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Lemon Buttercream Frosting

5 from 1 vote

posted: 05/09/24

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Lemon Buttercream Frosting whips together quickly and is absolutely irresistible. This is perfect for all of your cakes and cupcakes.

beaters with Lemon Buttercream Frosting. Lemon slices sitting in front and behind.

Frosting is one of my biggest weaknesses. Like give me a quiet room, a bowl of frosting, and a spoon, and I’m a happy girl. And homemade frosting could not be easier to make! Which is both good and bad considering how much I love it.

This lemon frosting is no exception. With just butter, powdered sugar, milk, and lemon extract, you get a delightful frosting. It is easy to pipe but gets a gentle hardness to it, making it perfect for decorating.

How to Make Lemon Buttercream Frosting

This homemade frosting comes together with just five ingredients and in a few simple steps. Here is a brief overview how just how easy this buttercream frosting recipe is to make. For the full recipe and the ingredient measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Beat the butter. Make sure your butter is at room temperature. Using an electric mixer, or the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. This is important, so don’t rush it.
  2. Add the sugar. Mix in one cup of powdered sugar at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients. Beat in the lemon extract, milk, and salt.
  4. Adjust as needed. Taste the frosting and add more milk, sugar, or salt as needed (see more below on this), and then use your lemon frosting right away on Lemon Cupcakes or store it in the fridge for later.

Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes are the ultimate dessert for lemon lovers. These easy to make treats are bursting with lemon flavor, with the most perfect lemon buttercream frosting.
up close picture of lemon cupcakes topped with frosting swirl and a lemon wedge
overhead of mixing bowl of Lemon Buttercream Frosting and beaters. Lemon slices sitting beside

Lemon Extract vs Lemon Juice

For this lemon frosting recipe, the source of the lemon flavor matters. By using lemon extract, the frosting gets a stronger lemon flavor and less acidity than lemon juice would provide. You can find lemon extract in the baking aisle of your grocery store. Lemon juice is just juice from a lemon, which has a place in many recipes, but is not concentrated enough to get the job done for this simple buttercream frosting.

Tips for the Best Buttercream Frosting

This lemon frosting is not tricky to make, but these tips will help it be the best buttercream frosting you’ve ever tasted!

  • Use room-temperature butter. This will make your job so much easier when you beat the butter to get that whipped, fluffy texture we are going for. If your butter is too soft, you won’t be able to pipe it. If it is too cold, you won’t be able to mix it. Butter at room temperature will still feel cold to the touch, but you can make a dent in it with your finger without pushing all the way through. A good rule of thumb is that butter cut into one inch pieces will take 30 minutes to come to the room temperature.
  • Use unsalted butter. I use unsalted butter to really control the salt in this recipe. If your frosting is too sweet at the end, you can add a pinch of salt. However, it is easier to add a pinch at the end than to use salted butter and not like the end result.
  • Measure your powdered sugar correctly. Spoon the powdered sugar into your measuring cup, or softly pour it into it, so that it doesn’t get packed and result in too much.
  • Tweak the taste as needed at the end. One of the best parts of this recipe, other than how delicious it is, is how simple it is to adjust the flavor. If your lemon buttercream frosting is too thick, add a splash of milk. If it’s too thin, sprinkle in some powdered sugar. And finally, if it’s too sweet, add a pinch of salt.

Storing Frosting

If you aren’t using this frosting right away or have leftovers, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. You may need to give it a good whip before using it on cupcakes, cookies, or cake to give it that fluffy consistency again. If you are making this lemon frosting recipe ahead of time, store the frosting separately, and then frost your cupcakes or cookies just before serving them so that you don’t have to keep everything in the refrigerator.

jar of Lemon Buttercream Frosting with a slice of lemon on top. Slices of lemon sitting in front and behind


Does buttercream frosting need to be refrigerated?

Since this whipped buttercream frosting is made with butter and milk, you will want to refrigerate it. I recommend storing the frosting in the refrigerator and frosting your cupcakes just before serving so you don’t have to keep them in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze buttercream frosting?

I do not recommend freezing this frosting. It will lose its fluffy texture when thawed.

What can I use for a lemon extract substitute?

I highly recommend getting lemon extract for this recipe, but you could consider using a splash of lemon juice and two teaspoons of lemon zest instead.

Piping Lemon Frosting

I love piping frosting onto my cupcakes for easy application, great presentation, and convenient cleanup. In addition to lemon or vanilla cupcakes, it would also be delicious on sugar cookies and sugar cookie bars. To pipe this lemon buttercream frosting on cupcakes or cakes, I love this set!


Piping Set

This is the best piping set–reliable, affordable, and reusable!
Product Image
cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting and lemon slice garnish

More Frosting Recipes

Looking for other homemade frosting recipes? I have you covered!

If you whip up this homemade lemon buttercream frosting recipe, leave a comment and let me know how you and your family like it!

beaters with Lemon Buttercream Frosting. Lemon slices sitting in front and behind.
5 from 1 vote

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Serves: 20 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
This Lemon Buttercream Frosting whips together quickly and is absolutely irresistible. This is perfect for all of your cakes and cupcakes.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature (113 grams)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (567.5 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1/4 cup milk (59 ml or 56.75 grams)
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt


  • In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
    1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • Add in the powdered sugar gradually, one cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.
    5 cups powdered sugar
  • Beat in the lemon extract, milk, and salt.
    2 teaspoons lemon extract, 1/4 cup milk, 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • If the frosting is too thick, add a dash of milk. If it is too thin, add in a bit more powdered sugar. If it is too sweet, add another 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
Serving: 2tablespoons Calories: 158kcal (8%) Carbohydrates: 30g (10%) Protein: 0.2g Fat: 5g (8%) Saturated Fat: 3g (19%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0.2g Cholesterol: 12mg (4%) Sodium: 17mg (1%) Potassium: 7mg Sugar: 29g (32%) Vitamin A: 148IU (3%) Calcium: 6mg (1%) Iron: 0.02mg
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
beaters with Lemon Buttercream Frosting. Lemon slices sitting in front and behind.

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Lemon Buttercream Frosting

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Sam Cady says

    Hi Lisa. I absolutely LOVE your recipes! I’ve probably made over 90% of the recipes you’ve posted! Have NEVER been disappointed! Family and friends always look forward to your recipes as well. Our 14 year old grandson, when they come to dinner, always asks if it’s one of your recipes and if so, can he bring a friend! I’ve dropped all the other recipe sites I had. Yours is the only one I need! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Sam, you absolutely made my day. Thank you!!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners