Orange Curd is an easy and versatile dessert that comes together in 30 minutes, with simple ingredients. This luscious, silky curd is absolutely bursting with fresh orange flavor, and makes the perfect topping for ice cream, biscuits, pancakes, and cakes!
Why you’ll love this Fresh Orange Curd recipe:
- Fresh Orange Flavor – This rich and silky orange curd is bursting with bright orange flavor from freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh orange zest. It’s the best way to celebrate citrus season!
- Easy Recipe – This easy recipe is completely doable for any skill levels.
- Versatile Recipe – Top cakes and cheesecakes with this sweet treat, or spoon it over ice cream, pancakes, or biscuits!
As always, the full recipe with measurements & directions can be found at the bottom of this post.
- Orange Juice – Use freshly squeezed orange juice from any type of orange you like – navel oranges, cara cara oranges, or blood oranges. I *think* you could use bottled orange juice, but I haven’t tested it. Be sure to strain the juice either way to remove any pulp. With any homemade citrus curd, freshly squeezed juice is the way to go! Fresh oranges give the most wonderful flavor.
- Lemon Juice – Just 2 tablespoons of lemon juice helps brighten & enhance the orange flavor and add a hint of tartness, which I find is needed with orange since it’s flavor profile is completely sweet compared to the more zingy, complex flavor of limes or lemons.
- Eggs – Using two whole eggs and two egg yolks provides the structure the curd needs, and removing two of the egg whites ensures there isn’t too much liquid for the curd to thicken up. Use the whites in one of my cake or cupcake recipes, freeze them, or use in your breakfast scramble!
- Granulated sugar – Granulated sugar adds a bit of sweetness.
- Vanilla extract – Use real vanilla for best results.
- Salt – Everything in life needs a pinch of salt for balance.
- Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
- Dairy-free – Use your favorite dairy-free buter.
- Gluten-free – This recipe is naturally gluten-free!
- Other Citrus Fruits – I don’t recommend subbing in other fruit juice like lemon or lime as I haven’t tested them with this ratio of eggs and cook time. I do have a lime curd recipe and a lemon curd recipe coming soon!
How to Make this Easy Orange Curd Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Juice your Oranges. Use fresh orange juice for the best results. I *think* bottled would work in a pinch, but haven’t tried it myself. Strain the juice to remove any pulp or seeds.
Step 2: Combine Ingredients. Rub the orange zest into the granulated sugar with clean hands.
Then, whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, orange juice, and salt.
Step 3: Cook the Curd. Whisk well, and cook over low heat, whisking for 14-18 minutes. The temperature on a candy thermometer should reach 195 to 200 degrees F. The first 8-10 minutes it will seem like nothing is happening, and the curd will just barely start to thicken. Be patient! Don’t be tempted to crank the heat up or you’ll scramble the eggs. Inevitably, you will end up with a few small pieces of cooked egg white – we’ll get that out in the next step. When the curd is ready, it’ll coat the back of a spoon, and hold a path when you drag your finger through the coating on the spoon.
Step 4: Strain & Add Butter. Once the proper thickness and temperature are reached, immediately remove the smooth curd from the heat, and pour into a fine mesh sieve set over a large mixing bowl. Push the orange curd through the sieve to get any small pieces of egg that cooked in the process (this is normal, don’t fret!). Then, stir in the cubed, softened butter until it melts into the warm curd.
Step 5: Optional – Add Food Coloring. Orange curd is not very orange by nature, so I like to add a drop or two of orange gel food coloring to make the flavor evident.
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Transfer the finished curd into a small bowl or airtight container with a lid. If using a bowl with no lid, press plastic wrap on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use, or up to 1 week.
Ways to use this Homemade Orange Curd Recipe:
- Cake Filling – Use it as a filling in cakes or cupcakes – stay tuned for my orange cupcakes! They’re one of my favorite ways to use this.
- Ice Cream – Spoon it over ice cream during the hot summer months.
- Breakfast – Spread it on biscuits toast, or on english muffins.
- Fancy Breakfast – Dollop it over strawberry pancakes or my brioche french toast recipe.
