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This bright, sweet Lemon Buttercream Frosting packs some serious citrus punch! It is easy to whip up and perfect for frosting cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other desserts!

Try this lemon frosting on my Vanilla Cupcakes, Strawberry Cupcakes, or Lemon Cupcakes!

An image of a kitchenaid whisk attachment covered in homemade lemon buttercream frosting.

Lemon Frosting Recipe

I love mixing and matching frosting and cake recipes to create new flavor combinations. I use this same lemon buttercream frosting on everything from cakes and cupcakes to macarons.

This is an American buttercream frosting, which means it is made with cool butter, powdered sugar, and a little liquid in the form of lemon juice and heavy cream. It comes together in under 10 minutes for a batch of fluffy, light lemon frosting that tastes absolutely heavenly on all sorts of treats!

Here are some ideas for ways to use lemon frosting:

An image of fresh lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting.

How to make lemon buttercream frosting

  1. Beat softened butter in a large bowl until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. It will actually start to lighten in color and turn nice and smooth.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix again. Start slowly so you don’t create a cloud of powdered sugar in your kitchen! It won’t come together right off, but it will start to clump up a bit after a minute.
  3. Add remaining powdered sugar, heavy cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix again slowly until the frosting starts to come together, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth.

Tips for making American buttercream frosting

  • Knock down air bubbles with a wooden spoon. A trick I use if I’m frosting a layer cake and want to have a really smooth finish without too many air bubbles is to take a wooden spoon and stir the frosting by hand after beating to help push out some of the air bubbles before I spread it onto the cake.
  • Use cool, but not cold, butter. If your butter is too soft, all the beating will result in a looser frosting. Room temperature or slightly cooler butter that is just softened enough to be easily mixed is what you really want. Pull it out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before you plan to make your frosting for best results.
  • Make this frosting in advance. You can store buttercream frosting in the fridge for up to 1 week in an airtight container, or stick it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge, then set it on the counter for 1-2 hours to come up to room temperature before using. I like to throw it in my mixer and beat it again so it’s nice and fluffy again before frosting my cakes or cupcakes with frosting that has been refrigerated or frozen.
  • Turn your frosting yellow with a little food coloring (affiliate link). You will notice that this lemon frosting is just a pale yellow from the butter, with flecks of the lemon zest showing through. If you want a decidedly yellow lemon frosting, go ahead and add a few drops of yellow food coloring (affiliate link) for visual interest.
An image of a bowl of whipped lemon buttercream frosting.

More frosting recipes you’ll want to try!

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Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Yield: 12-16 Cupcakes Worth

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

This bright, sweet Lemon Buttercream Frosting packs some serious citrus punch! It is easy to whip up and perfect for frosting cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other desserts!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened slightly to barely room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix on medium-low speed for 1 minute.
  3. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix again for 30 seconds.
  4. Add lemon zest, cream, and lemon juice, mixing until combined. Increase speed and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup more powdered sugar if too soft, or another tablespoon of lemon juice or cream if too thick.
  5. Use to frost your favorite cakes, cupcakes, or cookies.

Notes

  • Make-ahead Instructions: You can refrigerate buttercream frosting for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Or freeze for up to 3 months and thaw completely in the fridge. Let the frosting sit out on the counter for 1-2 hours to soften, then beat again to make it fluffy and easy to spread or pipe before using.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 288Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 123mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 0gSugar: 36gProtein: 0g