Silky smooth and supremely tart dairy free lemon curd that's made without butter! This sweet and citrusy lemon curd can be made in 20 minutes with just a few simple ingredients. It's perfect to drizzle on top of ice cream, use in lemon bars, or even enjoy by the spoonful!
What is Lemon Curd?
Lemon curd is a tangy spread known for its tart lemony flavor and bright yellow color. It's thick like chocolate fudge and great to use in a lemon tart, lemon meringue pie, and other lemon desserts. The fruit curd also makes the perfect topping for a bowl of yogurt or ice cream.
It's easy to pick up a jar at your local grocery store but you can also easily whip up a batch of your own lemon curd at home!
Traditionally, lemon curd it made with about a cup of sugar, a few egg yolks, some butter, and, of course, fresh lemons. I wanted to switch things up though and create a paleo lemon curd with a few different and "untraditional" ingredients. This dairy-free lemon curd is made with honey instead of sugar and coconut oil in place of butter for the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavor.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Honey - This ingredient is a little unconventional when it comes to lemon curd. Classic lemon curd contains granulated sugar (and a lot of it). The honey in this recipe adds a mild sweetness to the curd and still allows the citrusy lemon flavor to shine through. If needed, you can substitute with maple syrup, agave, or granulated sugar. Coconut sugar may work but it will make the color much darker.
- Egg + Egg yolks - I found this ratio to make the perfect not-too-thick lemon curd. Use pasture raised eggs for a bright and bold yellow color!
- Coconut oil - Again, this is typically not found in traditional lemon curd recipes. Instead, butter is what is normally used. Coconut oil functions the same but has a very mild flavor so the lemons can be the star of the show. Grass-fed or vegan butter can be substituted.
- Lemons - Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest is best for this recipe. Because a good amount is needed for this recipe, I do recommend using fresh juice from meyer lemons and not store-bought bottled juice.
How to Make Dairy Free Lemon Curd
You will need a medium saucepan or pot to make the lemon curd and an airtight container or glass jar for storing.
Step 1 : Heat the eggs and sugar. First, put the egg, egg yolks, honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a pot over medium heat. The key is to have the element high enough to heat the mixture but you don't want to boil it (you'll end up with scrambled eggs!).
Mix the mixture well with a whisk to break up the eggs. Continue to whisk until the mixture begins to simmer just a bit (again, don't let it get to a boil). The mixture should look like the below picture. It should be slightly thick and start to develop a little foam at the top with bubbles.
Step 2 : Add the remaining ingredients. Once the mixture begins to simmer slightly, remove it from the element and add in the vanilla and coconut oil. Stir until the coconut oil is melted into the lemon curd.
Step 3 : Chill. Pour the lemon curd into an airtight container and place it in the fridge to firm up for at least 20 minutes. You will know it's chilled enough when the curd can coat the back of a spoon.
- Use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, not bottled juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice has a more potent flavor so you don't need as much to get that sharp tart flavor we know and love.
- Make sure to watch the pot as you heat it on the stove and whisk continuously to prevent the eggs from cooking. Use medium-low heat if your burner is temperamental.
- Stir in the coconut oil well until it's completely melted. You don't want little bits of oil in the lemon mixture as it will solidify once the lemon curd firms up.
How to Store
Lemon curd will keep very well when stored properly. Make sure the container is airtight and it will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a month. You can also freeze lemon curd for up to 6 months! Just thaw it out in the fridge for a day or out on the counter for a couple of hours when ready to enjoy.
How to Use Lemon Curd
There are tons of ways to use creamy lemon curd, besides enjoying it by the spoonful:
- Use it on top of my gluten free lemon cake or as a cake filling
- Spoon it over a warm lemon mug cake
- Fill a warm crepe with lemon curd and top with other fresh fruit
- Drizzle some over lemon pancakes or lemon cream cheese muffins
- Use it as a tart filling with your favorite graham cracker crust
- Spread it on a warm piece of toast
For more citrusy treats, check out my:
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Dairy free Lemon Curd
- 1 egg
- 3 egg yolks
- ⅔ cup honey
- ½ cup lemon juice - approx. 2 large lemons
- 1 ½ tablespoon lemon zest - approx. 1 large lemon
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Place the egg, egg yolks, honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a pot over medium heat. The key is to have the element high enough to heat the mixture but you don't want to boil it (you'll end up with scrambled eggs!). Whisk until the mixture begins to simmer and is slightly thick. You should see bubbles and a layer of foam beginning to form on top. Immediately take the pot off the element.
- Add in the vanilla and coconut oil to the pot. Stir until the coconut oil is melted into the lemon curd.
- Pour the lemon curd into an airtight container and place it in the fridge to firm up for at least 20 minutes.