August 11, 2023

Mason Jar Microwave Lemon Curd

Quick, easy small batch microwave lemon curd! This recipe yields one cup of lemon curd and you make it in a mason jar in the microwave. It’s just as good as lemon curd cooked over the stove; silky, smooth and very tart. It’ll take 10 minutes at most, and cooks in two minutes.  

5 from 3 votes
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Mason Jar Lemon Curd

Quick, easy small batch microwave lemon curd! This recipe yields one cup of lemon curd and you make it in a mason jar in the microwave. It’s just as good as lemon curd cooked over the stove; silky, smooth and very tart. It’ll take 10 minutes at most, and cooks in two minutes.  

By now I hope I’ve convinced you to try my lemon curd, which honestly is the best recipe you’ll find: it’s easy, made with whole eggs (so no separating eggs, no tempering the curd, and no icky egg taste from using just egg yolks) and with equal amounts of lemon juice to sugar, it tastes very sharp and just, fantastic. 

With it I’ve created: lemon curd cheesecake, lemon curd cookies, lemon rolls, maybe I even got you to try it with dark chocolate ganache like these bars, or layer it on top of some pistachio baklava.  

My lime curd is a nearly identical recipe for it, it’s just such a solid base for a curd. The whole egg method was a template for this raspberry curd , this orange curd and this blueberry curd

I tell you all this because I want you to know that when it comes to making lemon curd, I’ve got you. I wouldn’t ever give you a recipe that didn’t do lemon curd the delicious justice it deserves. 

And if you haven’t yet tried my stovetop lemon curd recipe yet, then maybe I’ll get you to try making this quick and easy lemon curd: it’s fewer ingredients (a smaller yield) and will take less of your effort and time. Plus, plus: you get to have curd in less than ten minutes! 

Recipe Overview 

A month before this recipe came to be, I had been working on an idea for a christmas cookie for an external publication. When I suggested a curd stuffed cookie (heh, ofc I would) they’d asked that if I were to add a curd in it be a quick microwave curd and suggested this one as a template. I was hesitant, could lemon curd made in a microwave actually be good? 

I didn’t end up going with a curd cookie for that recipe (we’ll talk about that one more in november!) but I had a morning in July when I needed just a bit of curd to test something and rather than thaw out the full batch I keep in my freezer, I said, let’s try this microwave method. 

The basic premise is this: you put most of the ingredients in a bowl (in my case, I make it in a 1 pint/16 oz mason jar or a small glass bowl) then you microwave it in increments, stirring between so that it heats evenly. 

With my recipe, you’ll only heat it for 30 seconds a time and you’ll use a fork to beat it between heating sessions. The total cook time is going to be 2 minutes (a 2 minute curd!! And it’s good!! Who would have thought this possible?!) and this is assuming your microwave is set to 100% power. 

I stick to the basics of my original lemon curd: equal amounts of lemon juice and sugar to keep it tart, whole eggs, and stirring in the butter after cooking the curd. This means you get all the benefits of the original curd but you can make less of it and quicker. Let’s go over it in some detail. 

 

Recipe Ingredients 

Fresh Lemons: Never use the bottled lemon juice! We’ll need both fresh lemon juice and zest.  

Eggs: two, large. No need for them to be at room temperature. 

Sugar: Fine, granulated. Don’t reduce this amount. 

Butter: Salted butter or unsalted is fine. If I’m using unsalted, I like to add a teeny pinch of salt to the curd before I cook it. 

 

How to make lemon curd in the microwave (and in a mason jar!) 

Zest the lemon(s) 

You have the option to zest as many lemons as you like, but I personally think it makes the most sense to zest as many as you’ll need to squeeze for juice which is about 2-3 depending on how large and juicy the lemons are. Use a microplane to zest the lemons and avoid the white pith. 

Add the ingredients to a mason jar. You can also use a small glass, microwave-safe bowl (enough to fit 16 oz); the sugar, the zest, the juice and the eggs. 

 

Beat it with a fork 

Approach it as you would making an omelet, the goal is to break up those white egg bits as much as you can. 

Microwaving the curd in intervals

This is where, in terms of method, I depart from other microwave curd recipes. Most have you cook the curd for 1 minute intervals. I prefer and will instruct you to heat it for 30 second intervals only, this gives you more of a chance to stir the curd for it to heat evenly. 

First session 

Set the curd in the microwave for its first session: thirty seconds at 100% power. When you take it out, it won’t look much different. It’s just starting to heat up. Beat it with a fork anyway, this helps distribute the heat. 

Second session 

Put the curd back in the microwave for its second 30 second session. When you take it out you might see a bit of thickening at the top. Beat it again. 

