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How to Make a Lemon Icing Glaze

4.92 from 400 votes
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Lemon Icing Glaze is very easy to make and consists of four simple ingredients. Read on to find out how to make this great, simple lemon glaze that will be amazing on your cakes, cupcakes, and more! 

Lemon Icing Glaze on top of bundt cake in a green checkered plate
Lemon Icing on a Bundt Cake

Lemon Glaze Recipe

In order to make my lemon blueberry bundt all it could be and more, I needed fantastic lemon icing. One needs to mix the icing sugar with lemon juice as the base to achieve this. I decided to add in a ton of lemon zest and a teensy, weensy bit of butter to try and give it an excellent, slick, crackly crust. This was loaded with lemon flavor; there was no taming the taste buds here! My lemon dishes have to scream lemon, then slap you in the face with flavor, and this is precisely what this glaze did.

What do you need to make lemon glaze?

  • 1 3/4 cups of confectioner sugar
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • The zest of one lemon (or more!)
  • 1 tsp of salted butter

Combine the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a large Pyrex measuring cup—the 4-cup capacity ones are the best.

Karlynn’s Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Lemon Glaze:

  • Now, again, I use salted butter. If you want to add another layer to the lemon flavor, feel free to toss just a pinch of salt into the mix now. We all know how I think about salt in icings, such as my Buttercream Icing / Frosting Recipe. The salt is necessary to cut the sugar taste and add complexity past that overwhelming sweet rush. It’s just the tiniest pinch, depending on how salty your butter is.
  • Add in the butter, then microwave on high for 45 seconds.
  • Take out the measuring cup and whisk until smooth, making sure there are no lumps.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes, then pour it over your creation. This would be beyond amazing on scones, cakes, bundts, and, of course, anything that needs a lemon glaze.
Pouring lemon glaze icing over a bundt cake
Pouring lemon glaze icing over a bundt cake

Troubleshooting this Lemon Glaze

  1. If you have a watery glaze, you have too little icing/powdered/confectioners’ sugar. It can get really packed together in the bags it comes in, so someone who uses 2 cups of packed icing sugar is going to have a very different result from the person who uses 2 cups of loosely packed or sifted confectioner’s sugar.
  2. Don’t use lemon juice to make the flavor more prominent; use lemon zest to make it as small as possible. It works wonderfully to add that lemon flavor!

What can you use this lemon glaze on?

You can use this lemon glaze on:

  1. Lemon Strawberry Bundt Cake
  2. Lighter Lemon Blackberry Muffins
  3. Glazed Meyer Lemon Scones
  4. If you want to try another amazing icing glaze, try my Cherry Icing Glaze!

Happy Baking!

Karlynn

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How to Make a Lemon Glaze

Perfect lemon icing glaze, with salted butter giving it an amazing taste.
4.92 from 400 votes
Prep Time
3 minutes
Total Time
3 minutes
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
American
Servings
1 batch
Calories
868
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients
 

  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salted butter

Instructions
 

  • In a large Pyrex measuring cup, the 4 cup capacity ones are the best, combine the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Now, again, I use salted butter. If you want to add another layer of taste, feel free to toss just a pinch of salt into the mix now. We all know how I feel about salt in icings, such as my buttercream icing recipe. The salt is a necessity to cut the sugar taste and add some complexity past that overwhelming sweet rush. Just the tiniest pinch, depending on how salty your butter is.
  • Add in the butter then microwave on high for 45 seconds.
  • Take out the measuring cup and whisk until smooth, making sure there are no lumps.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes then pour it over your creation.

Recipe Notes

Tips and Tricks

  • Now, again, I use salted butter. If you want to add another layer to the lemon flavor, feel free to toss just a pinch of salt into the mix now. We all know how I feel about salt in icings, such as my Buttercream Icing / Frosting Recipe. The salt is a necessity to cut the sugar taste and add some complexity past that overwhelming sweet rush. Just the tiniest pinch, depending on how salty your butter is.
  • Add in the butter then microwave on high for 45 seconds.
  • Take out the measuring cup and whisk until smooth, making sure there are no lumps.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes then pour it over your creation. This would be beyond amazing on scones, cakes, bundts of course, anything that you can think of that needs a lemon glaze works.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 868kcal, Carbohydrates: 214g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 40mg, Potassium: 62mg, Sugar: 207g, Vitamin A: 125IU, Vitamin C: 31.4mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Lemon Icing Glaze is very easy to make and consists of four simple ingredients. Read to find out how to make this great, simple lemon glaze that will be amazing on your cakes, cupcakes and more! #dessert #lemon #icing #frosting #recipe #glaze

