Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Lemon Buttercream Frosting and pink icing flower on top of lemon cupcake

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Tart, sweet, this lemon buttercream frosting is dessert heaven! Because lemon makes life better. You’d better hold on to your spoons because this frosting is honestly irresistible! If you are looking for a lemon glaze, try my Lemon Glaze recipe, it’s one of the most popular on this website!

lemon blueberry coffee cupcake topped with Lemon Buttercream Frosting and pink flower icing
Lemon Buttercream Frosting

How to Make Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 cup of salted butter
  • 4 cups of icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cream
  1. Whip your butter with the paddle attachment if you have one, or just a general beater with your mixer.
  2. Add in your icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating continuously. Now 2 tablespoons lemon zest worked wonderfully for me. Zested peel should not be done on a regular grater, by the way, you need a smaller size, a zester grater, in fact. The size is perfect without being overwhelming chunks in your cooking.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting and pink icing flower on top of lemon cupcake
Lemon Buttercream Frosting

The 3 tablespoons of lemon juice was just perfect for my tastes, zingy and zippy with a sweet background of pure sugar and butter. I then added the 2 teaspoons of cream to thin it out.

And THEN….then, I put it on my lemon blueberry coffee cake, (recipe coming in the next couple of days) took half to my work, where the ladies promptly raved over the icing and demolished it all, and half went to my son’s school for the teacher’s lunchroom.

Happy baking everyone!

Make sure that you also get my recipe for vanilla Buttercream Frosting,  or if you are looking for something zippier my Cream Cheese Icing is also amazing on red velvet, chocolate cake, you name it!

Karlynn

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The BEST lemon buttercream frosting ever! One taste of this tart and sweet delight will have you in dessert heaven!

 

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Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Delicious lemon buttercream frosting, the perfect topping for any cake or cupcake.
5 from 39 votes
Lemon Buttercream Frosting and pink icing flower on top of lemon cupcake
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Total Time
6 minutes
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
Frosting
Servings
18
Calories
196
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of salted butter
  • 4 cups of icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cream

Instructions

  1. Whip your butter with the paddle attachment if you have one, or just a general beater with your mixer.
  2. Add in your icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating continously. Now 2 tablespoons lemon zest worked wonderfully for me. Zested peel should not be done on a regular grater, by the way, you need a smaller size, a zester grater, in fact. The size is perfect without being overwhelming chunks in your cooking.
  3. The 3 tablespoons of lemon juice was just perfect for my tastes, zingy and zippy with a sweet background of pure sugar and butter. I then added the 2 teaspoons of cream to thin it out.

Recipe Notes

This recipe will frost around 18 cupcakes, but that depends on how much icing you use on each cupcake! 

It will also frost one (( 2 layer) cake.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 196kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 90mg, Potassium: 5mg, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 325IU, Vitamin C: 1.8mg, Calcium: 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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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!

Learn more about me

Site Index Buttercream frostings Frosting Lemon

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Kathy Pardell says

    I have been looking for a great buttercream icing recipe and this was just perfect. So easy and delicious. I plan to use it on a lemon/raspberry layer cake that I’ll bake later but I wanted to make sure the icing would work out first.
    I’m with you…lemon flavor is the best!5 stars

  2. Mindy says

    I used a microplane to zest my lemon, the zest kept putting tiny holes in my piping bag… any suggestions??

  3. Alexandra Richards says

    Can you please clarify how much “1 cup of butter” is in grams or ounces?

  4. LindaHarringtonSteinke says

    This recipe is WONDERFUL, Karlynn!  Thank you for sharing.  I’m experimenting with a lemon poppyseed chiffon cake and this icing looks like the perfect compliment.  Truly, I’d like to serve dallops of the icing on its own as a tea sweet; it’s just that  delectable!  I decreased the zest to approx. 1 Tbsp. (what I got off one med-lg. lemon)…and juiced the same lemon (juice measured 1/4 inch down from the top of my 1/4 cup measuring cup).  Super yummy!!!

    5 stars

  5. john6301 says

    My sweetie asked me to bake her a lemon cake – I found a recipe I liked but wasn’t thrilled with the icing specs – yours sounds like it might be just right 🙂

    Can’t wait to try it on my lemon cake!

    5 stars

  6. Jo says

    Just made this for a birthday cake – fabulous!! The only changes I made were I added the lemon juice to the butter as I was beating it first, so it was totally incorporated before I added the sifted sugar, so absolutely no curdling, and then I just folded the zest through at the end. No need for milk or cream as it was beautifully soft and spreadable. Thanks for the recipe!

    5 stars

    • Jak says

      I never, ever, ever use milk or cream in my icing for food safety. Water works, just beat the heck out of it. That way, the cake doesn’t need to be refrigerated. (Butter really can sit out for a few hours, milk – not so much)

  7. SherriOswald says

    Easiest way to eliminate possibility of runny or curdled is leave out the half and half/milk. You don’t need it. Regular buttercream has 2 to 4 TBS milk and 1 tsp vanilla. Sub your lemon juice for milk and rind for vanilla. It is delicious.

