hot water bath for 60 to 75 minutes. If you’d like a softer curd, remove the jars after an hour. For a denser lemon curd, go for the full 75 minutes. 

When the lemon curd is done cooking, carefully remove the jars from the pressure cooker and dry them off.

The cooked lemon curd being pushed through a fine mesh strainer suspended over a large bowl to remove any lumps.

Arrange a fine-mesh strainer over a large, clean bowl and our the lemon curd through the strainer into the bowl. This removes any lumps and remaining lemon zest so your curd is smooth and fluffy.

Next, add the cubed butter to the lemon curd and stir until the butter is fully incorporated into the curd. 

Now your lemon curd is finished. You can return it to the Mason jars to cool or leave it in the bowl. You’ll want to cover the curd with the jar lids or plastic wrap as it cools to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. 

When the lemon curd cools to room temperature, refrigerate it until you’re ready to enjoy.

A vertical shot of the lemon curd in a glass mason jar. A silver lemon juicer is visible in the bottom left, a lemon on a brown wooden plate are out of focus in the background.

Products

In addition to your electric pressure cooker, you’ll also need pint-sized Mason jars for this recipe. You’ll also need a low trivet. Canning tongs can be helpful for adding and removing the jars from the hot water bath as well. 

For the lemon zest, we recommend using a Microplane.

An 45 degree shot looking at a silver spoon showing the texture of a homemade lemon curd suspended over the mason jar. Out of focus in the background are additional yellow lemons and a soft off-white towel.

Tips for Making Homemade Lemon Curd

  • You can heat the lemon juice in your Instant Pot instead of a saucepan if you like.
    • If using the Instant Pot, wait to put the Sous Vide water on until after you mix the lemon curd ingredients.
    • To heat the juice, select Saute, adjusted to medium heat, then add the citrus juice to the pressure cooking pot.
    • Heat to a gentle boil, stirring frequently.
    • Remove from heat, then add the zest from 1 lemon to the hot citrus juice, stirring to incorporate.
  • Be sure to wash your lemon before zesting!
  • When zesting the lemon, use a microplane zester to ensure that none of the bitter white pith gets into the mixture.
  • For extra-juicy lemons, pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds. This will make them easily squeezable. 
  • You can also make this lemon curd without Mason jars.
    • To do so, add the ingredients to a freezer-safe ziptop bag. (You can double bag it if you’re concerned about leakage.)
    • Seal the bag(s) about 90% and gently lower them into the hot water bath in the Instant Pot, letting the water push the air out of the bag as you lower them.
    • Once the curd is fully submerged and all but the seal is out of the water, seal the bag the rest of the way and clip it to the side of the pot. Proceed with the cooking instructions as written.
    • After you’ve cooked the curd, remove it from the water bath and snip the corner of the bag. Squeeze the curd through the fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Then add the butter and stir until smooth.
A glass mason jar filled with a lovely yellow lemon curd, pictured next to two sliced lemons and in front of an Instant Pot, with additional sliced lemons in the background, and a small copper spoon of yellow lemon curd resting on a white plate

Frequently Asked Questions about Making Lemon Curd from Scratch

What’s the best way to serve lemon curd?

This citrusy spread is often served on biscuits and scones. It’s also delicious on a simple piece of toast, or smeared onto hot pancakes, waffles, or French toast. It’s a great way to add a pop of tart citrus flavor that’s also sweet and creamy.

How long can I store lemon curd?

You can store lemon curd in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks.

Can you freeze lemon curd?

Yes, you can freeze the cooled lemon curd for 2 to 4 months. Let the curd thaw overnight in the fridge before serving it. 

Can you bake with lemon curd?

Yes, lemon curd is a great ingredient in your favorite cakes, cupcakes, and quick breads. It’s also an essential ingredient in lemon bars.

MORE Instant Pot Preserves Recipes

We love making sweet spreads and preserves in the Instant Pot, including these favorite recipes:


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The finished lemon curd in a glass mason jar, with a silver stirring spoon leaning against the right side of the mason jar. In the background are sliced lemons and a small dipping bowl of lemon curd on an off-white towel.

Lemon Curd | Sous Vide method

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Instant Pot Lemon Curd is made with fresh lemon juice, egg yolks, butter and sugar for a beautiful yellow spread that’s delicious on toast, biscuits, and more.

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 whole egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
  • Zest grated from 1 whole lemon*
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter cut into small cubes, room temperature
  • 2 pint wide-mouth canning jars

Instructions

  1. Place a low trivet In the bottom of the pressure cooking pot, and add 3 quarts water. Select Sous Vide and set the temperature for 170°F. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon salt; mix just until well blended and smooth. (Don’t over mix.) Set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan* add the lemon juice to the pressure cooking pot. Heat to a gentle boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, then add the zest from 1 lemon to the hot citrus juice, stirring to incorporate.
  4. Scoop a small amount of the hot lemon juice (I did about 1/4 cup), then whisking constantly, slowly pour it into the egg mixture and stir until combined. Then slowly pour the remaining lemon juice into the egg mixture, whisking until smooth.
  5. Divide the lemon mixture between two pint mason jars (about two-thirds full). Gently tap the jars on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Place the lid on the jar and screw on the ring until finger tight (do not tighten all the way). 
  6. When the pressure cooker is preheated, gently lower the closed jars into the cooking water, making sure that the water level is above the level of curd in the jars. Allow to cook in the water for 60–75 minutes. (The shorter cook time will be softer and less set than 75 minutes; it’s totally personal preference.)
  7. After cooking, remove the jars from the water and dry with a kitchen towel. 
  8. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the curd through the strainer to remove the lemon zest and to ensure no lumps remain. Add the butter and stir until well blended. At this point, you can return the curd to the mason jars to cool or allow it to cool in the bowl. (If you’re cooling it in the bowl, lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming.)
  9. Once the curd has cooled to room temperature, transfer to your refrigerator. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.

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