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Leslie N Davis says

    Exactly! I’ve made this glaze multiple times and it turns out perfectly every time and everyone raves about it. I’m in charge of a dessert for Thanksgiving and instead of pie, everyone wanted my lemon cake.5 stars

  2. EmmiK says

    So confused by all those comments whining about this glaze “not working”.
    Have none of you made any glazes before?
    Just a generalized question.
    Glazes 101:
    Start with dry ingredients first….. Gradually add scant amounts of Any Liquids…… Stirring As You Add Liquids A LITTLE AT A TIME….
    UNTIL PRESTO!
    You Gradually Slowly Reach the Glaze Consistency THAT YOU WANT.
    Start Slow;
    Less Liquid = Thicker Glaze.
    Lots Liquid = Thinner Glaze.
    Just a gentle genuine amount of Forethought for me to share publicly for ya’ll.
    Thank you for the glaze recipe!
    I add a bit of PURE Lemon Extract to BOOST the lemon factor to “bakery level quality”.5 stars

  3. Emmi says

    So confused by all those comments whining about this glaze “not working”.
    Have none of you made any glazes before?
    Just a generalized question.
    Glazes 101:
    Start with dry ingredients first….. Gradually add scant amounts of Any Liquids…… Stirring As You Add Liquids A LITTLE AT A TIME….
    UNTIL PRESTO!
    You Gradually Slowly Reach the Glaze Consistency THAT YOU WANT.
    Start Slow;
    Less Liquid = Thicker Glaze.
    Lots Liquid = Thinner Glaze.
    Just a gentle genuine amount of Forethought for me to share publicly for ya’ll.
    Thank you for the glaze recipe!
    I add a bit of PURE Lemon Extract to BOOST the lemon factor to “bakery level quality”.5 stars

  4. Wanda says

    I can’t thank you enough for a wonderful lemon glaze.
    I used it on the pound cake my daughter requested for her birthday.
    This glaze will be my go-to glaze from now on😋5 stars

    • Maria Dee says

      This worked perfectly on a vanilla yellow bundt I made. I did add a tsp of vanilla to the glaze, it gave it an extra nice level of flavor. My go-to glaze now — thank you!5 stars

  5. Elissa says

    Love this recipe!! I just finished adding my lemon drizzle and confectionery sugar. It is amazing!! Thank you for sharing 💛5 stars

  6. BG says

    One word to fix runniness, REFRIGERATOR. Made glaze following directions but I did add 1/4-1/2 cup more sugar and it still seemed too runny so I put it in the fridge and stirred it every 5 minutes or so until I was happy with the consistency. Not rocket science: microwave melted the butter and refrigerator solidified it again. Also, glaze is suppose to run a bit especially on Bundt cakes. Recipe was perfect for the 2 blueberry bundt cakes I made. Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  7. Sasha says

    This was….TERRIBLE! I tried three separate times and wasted soooooo many ingredients trying to get this glaze to turn out right. Every single time it was a liquidy mess that just looked like suuuuper yellow butter. There was NO creaminess or thickness to it whatsoever. It was just sweet lemon soup. Absolutely terrible and such a waste of all my supplies.1 star

    • Alma says

      Thank you for this I was wondering because I don’t own a microwave 😅

    • Maria Dee says

      This worked perfectly on a vanilla yellow bundt I made. I did add a tsp of vanilla to the glaze, it gave it an extra nice level of flavor. My go-to glaze now — thank you!

