These lemon blueberry cupcakes are supremely soft and moist with fresh lemon flavor. Sweet blueberries dot every single bite and you can finish them off with my tangy, ultra creamy cream cheese frosting. Tasters and readers have been raving about this recipe for years!
Reader Lauren commented: “Fabulous! The cake is so moist and bursting with flavor. The frosting is truly delectable. Main tip: frost quickly or refrigerate before frosting as it does warm up very quickly in the piping bag!”
I’ve made lemon blueberry cake more times than I can count. Have you ever tried it? It’s a very popular cake recipe and I even made several of them for a wedding reception. I was waist deep in cake batter and somehow flung cake batter INTO MY EYE but the look on the bride’s face made eye-verything worth it. 😉
Today we’re turning it into cupcakes. They taste like sunshine!
Here’s Why You’ll Love These Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
- Brilliant fresh lemon flavor.
- Soft, moist, & fluffy.
- Blueberries complement the tart lemon.
- Cream cheese frosting is sweet, but not-at-all cloying.
- For extra lemon flavor, you can fill them with lemon curd.
- Crowd-pleasing dessert option (honestly, these fly off the serving tray) that’s perfect for spring and summer… or in the middle of winter when you crave some sun!
I originally published this lemon blueberry cupcake recipe in 2016 and have made them several times since for various occasions, baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, anniversaries, and other events. The recipe hasn’t changed except for a slight update to the frosting to help it hold shape—you no longer need milk or cream.
Why This Recipe Works
We’re basically making my lemon cupcakes with blueberries and a different frosting. The recipe stems from my lemon blueberry cake and you can find a 6-inch variation over on my sunshine citrus cake page. I love the cupcake version because they pack more lemon flavor and they’re actually much lighter than both cakes. The batter is so simple and comes together with 10 ingredients.
Did You Know? Cupcakes are typically fluffier than layer cakes because you aren’t stacking them and therefore weight isn’t packing them down.
And Did You Know This Too? You’re also working with less batter, so you don’t really risk overmixing. You see, when you overmix batter, the flour’s gluten strands become quite elastic which results in a denser, somewhat gummy-tasting baked good. If you’ve ever made cupcakes or cakes that should be as fluffy as marshmallows and you end up with pound cake… overmixing could be the culprit.
Grab These 10 Ingredients:
This is a no-frills cupcake recipe requiring a handful of basic baking ingredients and a mixer to bring them all together. Here are some key ingredients you need:
- All-Purpose Flour: The cupcakes are pretty light using a careful ratio of wet to dry ingredients, so cake flour isn’t really necessary. Just use regular all-purpose flour here.
- Creamed Butter & Sugar: A base of creamed butter and sugar (instead of melted butter or oil) often helps achieve a soft, cake-like structure. Make sure it’s proper room temperature butter.
- Whole Milk: Milk with fat such as whole milk, buttermilk, or 2% milk is your best choice here. (Nondairy milk is great in a pinch.)
- Lemon Zest & Juice: Grab a few lemons for this recipe. You need both the zest and juice because each provide something different. Lemon zest gives you a refreshing, light lemon flavor, while the juice adds that familiar tart tanginess often associated with the citrus. Beat the lemon zest with the butter and sugar because fat carries flavor.
Use a Zester & Juicer
- Citrus Zester or Grater: A good portion of flavor comes from the lemon zest, so this tool is a necessity. I use and love this citrus zester. A cheese grater on a fine grating setting or a microplane work too.
- Citrus Juicer: Of course you can just squeeze out the juice by hand, but if you love baking or cooking with citrus or enjoy fresh-squeezed juice, a citrus juicer is convenient!
The batter is thick, which keeps the blueberries suspended in each cupcake. Toss the berries in a little flour before folding into the batter, a secret trick that also helps prevent them from sinking.
And to avoid over-flowing, fill the cupcake liners only 2/3 full:
Plenty of blueberries in each bite, just as if you were making blueberry muffins or lemon blueberry cheesecake bars!
Can I Use Frozen Blueberries?
Yes! Use the same amount and do not thaw.
Can I Switch the Berries in These Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes?
These cupcakes are a conversation starter and I know from experience after making them about 100x for various events. Most guests LOVE them with blueberries, but some have asked if you can prepare them with raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries. The answer is yes! Simply replace the blueberries with your favorite berry. Slice the blackberries in half and use chopped strawberries.
#1 Success Tip for Cream Cheese Frosting
The top frosting choice for today’s lemon blueberry cupcakes is always a tangy cream cheese frosting. The frosting uses a little less butter and confectioners’ sugar from my usual cream cheese frosting (what I use most often for carrot cake cupcakes) and many appreciate that it’s not quite as heavy nor sweet. One reader, Victoria, said: “…So light with great lemon flavor and juicy berries! And the cream cheese icing isn’t too sweet.”
