Find out why people are calling this lemon buttercream frosting “the most perfect frosting they’ve ever made”! You’ll just need 4 ingredients to make this dessert staple to pair with cake, cupcakes, sugar cookie bars or any dessert you want!
This Lemon Buttercream is a Staple
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.
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.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting ingredients
- unsalted butter
- fresh lemon juice
- powdered sugar
- lemon zest
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.
How to Make Lemon Frosting
- Beat butter until fluffy. Use an electric mixer on medium speed and beat the butter for 1-2 minutes, until whipped and fluffy.
- 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.
- 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.
Lemon Frosting Recipe 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.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting Recipe Storage
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.
Does buttercream need to be refrigerated?
Buttercream doesn’t need to be stored in the refrigerator. It can be stored at room temperature for 3 days. For longer storage, place the frosting in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Before using, re-whip the frosting with a mixer to make it smooth.
Lemon Frosting Recipe FAQs
This frosting recipe is an American buttercream.
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 yellow lemon colored 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.
Icing is generally made with powdered sugar and a liquid, while buttercream is made with powdered sugar and butter. Icing is typically thinner and poured or drizzled over baked goods while buttercream is thick and can be piped onto baked goods.
When you first add the lemon juice to the butter mixture, it might look like the mixture is separating, but continue to beat the frosting until it’s well emulsified.
If you over whip buttercream frosting you will start to see large air pockets form which can affect the texture and appearance of your frosting. To fix this, use a spatula and gently mix the frosting by hand. Mixing by hand will smash the air pockets, leaving a smooth texture.
How to fix broken Buttercream
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.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting Recipe
- 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
- 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.