  8. Leslie D. says

    Delicious! I made a box-mix lemon bundt cake and used this recipe. It turned out great. I used container lemon juice and didn’t have a real lemon when I got in a pinch to provide a cake for a gathering. I think perhaps those who said it was too thin did not let it sit long enough before putting on the cake. Mine sat for probably 40 minutes while my cake cooled. It seemed rather thin immediately out of the microwave, but thickened nicely in that time frame, making it the perfect consistency. Since I didn’t have a lemon on hand, I used orange zest instead and it still provided that bit of “bite” that you get from zest and no one was the wiser. Everyone came back for seconds and said it was the best glaze they had ever had.5 stars

  9. Jo-Anne says

    I followed the recipe exactly, but using a bit more packed confectioner’s sugar and a bit less lemon juice–and the glaze still turned out very runny (even after I added another 1/4 cup of the sugar). It tasted fine, but to get the consistency shown in the image, I think I would have had to double the confectioner’s sugar given in the recipe. My advice would be to add the lemon juice little by little until the desired consistency is reached, then add the butter and microwave.3 stars

  10. Mary Ann Gotti says

    I was looking for a glaze for my cream cheese pound cake instead of just sprinkling it with powdered sugar and tried this recipe. The taste was great but as some mentioned mine came out runny and I followed the directions exactly as written. Even after adding additional powdered sugar, it would not thicken. So, I glazed it with parchment paper under the cooling rack and I then scraped what pooled on the parchment and just kept reusing it until almost was gone. I did this 4-5 times. As I said it tasted good, but it was not a cake I could take somewhere as the glaze issue made it difficult to make it look good. Everyone’s microwave setting may not be the same, next time I may try it with less lemon juice and microwaving it for less time and adjust accordingly until I get the consistency needed.2 stars

  11. Mary Ann Gotti says

    I was looking for a glaze for my cream cheese pound cake instead of just sprinkling it with powdered sugar and tried this recipe. The taste was great but as some mentioned mine came out runny and I followed the directions exactly as written. Even after adding additional powdered sugar, it would not thicken. So, I glazed it with parchment paper under the cooling rack and I then scraped what pooled on the parchment and just kept reusing it until almost was gone. I did this 4-5 time. As I said it tasted good, but it was not a cake I could take somewhere as the glaze issue made it difficult to make it look good. Everyone’s microwave setting may not be the same, next time I may try it with less lemon juice and microwaving it for less time and adjust accordingly until I get the consistency needed.2 stars

  12. Janet says

    Greetings from Toronto! Last nightI made your Greek yogurt lemon blueberry bundt cake for dinner with friends tonight. I am about the make the glaze. I ditched my microwave in early January and now have a toaster oven/air fryer. I’m sure I can make your glaze on the stove-top…after I add the butter to the ingredients in a small pot, how long should I warm/cook it for? I’m assuming not very long. Thanks so much, my kitchen still smells yummy!

  13. Sherry says

    I give it w stars for flavor, my husband loved it, I thought it was just ok.

    this glaze was way too thin, even after letting it sit for a few minutes, it ran down the sides of my bundt cake and, pooled all around the plate, it created a pool in the middle, too.

    after it sat for another few minutes, I tried to spoon up the pooled glaze and put it back on the cake.

    this glaze looks nothing at all like it’s pictured.2 stars

    • Selia says

      I agree entirely!!! Mine literally looked like butter it was just yellow liquid it wasn’t thick or creamy at ALL and I followed the recipe to a T. Very disappointed.1 star

  14. Diane says

    OMG! This is the best lemon glaze I’ve ever had! The heck with the cake, I could eat it straight from the bowl, LOL!5 stars

  15. MEB says

    I didn’t stir before I out in microwave and I think this is why it came out to to runny. Thoughts?

    • Willeana Goodine says

      No need to microwave glaze icing. Just watch for consistency as you go.

  16. Lou Avakian says

    Perfection! I’m so grateful. Thank you!5 stars

  17. Rachel says

    I made this icing for my lemon Bundt cake and it turned out perfect.. I saw some people saying it was “too runny” so I was very hesitant but I followed the recipe and it looks just like the picture.. I mixed the sugar, lemon juice, and zest together then added the unmelted butter and microwaved it all for 40 sec. Then mixed and let it sit for about 3 min to thicken. I then drizzled it over my cooled cake. I can’t wait to try this in other stuff!!5 stars

  18. Cheryl says

    Literally impossible to get the consistency as shown in the picture with just 1 3/4 confectioner’s sugar. I am up to 4 cups and still too runny.

