Homemade lime curd is infinitely useful in the kitchen. Easy to make and delicious to eat. Slather it over waffles, layer it in breakfast parfaits or stir it through yoghurt for a simple yet elegant dessert. Failing that, just eat it straight from the spoon.
Total Time Investment: 30 Minutes + 20 Minutes Sterilising Time
I have a problem. It is lime season and a friend of mine recently gave me a large bag of limes from her tree. Although that’s not the actual problem.
My absolute favourite thing to make with limes is lime curd. And to make a true lime curd you need eggs. The real problem is that my chickens have chosen this time of year to shut up the egg laying shop and have a bit of a holiday. Which is very inconvenient indeed.
After a little bit of begging, I did manage to scrounge together enough eggs to make some lime curd. And I promise I didn’t squeeze the chickens to do so.
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So Just What is Lime Curd?
Fruit curd, and specifically lime curd, is traditionally made using citrus juice, butter, sugar and eggs.
Whilst lemon is the most common type of citrus curd, curd can be made from any of the more acidic citrus varieties. I prefer lime curd, as I find it slightly less sweet than lemon curd. Limes aren’t quite as acidic as lemons, so need less sugar to balance out the sharpness.
Curd can also be made with passion fruit, and I have on occasion turned a bountiful mulberry crop into mulberry curd.
Homemade curd is a completely different product to anything you will buy in a jar from the supermarket. Those jars are full of added thickeners to achieve the consistency given by the eggs and butter, and stabilisers and preservatives to extend the shelf life.
Ingredient Substitutions for Making Lime Curd
It is difficult to recommend substitutions for this recipe. The butter and eggs are crucial to the texture of the lime curd, and there are no substitutes.
What you can play with is the type of sugar you use. I have a preference for raw sugar; I find it less sweet than highly refined white sugar, and I like the slightly caramel notes that it lends to everything. If white sugar is all you have on hand, use that instead, although I would reduce the amount in the recipe by approximately 1/4 cup.
You can also use this basic recipe to make lemon curd. Replace the lime juice with lemon juice, and increase the amount of sugar by 1/4 cup. If your lemons are particularly tart, you may need to add even more sugar. Mix the juice and sugar together first to ensure you have the balance right before adding the butter.
Tips & Tricks For Making Great Lime Curd
It is important to rely on visual cues rather than cooking time when making curd. If you have measured all of the ingredients correctly, the curd will thicken. You may just need to be patient. The actual time the curd takes to cook will be so dependent on your cooking set up i.e. the size of the bowl, the proximity of the bowl to the water, and the water temperature. I have had batches of lime curd take 30 – 40 minutes on the stove. If it seems that the curd is not thickening, try increasing the heat slightly under the pot.
Do not allow the water under the bowl to come to a vigorous boil. This is a sure-fire way to curdle your eggs. If the water does start to boil, remove the bowl and reduce the temperature under the saucepan. Make sure the water is gently simmering before replacing the bowl.
The lime curd is ready when it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. You should be able to draw a clear line through the curd.
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Many curd recipes advise you to sieve the eggs prior to adding them to the butter and sugar. This is to avoid little clumps of egg white in your finished product. I find if you whisk the eggs enough before adding them to the butter and sugar you can avoid this problem. If you do end up with wispy bits (and you care), you can sieve the curd prior to putting it in the jars.
If you are lucky enough to own a Thermomix or other thermal cooker, use that to make your lime curd. It is my preferred method, although I have provided instructions for both methods in the recipe below.
You do not need to sterilise the jars, however sterilising will significantly improve the keeping time of the curd. If you choose not to sterilise the jars I would only keep the curd for a maximum of two weeks in the fridge. In sterilised jars, my lime curd has a shelf life of about three months in the fridge, although I challenge you to keep it that long.
I prefer to sterilise my jars in the oven, as I find it easier. You can also run the jars through a dishwasher cycle, or cover them with water and boil them for ten minutes to sterilise them.
