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Lemon Curd Muffins

Soft and sweet and hiding a tangy surprise in the center, muffins with lemon curd are a fresh, unique addition to any breakfast or brunch menu. The crusty sugar and lemon glaze makes for a pretty, tasty topping.

A lemon curd muffin, drizzled with glaze.

If you needed another way to eat cake for breakfast, lemon curd muffins are it. They are the kind of thing I envision serving for a special occasion, like Mother’s Day breakfast or a tea party. Or for curling up with while enjoying a book and a cup of tea.

The muffins are tender and lightly sweetened, and underneath the top lies a surprise bit of lemon curd. Sprinkling sugar over the top gives it a crusty topping and the tiny drizzle of icing over the top is the *chef’s kiss* cherry on top. It’s a beautiful balance of sweetness and the bright tartness of lemons.

And here’s the deal with the lemon curd. You can absolutely make your own. I’ve included the recipe and instructions to make it as simple as possible.

Or! You can buy a jar of lemon curd to make your life easier (and dirty fewer dishes). Bonne Maman has a fabulous curd that’s available in most stores, and it’ll give the same results with a bit less effort.

Ingredients

  • Butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Sour Cream
  • Eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Baking powder
The ingredients for lemon curd muffins--butter, sugar, lemons, eggs, sour cream, baking powder, salt, flour, and lemon curd.

Lemon Curd Ingredients:

  • Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Egg yolks
  • An egg
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemons
  • Salt
  • Butter

Lemon Glaze Ingredients:

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Lemon Juice

Equipment Needed:

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How to Make Lemon Curd Muffins

Making the Lemon Curd

Place a couple of inches of water in the bottom of a small pot, or the bottom portion of a double boiler if you have one. Set a fine mesh sieve over a clean bowl.

In a glass or metal bowl (or the top portion of the double boiler), mix the lemon juice, zest, sugar, egg yolks, egg, and salt. Whisk the ingredients all together.

Place the bowl over the steaming water and stir continually as the mixture cooks. It’ll begin to look smoother as it cooks, and then will start to thicken. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens.

Pour the lemon curd into the sieve and stir it to encourage it through the mesh. Any bits of cooked egg and zest will be removed, leaving you with a smooth lemon curd.

Stir the butter into the hot curd until it has completely melted. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the curd to prevent a dry skin from forming on top and put it in the fridge to cool completely. It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Mixing the Muffin Batter

Wash a fresh lemon, then use a micro planer, zester, or fine grater to remove the outer yellow skin. Avoid the bitter white pith underneath it. After you’ve zested the lemon, cut it in half and squeeze out the juice until you have 2 tablespoons.

In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together. Add the lemon zest, and stir it into the creamed butter and sugar until it’s fragrant and the mixture is fluffy.

Add the lemon zest to the creamed butter and sugar.

Stir in the sour cream and lemon juice, then the eggs until you have a cohesive, smooth mixture.

Mixing the eggs into the batter.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and use a spatula to fold them in. You want all of the flour to be combined, but don’t overmix! That can cause gluten development, which leads to tough muffins (<– future band name).

Baking the Muffins

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Fill each one about half way with muffin batter, then use a spoon to hollow out a bit of the center. Make sure to NOT create a hole that goes all the way to the bottom of the muffin cup.

Creating a well in the center of the the muffin to hold the curd.

Place a heaping teaspoon of the curd into the center well, then fill the rest of the cup around and over the curd. To do this, use your finger to push a bit of the batter all around the edge of the curd, then smooth a bit more over the top to cover the curd.

A muffin tin, half full of batter, and topped with lemon curd.
A filled muffin tin with the lemon curd in the center completely covered.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the zest of a lemon. Rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is fragrant.

Sprinkle a generous 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon sugar over each muffin, then place them in the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the muffins are puffed and a light golden around the edges. Don’t over bake them, as that can cause the curd to completely absorb into the muffins and leave the crumb dry.

Sugar and lemon zest rubbed together to flavor it.
Lemon sugar sprinkled on the tops of the filled muffins.

