Desserts/ Recipe

Lemon Buttercream

May 20, 2017 (Last Updated: June 30, 2020)

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Lemony buttercream frosting is perfect for cakes or cupcakes. This lemon frosting is bursting with fresh lemon flavor and compliments lemon cake perfectly. 

Cupcakes topped with a swirl of frosting.

Last week I posted my recipe for lemon curd. This week lemon buttercream frosting. There is definitely lemon in the air around my house! This frosting is the perfect topping for lemon cupcakes.

Tips for making lemon frosting

  • Make certain your butter is at room temperature. I usually let mine sit out on the counter for at least one hour before I will use it.
  • Begin whipping your butter first, before adding other ingredients. This helps make certain your butter is nice and creamy.
  • If your powdered sugar is lumpy, sift it through a sieve before using. The lumps don’t disappear when you add the powdered sugar to the butter.
  • Always add the lesser amount of recommended liquid. Sometimes you won’t need to add any additional liquid or your buttercream will be too runny.
  • If buttercream is too thick, just add a bit more lemon juice.
  • If it’s too runny, add a bit more powdered sugar.
  • This buttercream recipe does not hold up well in the heat. If it’s too warm for a stick of butter to hold its shape, the buttercream won’t hold its shape either.
  • Refrigerate buttercream as needed. Just let it come back to room temperature before using.
  • Use fresh squeezed lemon juice and don’t skimp on the zest.

A platter filled with lemon cupcakes topped with frosting.

Will this buttercream hold up in warm temperatures?

This buttercream is made with all butter and it holds up best at room temperature. If the temperature turns too warm this frosting will begin to soften and sag. You can store buttercream in the refrigerator to help keep it’s shape.

If you need a firmer buttercream, you can use 1/2 butter and 1/2 Crisco. The flavor will change slightly, but your frosting will be a bit more stable. 

This lemon frosting is perfect for cupcakes or  a yellow cake. The burst of lemon will keep your taste buds happy. 

Other buttercream frostings

In addition to this lemony buttercream frosting, I also make chocolate buttercream  pumpkin spice butter cream and regular buttercream frostings.

 

Don’t forget to PIN for later!A row of cupcakes topped with lemon swirled frosting.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @beyondthechickencoop

Check out all my dessert recipes!

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Kathy
Lemony buttercream
4.85 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups
Calories 283 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 2-4 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

Instructions
 

  • Place butter in bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until soft and creamy. 
  • Mix in lemon zest. 
  • Mix powdered sugar into buttercream one cup at a time. 
  • Mix in lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time. 

Notes

Keep leftover frosting covered in fridge for up to a week. Bring to room temperature and stir before using.
If you need a firmer buttercream, you can use 1/2 butter and 1/2 Crisco. The flavor will change slightly, but your frosting will be a bit more stable. 
 

Tips for making lemon buttercream frosting

  • Make certain your butter is at room temperature. I usually let mine sit out on the counter for at least one hour before I will use it.
  • Begin whipping your butter first, before adding other ingredients. This helps make certain your butter is nice and creamy.
  • If your powdered sugar is lumpy, sift it through a sieve before using. The lumps don't disappear when you add the powdered sugar to the butter.
  • Always add the lesser amount of recommended liquid. Sometimes you won't need to add any additional liquid or your buttercream will be too runny.
  • If buttercream is too thick, just add a bit more lemon juice.
  • If it's too runny, add a bit more powdered sugar.
  • This buttercream recipe does not hold up well in the heat. If it's too warm for a stick of butter to hold its shape, the buttercream won't hold its shape either.
  • Refrigerate buttercream as needed. Just let it come back to room temperature before using.
  • Use fresh squeezed lemon juice and don't skimp on the zest.

Nutrition

Calories: 283kcalCarbohydrates: 38gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 135mgPotassium: 4mgSugar: 37gVitamin A: 475IUVitamin C: 2.2mgCalcium: 6mg
Keyword buttercream, buttercream frosting with lemon, lemon buttercream, lemon buttercream frosting
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Teresa
    June 3, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    5 stars
    I love this. I made it because I didn’t have any vanilla and most frosting recipes called for vanilla. I had just baked a yellow cake so I used lemon curd as the filling in between my cake layers and this frosting was perfect.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      June 3, 2020 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks, Teresa! This is perfect for a yellow cake. I appreciate your comment! 🙂

  • Reply
    Genny
    October 7, 2019 at 4:44 am

    5 stars
    I used this when I made my “red wedding” cupcakes for GOT night. Yellow cake with raspberry compote inside with lemon buttercream on top. It was such a hit, I keep going back to making these cupcakes for people. I’m making them for my kids school cake walk for tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Kathy
      October 7, 2019 at 4:47 am

      Thanks, Genny! It’s one our favorites too. You just can’t beat that lemony taste! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenni
    September 2, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    4 stars
    Way too lemony. I think 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest would be sufficient. I couldn’t even lick the beaters….I think I will eat my cupcakes without frosting. Maybe it was because my lemons were not ripe? I don’t blame your recipe, I think it’s great.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      September 3, 2019 at 4:37 am

      Hi Jenni, The frosting is full of lemon flavor but it’s not inedible. The peel holds most of the flavor, so using just one tablespoon still works. I don’t know what an unripe lemon tastes like – especially the peel. I wonder how different the taste is when the lemon isn’t ripe.

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