Expert Success Tips:
- Use Gentle Heat – Don’t be tempted to whack the heat up on your orange curd while it’s cooking – this is a great way to end up with orangey scrambled eggs. Be patient – it will thicken!
- Eggy Smell – When cooking eggs on the stovetop for a curd (or the filling for my french silk pie recipe!) I find that if you stick your nose right up in the pot and take a whiff, it’s going to smell a bit eggy, even if you aren’t overcooking the eggs. So, I wouldn’t necessarily worry if you catch a whiff of that.
- Avoid Metal Pots – Use a ceramic pot if possible when cooking this recipe. Metal pans can cause a reaction with the acidic citrus fruits and give off a metallic taste. I think you could get away with it in a pinch with oranges since they’re less acidic, but I don’t definitely don’t recommend it with lemons or limes.
I think you can certainly halve it, and I think doubling it would be ok too, but the cook time will likely be a bit longer.
I don’t recommend this as I haven’t tested other fruit juices (lemon, lime, etc.) with these exact ratios of sugar, eggs, etc. I do have a lime curd recipe and a lemon one coming in the spring!
I think an old-school way to do it is to use a double boiler, but there’s no need to do that, especially if you don’t own one! This will also increase the cook time by a good bit. As long as you cook the mixture gently, you’ll be fine with just a pot directly on the stove top.
- Other Fruit Curds – See FAQ above.
- Oranges – You can use regular navel oranges, blood oranges, or cara cara oranges in this recipe!
- Heavy Saucepan- I recommend a ceramic pan, as metal pans can react with the acidity of things like lemons, limes, and oranges and affect the taste.
- Whisk – You’ll need a good medium sized whisk for this recipe.
- Instant Read Thermometer – You’ll need an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of your curd.
More Citrus Recipes to Love:
- Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
- Ultra Plush Lemon Loaf
- Mojito Cake
- Lime Curd
- Key Lime Cheesecake
- Key Lime Pie Bars
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Luscious Orange Curd
- 2 and 1/2 large oranges, zested
- 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 2 large whole eggs, at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature & cubed
- Rub Zest into Sugar: Add the granulated sugar to a medium saucepan (ideally ceramic, not metal), but do not place it on the heat yet. Zest your two & 1/2 large oranges. Add the zest to the granulated sugar and then rub it in well with clean hands, until you have something resembling a wet, sandy mixture. Set aside.
- Prep: Juice your oranges. Juice your lemon. Be sure to strain the juices before adding them to the pot in the next step – not now – to remove any pulp or seeds. Place the room temperature cubed butter nearby. Place a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl and keep nearby. Get out your instant read thermometer.
- Cook the Curd: Add the orange juice, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, two egg yolks, two whole eggs, and a pinch of salt to the pot with the sugar mixture. Whisk well to combine everything, and then cook over low heat, whisking the entire time, for 14-18 minutes. The temperature on a candy thermometer should reach 180 ℉ to 190 ℉ (or 82 to 88 ℃) for a slightly thinner curd, or 195 ℉ to 200 ℉ (or 91 ℃ to 93 ℃) for a slightly thicker curd (ideal for filling cakes & cupcakes). The first 8-10 minutes it will seem like nothing is happening, and the curd will just barely start to thicken. Be patient! Don't be tempted to crank the heat up or you'll scramble the eggs. When the curd is ready, it'll coat the back of a wooden spoon, and hold a path when you drag your finger through the coating on the spoon.
- Strain & Add Butter: When the curd is ready, immediately pour it into the sieve that you placed over a bowl. Use a spatula to press the curd through the sieve – this will remove any tiny egg bits that cooked during the process (this is totally normal). Scrape the under side of the sieve to get all the orange curd into the bowl. Add the butter to the curd in the bowl, and stir vigorously until the butter is completely melted into the curd. Stir in the vanilla last.
- Serve & Store: Let the curd cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight jar or container with a secure lid. Store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Spread on toast or biscuits, pour it over ice cream, or use it as a cupcake or cake filling. Cupcake recipe coming soon!