    • Mr. Kitchen Magpie says

      If you follow the instructions, it will work for you.

      • Sherry says

        I followed the recipe exactly and, I also got a very runny glaze, that just ran off/down the bundt cake.

      • Sherry says

        oh, yeah, way down at the bottom, after you’ve already made the glaze and, poured it on the cake, it tells you what to do if the glaze is too thin………

        I waited until the runoff completely cooled, then using a knife, scraped it up and, “frosted” the cake with it.

  19. Shari says

    Absolutely the best! I LOVE lemon with zucchini – they really do compliment one another. After a friend gave me a couple of zucchini, I got busy and made some muffins. Looked for a glaze recipe with LOTS of lemon. I came across this recipe and it is definitely a keeper. I did alter it though as I only made a dozen muffins, so halved the recipe, but kept the “zest of ONE lemon” in the recipe. D E L I S H! I also used salted butter AND added a smig of fresh ground sea salt as well. Great recipe and keeper!
    Here’s the breakdown of half of the recipe using a scale (grams) so you won’t have to figure it out: 114 g confectionary sugar, 1/8 c fresh lemon juice, zest of 1 lemon (my hack – whole lemon), and 2.3 g of salted butter.5 stars

  20. Joyce says

    Great lemon glaze, I wish I had read the tips first, mine was too runny. It was my own stupidity, I should have used more powdered sugar or less lemon juice. Next time it will be perfect!5 stars

  21. Shelly Floreani says

    O. M. G. !!!! Seriously THE BEST glaze I’ve ever had and it was stupidly easy. Thank you so much. I made a box lemon cake and added some extra lemon zest in. Let it cool then put this on top. It was to die for. My whole family loved it. My 7 yo said I make the best desserts! ☺️ Thank you for sharing. Can’t wait to try your other recipes.

  22. Kris says

    I’ve never had luck with lemon glazes. They’re always too sweet and never lemony enough. I followed your recipe exactly and this is the best lemon glaze I’ve ever made. Thank you!5 stars

  23. Betty says

    I’m making your glaze for my lemon blueberry Bundt now. Should I pour the glaze on a warm or cooled cake ? I always drizzle my glaze on my warm kolachki (cookies) to get it to dry crispy.

  24. Mary Liz says

    I used this recipe loosely as a reference to glaze a Lemon Poppy seed bread. I added a splash of lemon extract and the pinch of salt as you suggested and it turned out fantastic! Thank you for sharing so many terrific recipes!5 stars

  25. Dee Cee says

    This glaze tastes amazing!!! The pinch of salt was genius! I made half of the recipe and it was a perfect amount of glaze on my bundt cake. Thank you for posting, I will use this recipe again and again!5 stars

    • June C says

      You really do need to let a glaze sit to allow the sugar to completely dissolve.
      My rule of thumb with glaze consistency is to be prepared to add more powdered sugar or drops of liquid every time. Like the author says, it’s sometimes hard to gauge the density of your measured sugar! I look for a glaze that leaves a “trail” when you let it dribble back in the bowl for a good “drape” that doesn’t slide off.5 stars

  26. Lisa | Handmade in Israel says

    Worked perfectly and was very lemony. My only concern is that it tasted powdery. Did I do something wrong?

    • Mr. Kitchen Magpie says

      My guess is something didn’t get mixed in properly? Did you use the exact same ingredients?

    • Jellybean says

      Oh my goodness- this is my Go-To glaze from here on out! Thank you so much for your creativity! This is the best!5 stars

      • Wanda says

        I can’t thank you enough for a wonderful lemon glaze.
        I used it on the pound cake my daughter requested for her birthday.
        This glaze will be my go-to glaze from now on😋

    • Terrie J Peterson says

      I can only agree with the previous comment: OMG, the best lemon glaze ever and it was stupidly easy!!! I made a lemon w/blueberries bundt cake (1st time) then drizzled this lemon glaze (1st time) over the cake and VOILA! Magnificent!!! Raves from everyone! Just the thought of the fresh squeezed lemon and zest makes my mouth pucker! So delish!5 stars

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