No matter the ratios or quantity of ingredients, always make sure you’re using block cream cheese when preparing cream cheese frosting. You do not want to use spreadable cream cheese (the kind you use on bagels) because your frosting will turn to liquid.
Other Frosting Options
Friends, family, and readers have swapped the frosting for other options including:
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Lightly sweet and holds intricate piped shape.
- Whipped Frosting: Fluffy texture, lightly sweet, holds piped shape, easy to make.
- Lemon Buttercream: For extreme lemon flavor!
- Vanilla Buttercream: Great basic choice that holds piped shape.
- Whipped Cream: Lightest option and hardly sweet. This is what I like to use when I fill the cupcakes with lemon curd.
- White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: Made with melted white chocolate for an extra rich flavor.
Again, the cream cheese frosting included in the recipe below is my go-to. It won’t maintain a super intricate piped shape, but holds a basic swirl with a round tip such as Ateco #808 piping tip. If you’re just learning how to use piping tips, my piping tips guide is a helpful resource.
Are you bringing these cupcakes to a party? I use this cupcake carrier all the time to help store and transport frosted cupcakes.
More Delicious Lemon Recipes
- Lemon Crinkle Cookies
- Classic Lemon Meringue Pie
- Lemon Blueberry Tart
- Oatmeal Lemon Crumble Bars
- Lemon Cake
- Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
- Lemon Berry Trifle
Let my team and I know if you try this recipe. You can also follow along on Facebook or subscribe via email to receive my best baking recipes. Something sweet for your inbox!
Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes (includes cooling)
- Yield: 15 cupcakes
- Category: Cupcakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Deliciously simple lemon blueberry cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting. They’re sweet, fluffy, and make any day feel like summertime!
- 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup (115g) fresh or frozen blueberries, tossed in 1 Tablespoon flour
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- optional: lemon slices and extra blueberries for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. This recipes yields about 15 cupcakes, so you’ll have a 2nd batch.
- Make the batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and then beat on medium-high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients and then turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour in the milk and lemon juice. Beat until just combined. Fold in the floured blueberries. Do not overmix.
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners—fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 18–21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30–36 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11–13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 2 full minutes. Taste and add an extra pinch of salt if desired. If you plan to frost intricate designs with this frosting, refrigerate it for at least 20 minutes first.
- Frost cooled cupcakes and top with optional garnish, if desired. I used Ateco #808 piping tip in the pictured cupcakes. You could also use a small icing spatula. Refrigerate decorated cupcakes uncovered for at least 20 minutes to help set the frosting before serving.
- Cover and store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. A cupcake carrier makes storing and transporting easy.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Plain cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. If frosting is thick/stiff after refrigerating, bring to room temperature and beat it with your mixer for a minute to help loosen it up. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2–3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Special Tools: Electric Mixer (Stand Mixer or Handheld), Citrus Zester, Citrus Juicer, Cupcake Pan, Disposable Piping Bags or Reusable Piping Bags, Ateco #808 Piping Tip, Cupcake Carrier
- Whole Milk or Buttermilk: I usually use buttermilk. Buttermilk helps produce supremely moist lemon cupcakes. If you don’t have buttermilk, use whole milk instead. You can use lower fat or nondairy milks in a pinch, but the cupcakes won’t taste nearly as rich and moist.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read more about why room temperature ingredients are important.
- Amount of Batter/6-Inch Cake: This recipe yields between 3-4 cups of batter which is helpful if you’re reviewing the Cake Pan & Conversions page. You can use this batter for a 6-inch layer cake and see my 6-inch cake page for complete details and instructions.
- 9-Inch Cake: Follow my Lemon Blueberry Cake recipe.
- Filling with Lemon Curd: You can fill these cooled cupcakes with lemon curd if desired. If you need it, my Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes include detailed instructions and a video for filling cupcakes.
Keywords: lemon blueberry cupcakes
Reader Comments & Reviews
These cupcakes were amazing! Light and fluffy with the perfect amount of lemon. The frosting was delicious. Soft but it piped well in a simple swirl.
Can’t wait to try this recipe! I’d like to make mini cupcakes instead, any idea how many this recipe would make and how long to bake?
See step 4 for mini cupcake instructions!