Glaze the Muffins

Sift a cup of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 3-4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice to it, stirring to create a glaze. It should be thin enough to run off the end of the spoon, but thick enough to lay in strings across the top of the muffins.

Once the they have finished baking and cooled slightly, drizzle the glaze over them with a spoon. I did it first one direction, then the other, but you can decorate them in any way you’d like.

Powdered sugar and lemon juice for the glaze.
Muffins with glaze drizzled across the top.

Use a butter knife to gently loosen the rim of the muffins and lift them out of the cups. The lemon curd muffins can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

Store any leftover muffins at room temperature in an air-tight container.

Recipes Notes and Tips

  • The lemon curd can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to two weeks.
  • Don’t overbake the muffins, as it will cause the lemon curd to disappear into the muffin completely and it’ll make them dry.
  • You can use any kind of curd in the center of these muffins–raspberry, cranberry, blueberry, or orange.
  • If you want to tone down the lemon just a bit, you can replace the lemon juice in the glaze with a few teaspoons of milk.

Other Brunch & Breakfast Recipes You May Enjoy:

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Lemon Curd Muffins


  • Author: Rebecca
  • Total Time: About 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3/4 cup (171 g) salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, about 2 small lemons
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (185 grams) whole-fat sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/3 cup (315 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon Curd

  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 2/3 cup (132 grams) sugar
  • Zest of 2 large or 3 medium lemons
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (56 grams) butter

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar
  • 34 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

Making the Lemon Curd

Place a couple of inches of water in the bottom of a small pot, or the bottom portion of a double boiler if you have one.

In a glass or metal bowl (or the top portion of the double boiler), mix the lemon juice, zest, sugar, egg yolks, egg, and salt. Whisk the ingredients all together.

Place the bowl over the steaming water and stir continually as the mixture cooks. It’ll begin to look smoother as it cooks, and then will start to thicken. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens.

Set a fine mesh sieve over a clean bowl. Pour the lemon curd into it and stir it to encourage it through the sieve. Any bits of cooked egg and zest will be removed, leaving you with a smooth lemon curd.

Stir the butter into the hot curd until it has completely melted. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the curd to prevent a dry skin from forming on top and put it in the fridge to cool completely. It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Mixing the Muffin Batter

In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together. Add the lemon zest, and stir it into the creamed butter and sugar until it’s fragrant and the mixture is fluffy.

Stir in the sour cream and lemon juice, then the eggs until you have a cohesive, smooth mixture.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and use a spatula to fold them in. You want all of the flour to be combined, but don’t overmix! That can cause gluten development, which leads to tough muffins.

Baking the Muffins

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Fill each one about half way with muffin batter, then use a spoon to hollow out a bit of the center. Make sure to NOT create a hole that goes all the way to the bottom of the muffin cup.

Place a heaping teaspoon of the curd into the center well, then fill the rest of the cup around and over the curd. To do this, use your finger to push a bit of the batter all around the edge of the curd, then smooth a bit more over the top.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the zest of a lemon. Rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is fragrant.

Sprinkle a generous 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon sugar over each muffin, then place them in the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the muffins are puffed and a light golden around the edges. Don’t over bake them, as that can cause the curd to completely absorb into the muffins and leave the crumb dry.

Glazing the Lemon Muffins

Sift a cup of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 3-4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice to it, stirring to create a glaze. It should be thin enough to run off the end of the spoon, but thick enough to lay in strings across the top of the muffins.

Once the they have finished baking and cooled slightly, drizzle the glaze over them with a spoon. I did it first one direction, then the other, but you can decorate them in any way you’d like.

Notes

  • If you don’t want to make your own lemon curd, you can find it at most grocery stores. I like the one from Bonne Maman.
  • The lemon curd can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to two weeks.
  • Don’t overbake the muffins, as it will cause the lemon curd to disappear into the muffin completely and it’ll make them dry.
  • You can use any kind of curd in the center of these muffins–raspberry, cranberry, blueberry, or orange.
  • If you want to tone down the lemon just a bit, you can replace the lemon juice in the glaze with a few teaspoons of milk.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Curd Making Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15-18 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast and Brunch

Keywords: lemon curd muffins, lemon muffins

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