    5 stars

  8. daisybean29 says

    YUMMY!!! I have been looking for the perfect lemon buttercream frosting. I have tried 3 other recipes and none are what I want. Can’t wait to try yours. Question : where do I get icing sugar? Is it the same as powdered sugar? What size and kind of lemon zest do i buy?

    rejoiceinthelord29@gmail.com

    Love your blog.!♡

    5 stars

  9. Alnye says

    She said “hold onto your spoon” and you better do just that! This is fantastic and lemony and not overwhelming. I added walnuts and frosted a spice cake with it. Delicious – thank you so much!!

    5 stars

  10. kerryokerry says

    Mine curdled too. I added flaked coconut to mask that. But dang it!

  11. NicoleElverd says

    I’ve since made this icing twice and it’s turned out perfectly. However I omit the cream (lactose intolerant) and add a dash of Vanilla extract. In fact, I used it yesterday to ice a cake for a woman at work. They love this icing and this cake. Lemon cream cheese butter cake with lemon buttercream icing with a swirl of raspberry/lemon icing in the middle.

  12. Disappointing says

    I tried this, and followed word for word and the icing turned out terrible. Its runny, looks curdled and you can only feel the sugar upon tasting. I do not reccomend trying.

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Disappointing IF you can feel the sugar, you’ve absolutely used the wrong kind. Icing sugar is smooth as silk. Sounds like you used normal white sugar.

  13. mommy_in_fl says

    first of all, loved loved the lemon cake & lemon frosting combo! my question is how did you get your frosting to turn out yellow, did you add food coloring? I just like the idea of yellow frosting to go with lemon cake.

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @mommy_in_fl Yup just a little coloring!

  14. NicoleElverd says

    Quick question, how much (in weight) is a cup of butter?  

  15. loplover says

    How do you prevent the buttercream from splitting? Mine has always split the moment I added lemon juice, no matter how well it was blended before the addition of the juice. Also, if I add whipping cream, the result has always been a complete disaster. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @loplover Try making sure that everything is room temperature, that should help! And keep on beating it, sometimes just beating it until it comes together actually works!

    • Jak says

      Try just using water to get the icing a good consistency. A teaspoon at a time. Teaspoon.

  16. arica612 says

    Do you have to use icing sugar, I want to make this now but don’t have that type of sugar.

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @arica612 Yes, it has to be icing sugar!

    • Charron says

      @arica612 it is also called powdered sugar, or confectioners sugar….  and if, on the longshot, you have a NutriBullet or similar, you can powder regular sugar in it.

  17. marsw says

    I cut the sugar and the butter in 1/2 and omitted the cream.  Left the rest the same for a strong lemon taste for someone who loves a lot of lemon.  I had extra left after covering an 8 x 8  GF Betty Crocker that I turned into Lemon cake.  I warmed a little butter at the end and added to smooth it out.  Great flavor.  Used Trader Joes Powdered Sugar.

    5 stars

  18. Aleash says

    Holy cats!!! this was absolutely perfect! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m excited to explore your site and try more recipes.

    5 stars

  19. Andrea says

    Hi, I was going to make a double layer 12 inch vanilla cake for my sisters shower and thought this would be great for a change. How many batches you think I would need? I’ve never made a cake this big before. I was also going to cover in fondant if this changes the amount of batchs I know you don’t need quiet as much on the out side.

  20. lacyrae says

    This is such a great receipe 🙂 perfect all around texture and taste

    5 stars

  21. Sandy B says

    Love this cake, plan to make for a friend coming home from thenhospital

    5 stars

  22. Jaime says

    Love it! Always trying to find the perfect lemon icing as its my hubbys fav with banana cake and this one is definitely my new go to!

    5 stars

  23. PaskalinaFaro says

    Why salted butter? I’d like to make that frosting just want to make sure I’ll use the right better. Thanks 

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      PaskalinaFaro ALWAYS salted butter in icings to cut the sweet! That’s why most recipes just aren’t quite right, you need the salt to foil the sweet.

  24. Cathy says

    So glad I found your site and this amazing receipt, I made vanilla magacascar cupcakes and this icing was made for it. Thank you!!!!

    5 stars

  25. onefootinfrontoftheother says

    This is PERFECT! At first I thought, “Whoa! 2 Tblsp (4 small lemons) of zest!”….but it was exactly right. I am sooo picky about frosting, and I’ve been terribly disappointed with so many lemon recipes, but I could not have been more absolutely DELIGHTED with this. THANK YOU!!  (P.S. I didn’t need the cream. Maybe because my butter was reeeally soft…..in my hot climate.)

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      onefootinfrontoftheother I am super glad that you liked it!!! I am a lemon addict so this is my very favorite icing! Thanks for letting me know!

  26. Jess says

    the lemon flavoring was to die for, i loved it! i thought it might taste to sweet or buttery but no, it was pefectly balanced. Thank you!

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Jess I am SO glad that you liked it! Thanks for letting me know, I love hearing from readers!

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