Instant Pot Lemon Curd Recipe

Instant Pot Lemon Curd Recipe

Lemon curd is a creamy spread made from lemons, eggs, sugar, and butter. The texture is perfect for using to layer, fill, and spread on desserts all year long. The key to a delicious lemon curd is using high-quality ingredients like European unsalted butter, fresh eggs, and peak-season citrus.

Making curd in the Instant Pot takes this recipe from a tedious, constant stirring technique to an almost set it and forget it technique. The Instant Pot method is also perfect for doubling or tripling and then giving the curd as a gift paired with vanilla scones or sweet biscuits.

Be mindful that this curd will appear curdled at first, but try not to panic. Just remember to keep whisking as you add the butter, and the mixture will become a silky, smooth consistency. If it seems thin, remember it will also thicken as it cools. The key to this recipe is to trust the process.

“I’ve never made dessert in my Instant Pot, and I absolutely loved making this recipe! It comes out perfectly and easily, with barely any clean up needed. Easy and fast, makes for a perfectly hands-off sweet (and tart) treat.” —Tracy Wilk 

lemon curd/tester image A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Instant Pot Lemon Curd ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt until well combined.

    Eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice mixture in a bowl with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Transfer the mixture to a heat-proof glass container large enough to fit in the Instant Pot. Cover the container tightly with foil.

    Lemon mixture in a glass container, covered with aluminum foil

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Pour 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot fitted with a trivet and carefully place the container onto the trivet.

    Glass container with lemon mixture covered with aluminum foil in an instant pot

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Seal the Instant Pot lid. Pressure cook at high pressure for 3 minutes, then naturally release for 10 minutes.

    Instant Pot lid

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Carefully remove the container from the Instant Pot. The egg mixture should be thick and set like a custard with small bubbles on top.

    Lemon curd in a glass container

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking between additions until melted well combined. As you whisk, the mixture should turn from clumpy to smooth and creamy.

    Lemon curd in a glass container, next to a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let the mixture cool, about 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator for at least four hours or up to overnight before serving.  

    Instant Pot Lemon Curd in a glass container

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Tip

This recipe will work perfectly in all the sizes of the Instant Pot from the 3-quart to the 10-quart. However, if you want to double or triple the recipe to give this curd out as gifts, you'll need at least the 6-quart size.

How to Use Instant Pot Lemon Curd

There are many delicious ways to use this lemon curd, and all are pretty simple and quick.

  • You could slather it between cake layers or mix it in with American buttercream to step up your typical vanilla layer cake.
  • Or you could use it to fill mini pie shells to make lemon tarts and top with whipped cream and edible flowers.
  • For easier applications, spread it on toast, top ice cream, serve with biscuits, or top a store-bought classic cheesecake with it.
  • Whenever you want to add a little pop of tart citrus flavor to your favorite breakfast or dessert dishes, this lemon curd is your go-to.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store lemon curd in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to two months.
  • If you'd like to freeze this lemon curd for enjoying later, store it in the same glass jar with a tight-fitting lid but be sure to leave about one inch of room at the top. This will allow for expansion in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Is lemon curd the same as lemon jam?

Lemon curd and lemon jam both provide a bright, citrus flavor to cakes, cookies, and pies, but there is a slight difference between the two. Lemon curd is made using eggs and butter, while jams and jellies are made by cooking down fruit with sugar.

Can the Instant Pot explode?

The Instant Pot comes with many safety features and is a far step above the pressure cookers of the past, so it's unlikely to explode. Always be sure to read the manual before using and brief yourself fully on how to operate all kitchen appliances.

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