This Lemon Buttercream Frosting Recipe makes a smooth frosting with the perfect, sweet, and tangy taste that is perfect for frosting cupcakes, frosting cakes, and fillings!
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
I love all things lemon flavor. One of my favorite drinks is homemade lemonade. Lemon is such a refreshing and light flavor. It is perfect for the spring and summer months when you are making a dessert. This lemon buttercream frosting recipe is the perfect frosting for a spring or summer dessert cupcake or cake!
Cakes, cupcakes, and buttercream frosting are things we love around here. I don’t like having to go to a bakery and I can not stand grocery store cakes so I like to make everything cake, cupcake, and frosting related at home.
This homemade lemon frosting is one of my favorites to make during the summer months when I am making cupcakes and cakes because it has the perfect refreshing flavor.
Homemade Buttercream Frosting Recipes
- Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- Mocha Buttercream Frosting
- Chocolate Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
- Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
What can I use lemon buttercream Frosting for?
There are quite a few different uses for this homemade buttercream frosting recipe.
- Cakes. Spread a generous layer of lemon buttercream frosting between cake layers for a burst of tangy sweetness if you are making a layer cake or a single layer cake to frost.
- Cupcakes. Top your cupcakes with a swirl of lemon buttercream frosting to create an irresistible treat. If you are new to making cupcakes then you will want to check out How to make a cupcake swirl to learn the basics before you frost your cupcakes. If you want to layer your frosting flavors, check out the layered frosting swirl!
- Cookies. Sandwich two cookies together with a dollop of lemon buttercream frosting for a delightful cookie sandwich. The creamy and citrusy filling adds a vibrant touch to shortbread, sugar cookies, or even lemon-flavored cookies. This lemon frosting pairs well with Funfetti Cookies, Lemon Cookies, and Strawberry Cookies when you are making cookie sandwiches.
What Flavor Cupcake Goes with Lemon Buttercream?
My go-to cupcakes to use with Lemon buttercream frosting are lemon cupcakes. If you love my strawberry lemonade cupcakes, then you will love the flavor combo of strawberry cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting. If you really want to add a pop of fun when you are making cupcakes with lemon frosting, add a sprinkle of lemon flavored sugar on top of them.
Vanilla Cupcakes. The light and delicate flavor of vanilla cupcakes provide a perfect base for the zesty lemon buttercream frosting. The combination is a classic and timeless choice that appeals to a wide range of palates.
Lemon Cupcakes. For an extra burst of citrusy goodness, pair lemon buttercream frosting with lemon-flavored cupcakes. The combination intensifies the lemon flavor and creates a delightful and refreshing treat.
Blueberry Cupcakes. The sweet and juicy flavor of blueberries pairs exceptionally well with the zesty lemon buttercream frosting. The combination offers a delightful contrast of flavors, creating a sweet and tangy cupcake experience.
Strawberry Cupcakes. The fresh and vibrant taste of strawberries complements the citrusy lemon buttercream frosting perfectly. The combination brings together the flavors of summer and creates a luscious and fruity cupcake.
Almond Cupcakes. Almond-flavored cupcakes provide a nutty and slightly sweet base that harmonizes well with the tangy lemon buttercream frosting. The combination offers a unique and delightful flavor profile.
Tips for Making Lemon Buttercream
When you are making this homemade buttercream frosting there are a few things you can do that will make it easier to make this recipe and have it come out perfectly.
- Use a stand mixer. You may use a handheld mixer to make this but I prefer my stand mixer. That way I do not have to stand there for ten minutes mixing it up. I will say I have broken three handheld mixers because they are just not strong enough to hold up to my baking so it is well worth the investment to get a KitchenAid Mixer!
- Use a low speed. When adding the powdered sugar, use a low speed on your mixer to prevent the sugar from flying out of the bowl.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Make sure your butter and any other ingredients you’re using are at room temperature before starting. This will help ensure a smooth and creamy texture.
- Add the powdered sugar gradually. Add the powdered sugar gradually, a little bit at a time, while continuing to beat the butter. This will help prevent lumps and ensure a smooth texture.
- Use high-quality ingredients. Use high-quality butter and powdered sugar for the best results. It’s also a good idea to use pure vanilla extract instead of imitation vanilla.
How to adjust the Consistency of buttercream Frosting
- Make it thicker. The most common way to thicken buttercream frosting is by adding more powdered sugar. Start with a small amount, such as a quarter cup, and mix it into the frosting until it is fully incorporated. Continue adding powdered sugar a little at a time until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. If your buttercream is too soft, you can try chilling it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. This will help the butter to firm up and the frosting to thicken.
- Make it thinner. If you find that your buttercream frosting is too thick you can easily thin it out. To thin out, the buttercream add a small amount of liquid and mix until the frosting has reached your desired consistency. I start by adding a tablespoon at a time. For this buttercream frosting, you can use hot water or heavy cream. You can also continue to whip the frosting. Whipping the frosting for a few minutes extra will add air to the frosting and will make it lighter and fluffier which can help thin it out.
Tips for Decorating with this frosting
- Make an icing swirl. If you have always wanted to make an icing swirl so you have pretty cupcakes, check out this step by step guide on how to make an icing swirl. It really changes the look of your cupcakes!
- Swirl frosting on top of cupcakes. If you are using different flavored frostings and want them both on top of your cupcake swirled together, check out how to swirl two icing flavors. If you want to layer your frosting flavors, check out the layered frosting swirl!
- Use a frosting bag. Piping frosting on cupcakes is easy, the hardest part is filling a pastry bag with the frosting and not making a mess. Check out this post for the easy way to fill a pastry bag with frosting.
- Use a rubber spatula. If you are going to frost a full cake then use a rubber spatula to scoop the frosting on top of the cake, then use an angled spatial to frost the cake.
How long can I keep Lemon buttercream frosting in the fridge before it goes bad?
The buttercream can be stored at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you have already frosted a cake or cupcakes this buttercream frosting can sit out for up to 3 days. When you bring it out of the refrigerator let it sit at room temperature for two hours. Then re-whip it for ten minutes to bring it back to life.
How many days in advance can I make Buttercream frosting?
You can make this buttercream frosting 3 days in advance of when you want to use it and store it at room temperature. You can make this buttercream frosting up to 2 weeks ahead of time if you are going to store it in the fridge.
How to Store Buttercream Frosting
The buttercream can be stored at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Be sure to store the buttercream in an airtight container.
How to re-whip buttercream frosting after Storing
When you bring it out of the refrigerator let it sit at room temperature for two hours. Then re-whip it for ten minutes to bring it back to life.
Can I freeze this buttercream recipe?
Yes. After making the buttercream frosting place it in an airtight container and then into a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To maintain the freshness and prevent the butter from absorbing any unwanted flavors, it is essential to store the buttercream frosting in a tightly sealed, airtight container. When freezing the frosting, ensure it is tightly sealed in a freezer bag to prevent any flavor transfer from the freezer.
When you’re ready to use the stored frosting, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. Once defrosted, take the frosting out of the fridge and let it soften at room temperature. While some prefer to stir the frosting to achieve the desired consistency, I personally recommend remixing it with a mixer. This extra step helps the frosting become light and fluffy again, restoring its delightful texture.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- unsalted butter (You want to use room temperature butter)
- confectioners’ sugar
- fresh lemon juice from lemons
- vanilla extract. You can use store-bought or homemade vanilla extract.
How to make Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Take the butter out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. Juice the lemon into a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and the shortening.
Mix on medium speed until they are creamed together and get creamy and fluffy. If needed scrape the sides of the bowl to get all of the mixture to the bottom of the bowl.
Turn the mixer speed to the lowest setting and slowly as in the powdered sugar.
Turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and slowly incorporate the powdered sugar into the shortening mixture.
Once you have added all the powdered sugar to your mixture, add in the vanilla extract and then the lemon juice.
Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and continue mixing for 10 minutes until light and fluffy.
Once it is fully whipped you will want to check the consistency to see if it is what you need. If you need to make it thicker you can, if you need to make it thinner you can.
How much frosting does this recipe make?
This recipe makes enough frosting for frosting 24 cupcakes or frosting for 2 8 inch round cakes. If you are making a larger amount of cupcakes or a cake you can easily double this recipe so you have enough frosting.
How many lemons do I need for 4 tablespoons of lemon juice?
For this recipe, you will need fresh lemon juice. You will need 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. On average, one medium-sized lemon contains about 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice. So you will need at least 2 medium-sized lemons.
Can I use bottled lemon juice?
You can however I highly recommend that you use fresh lemon juice as I think that the flavor is much better. If you want to use a lemon extract then I suggest making my vanilla buttercream recipe and changing out the vanilla extract for lemon extract.
Do I have to have a stand mixer?
I prefer using a stand mixer and I love my KitchenAid mixer. However, if you don’t have a stand mixer and only have a hand electric mixer you can make this recipe still. You will want to use an electric mixer and a large mixing bowl instead of the stand mixer.
Will this buttercream form a crust?
Yes, this is an American buttercream frosting so when it sits out it will form a slight crust.
Can I use food coloring to make the yellow brighter?
Yes. If you are wanting a brighter yellow color you can add a few drops of yellow food coloring.
Can I add Lemon Zest?
Yes. If you want to add lemon zest to the buttercream for added color and flavor you can. I would use no more than the zest of one lemon when making the buttercream frosting. If you are going to add lemon zest be sure to zest the lemon before juicing.
Why do you use shortening in this buttercream frosting recipe?
I worked in a bakery for a very long time and learned many tricks of the trade. One of them was using shortening in the buttercream frosting. Combining both butter and shortening offers an optimal balance of taste and stability. Unlike butter, which tends to melt when exposed to warmth, shortening remains solid due to its 100% fat composition. This quality imparts greater stability to the frosting, preventing it from losing its structure. By using shortening, you can achieve a more stable frosting that retains its desired consistency even in warmer conditions, without compromising on taste.
Easy Lemon Recipes
- Watermelon Lemonade
- Lemon Raspberry cupcakes
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Blueberry Lemonade
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Homemade lemonade
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Take the butter out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. Juice the lemon into a bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and the shortening.
- Mix on medium speed until they are creamed together and get creamy and fluffy. If needed scrape the sides of the bowl to get all of the mixture to the bottom of the bowl.
- Turn the mixer speed to the lowest setting and slowly as in the powdered sugar.
- Turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and slowly incorporate the powdered sugar into the shortening mixture.
- Once you have added all the powdered sugar to your mixture, add in the vanilla extract and then the lemon juice.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and continue mixing for 10 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Once it is fully whipped you will want to check the consistency to see if it is what you need. If you need to make it thicker you can, if you need to make it thinner you can.