Today: Get My No Fail, Easy Cookbook Series for 60% OFF
Buy Now

Lemon Buttercream

Pin RecipeReview Recipe
a close up shot of Lemon Buttercream
This light, airy lemon buttercream will take your baking projects to the next level with its rich buttery flavor mixed perfectly with tangy lemon.
Jump to Recipe
Table of Contents
  1. Lemon Buttercream Ingredients
  2. Substitutions And Additions
  3. What Does This Lemon Frosting Recipe Taste Like?
  4. How To Make This Lemon Buttercream Recipe
  5. How To Make Lemon-Flavored Frosting Without A Stand Mixer
  6. How To Fix Your Lemon Frosting If Turns Out Too Sweet
  7. How To Serve
  8. Storing A Lemon Frosting Recipe
  9. Why We Love This Tangy Lemon Buttercream Frosting Recipe
  10. More Recipes You’ll Love
  11. JUMP TO RECIPE

If you’re looking for an incredibly flavorful and delightful way to enhance your baking, look no further than lemon buttercream. Bright, zesty, and slightly sweet, it provides just the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness that makes any dessert stand out.

a close up shot of Lemon Buttercream on a plate

Lemon Buttercream Ingredients

Lemon Buttercream raw ingredients that are labeled
Don't want to lose this recipe? Get it emailed to you directly! Enter your email below. Plus you'll get a free e-cookbook and amazing recipes sent to you daily.

The creamy texture delicately combines with the tartness of citrus, creating a pleasing balance of flavors. The smooth and silky consistency adds an extra burst of sweetness without being overwhelmingly sugary.

For this creamy frosting recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon of fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 drops of yellow gel food coloring (optional)

PRO TIP:

This recipe will frost 24 standard cupcakes with about 1½ to 2 tablespoons of frosting per cupcake. If you like frosting that stands tall on your cupcakes, you will need to double this recipe.

Substitutions And Additions

BUTTER: You can use salted butter if that is what you keep in your refrigerator, but you would want to omit the salt in the recipe. Be sure to use fine salt. Kosher salt does not typically mix in well and can give your frosting a gritty texture.

LEMON EXTRACT: You can use a good quality lemon extract (I suggest starting with ½ teaspoon and adding more to taste) instead of the fresh lemon juice and zest in this homemade lemon buttercream frosting recipe. I do not recommend bottled lemon juice found on the shelves of your grocery store. The flavor of those is not as desirable for this recipe.

HEAVY CREAM: The heavy cream helps to give the buttercream a lighter and fluffier texture, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can omit it. Just be aware that your buttercream may be slightly denser and not as fluffy. You can also try substituting the heavy cream with milk or half-and-half.

GEL VS LIQUID FOOD COLORING: You can use any type of food coloring that you like. Gel food coloring is preferred because it doesn’t add extra moisture to the buttercream, but you can also use liquid food coloring. Just be aware that liquid food coloring may change the consistency of the buttercream slightly.

For a fun twist, try adding a drop of blue or green food coloring to create a pastel green or blue lemon buttercream.

ADDING HERBS TO BUTTERCREAM: You can also add some fresh herbs like thyme or basil to the buttercream to give it a unique flavor and aroma.

What Does This Lemon Frosting Recipe Taste Like?

Lemon buttercream frosting has a sweet and tangy flavor with a subtle lemon taste. The creamy and buttery texture of the frosting is complemented by the fresh citrus notes of the lemon zest and juice.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Make sure to rinse your lemon in cool water and wipe off any residue that may be on the skin before zesting and squeezing it.

How To Make This Lemon Buttercream Recipe

Making lemon buttercream is a piece of cake—literally! You start by creaming together butter and sugar until everything is light and fluffy. Then you add salt, fresh lemon juice and zest, heavy cream, and food coloring to the mixture, which adds a bright flavor that pairs perfectly with cakes and cupcakes alike. 

Before you know it, the unique citrusy-buttery combination is completed and ready for use.

STEP ONE: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the room temperature butter and whisk on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes to get the butter light and fluffy. You may need to stop the mixer every so often to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.

butter added to the ingredients and whisked together

STEP TWO: Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, to the bowl of whipped butter and mix until all the powdered sugar has been incorporated. You will want to start on low speed and work up to medium-high to avoid getting powdered sugar all over the counter.

powdered sugar added to the butter mixture

STEP THREE: Continue to add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until all the powdered sugar has been incorporated. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the whisk between each addition.

PRO TIP:

Be sure to sift your powdered sugar to ensure that you do not have any lumps in your lemon frosting.

STEP FOUR: Add the salt, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, heavy cream, and optional yellow gel food coloring to the butter and whip on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until your lemon frosting has a light and fluffy consistency and has almost doubled in volume.

salt, lemon zest and juice, heavy cream, and yellow food coloring added to the butter mixture

PRO TIP:

I used just shy of ⅛ of a teaspoon of Wilton brand lemon-yellow gel icing colors. Be sure to use a gel-based, food-grade color for the best results. Always start with a drop or two, mix it in, then add more coloring if needed to achieve the yellow color you want.

STEP FIVE: Transfer your fresh lemon buttercream frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large decorative piping tip and frost your cupcakes.

buttercream frosting transferred to a pipe bag

How To Make Lemon-Flavored Frosting Without A Stand Mixer

If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can still make a tangy lemon buttercream frosting with a hand mixer or even a whisk.

Soften the butter at room temperature and use a large bowl to mix the ingredients together.

If you don’t have stand mixer or hand mixer, be prepared for a bit of a workout, as mixing by hand can be a bit tiring. But on the upside, it’s a great way to achieve a good arm workout while making delicious frosting.

