My take on the English classic - From scratch, super easy vegan lemon curd that's ready in only 10 minutes and made with no eggs! It's deliciously, intensely, mouth-puckeringly tart, but sweet all at the same time and so lusciously smooth and creamy!
Dear friends. Let’s talk. It’s nearly the end of summer. Gone in the blink of an eye and I’m already contemplating turning the heat on low. But, before we move on to pumpkin spice and all things nice, let’s have one last burst of bright yellow sunshine.
Enter Vegan Lemon Curd. It’s amazing and takes literally 10 minutes to make. 2 of that is putting things in a pan, the other 7 or 8 is stirring it all gently until it’s turned into luscious, lemon magic.
And the best part? Dolloping it onto lemon desserts, spreading it on thick slice of crusty bread with lots of vegan butter, or adding it to baked goods like my vegan lemon muffins and vegan lemon bars. So good!
It’s thick, rich, soft, smooth, mouth-puckeringly tart but sweet all at the same time and it is OMG delicious. The absolute perfect combination of lightness and richness. The texture...I really cannot get enough. If you are a lemon lover this is the recipe for you! (Be sure to try my self-saucing lemon puddings too ;O)
What is lemon curd?
Lemon curd is an old fashioned English recipe that is thought to date back to the 1800s. It is a sharp, sweet, rich, creamy, decadent spread, that is traditionally made by cooking citrus fruit juice with egg yolks, butter and sugar. The flavor comes from the fruit juice and sugar and the eggs thicken it like they do when you make something like custard. The butter is added at the end to provide extra richness and silkiness.
If you have been around for a while you will know that I am British, and I grew up eating lemon curd as an alternative to jam on bread, warm toast and crumpets. It was always one of my favorite things and I’ve been desperate to make a vegan version that tastes just as good as the original. And this eggless lemon curd recipe is it!
(For detailed measurements and instructions, see the printable recipe card).
Wondering how to make lemon curd without eggs? Well I've got you! All you need to make my egg-free lemon curd are some basic ingredients. Here is what we’ve got going on and why:
- Fresh lemon juice & lemon zest - For zippy flavor and tartness.
- Sugar - For sweetness and structure. Use white sugar or cane sugar. Darker sugar will affect the color and taste of the lemon curd.
- Corn starch (cornflour in the UK) - Something you won’t find in traditional recipes, but used here to replace the eggs and thicken the curd.
- Light coconut milk - Eggs not only thicken, they provide richness. Light coconut milk helps to replace that richness in a eggless and dairy-free lemon curd recipe. Light coconut milk because we don’t want our curd to taste of coconut.
- Turmeric - To boost that lovely yellow color. It's just a tiny but and you can’t taste it in the finished curd.
- Vegan butter - Just like in traditional versions, butter is used to add extra richness and glossiness. As this is a dairy-free lemon curd we are using dairy-free vegan butter. You can omit the butter if you prefer to eat oil-free. It’s still really good without it, but if you aren’t watching your oil intake I highly recommend adding it for that extra bit of decadence.
- Salt - because a pinch of salt makes everything better whether savory or sweet!
How to make Vegan Lemon Curd
This recipe comes together really quickly and easily. Here's how it's done:
- Mix the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in a small saucepan.
- Add everything else except the butter.
- Whisk over low/medium heat until the curd thicken and can easily coat the back of a metal spoon.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the vegan butter.
That's all there is to it. It’s really hard not to eat it straight from the pan. Even hot it’s incredibly good. Just be careful if you sneak a taste as with all of that sugar it is super hot and can burn your mouth.
How to store
Vegan lemon curd will last for about 2 weeks if stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Preferably a glass jar. It will thicken more as it cools and will keep well for about 2 weeks. Once it's been in the fridge for a while, a little watery looking liquid on the top is normal. You can pour it off or stir it in. I haven't tried freezing it. If you try it let me know in the comments how it works out!
For optimum results when making eggless lemon curd:
- Use real lemons. The bottled juice is nowhere near as flavorful.
- Don’t reduce the sugar. It provides, sweetness, flavor and structure.
- When you buy your lemons, don’t refrigerate them - You’ll get more juice and flavor if they stay at room temperature. Give them a firm roll under your hand, on the counter top before juicing them. This helps them to release more juice.
- Feel the lemons when you buy them. Choose the ones that feel heaviest. They contain more juice than the lighter ones.
- I recommend using organic lemons because non-organic lemons tend to be coated in wax and we are using a lot of zest in this recipe.
- Make sure the zest is very fine. I recommend using a microplane. If it’s fine, once it’s cooked you barely even notice it. Large pieces of zest might be a little unpleasant and would require straining.
- For best results add the optional butter. It makes this lemon curd unbelievably rich and creamy.
- Don’t leave the curd unattended while it’s cooking. It will go from smooth to lumpy in the blink of an eye. You must keep stirring it constantly.
Make vegan lime curd or vegan orange curd
Adapt this recipe to make vegan lime curd or vegan orange curd by simply swapping the lemon juice and zest for lime or lemon juice and zest. Grapefruit is a great alternative too!
Lemon curd uses
Vegan lemon curd is guaranteed to brighten up any breakfast, tea or dessert. Here are some suggestions for ways to use it:
- Spread on buttered bread, toast or English Muffins just like you would jam.
