This sweet & tart honey lemon curd, without any white sugar and dairy-free, is a healthier alternative to normal, overly sweet lemon curd.
This post was originally published in September 2014. It has been updated with new step-by-step photos and improvements to the text and recipe as of July 2020.
One of my very favourite, very old recipes on OE, updated! I make this honey lemon curd all the time, just to have around to use in baking (or to eat with a spoon) and to give as gifts. Lemons are available in stores year round but I get bulk orders from crowdfarming and use them to make preserved lemons, this curd, and to freeze.
If you’ve never had lemon curd before, it’s creamy, sweet, and a little tart. It’s a bit like an ultra-flavourful pudding, really. You can use it in cakes, cookies, to swirl into ice cream (it’s excellent in these coconut milk popsicles).
Maybe you’re already a big lemon curd fan – in that case, this is a touch different from what you might expect. As it uses less sweetener than normal, and honey in place of sugar, it is a bit less sweet and also has more depth of flavour. All around better, really.
- Egg yolks (three of them)
- Lemon juice
- Lemon zest
- Vegan butter
Start off with all of your ingredients at room temperature if possible. Whisk the eggs and honey in a small saucepan until lightened in colour. Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk to combine (see above photos). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken.
Low heat and constant stirring are both very important here! If the heat is too high, you’ll get sweetened scrambled eggs. If you don’t stir, you’ll get a cooked layer at the bottom of the pan. Both are a waste of ingredients, so do it right and be patient.
Once the curd has thickened – and patience is key, because it takes about ten minutes – you can stir in the cubed vegan butter. You’ll be able to tell that it’s thick enough when it’s reduced by about half and coats the back of a wooden spoon. In the third picture above you can see a line around the inside of the saucepan showing how high the mixture was before thickening.
Once the butter has melted, pour your finished curd into a glass jar and cover loosely to cool fully. Once it’s at room temperature, cover tightly and refrigerate. It’ll be liquid right after stirring the butter in, but will set fully after being refrigerated. After setting it’s pudding-like in texture, not hard, but viscous enough to hold its shape.
Tips and Notes
As far as I know, this can’t be safely canned. You may be able to use a pressure canner but I can’t speak to the safety of canning this as it doesn’t contain sugar or another canning preservative like citric acid. It does last in the refrigerator for quite some time, at least a couple of weeks.
I use Naturli vegan butter, and recommend Miyoko’s in north America. You will taste it in the final product, so a neutral tasting one is best – not one that you don’t like the taste of on toast, for example. If you prefer, you can strain the curd after cooking to remove any pieces of zest. I prefer it with the zest in but you do you.
Hesitant to make this because you just use yolks and no egg whites? Make these coconut thumbprint cookies! They’re filled with lemon curd, so it’s a great way to use both at once.
Pictured is a high quality vegan butter but I most often use coconut oil instead. With unrefined oil you’ll get a very slight coconut flavour, which isn’t unpleasant here, but you can use refined oil to keep it very neutral.
If dairy isn’t an issue for you, then you can certainly use butter – the recipe was originally written with dairy butter. I haven’t tried with other alternatives.
This is a recipe specifically using honey and since it also contains eggs, I haven’t tried with another liquid sweetener. No, I haven’t tried to make it vegan – but there are plenty of vegan lemon curd recipes out there you can try.
More Lemon Recipes
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- 60 grams (1/4 cup) honey
- 3 egg yolks
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (2-3 lemons)
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) vegan butter, cut into small pieces
- Whisk the honey and egg yolks in a small saucepan until combined and lightened in colour. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
- Cook over low heat until it starts to thicken, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. This should take about 10 minutes. It's ready when reduced by about half, and the curd coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add the vegan butter to the hot curd and whisk to melt and incorporate fully.
- Pour your lemon curd into a glass jar and loosely cover with a lid to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, seal tightly and refrigerate.
- After refrigerating, the curd should be set and pudding-like in texture. It will keep up to a couple weeks in the refrigerator.
Serving Size:1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 43Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g
This data is provided by a calculator and is a rough estimation of the nutritional information in this recipe.