This Lemon Buttercream Frosting is creamy and sweet yet tart and tangy! It's the most perfect flavor; you'll want to eat this frosting by the spoonful! Best of all, it's gluten free, nut free and can easily be vegan!
This delicious lemon buttercream frosting only requires 5 ingredients and whips up in minutes! It's the perfect frosting for cakes, cupcakes, donuts and even cookies! If you love lemon, this frosting is a must try as are my Lemon Sugar Cookies!
For more frosting recipes, try my Strawberry Buttercream, Raspberry Buttercream and my Chocolate Fudge Frosting.
Reasons to Love this Frosting
- Allergy Friendly- This frosting is gluten free, nut free, egg free and can easily be dairy free (vegan)!
- Smooth & Creamy- This lemon frosting is so soft and silky!
- Real Lemons- This frosting has lemon juice and lemon zest!
- Easy to Make- Whips up in one bowl with only 5 ingredients!
- Butter/Vegan Baking Stick- Make sure to use unsalted room temperature and not melted. Melted will make the frosting runny and it won’t even be fixed by putting it in the fridge.
- Lemons- You only need about 2 medium lemons for this recipe. Please only use real lemons. Prepackaged lemon juice can result in the frosting having a chemical taste.
- Vanilla- Make sure to only use pure vanilla extract that is gluten free and vegan. If you use one that is not pure, the frosting will have a chemical taste.
- Water- This frosting uses water instead of milk!
See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
How to Make this Vegan
- Make sure to use vegan baking sticks instead of butter.
- Check to make sure the brand of sugar you use is vegan.
- Only use pure vanilla extract that's made in a gluten free and vegan facility.
This recipe has not been tested with these substitutions and/or variations due to celiac disease and food allergies. If you change any of the ingredients, please let us know how the recipe turned out in the comments below!
How to Make Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Here are the step by step instructions to make this frosting!
Step 1: Cream the Vegan Baking Stick or Butter
In the large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the room temperature butter or vegan baking stick or butter until smooth and creamy. About 2 minutes.
Step 2: Add in the Vanilla and Lemon Zest
Add in the vanilla and lemon zest. Beat until combined.
Step 3: Add in the Remaining Ingredients Half at a Time
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in half the confectioners’ sugar, half the lemon juice and half the water. Beat until combined. It will look chunky at first.
Step 4: Add the Second Half of Ingredients
Then add in the second half of the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and beat until combined.
With the mixer still on low speed, slowly add in the rest of the water, a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. You may not need all the water.
Expert Baking Tips
- Cream the Butter- You could technically put all the ingredients in the bowl together and beat them at the same time. However, this can leave chunks of butter/vegan baking stick throughout the frosting. Your best bet is to beat the room temperature butter first until it is smooth and creamy for about two minutes. Then beat in all the other ingredients.
- Be Careful Not to Melt the Butter- If your butter/vegan baking stick is not at room temperature and soft, be careful if you plan on popping it in the microwave. Especially if you're using vegan baking sticks. Vegan baking sticks are different than butter in the sense that if they are too melted in your frosting, they will create a liquid mess and your frosting will be sliding all over your cakes and cupcakes. At that point, even putting the frosting in the fridge would not help. It will still be a liquid mess. If you are using butter, popping the frosting in the fridge will sometimes help resolidify and make the frosting thicker and firmer but not always.
If the frosting is too thick, add more water ¼ teaspoon at a time until you get the desired consistency.
If the frosting is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency.
You can make this frosting the night before you need to use it. Store it in an airtight container or a bowl covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge.
When ready to use, let it come to room temperature and rewhip to get that creamy consistency.
This recipe makes about 5 cups of frosting.
That should be enough for a 3-4 layer cake or 24 cupcakes.
For 12 cupcakes or a one layer cake, divide the recipe in half.
No you don't, however the frosting will have a much more mild lemon flavor without it.
Storing: Store extra lemon buttercream frosting in an airtight container or a bowl covered in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature on the counter and rewhip to get that creamy consistency.
Freezing: You can freeze the frosting for up to one month in an airtight freezer safe container. To defrost, put the frosting in the fridge the night before. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature on the counter and rewhip to get that creamy consistency.
Other Lemon Recipes You'll Love
Did you try this recipe? Please leave me a ⭐ review below!
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Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter or vegan baking stick, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
- 8 cups confectioners' sugar
- 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (about the juice of 1 lemon)
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons water , room temperature
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the room temperature butter or vegan baking stick until it is smooth and creamy. About 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla and lemon zest and beat till combined.
- Add half the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and water and beat until combined. It will look chunky at first.
- Then add in the second half of the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and beat until combined. With the mixer still on low speed, slowly add in the rest of the water, a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. You may not need all the water.
What an easy and delicious frosting to make! My grandmother loves it!
Sooo delicious, the fresh lemons with the zest gives the frosting the perfect pop for a summers dessert
SO glad thank you!