- As a filling for cakes, muffins and cupcakes. Try it in my Victoria Sponge Cake instead of jam (the recipe for the cake is in my cookbook Vegan Comfort Cooking).
- On my Vegan New York Cheesecake
- As a filling for Vegan English Pancakes or crepes
- Dolloped on American style thick, fluffy pancakes
- On waffles, French toast or scones
- In vegan lemon muffins
- Use instead of or a well as custard in a vegan trifle
- Stirred through vegan yogurt and top with raspberries, blackberries or strawberries for breakfast or dessert
- Dolloped on vegan vanilla ice cream
- Spread on a digestive biscuit
- Stir through vegan cream cheese to make a delicious frosting
- Dollop on aquafaba meringue or pavlova with whipped coconut cream for a decadent dessert
- Use to make lemon meringue pie, lemon tart or Danish pastries
Whatever you dollop it on though, this ridiculously lemony treat is here to see your summer out, and my oh my …. What a way to go!
Vegan Lemon CurdAuthor:
- 4 tablespoons (32 grams) corn starch (cornflour in the UK)
- 1½ cup (300 grams) sugar , either white granulated or cane sugar
- 1 cup (240 mls) lemon juice , freshly squeezed not from a bottle (roughly about 5 or 6 lemons)
- 1 cup (240 mls) light canned coconut milk , not full fat
- ½ cup (120 mls) water
- 2 lemons zest of
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter , OPTIONAL
- Add the sugar and cornstarch to a pan and gradually add the lemon juice, stirring as you go to work out any lumps.
- Add all of the other ingredients except the butter.
- Get a metal spoon and place it somewhere within reach of your stove top.
- Place the pan over a medium low heat and whisk or stir constantly (don't stop as otherwise lumps will form) until it starts to thicken. Once it gets hot and thickens, use the metal spoon to test it. Dip the spoon in then lift it out, and once the curd can easily coat the back of the spoon and not just run off it is done. Turn off the heat as soon as it reaches that stage otherwise it will end up too thick.
- With the pan still off the heat, add the optional butter and whisk in until well combined then immediately pour into jars and allow to cool.
Nutritional information is calculated with the optional vegan butter.
Lisa Fischer says
Hi this sounds delicious, but im allergic to corn. Any substitutions? Tapioca starch or arrowroot? Thank you!
Melanie McDonald says
I haven't tried it with anything else. Arrowroot would probably be ok but you might need to adjust the quantity a little. It's hard to say without having tried it.
It’s so tasty and easy
Julie maley says
I tried this recipe for a vegan cake. It was the best lemon curd I have eaten. I don’t like eggs myself, so this was great. I will definitely use the recipe again.
Spruce Marler says
Really impressed with this recipe - tastes like the real thing - you can'ttaste the coconut or the turmeric, which is great. Thank you!
I have been vegan for nine months, and I am making Christmas dinner for my family. We love gingerbread with lemon sauce so I had to try this. I just finished it, and it is absolutely delicious! I got tired squeezing all the lemons, so half the juice is Nellie and Joe's Key West lime juice. Everything else is to the letter. I have to stop myself from eating it all up myself, that's how fabulous this is. Thank you so much for the recipe! I recommend you highly!
A Virtual Vegan says
Thank you Pamela. I'm really pleased you're enjoying it! Merry Christmas!
Sophie Wilde says
I'm from the UK ( born and bred by Strawberry Fields no less) and I.absolutely adore lemon curd ,especially in lovely homemade Devon.plain.scones ,warm of course ! I've been stuck in the house since last March ( 9:whole months in my.own?) because I''m disabled & terrified of getting C Covid 19 with being in chemo..Would I be able to make this with a good quality.bottle lemon.juice ,if a bit of citric acid was added to make it more tarte...had anybody any.ideas if bottled lemon would work??...Also...if the butter was omitted and the sugar& cornflour. ratio adjusted ,OMG it would make a tray of positively scrummy lemony.Turkish Delight sweeties..Maybe a few slithers of almond or pistachio.& rolled in a 50/50/,cornflour & icing sugar coating ?
Sophie Wilde says
PS ..Strawberry Fields is in my.beloved old hometown of Liverpool.and immortalised.forever by John Lennon x
A Virtual Vegan says
It will technically work with bottled lemon juice but the flavour is much better when made with freshly squeezed lemons.
I made this for my lemon-curd-lovin' wife and she said it was fabulous! (I'll have to agree!) Like one of your other comments, I only had 2/3 of a cup of sugar, and had to top it off with turbinado sugar - but it turned out great! We'd never had it on toast before, so another treat! Thanks-
A Virtual Vegan says
I'm really pleased you both enjoyed it Phil and thanks so much for coming back to leave a review. It's much appreciated!
Liz Sanders says
Well- first I ran out of sugar so I had to top up with brown coconut sugar. ?
Then- I used full cream coconut cream- though you said not to- because it’s what I had. ?
Then I accidentally put a tablespoon of baking soda instead of corn flour. Did my best to “un-add” it. ?
Then I forgot it was all the stove at a rolling boil before I rescued it.
I also ended up using real butter. ?
Clearly I shouldn’t be in my kitchen today. But clearly God wanted me to have lemon curd. It’s delicious albeit the color is off from the brown sugar.
This is a very generous recipe. ??