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recipe: zesty lime curd

Updated: 2021 May

Craving some curd? Me, too! Lime curd reminds me of sunshine in a jar ☀️. One of the most popular questions I get asked is.. what should I do with leftover egg yolks from Swiss Meringue Buttercream? Any citrus curd is a wonderful way to use up those remaining egg yolks! It's so easy to make and stores so well. Whenever I have a project that requires my lime curd.. the hardest thing about the project is waiting until the project is done and ready to share before eating ☺️. BTW, before we move forward. This recipe is cornstarch free, condensed milk free, and gelatin free. Why? Because it's already thick.

To get some limey lusciousness into your life, watch this video to see how it’s done, then follow the recipe below to make it yourself! See how I do it from start to finish with this video:

to the left: a picture of three lime curds that are green, fresh cut limes, to the right: a picture of an Asian female with long wavy hair, wearing a green sweater and smiling
a picture of roxstarbakes lime curd that's being poured into a measuring cup

Lime curd is easy to make, although it does take some elbow grease! Total cooking time is about 20 minutes.

Once the lime curd is made, you can use for lime curd in lots of ways, including:

  • Tarts

  • Buttercream frosting

  • Yogurt

  • Cake filling

  • Cupcake filling

  • Key lime pie

  • Pie filling

  • Toast

Other questions I get:

  • What should I do with the egg yolks when I make meringue buttercream? Make creme brûlée and/or lime curd and/or lemon curd! I've even made pineapple curd before - let me know if you're interested in that recipe because I have't shared it here yet.

  • Why isn't the curd green if it's from a lime? Lime curd (and grapefruit curd) is naturally yellow. To get a joyful green, just add a few drops of green food coloring - I outline this in the step by step below.

  • Why is my curd green without food coloring? Whoa...... if your curd is green before adding food color - STOP everything. Maybe you cooked your curd directly in a pot (I've never done it this way); it's likely the pot or pan you used is an unlined copper pan or an aluminum pan. The citrus can react with the copper and leave a metal taste and change the color. Here is what lime curd looks like when there is no food coloring.

  • Is this curd thick? Yes! It's thick, creamy, tart and just the right amount of sweet. It's perfect for a cake filling.

  • How quickly should I eat this? I recommend within two weeks. But honestly, I've never had curd last more than three days - I'm a curd monster (:

  • What is the biggest mistake people make when making curd (how do I fix grainy curd)? Sometimes when curd is cooked too hot or too quickly, the eggs start to curdle and turn white. That's ok! Just sieve out little lumps (and seed) before the mixture goes into the butter (please see below).

  • I think it's too thick - can I fix that? Yes! Lime curd will always thicken in the fridge. My answer is that this depends. Are you trying to pour the curd? Then microwave it for 15 seconds. If it's too thick for your preference, just gradually add more lime juice 1/4 tsp at a time. If you think it's already pretty tart - add lemon juice (meyer lemon is especially tasty here).

  • How tart is tart? If you want a subtler lime flavor you can swap out some lime juice for lemon juice.

  • Can I use bottled lime juice? I don't recommend this (:.

  • Could I substitute butter? Could I make this dairy free? Yes! I am loving the dairy free Country Crock avocado oil and olive oil bars. I haven't tried the type in a tub - I have a feeling this kind would give a thinner outcome because it's spreadable. The olive oil bars is less neutral than the avocado oil but I don't mind this.


If you'd like to make 4 cups of Lime Curd

10 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup fresh lime juice (~5 large limes)

1 pinch of pink salt

1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks)

  • Tip: for a dairy free version, I love the Country Crock plant-based butter stick.

1 tablespoon lime zest (optional)

  • Tip: If you do use lime zest, be sure to mix into sugar so it doesn't dry and strain it out after cooking the mixture because it can become bitter over time.

If you'd like to make 2 cups of Lime Curd

5 large egg yolks

1 large eggs

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (~2.5 large limes)

1 pinch of pink salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (for a dairy free version I love the Country Crock plant based butter stick ) (1 stick)

1/2 tablespoon lime zest (optional)


How to make my lime curd:

Step 1 - juicing lime. To get more juice from your lime, and make it easier to squeeze, press down on the lime and roll it around before juicing. Place a sheet of paper towel on your cutting board to absorb that aromatic (but slippery!) lime oil that is release when you roll out the lime.

RoxStarBakes Lime Curd making
pre-juicing lime

Step 2 - separating eggs. Separate the yolks from the egg whites. If the yolk breaks for some reason, don’t throw out the eggs – you can still use this for the curd.

  • Tip: It’s easiest to separate eggs when they’re cold.

  • Tip: Store the egg yolks in an airtight container for the curd.1. Put about an inch of water into a medium-sized pot.

Step 3 - cooking lime curd. In a pan over medium heat, simmer about an inch of water. I use a bain-marie technique to cook the eggs and sugar. Place metal mixing bowl over simmering water and whisk non-stop. Add a splash of the citrus and mix, mix, mix. If you're going to add food coloring, do this now. Then gradually incorporate the rest of the citrus while stirring constantly. Also, add that pinch of salt. The mixture will become foamy while remaining liquid. You will feel some light tension. The foam will dissipate slowly as the curd thickens over the heat (you might see some bubbles, but they turn the yellow). Cook on medium for 10 to 12 minutes.

RoxStarBakes Lime Curd making - mixing sugar and eggs
eggs + sugar
RoxStarBakes Lime Curd making - mixing sugar and eggs
keep mixing!
RoxStarBakes Lime Curd making - mixing sugar and eggs
foamy lemon curd during the cooking process

  • Tip: Place a sheet of paper towel on your cutting board to absorb that aromatic (but slippery!) lime oil that is released when you cut this fruit.

  • Tip: To get more juice from your lime, and make it easier to squeeze, press down on the lime and roll it around before juicing

  • Tip for creamy ‘no curdle curd’: Keep the bottom of the bowl from touching the water simmering in the pot. That will help the mixture cook more evenly throughout, without ‘scrambling’ the eggs at the bottom of the bowl.

  • Tip on time: Keep mixing while the bowl is over the simmering water. It may feel like it's taking forever to thickening—but that’s not the case.

  • Tip on storage: Curd can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks and in the freezer for up to two months.

Step 4. Place cold butter cubes in bowl. Sieve the mixture to get any curdles or seeds out. The cold butter will stop the cooking process. If you didn't color the curd, the deepness of the yellow will depend on the color of your egg yolks. Keep mixing and it will thicken. The mixing process takes three to five minutes. You know it's ready when you pull your finger across the back of a spatula and the curd doesn't come back together after 5 seconds.

RoxStarBakes Lime Curd making - cooking citrus lime curd
sieve citrus to remove remaining seeds or potentially overcooked egg

RoxStarBakes Lime Curd making - cooking citrus lime curd
sieve citrus into the butter
RoxStarBakes Lime Curd making - cooking citrus lime curd and checking to see if it's done
checkin to see if lime curd is complete against spatula

Lime curd success!!

Rox ⭐️

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