How To Fix Your Lemon Frosting If Turns Out Too Sweet

You can adjust the sweetness level of lemon buttercream. If you find that your lemon buttercream is too sweet, you can adjust the sweetness level by adding a bit more lemon juice or zest to the frosting. You can also try adding a pinch of salt to help balance out the sweetness.

Likewise, if you prefer a sweeter frosting, simply add a bit more powdered sugar until you reach the desired sweetness level.

How To Serve

Lemon buttercream pairs well with cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and other baked goods, making it an excellent choice for topping desserts or as an additional flavor in icings or frostings.

It’s a popular choice in the spring and summer months when the bright and refreshing flavor of lemon is particularly appealing. We love it for Mother’s Day and Easter treats or any summer holiday such as the 4th of July.

This luscious lemony frosting is the perfect way to top all of your favorite desserts when you want to add a bright lemon flavor. As a start, add it to our vanilla cupcakes for a lovely flavor contrast.

There is something special about lemon desserts with their refreshing citrus flavor. Don’t forget to have a look at our lemon lasagna and lemon lava cake.

Storing A Lemon Frosting Recipe

ON THE COUNTER: You can store this easy lemon buttercream frosting, at room temperature, in an airtight container for up to 48 hours. 

IN THE FRIDGE: For longer storage, you can refrigerate the leftover frosting for up to one week. 

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze the buttercream for up to 2 months in an airtight container. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or with a lid and put a label on the container, so you know what contents it holds and when it was made.

You will need to allow the lemon buttercream to come to room temperature and re-whip it to make it a pipeable consistency if it has been refrigerated or frozen.

overhead shot of Lemon Buttercream on cupcakes

Every dessert lover knows that a silky-smooth classic buttercream is one of the most luxurious and delicious components of an indulgent treat.

This lemon buttercream brings that velvety frosting to all of your desserts, along with a deliciously tangy freshness from the lemons.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make this lemon frosting recipe ahead of time?

This lemon frosting freezes really well and can be kept in the freezer for up to two months, ready to use when you are.

Can I use bottled lemon juice in this recipe?

We recommend sticking with fresh lemon juice for the best flavor. Bottled juice will not give you the depth of flavor you are looking for in this recipe.

How long can I keep leftover buttercream?

The buttercream can be stored on the counter for 2 days. For longer storage, it will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Why We Love This Tangy Lemon Buttercream Frosting Recipe

There are several reasons why we love this lemon buttercream recipe:

First, it’s incredibly easy to make and requires only a few simple ingredients. The fresh lemon juice and zest add a zingy, citrusy flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweet buttercream.

Second is that we its versatility. It can be used for a variety of desserts, from cupcakes and cakes to cookies and macarons. You can even use it as a filling for crepes. The texture is light and fluffy, making it easy to spread or pipe onto almost any dessert.

Finally, this lemon buttercream recipe is customizable. If you prefer a less sweet frosting, you can adjust the amount of powdered sugar. You can also add more or less lemon juice and zest to your liking. The optional yellow gel food coloring can also be adjusted to achieve your desired shade of yellow.

Overall, this lemon buttercream recipe is a crowd-pleaser that is sure to impress. Its tangy, sweet flavor and light, fluffy texture make it the perfect addition to any dessert.

More Recipes You’ll Love

Get Recipes on Pinterest

get recipes on pinterest
get digital lazy cookbooks
Get a Free Cookbook
Subscribe now to receive our FREE Sweet & Treats digital cookbook with 15 amazing desserts inside!
a close up shot of Lemon Buttercream

Lemon Buttercream

No ratings yet
This light, airy lemon buttercream will take your baking projects to the next level with its rich buttery flavor mixed perfectly with tangy lemon.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 drops yellow gel food coloring, optional

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the unsalted butter and whisk on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes to get the butter light and fluffy. You may need to stop the mixer every so often to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • To the bowl of whipped butter, add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix until all the powdered sugar has been incorporated. You will want to start on low speed and work up to medium-high to avoid getting powdered sugar all over the counter.
  • Continue to add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until all the powdered sugar has been incorporated. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the whisk between each addition.
  • Add the salt, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, heavy cream, and optional yellow gel food coloring to the butter and whip on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until your lemon frosting is light and fluffy and has almost doubled in volume.
  • Transfer your lemon buttercream frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large decorative piping tip and frost your cupcakes.

Notes

  • This recipe will frost 24 standard cupcakes with about 1½-2 tablespoons of frosting per cupcake. If you like frosting that stands tall on your cupcakes, you will need to double this recipe.
  • Make sure to rinse your lemon in cool water and wipe off any residue that may be on the skin before zesting and squeezing it.
  • Be sure to sift your powdered sugar to ensure that you do not have any lumps in your lemon frosting.
  • I used just shy of ⅛ of a teaspoon of Wilton brand lemon-yellow gel icing colors. Be sure to use a gel-based, food-grade color for the best results. Always start with a drop or two, mix it in, then add more coloring if needed to achieve the yellow color you want.

Nutrition

Calories: 3605kcal | Carbohydrates: 483g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 195g | Saturated Fat: 124g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 50g | Trans Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 522mg | Sodium: 625mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 471g | Vitamin A: 6118IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Have You Tried This Recipe?Follow me on Pinterest @spaceshipslb

Get Recipes on Facebook

get recipes on facebook

Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

You May Also Like

get digital lazy cookbooks

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




Comments

16108

Free Membership!

Get all our new recipes straight to

your inbox plus a BONUS

download in your first email! ❤