My cupcakes did not rise
Per request from the hubby, I have made this twice as dessert for COMPANY! The cupcakes are a little more substantial than the normal sweet fluffy cupcakes you can buy. These combine the perfect amount of lemony blueberry sweetness (not overly sweet) in a little more dense version of a cupcake and the frosting is also not overly sweet which balances the cupcake perfectly. I used milk with lemon juice in lieu of buttermilk once and buttermilk the 2nd time. I couldn’t tell a difference. Used frozen berries both times and made exactly as written. Company really enjoyed them because they are already serving portioned (one for girls, two for guys or sneaky girls LOL) and are easy to grab (and take in the car as we caught 2 guests doing!). I thought the frosting was a little soft but it held up well when I piped it on top, which is way easier than spreading.
Can I use low-fat buttermilk or will it not taste the same?
Hi Erica, for best results, we recommend full-fat buttermilk. You can use lower fat or nondairy milks/buttermilk in a pinch, but the cupcakes won’t taste nearly as rich and moist.
Hi! I am looking to make these cupcakes and fill them with either lemon curd or a lemon pastry cream. I have two questions:
1) Is it better to fill a cupcake with a curd or a pastry cream? Or does it not matter?
2) I am bringing these cupcakes to an event on Sunday morning and will not have time to make/fill/frost on Sunday. How far in advance can I make the cupcakes so that they will still be fresh? And how should I store them? Would you advise filling them the day of the event (Sunday)? Or can I fill them earlier than that?
Thank you for your help!
Hi Jim! We recommend making cupcakes no more than 1 day in advance for best freshness (stove overnight tightly covered at room temperature), unless you freeze them. Either filling would work well. We would wait to fill them until the day of serving if at all possible. Hope they’re a hit!
These were delicious! People that don’t even like cupcakes said they were incredible
These cupcakes are delicious! My family loved them! You will not be disappointed if you make them!
I have been wanting to try this recipe for some time . Since blueberries are a summer staple in my fridge and I had company coming and this recipe showed up in my email, perfect timing! Rave reviews met with “can I get another one?”, nuff said. Didn’t change a thing, these came out perfect!!! Thanks Sally for another crowd pleasing recipe!
Hi I am planning to make this recipe but I am not going to make the frosting. Can I replace the lemon zest with lemon juice?
Hi Kiwi, I don’t recommend skipping the zest because you will lose a lot of fresh, bright lemon flavor.
Hi Sally, why do you use baking powder when there are acidic ingredients in this recipe? Shouldn’t we use baking soda in this case?
Hi Ngan, there’s some helpful info in this post on baking powder vs. baking soda:
“Baking powder contains baking soda. It is a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar (a dry acid), and sometimes cornstarch. These days, most baking powder sold is double acting. This means that the first leavening occurs when baking powder gets wet–-like when you combine the dry and wet ingredients in the recipe. (This is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time to bake later– because the baking powder has already been activated.) The second leavening occurs when the baking powder is heated. Double (first, second) acting. Since baking powder already contains an acid to neutralize its baking soda, it is most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient. However, this isn’t always the case. You can still use baking powder as the leavening agent in recipes calling for an acidic ingredient. Like my lemon blueberry cake. In my recipe development, I based my lemon cake recipe off of my vanilla cake recipe. I used buttermilk (acid) instead of regular milk for added moisture and a little tang and subbed a little brown sugar (acid) for granulated sugar–-again, for added moisture. I was pleased with the rise and taste of the cake, so I did not experiment with using baking soda.”
These look delicious! I use a ginger cream cheese frosting when I make my mom’s carrot cake. Do you think it will work with the cupcakes?
Sounds delicious! Ginger and lemon go beautifully together.
These look great! Do you know if the batter would be enough to bake into a loaf pan instead of individual muffins? (quick bread style)
Hi Tracey, we recommend adding blueberries to this lemon pound cake recipe instead! We would stir in about 1 cup blueberries to that batter.
Hi Sally, if I wanted to add the lemon curd to the middle would I just do half the amt of batter in each cupcake, put a dollop of curd, and then top off with the remaining amt of batter? Is there any technique to it otherwise? Thanks!
Hi Victoria! To add lemon curd to these cupcakes, we would bake the cupcakes as directed, cut a small hole in the tops of the cooled cupcakes, and fill with lemon curd. We used a similar process with these chocolate strawberry cupcakes. Enjoy!
Should I use this recipe or the blueberry lemon cake recipe for a 6 inch layered cake that is tall enough to make a geode cake? Probably 3 or 4 layers. Would I have to make this batter twice?
Hi Tori, this cupcake batter would make enough for a three layer 6 inch cake. You can read more about using cupcake recipes to make 6 inch cakes in this 6 Inch Cakes post. For four layers, or thicker layers, you can make the batter twice and use leftover batter for cupcakes. Let us know what you try!
I made these cupcakes for a baby shower and they were a huge hit. I filled them with lemon curd and did a simple American buttercream instead of the cream cheese one on the recipe because I wanted the drama of swirled piping. I loved them and so did everyone at the shower. I highly recommend adding the lemon curd filling if you have the time. Thanks Sally!