Third session

Give the curd its third 30 second heating session. The top bit will start to look thicker, whiter almost like a foam on top. Beat it well. 

Fourth session

After the fourth 30 second heating session, the curd will have a noticeable thick layer on top. When you beat it with a fork you’ll notice it’s thickened all over like a curd would if you were cooking it. 

If you have a thermometer, check it now: it should be about 160 F. That is when eggs puff up and thicken and when they are safe to eat. Perfect! 

Strain the curd and add the butter 

Straining the curd ensures that we’re going to get a perfectly smooth, bit-free silky curd. Straining removes those white egg bits that had cooked before they were broken into the curd and it removes the lemon zest. 

If you wanted to keep some lemon zest in there (after all, it didn’t get much time to cook into the curd like it would have if you were making a batch over the stove) you can add it after sieving. Always sieve it though a fine-mesh strainer. Those egg bits are not pleasant. 

Now slice the butter and add it in. The heat from the curd will melt it. Stir until it’s smooth. 

Why is my lemon curd not getting thick? 

The curd won’t thicken if it isn’t heated to the right temperature – it’s the eggs that make it thick. If your microwave is not set to 100% power you will need to do more 30 second increments to get there but please avoid leaving the curd in the microwave for longer than 30 seconds at a time less it overcook in one area. 

What if my curd gets too thick? 

If it’s impossibly thick, even after you’ve strained it and added the butter, you’ve possibly overcooked the curd. There’s really no coming back from this one, you’ll have to start over. 

When is microwave lemon curd ready to eat and use? 

While I want to tell you it’s ready to use and eat now – and it can be. But ideally you’ll let the curd chill before using. This helps deepen the flavor and thicken the curd. Let it chill for at least an hour in the fridge. 

What can I do with it? 

Anything you would do with regular lemon curd! It’s fantastic spooned over ice cream, a pavlova, baked into a pie, in a cake filling, spread over dough to make rolls, or stuffed into cookies. You can also make lemon bars, spread it over toast or stuff it into a muffin. 

Can I make microwave lime curd? 

Um yes you absolutely can. Just swap the lemon zest for lime zest and the lemon juice for lime juice. Two things to keep in mind for lime: First, don’t get too much of the white pith which is quite sour: it’s easier to make this mistake with a lime because the skin is thinner. Second, you’ll need more limes to make as much juice because limes are less juicy and smaller. 

Storing lemon curd 

Jarred lemon curd should be kept in an airtight container, in the fridge or freezer. In the fridge it’ll last about 2 weeks, in the freezer it will last months.



Mason Jar Microwave Lemon Curd

Quick, easy small batch microwave lemon curd! This recipe yields one cup of lemon curd and is made in a mason jar in the microwave.
Mason Jar Lemon Curd
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Chill Time: 17 minutes
5 from 3 votes

Ingredients

  • cup or 66g granulated sugar
  • zest of 1-3 lemons depending on how much effort you want to put into it
  • cup or 80g freshly squeezed lemon juice must be freshly squeezed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ tablespoons butter cold, salted or unsalted

Method

  • You’ll need either a 16 oz wide mouth mason jar or a heatproof bowl to make this recipe.
  • Pour the sugar into the jar or bowl and zest the lemon(s) over it. Stir it with a fork.
  • Juice the lemons and pour them over the sugar, whisk with a fork.
  • Crack in the eggs and use the fork to beat the mixture very very well, until you can’t see any egg white bits (or see very few).
  • Set the jar in the microwave at 100% power for 30 seconds.
  • After 30 seconds you’ll see some white bits at the top. Beat the curd with the fork until it’s mixed. Return it to the microwave for another 30 seconds.
  • You’ll see more white bits, whisk with the fork then put it back in the microwave for a third time, again for 30 seconds. *** At this point, if it looks thick once mixed, and you note the temperature has reached 160 there’s no need for the fourth 30 seconds!
  • After the fourth time of 30 seconds, the curd should be thick and you’ll see what looks like foam on top. Whisk the curd very well.
  • Set the butter into a small bowl and a sieve over it.
  • Pour the curd through the sieve, pressing to remove any bits. Scrape the underside of the sieve. Stir until the butter is fully melted and you have a shiny, silky curd.
  • Store in the fridge, in an airtight container.

Notes

Recipe time: 2 minutes total; 30 second increments
 

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Recipe Reviews




  1. 5 stars
    sam! this was SO easy. and it’s SO delish. i used the zest of two very fat lemons and massaged the zest into the sugar first. i needed the 4th nuke. it fit perfectly into the empty jar of high end fancy lemon curd that i will never be purchasing again. many thanks for this perfection!