How To Use Lime Curd
Lime curd gets put to good use in our house. The Princess slathers it over homemade waffles for breakfast, or pikelets for afternoon tea. I have marbled it through yoghurt to create a quick dessert for unexpected guests, and it is amazing in breakfast parfaits.
Use your lime curd in any recipe that calls for lemon curd. It makes a great filling for mini tarts, or is delicious spread over plain scones. The Princess turns it into “an egg” – a puddle of yoghurt in a dish with a dollop of lime curd in the middle. I can think of worse things she could be eating.
And if you run out of ideas for using the last of the jar, you can always eat it straight off the spoon.
Made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below. And if you loved it, please don’t forget to rate it.
A Very Useful Lime Curd
Makes 2 1/2 cups
- 225 ml (1 scant cup) lime juice 3-5 limes depending on how juicy they are
- Zest of 3 limes
- 175 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter room temperature
- 400 g (2 cups) raw sugar
- 4 large eggs approximately 225ml/1 scant cup
- Pinch salt
You will also need 5 or 6 125ml glass jars & lids
To Sterilise The Jars
- Preheat the oven to 120C.
- Wash the jars and place them in the oven for 20 minutes.
- When the time is up, turn the oven off but do not remove the jars.
- Boil the lids in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat but do not drain the water.
To Make The Lime Curd - Stove Top Instructions
- You will need a medium saucepan and a bowl that will fit comfortably on top of the saucepan but not touch the water. I use a stainless steel bowl on top of the saucepan, but a glass bowl would also be suitable.
- Fill the saucepan 1/3 full with water, and heat the water to a gentle simmer.
- Place the bowl on top of the saucepan, and add the sugar, butter, lime juice, lime zest and salt to the bowl.
- Gently stir until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved.
- Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, and whisk the eggs vigorously until the mixture is frothy and no visible egg white can be seen in the mixture.
- Pour the frothy eggs into the lime juice mixture, and stir gently to combine.
- Continue to gently stir the mixture for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
- If the mixture becomes quite hot, or the water starts boiling, remove the bowl from the top of the saucepan, and allow to cool slightly before proceeding. If the mixture gets too hot, the eggs will curdle, which will ruin the curd.
- Once the mixture has thickened, either bottle it using the instructions below, or allow to cool and use within 3 days.
To Make The Lime Curd - Thermomix Instructions
- Insert the Butterfly into the Thermomix bowl.
- Add all of the ingredients.
- Cook at 80C for 20 minutes on Speed 3.
- The mixture should have thickened and will coat the back of a spoon. If not, cook in 2 minute increments at 80C until the desired thickness is reached.
Lime Curd Bottling Instructions
- Remove the warm jars from the oven and ladle the hot curd into the jars.
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth to remove any spills.
- Remove the lids from the saucepan. Shake them well to remove excess water, then place on the jars.
- Allow the sealed jars to cool, then label and date before storing in the fridge.
- The sealed lime curd will keep for up to 3 months in the fridge.
* This post was originally posted in May 2013. It has been substantially updated from the original post.
My husband and I made this yesterday. We halved the recipe and it turned out really well. Absolutely delicious
I’m so glad it worked for you. Thanks for the feedback. I discovered we are down to our last jar so I need to make some more myself.
I’m making this in India where the limes are very small — any idea how much zest is needed in tbsps for this recipe? Also, is raw sugar the same as demerara? Can white granulated sugar be used? thanks
Hi Deborah. I would probably use a tablespoon of zest. You want enough to flavour the curd but not too much so that all you are eating is zest. Demerara is a type of raw sugar but has a larger crystal size so it will take longer to dissolve. You can easily use white granulated sugar. I just never use it personally which is why I have not included it in the recipe. It is slightly sweeter than raw sugar so the resultant curd may be slightly sweeter, but this curd is not really very sweet to begin with.
Hi, I am making my third batch today, it is so so good. I know all my friends will love it. The sweetness is perfect. The first two were for presents but this last one is just for us. The princess is on to something with the egg dessert, it is great! Thank you!
Thank you so much for the lovely comments Martha. I am so glad you enjoy it! I will let The Princess know 😉
Can almost taste it! Can I replace the raw sugar with confectioner’s sugar?
