Made with fresh lemon juice, honey, and coconut milk, this dairy-free lemon curd is a healthier take on the classic tart dessert.
What is Lemon Curd?
My love for lemon curd is borderline inappropriate. Lemon curd is traditionally made with lemon juice, lemon zest, some kind of sweetener, egg yolks, and plenty of butter. Cooked on the stove, the curd comes together in the refrigerator. Once chilled, it transforms into one of the most delicious creations on earth. It’s buttery, sweet, and with a pronounced lemon flavor …pretty much all my favorite things in life.
Lemon curd, in all its fabulous decadence, is typically used as a filling in cupcakes and other pastries. I prefer to skip the pastries and just eat it with a spoon. I KNOW. It’s inappropriate …my standing in front of the refrigerator, with the door open, and a bowl of lemon curd + spoon in my hand. I just don’t care about what’s appropriate when sticks of butter and lemons are involved.
THIS lemon curd pudding is my attempt to make eating lemon curds by the spoonful socially appropriate. Leaning on honey as the sweetener, this pudding comes together in a traditional sense: on the stove, strained, and then sweetened. It’s then mixed with my go-to cream (because it thickens so nicely), coconut milk.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
You’ll need a handful of ingredients for the lemon curd itself and another few ingredients for the coconut whipped cream. All substitution notes are below, and exact ingredient amounts can be found in the recipe card.
For the Lemon Curd
- Fresh lemon juice – hello, FLAVOR! Don’t take any shortcuts with bottled lemon juice here. *Fresh* is key!
- Honey – honey is our sweetener of choice in this recipe. It’s a subtle healthier option that works really well here. Feel free to swap maple syrup in here, if needed.
- Egg yolks
- Lemon zest
- Sea salt
- Canned coconut milk solids – chill your canned coconut milk overnight before making your lemon curd.
For the Coconut Whipped Cream
- Canned coconut milk solids – chill this can overnight too!
- Honey – same as above. Use maple syrup instead, if you’d like.
- Vanilla extract
How to Make It
This recipe may feel intimidating, but I have full confidence that you can really easily pull it off. Here’s the super simple step-by-step:
For the Lemon Curd
- Combine the lemon juice, honey, butter, lemon zest, and salt – add the lemon juice, honey, butter, lemon zest, and salt to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and whisk together until the butter is melted and everything is evenly combined.
- Remove from heat and strain – remove the mixture from the heat, pour it through a strainer over a mixing bowl, and discard any solids.
- Add the egg yolks – add the egg yolks to the mixing bowl one at a time, while whisking vigorously, until well incorporated.
- Add the coconut milk solids – add the full-fat coconut milk solids and whisk until the coconut milk is melted and evenly combined.
- Pour into jars and refrigerate – pour the pudding into individual serving containers and refrigerate to set for at least 6 hours before serving.
- While the curd sets, make the whipped cream – combine all the ingredients in a chilled mixing bowl and turn the stand mixer on medium/high for 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Store refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Garnish and enjoy – garnish with the coconut whipped cream and additional lemon zest, if desired.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
Follow the tips below for the absolute BEST lemon curd:
- Whisk vigorously – be sure to vigorously and continuously whisk the curd when the egg yolks are added in. The heat from the mixture will scramble the eggs if you aren’t diligent about this step!
- Let the coconut milk melt – the coconut milk may take a little while to fully melt and incorporate, but I promise it will. Keep whisking until it’s velvety smooth and fully incorporated.
- Chill the coconut milk cans – canned coconut milk hack! Chill both cans of coconut milk (used for the curd itself and the coconut whipped cream) so that the solids easily separate from the liquid. When it comes time to use the coconut milk, flip the can upside down, open it (on what would typically be the bottom of the can), then pour out the liquid and use a rubber spatula to scoop out the solids.
- Chill the whipped cream bowl – place the mixing bowl (that you plan on making the whipped cream in) in the freezer about 30 minutes before you plan on making the whipped cream. This will help the whipped cream to whip into the most perfect fluffy texture.
Ways to Use Lemon Curd
If you’re like me, eat these bad boys with a spoon! Seriously …that’s exactly what I created this recipe for. If you’re looking for more creative uses, though, here are our best ideas:
- Spoon over waffles, pancakes, a blueberry oat bake, or french toast for a special breakfast
- Spoon it over homemade chia pudding, overnight oats, or classic oatmeal to jazz up your ordinary breakfast
- Use it as a dip for fresh fruit (fresh, juicy strawberries dipped into tart lemon curd? Yes, please.)
- Swap the cream cheese frosting in this incredible strawberry cake recipe for lemon curd
How to Store
Store any leftover lemon curd in an airtight jar in the fridge. Stored this way, it’ll last for 1-2 weeks.
Can you freeze lemon curd?
You can absolutely freeze lemon curd! The easiest way to do this is to dollop individual servings of lemon curd in large silicone ice cube trays, freeze them, and then, about 24 hours before you’re ready to enjoy, pop out a cube of frozen lemon curd, place it into a bowl/jar, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to use lemon zest?
You don’t *need* lemon zest to make the lemon curd, but it does impart a really delicious concentrated lemon flavor on the dessert.
Can I use lemon juice from concentrate?
We don’t recommend using lemon concentrate in this recipe. The taste of fresh lemon juice is honestly just too good to substitute for the fake stuff.
Can I use less sugar?
You can absolutely reduce the amount of honey in this recipe, but do keep in mind that the honey is super necessary to counter the tartness of the lemon!
Do I need to strain it?
For the smoothest lemon curd, you’ll definitely want to strain out the lemon zest and pulp. If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, though, feel free to skip this step – the lemon curd will still taste delicious, it’ll just have a slightly less velvety texture.
Why is my curd lumpy?
If your curd is lumpy, it’s likely because you weren’t whisking the curd continuously while it was cooking and/or the eggs cooked in the mixture. Be sure to vigorously whisk the mixture after adding the egg yolks!
More Favorite Dessert Recipes
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- How to Make Delicious Homemade Toffee Bars
- Easy Candied Pecans
- Easy Peanut Butter Cookies (Only 3 Ingredients)
- No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
- Gluten Free Lemon Bars
Lemon Curd Puddings
For the Lemon Curd:
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 stick of butter 1/4 pound
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 can’s-worth of coconut milk solids chilled
For the Coconut Whipped Cream:
- 1 can’s-worth of coconut milk solids chilled
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the lemon curd:
- Add the lemon juice, honey, butter, lemon zest, and salt to a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and whisk together until the butter is melted and everything is evenly combined.
- Remove from the heat and pour the lemon curd through a strainer over a mixing bowl or 4 cup, glass measuring cup. Discard any solids.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time, while whisking vigorously, until well incorporated.
- Add the full-fat coconut milk solids and whisk until the coconut milk is melted and evenly combined. Pour the pudding into individual serving containers and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.
- Garnish with the coconut whipped cream and additional lemon zest, if desired.
For the coconut whipped cream:
- Combine all the ingredients in a chilled mixing bowl and turn stand mixer on medium/high for 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.
- Store refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Place your mixing bowl and whisks in the freezer at least 30 minutes before you plan to make the whipped cream – this will help the texture set more quickly.
- The whipped cream keeps really well as a leftover, so feel free to make in advance!