How to Make Grapefruit Curd

1 jar
30 min


Normally I’m a chocolate person. (Strange way to start a Grapefruit curd recipe but it’s true – I’m very much a chocolate person)

I like Pain au Chocolat not croissant. I used to eat Nutella by the spoonful (a habit I’ve only semi-broken, to be honest). I think that chocolate mousse pairs exceptionally well with more chocolate mousse. I mix melted chocolate into my hot chocolate so that I’m really just drinking melted chocolate.

Sometimes I decide to make an exception and eat something that doesn’t contain chocolate. It’s rare.

Needless to say, when I do eat a dessert that isn’t drowning in chocolate, it had better be special. Personally I think this grapefruit curd is pretty fricking special.

I’m probably biased because grapefruits are easily my favorite fruit. (Much to Loml’s continuing horror, I don’t really like fruit… like I said, I’m a chocolate person.) Anyway, you take this surprisingly awesome fruit and turn it into a fantastic curd. Then you spread it on a scone, and really, what more could you want?!

Grapefruit Curd Recipe Testing (A Saga)

To be fair this recipe went through quite a lot of trial and error (read a lot of error) before it really achieved grapefruit-bliss levels of greatness. (Hence pictures of multiple different jars of curd…)

The first few versions just really weren’t grapefruit-y enough. Lemon curd always tastes so violently citrusy, and I love that, but the grapefruit version just wasn’t hitting the same notes. I fixed that by simmering the grapefruit juice to concentrate it, which gives you a much stronger flavor.

Then I made a version that was way too liquid. I tried putting the liquid curd into a tart shell and there was a bit of a leaking tart situation. Picture cutting into a tart and watching all of the curd just drain out of the pastry to form a lovely little grapefruit curd pond….

To be fair, we still ate the tart.

Finally, after many (many) attempts, I think I’ve managed to achieve grapefruit-greatness.

Why this grapefruit curd is so special

  1. Flavor: concentrating the grapefruit juice gives this curd a really bright citrusy flavor

  2. Versatile: this isn’t a word I usually use to describe food, but in this case it applies. This curd is great on scones, with meringues or shortbread or in a tart. Honestly, it’s also great by the spoonful…

  3. Easy: honestly for a curd this is actually kind of overly complicated, but for a recipe it’s pretty simple! The extra steps give you a stronger grapefruit flavor, so they’re totally worth it!

How to Make Grapefruit Curd

To make the curd, you start by simmering the grapefruit juice in order to reduce it. This concentrates the flavor which is particularly important for grapefruit, compared to, say, lemons.

While the juice is simmering, rub the zest into the sugar. By doing this you release all the grapefruit oils from the zest which gives the curd much more depth of flavor.

Finally, combine everything except the butter in a bowl; set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir continuously until the curd is nice and thick. Stir in the butter and then let it cool!

Note: I have a picture of me pouring the curd into a jar, that was from a slightly less thick version of this curd. Yours should be thick enough that you have to spoon it into the jar instead of pouring it. Do as I say, not as I do, and all that…

Left: Rubbing the sugar into the curd. Right: a lovely little jar of grapefruit curd all ready to be eaten!
How to use this curd

I love using curd in various tarts, but it’s also great with a bowl of berries and some whipped cream. Alternatively, try using it as the filling in a layer cake or in donuts. And of course, you can also just eat it by the spoonful!

How to Make Grapefruit Curd
Recipe details
  • 1  jar
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes Total time: 30 min
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  • 1/2 cup of a grapefruit juice from half a grapefruit
  • 1/2 tbsp grapefruit Zest
  • 1/4 cup of sugar*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk **
  • 45 g butter***

Simmer the grapefruit juice in a small saucepan until it’s reduced in size to ¼ of a cup.
In a small bowl combine the sugar and the grapefruit zest and rub the zest into the sugar.
Whisk the egg and egg yolk together in a second small bowl, add in the sugar and then stream in the warm grapefruit juice.
You can either set the bowl (if it’s heat proof) over a simmering pan of water and cook the curd in a bain marie. Or if you prefer you can pour the grapefruit and egg mixture into a thick bottomed pan and cook it directly over the heat.  If you cook it directly in a pan it’ll cook much faster but you need to be a bit more careful to avoid overcooking it! Either way you should stir the mixture constantly until it thickens quite a lot. In a bain marie this can take close to 15 minutes so be patient and keep whisking until the mixture can coat the back of a wooden spoon such that if you draw your finger through the mixture you can see a clear path.
Once it’s thickened take it off the heat, stir in the butter and pour it into a jar.  Refrigerate the curd until you’re ready to use it!
  • * Grapefruit has quite a bitter sharp flavor, personally I really like that but you may find this curd a bit too sharp. You can balance the sharpness a bit by increasing the sugar content by a tablespoon or two.
  • ** I always keep extra egg whites. You can store them in the fridge in a small Tupperware or jar for a few days or freeze them for a few months and then defrost them when you want to use them. They’re ideal for meringues or try out this apple cider donut recipe
  • *** This curd is quite thick which is ideal for a tart but maybe less ideal if you want to use it as a sauce over berries. If you prefer a slightly thinner curd then decrease the butter content to 20 grams.
Maya's Kitchen Daydreams
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  • Lauren Lauren on Jan 23, 2022

    Do you have any tips on how to lower the calories and sugar?

    • Maya's Kitchen Daydreams Maya's Kitchen Daydreams on Jan 24, 2022

      Hi Lauren!

      It depends a little on what to use it for.

      The sugar itself, you can definitely reduce. Grapefruit is a little sour, though, so maybe serve it with berries or something that's naturally a little sweater. You could try it with 2 tbsp of sugar (so half the amount I used originally)

      The butter adds creaminess and thickens the curd. If you're not worried about the curd being a little thinner, then you could absolutely reduce the butter to 20 grams, but it won't be quite as thick!

      Hope that helps!