I wouldn’t replace the raw sugar with confectioners sugar. If you really want to use a replacement, then standard white sugar will be your best bet. The curd will be a touch sweeter though.
I’m surprisngly allergic to raw sugar, so white sugar it is. I needed a lime filling recipe for my coconut cake, can I use this lime curd recipe for it? Thanks!
Absolutely. A friend of mine has used it to fill a sponge cake with great success.
Is this suitable to fill a large tart? Not too runny? Looks delicious!!
Thanks. To be honest I don’t know. It isn’t very runny and it has been used to fill a sponge cake before, but I haven’t tried it in a tart shell. If you try it, let me know how it goes.
Love making this. So easy and works everytime. We’ve been travelling and staying with family as we go so I have made a batch each time to say thanks.
Thank you so much for your feedback. I am really glad to hear that you like it. Enjoy your travels.
MC in or out?
Hi Nicky. I used the MC in.
I just made this recipe for a classroom of 20 6-9 yr old children. We tripled the recipe and used a mix of lemon and limes. The texture was great but the flavour was a little tart so definitely need to increase the sugar. I would also recommend sieving the egg whisk before adding to the butter as Tania mentioned to be more attractive for a group of children and their parents. All in all a great recipe and I’m now trying at at home. Thanks Tania.
What lucky children 🙂 I absolutely agree that if you used lemons as well you would need to increase the sugar. I have used the same recipe with straight lemon juice, and even though we don’t use a lot of sugar I always need to add more when lemons are involved. Thank you so much for the feedback.
I’ve just made this and I’m really disappointed. There’s hardly any lime taste coming through and it really is very sweet. My first thought was that I must have made a mistake on quantites somewhere but I’ve checked and checked again but no mistakes there. It’s also rather runny. I think I’ll have to throw it out!
(This comment isn’t intended to be in ‘shouty’ capitals but that’s just the way it’s coming out whether I try to switch caps lock off or not)
I don’t know what to tell you Glynis. I have had heaps of people try it and love it. And as you can see above others have had success with the recipe. It is certainly not too sweet as we don’t eat a lot of sugar in this house. Did you use white sugar rather than raw? I have never used white sugar in this recipe, but white sugar is generally sweeter than raw, so that will increase the sweetness. Maybe your limes aren’t particularly strong? If it is still runny you may just need to cook it longer. It is difficult to give a cooking time, as it will so dependent on your set up i.e. how large your bowl is, how close your bowl is to the water, whether the water is boiling or gently simmering. This is why I give visual cues in the recipe rather than times. I have had lime curd take up to 30 – 40 minutes on the stove, which is why I prefer to make it in the Thermomix. I have never had an issue with it not thickening, as long as the amount of eggs is correct.
You could possibly look at adding more lime juice and another egg, and cook it for longer to see if that helps.
Fabulous – my citrus addicted 2 year old is so pleased with the result that she bent down to retrieve a drop from the floor! Thanks for such an easy recipe that has worked out so well!
Thank you Lexi. I love to hear that. I always think I am onto a really good thing if children like it 🙂
Not just kids – everyone is giving rave reviews! About to send your recipe on to my sister ????
That’s lovely to hear Lexi 🙂 Thank you for letting me know and for passing it on.
I’m making a batch now. I eat LCHF so I subbed the sugar for xylitol & halved the amount. I eat it with Greek yoghurt too. Delicious!
Does it work well with xylitol Leisa? That is handy to know. We love it with yoghurt. It is the ultimate in quick desserts.
Absolutely delicious, I used the Thermomix method and cooked it for 4 mins extra for a thick curd as per your directions
I’m so glad you liked it Rachel. The Thermomix is definitely my favourite way to make it.
Love this! Great tart flavour with a mix of lemons and limes which me and my partner love. Cooked and extra 4 minutes as my eggs were a bit larger than your recommendation on amount. Thanks!
So glad you liked it Juliana. That’s the unfortunate thing about eggs …. they aren’t really a standard size 😀 As you found out, that little extra cooking time does the trick.