Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Easy creamy lemon buttercream frosting is so easy to make and pipe! Tastes best on lemon cupcakes! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How was your weekend? Kevin’s birthday is this week, so we celebrated on Saturday. It was one of those effortlessly beautiful weekends where you just want to stay outside. Completely the opposite of every other weekend so far this summer where you feel like you’re holed up in a sauna. Practically Z-E-R-O humidity, so we took full advantage and spent most of the time out of the house. But I also did some “nesting” which doesn’t really feel like nesting? Baby laundry, organized baby toiletries, some bath stuff, etc. Does nesting feel like nesting? Was that even nesting…?

I also worked in the kitchen with a new piping tip– the leaf tip. Wilton #352. Trying to work on my piping skills. Now that I have a solid background of basic designs using these 6 tips, my goal is to learn making more intricate frosting designs!

(Note: I used Wilton 8B for today’s frosting!)

Easy creamy lemon buttercream frosting is so easy to make and pipe! Tastes best on lemon cupcakes! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

But let’s talk frosting. I’m trying to build out the frosting section on Sally’s Baking Addiction with some of my basic frosting faves and a few fun ones like creamy strawberry and rainbow chip frosting (holy heck, that one!). My latest success is lemon buttercream frosting. This is a tricky one to master because lemon juice + zest can produce a curdled-looking buttercream, quite the opposite of anyone’s agenda. Have you ever tasted curdled fros… I can’t even finish that question. Gives me the heebie-jeebies.

To overcome that curdled situation, you have to make sure you have enough confectioners’ sugar to battle the additional liquid. And, most notably, you want to stick to fresh lemon instead of artificial lemon flavoring. Lemon extract is wonderful and all, but it doesn’t even compare to fresh lemons in both the aroma and flavor categories.

Easy creamy lemon buttercream frosting is so easy to make and pipe! Tastes best on lemon cupcakes! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

But here’s the common dilemma! Adding extra confectioners’ sugar is an easy solution and all, but you can add *too* much. Overly sweet and artificial frosting follows, which is everything you were hoping against.

We want REAL lemon flavor. And:

  • Tangy + creamy, sweet but not overly so.
  • Easy to pipe, fresh, and silky.
  • NOT curdled.

Tall orders when it comes to lemon buttercream, but I cracked that code. The secret is in the balance of confectioners’ sugar to liquid. With the precise recipe below, you’ll enter lemon frosting nirvana where you have the texture and consistency of vanilla buttercream, with fresh lemon flavor.

Besides adding enough confectioners’ sugar, my secret is the ratio of lemon juice to heavy cream. I used to skip the heavy cream completely and only use lemon juice as the liquid. Hence the curdling situation. Cream ensures a CREAMY and THICK (hey, who woulda thunk?) consistency. I don’t suggest subbing it out!

Easy creamy lemon buttercream frosting is so easy to make and pipe! Tastes best on lemon cupcakes! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Easy creamy lemon buttercream frosting is so easy to make and pipe! Tastes best on lemon cupcakes! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The pictured cupcakes are my lemon cupcakes. If lemon is your soul sista, this frosting and the lemon cupcakes are a combo you’ve gotta try. And, again, I used Wilton 8B for today’s frosting! Love that one, definitely a fave.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter
  • 4 and 1/2 cups (540g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • pinch salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, heavy cream, and zest with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Taste and add salt as needed. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick.
  2. Cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9x13 quarter sheet cake

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Easy creamy lemon buttercream frosting is so easy to make and pipe! Tastes best on lemon cupcakes! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Easy creamy lemon buttercream frosting is so easy to make and pipe! Tastes best on lemon cupcakes! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

36 comments

  1. These are beautiful. I would love to see a Swiss meringue in your frosting section.

  2. This sounds incredible, Sally! I love how many new creative flavors you’re always cranking out.

  3. I’m all into frosting these days. You have some great recipes on tour blog.
    I love this one because of the lemon flavor. 
    Thanks Sally!

  4. Sally – this sounds heavenly! I’d love to try this on your checkerboard cake! Do you think that it would work if I made 1.5x this recipe?

  5. Where is my spoon? I’m going to eat the bowl of frosting like ice cream 😉 Okay, I guess it would also be amazing on strawberry, or blueberry, or lemon, or raspberry, or coconut cake! 🙂

    • Um, I don’t blame you. And I knew you’d LOVE the sounds of this frosting. You love lemon even more than I do!!

  6. I really must get that Wilton tip. The effect is really beautiful. The frosting sounds delicious too . As for ‘nesting’, well you certainly are! ANYTHING you do to prep for bub’s arrival is nesting . Not long now

  7. i usually just add lemon zest for lemon flavor, but this looks so lush i am giving it a try for my blueberry cupcakes today…..thanks so much for the” Tips” tips…..

  8. hey girl- this looks so yummy!

  9. What is the best cake flavor to go with this amazing flavor

  10. I suppose it would be easy for milk to curdle when mixed with lemon juice. I’ve been fortunate to not have that happen…yet. This is a great recipe to pin. I love lemon desserts and it’s nice to have a creamy, lemony frosting in which to refer.

    Thanks again Sally! Your excellent hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

  11. Lemon butter frosting looks delicious…..will try it soon..How’s the little mother to be? Would love to see your baby bump..your stories bring back special memories of my four….they grow up way too fast…enjoy!!

    Thank you for your web site..I share with my daughters..

  12. Mmmm hope it’s exactable to just make a bowl of frosting and lick it with a spoon, hehe.  Frosting is always my favorite part of any cake or cupcake.  This looks delicious, love lemon in the spring/summer months.

  13. Oh god, why did I click on this from Bloglovin? I’m supposed to be cutting down on sugar, and now I’m obsessed with making these. They look amazing!

  14. I have been waiting for this recipe for when I make lemon cupcakes again…thanks Sally!

  15. Amazing cupcakes with creative flavors, Sally. Thanks

  16. This looks absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing <3

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  17. I made this recipe this morning to use with Sally’s lemon cupcake recipe (I added frozen blueberries to the cupcakes, too). Both turned out great! The cupcakes are light and moist, plus they are extra yummy with the blueberries. The frosting is lightly lemon flavored but creamy and delicious. I didn’t have cream so I used half and half, and it worked great. Will definitely make both recipes again!

  18. I made this frosting and it was super easy and delicious! One question – if I store it in the fridge, how would you recommend getting it warmed up and loose enough to pipe? 

  19. I want to use lemon frosting on a piped succulent cake I’m going to attempt soon. Would this recipe be okay for piping something like that? Not as detailed as a rose, but close. Saw succulent cakes online and thought they were just BEAUTIFUL!

  20. Hi Sally! 
    How will you know if the frosting has curdled? When I took the frosting out of the mixer it looked perfect, but as I was spreading it on the cake it seemed like it wasn’t as smooth as I thought. Not huge chunks, but just not as smooth as my usual buttercream. Would it be very obvious if curdling has occurred? 
    Thanks so much for your help! 

  21. Hi,
    Have you tried home made lemon curd mixed in to the butter cream I have not done it for a long time but it used to be very good.

  22. I just wanted to ask– Could I freeze the buttercream and thaw it, re-whipping it? The reason I ask is because I want to try my hand at piping, and then save the frosting for another project. Thanks so much.

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