Lemon Tart Recipe

Of all the desserts you could make, a tart may not be the first thing to come to mind. Typically, we reserve tarts for special occasions, like a romantic excursion to a Parisian café (or, maybe just the café down the street). Either way, people don't often make tarts in their kitchens, but there are plenty of reasons why that should change! Aside from the obvious convenience of their small size, tarts can come in a variety of flavors, and one of the most classic options is none other than the lemon tart.

Recipe developer Eric Ngo offers his rendition of a lemon tart, and it really strikes that perfect balance between sweetness and acidity. While Ngo's recipe does indeed use the classic lemon, he notes that there's plenty of room for creativity. "I like how you have the option for the type of citrus you can use," Ngo shares. "You can do full lemon, a mix of lime, orange, or even grapefruit." Who wouldn't love a lemon-lime tart? Or, maybe a lemon-lime-orange tart? The possibilities are endless! For the sake of this recipe, however, we'll stick to lemons — but do switch things up when you inevitably make this tart recipe again and again.

Gather the ingredients for lemon tarts

Another great thing about making tarts is that the ingredients list is pretty minimal. For this recipe, you'll need a pre-made pie crust, fresh lemon juice, sugar, eggs, unsalted butter, and optionally some candied lemon peels as garnish. 

Now, this ingredients list may strike you as being similar to a pie — so why not just make a lemon pie? Well, by making tarts, you actually save yourself some extra steps and stress. "I think [making a tart is] easier than a pie because you don't have to worry about a lid for the top part of the dessert," Ngo explains. 

Line the tart molds and bake the crust

First things first, preheat your oven to 340 F. You will need tart molds for this recipe, so grab those and place some of the pie crust in each one. "The tart rings I used are 9 cm (3.5 inches) in diameter," Ngo notes. While using this size of mold will yield three to four tarts, you could use slightly bigger molds to yield two tarts. Now, press the dough down so that it forms seamlessly into each crevice of the mold, and cut off any excess around the top edges.

Line each mold with parchment paper — you can layer the paper right on top of the dough — then fill each mold with rice to the edge. This will keep the dough from rising or forming bubbles while baking. Speaking of baking, it's time for each mold and crust to go into the oven and bake for 18 minutes. When they're done baking, remove each tart crust from the oven, take out the rice and parchment paper, then set them aside.

Make the creamy lemon filling

This is the most challenging step in the whole recipe, so pay attention! First, thoroughly whisk the eggs and ½ of the sugar together. Meanwhile, on the stovetop, bring the other ½ of the sugar and the lemon juice to a boil. Now, you'll want to temper the eggs. To do so, pour the hot sugar and lemon juice mixture into the egg and sugar mix, and stir constantly for 20 seconds. Return the entire mix to the sauce pan, and let it come to a boil. 

"The most important part when making the cream is to make sure you don't burn the edges on the cream while stirring in the saucepan," Ngo advises. "Make sure you mix in the middle and also on the edges, making sure no cream is stuck on the edges while cooking." Once the lemon mixture is at a boil, add in the butter and stir until it is fully incorporated. 

Pour, garnish, and chill the lemon tarts

Pour the hot lemon cream right from the sauce pan into the tart crusts, then optionally top each one off with a candied lemon peel. Place the tarts in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour, then you're ready to serve and enjoy these wonderful little confections. Perfect for enjoying after a savory dinner, these lemon tarts effortlessly combine sweet and citrusy flavors, with the ideal hint of creaminess throughout. "Since lemon tarts are fairly sweet, I recommend pairing this with black tea," Ngo says as far as pairing options, but you certainly can't go wrong enjoying these tarts on their own!

Lemon Tart Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
You may not make tarts at home on a regular basis, but this sweet and citrusy lemon tart recipe is the perfect dessert to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.
Prep Time
Cook Time
lemon tarts with lemons
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 1 roll pre-made pie crust
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
Optional Ingredients
  • candied lemon peels as garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 340 F.
  2. Line each mold with pie crust dough.
  3. Before baking the pie crust, line the inside of the dough with parchment paper and fill it with rice to the edge.
  4. Bake for 18 minutes.
  5. Mix the eggs and ½ of the sugar in a bowl with a whisk for 2 minutes.
  6. Bring the lemon juice and the other ½ of the sugar to a boil.
  7. Temper the eggs by adding hot sweetened lemon juice to the egg mixture while stirring for 20 seconds, then pour all of it back into the saucepan and cook to a boil over medium heat.
  8. Add the butter to the lemon cream and mix until it is fully incorporated.
  9. Add the hot lemon cream inside each empty tart shell, and optionally add a candied lemon peel on top.
  10. Chill the tarts in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
Calories per Serving 658
Total Fat 51.0 g
Saturated Fat 27.9 g
Trans Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 171.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 47.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Total Sugars 17.3 g
Sodium 269.7 mg
Protein 4.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe