Easy 4 ingredient lemon buttercream frosting is a dessert staple to pair with cake, cupcakes, or sugar cookie bars! Make lemon frosting in one bowl in under 10 minutes.

lemon frosting in white bowl on teal background

I am a chocolate girl, through and through. But once the weather warms up, my soul craves lemon.

We’re sharing another dessert staple today!

Lemon frosting with fresh lemon juice is an essential recipe for a baker! It pairs well with so many cakes and cupcakes – further down in the post I’ll be sharing my recommendations.

Buttercream is incredibly easy to make and most likely you have all the ingredients on hand already.

lemon frosting swirled piped onto blue floral plate

What is buttercream?

Buttercream is a type of frosting that calls for creaming butter and powdered sugar together to make a fluffy frosting.

Buttercream is the typical frosting that you see paired with cakes and cupcakes in America.

Ingredients

  • unsalted butter
  • fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • powdered sugar
  • lemon zest
how to make lemon frosting collage image

How to make lemon buttercream frosting

  1. Beat butter until fluffy. Use an electric mixer on medium speed and beat the butter for 1-2 minutes, until whipped and fluffy.
  2. Beat in powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice. Add in the powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice, beat again on low for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl until everything is incorporated.

    Expert tip: to prevent powdered sugar from flying out of the bowl, start mixing on low speed. 
  3. Add a splash more lemon juice or milk. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash more lemon juice or milk, beat until creamy and smooth. 

What does room temperature butter mean?

Room temperature butter should be between 63 and 68 degrees.  It should be cool to the touch and you should be able to leave a fingerprint on it, like the butter has a little give. The butter should not look melted or greasy at all. 

lemon cupcakes piped with lemon frosting and a lemon wedge on a teal plate and teal background

Variations

→ Swap in salted butter. Be sure to omit the additional added salt.

→ Add lemon oil or extract for a more intense lemon flavor. Adding more lemon juice to intensify the lemon flavor will mess up the consistency of the frosting causing it to become too watery and it won’t hold its shape.

★ Recipe FAQs

What type of frosting is this?

Is frosting recipe is an American buttercream.

How to store buttercream frosting?

You can store frosting in a covered container on the counter for up to 2 days. For longer storage, place in the fridge for up to 1 week. Before using, place the frosting on the counter and allow it to come to room temperature. Give it a quick whip with an electric mixer before using.

Can you freeze lemon frosting?

Yes, you can freeze any type of buttercream frosting. Store the frosting in a plastic freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight then transfer to a mixing bowl and briefly rewhip until fluffy.

How much frosting does this make?

This recipe makes enough frosting to frost a 9×13 inch cake, a two layer 8 inch cake or 24 cupcakes.

Can I add yellow food coloring?

Add a drop of yellow food coloring for a bright yellow lemon colored frosting.

close up of lemon frosting with lemon zest with text overlay

My frosting looks curdled, help!

Lemon frosting can look curdled if you add too much lemon juice or if the ingredients are too cold.

To fix curdled lemon frosting, start by adding 1/4 cup powdered sugar to the frosting and beat with a mixer. If the frosting still looks curdled, add an additional 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

You can also place the frosting in a warm place (near window) for 10 minutes, then mix again with mixer.

How to get rid of air bubbles in frosting

Air bubbles form when whipping the frosting, which is a necessary step in making buttercream! But you can reduce the amount of air bubbles by beating the frosting on low speed for a minute or by hand mixing the frosting. You are essentially pushing out the air bubbles.

lemon frosting in a bowl white topped with a lemon slice

Pair lemon frosting with

Lemon Frosting

Easy 4 ingredient lemon buttercream frosting is a dessert staple to pair with cake, cupcakes, or sugar cookie bars! Make lemon frosting in one bowl in under 10 minutes.
4.55 from 22 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Beth

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter softened (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 1/2-4 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • optional: zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

  • Place room temperature unsalted butter in a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer on medium-low and beat the butter for 1-2 minutes, until whipped and fluffy.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice (and lemon zest if desired), beat again on low for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until everything is incorporated.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add a splash more lemon juice, beat until creamy.
  • Spread on cake or pipe onto cupcakes.

Notes

  • This recipe makes enough frosting to frost a 9×13 inch cake, a two layer 8 inch cake or 24 cupcakes. 
  • Add a drop of yellow food coloring for a bright lemon colored frosting. 
  • Does your lemon frosting look curdled? See the detailed notes in my post.
  • Nutrition

    Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 76mg | Potassium: 8mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 530IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
    Share a photo!Tag @beth_thefirstyear!