I love the flavor of these cupcakes, it just explodes in your mouth! I am having a tough time with the dough, once baked, seems thick and heavy. Flavor is still incredible but consistency is too heavy. What am I doing wrong?? (Note: I am using a countertop oven and substituted yogurt for buttermilk… not sure if either of these would lead to this issue…) Thanks for your help!!
I have a Kitchenaid hand mixer. I can’t find a paddle attachment for the hand mixer – only stand mixers. Will this still come out right with the beaters it came with? Or should I hand mix with a paddle instead of using the mixer?
Hi Ellen, you can use the standard beaters that come with your hand mixer.
perfect for a refreshing start to a warmer season
this sweet but tart cupcake was made for the office. I am a new baker, so I wanted to try simple recipes, and I must say these came out delicious! it was perfect for everyone in the office especially since the warmer weather is coming. They came out light, and fluffy, and very moist. thumbs up! will make again! the recipes yields 15 cupcakes, but I was able to make 24 medium sized cupcakes.
Can these be frozen if so what is the best way to freeze them. Need the for my daughters wedding May 21st 2022about two weeks away.
Hi Sallie, absolutely. We’d recommend freezing them in a tupperware container or in a large plastic bag. For extra freshness, you could individually wrap the unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap and then store in a container. Hope they’re a hit at the wedding!
Can this recipe be doubled without affecting results?
Hi CC, For the best taste and texture, we highly recommend making the batter in separate batches instead of multiplying all at once. Large batches risk over-mixing or under-mixing the batter. Happy baking!
Can this recipe be made dairy free?
I bake a lot dairy free (and egg free) for a friend and I have never had a problem substituting dairy free butter for regular butter in any recipe.
I made these & all I can say is WOW! The frosting is enough! Not too sweet. I used Pink Himalayan Salt & it was OVER the TOP! It ENHANCED the flavors so well! The cake is STILL my all time fav & now I’ll have to add these too!
Can we pair the lemon blueberry cake with lemon/vanilla swiss meringue buttercream ?
Absolutely! Swiss Meringue Buttercream would be delicious with these cupcakes or the Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake.
Fabulous! The cake is so moist and bursting with flavor. The frosting is truly delectable. Main tip: frost quickly or refrigerate before frosting as it does warm up very quickly in the piping bag!
The cupcakes turned out lovely, but I’m left scratching my head about the proportions. I had 12 cupcakes and enough icing to ice probably another two dozen.
Hi Deb! The frosting amount will always depend on how you’re frosting your cupcakes – a quick swipe with a knife or piling high with a piping tip? You can always make a smaller batch if you find you’re always left with excess. Hope you love these cupcakes!
Great recipe! Thank you for sharing. Can I reduce the sugar by half?
Hi Isabella! So glad you loved these cupcakes. Sugar is used for moisture and texture in baked goods as well as taste. You can certainly try reducing the sugar, but the resulting texture will be different than intended.
I was JUST going to ask Sally about reducing the sugar by half!
Can I substitute regular lemons for the meyer?
Hi Loro, You can use regular lemons. No changes at all! Just a simple swap. Enjoy!
Hi Sally! I want to make a 6-in cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday. I have done the lemon cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and it was delicious. She loves blueberries so I was looking at this recipe with vanilla buttercream again. Can I use this recipe for a three layer 6 inch cake or do I need to make modifications? It’s a small gathering so I wanted to make a smaller cake. Thank you!
Hi Lindsay, this cupcake batter will work perfectly for a three layer, six inch cake! You can follow this post on 6 inch cake recipes for baking time and temperature.
Thanks for sharing this amazing website of yours, Sally. Hopefully, no drool marks on my screen
Can I use yogurt instead of buttermilk? TIA!
I found that a good substitute for buttermilk is 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Leave this to stand for 5 to 10 minutes before adding. ✌
I almost always use Greek yogurt when a recipe calls for buttermilk or sour cream. It works beautifully.
This recipe was a MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT! I EXPECTED LIGHT AND DELISHOUS AND INSTEAD GOT A HEAVY, POUND CAKE TEXTURE. The first taste was a disappointment and I know I followed the directions exactly. I was so hoping I’d found a recipe blog I could trust but this recipe was too time consuming to produce such poor results.
Hi Tricia, heavy and dense cupcakes can be caused by many things. Make sure to use proper room temperature ingredients, be careful not to over-mix the batter, and make sure your baking powder is fresh (it can lose strength after just a few months). Thank you for giving our recipe a try.
I have been trusting Sally’s recipes for years and she is always my go-too when I want to bake. Always be sure to read her tips on getting the best results.