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Lemon Buttercream Frosting

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This is seriously the BEST Lemon Buttercream Frosting. Creamy, not overly sweet, and a fresh lemon flavor is mmm… sooo good.


Main image for Lemon Buttercream Frosting


I spent hours trying so many combinations of lemon and buttercream. All of them left me disappointed.

Too tangy, too sweet, too much lemon and not enough lemon. Then finally. Bingo! The perfect lemon curd buttercream.

And today I’m going to share this frosting recipe with you.

Here’s some things you’re going to love about lemon frosting.

First, it only takes four ingredients to make lemon buttercream icing.

Next, there’s no refrigeration or complicated steps. Yay for being easy!

The best lemon buttercream frosting recipe is also super quick. Which is good cause I don’t have much patience.

And finally you’ll love that it goes on everything. Cupcakes, cakes, cookies, or just licking it right off the spoon.


All ingredients laid out on counter


What Ingredients are in Lemon Buttercream Frosting?

Here’s the four ingredients it takes to get some fluffy lemon buttercream frosting.

  • Butter: Pull the butter out in advance as room temperature butter is easier to mix.
  • Powdered Sugar: This creates the sweetness but not in too crazy sweet amounts.
  • Heavy Cream: Get the heavy whipping cream to create that creamy texture.
  • Lemon Curd RecipeThis is always in my fridge. If it’s not in yours, get the recipe here.

Pro Tips:

  • The lemon curd can be easier to mix in at room temperature but could also go in straight from the fridge.
  • For best results, don’t add anything extra until you’ve tried it. Then if you like it a little sweeter, add small amounts of powdered sugar.


Butter in a mixer ready to be whipped


How Do You Make Lemon Buttercream Frosting

This lemon lovers fluffy frosting is where it’s at! Homemade lemon buttercream frosting is seriously one of the easiest thing you’ll make all week!

Are you ready for your easy steps? There’s just one!

  1. Blend!

That’s it! Easy peasy! For more in depth steps see the recipe card below.

Pro Tips:

  • Add each ingredient slowly to prevent lumping.
  • Use a handheld mixer with a whisk attachment to save your arm some work.


Lemon curd added to butter to make buttercream frosting


Can I Add Lemon Extract to Buttercream Frosting?

Remember when I told you I tried over and over to get the combo right?

Lemon extract just didn’t hold up when compared to lemon curd frosting.

Here’s the thing. Lemon extract is an artificial flavor. 

And in frosting, it just doesn’t hold a candle to that real lemon flavor.

So no, I don’t recommend adding lemon extract to the buttercream frosting.

If you really want to do a favor for your taste buds, stick with lemon curd for this American buttercream recipe.


spoon scooping lemon frosting out of mixer


How Do You Flavor Lemon Buttercream Frosting?

So if you aren’t using lemon extract in the buttercream frosting, what are you using?

I highly, highly recommend using lemon curd.

When I tried using lemon peel or lemon juice it just turned out too bitter or too overpowering.

Lemon curd gives the frosting a light lemon flavor while still being distinctly lemon.

It’s what I use in my Lemon Whipped Cream recipe too. Trust me, use the lemon curd.


whipped frosting in a bowl ready to use


What Cake Goes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting?

Oh, so many flavor possibilities that can go with lemon buttercream frosting!

Chocolate cake, lemon desserts, sandwich cookies, strawberry cake, sugar cookies, etc.

You can use a piping bag, spread it in the middle of a layer cake, or use a spoon and eat it straight. I won’t tell.

Here’s some of the classic recipes that we’ve paired this lemon buttercream recipe with and love.

  • Lemon Filled Cupcakes: I can’t not mention this one! Lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting are a heavenly match.
  • White Cake Cupcakes: Lemon Curd Buttercream is always great on a simple white cupcake!


zoomed in image of half a bowl of lemon curd buttercream frosting


How to Store Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Always store leftover frosting in the fridge in a covered airtight container.

The butter, heavy cream, and lemon could curdle really quickly if left on the counter for extended periods of time.

Always be safe and keep it in the fridge.

Then when you’re ready to use it, just take it out and let it come to room temperature before spreading or piping.

You could also beat it up real quick with your electric mixer until it’s smooth and workable again.

Don’t go above medium speed with the mixer or it may just go flying everywhere!

Easy lemon buttercream frosting will stay good in the fridge for 4-5 days.


lemon buttercream in a bowl with a lemon slice on top


Can I Make Lemon Buttercream Ahead of Time?

Yes! This delicious frosting can be made ahead of time.

For parties and other events I’ve made the frosting up to 24 hours in advance and not had a problem.

I would only make the frosting up to two days in advance though for best flavor and texture.

Remember, when making advance, store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Cover with plastic wrap or keep in an airtight container.

When you’re ready to use it, follow the steps above to get it smooth and creamy again.

Do I Have to Refrigerate a Cake or Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting?

Yes! The same rules apply to the lemon buttercream frosting on the cake as off the cake.

Of course, they will be fine on the counter for serving for an hour or so.

But after that they should go straight to the fridge. Especially if serving in warmer weather when it may melt.

To preserve the frosting, always place any cupcakes with frosting on top in single layers. 

Stack them and you’ll be disappointed by the squished cupcakes.

And be sure the cake or cupcakes are covered to prevent them drying out.


side view of lemon buttercream frosting


Can I Freeze Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Looking for a way to make your lemon buttercream icing last a little longer? Yes please!

The freezer is your go to answer (isn’t it for everything? Love that freezer!).

Simply place the frosting in a bag or freezer safe container, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Warm the frosting up on the counter or use your mixer to fluff it back to the perfect temperature for frosting or piping.

The bright lemon flavor stays good upon thawing but I can’t promise anything after those 3 months!

Why is My Buttercream Gritty?

Gritty buttercream frosting is almost always the result of too much sugar.

I haven’t found that to be a problem when following this recipe.

But if you do have trouble with the consistency of the frosting, here’s some simple fixes.

Add a very small amount of heavy cream to the mixture using your hand mixer on low speed until it is the right texture.

Or let the lemon buttercream frosting sit overnight in the fridge.

Often if you give the sugar time to meld with the other ingredients, the gritty texture will go away on its own.


zoomed in image of frosting in bowl with a lemon slice on top


Additional Lemon Recipes You’ll Love…

Lemon Buttercream Frosting is so delicious. Not too sweet, not too heavy, but perfect on all your favorite cakes and cupcakes.

Don’t stop, just go right to the kitchen and make the best lemon buttercream frosting today.


Yield: 12 Servings

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

zoomed in image of half a bowl of lemon curd buttercream frosting

Lemon Buttercream Frosting, is naturally flavored and perfect for any cake or cupcake. Not too sweet, not too strong - easy lemon frosting!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  1. In a mixer, blend butter until fluffy.
  2. Add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until fully incorporated.
  3. Add 2 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and 1/2 cup of Lemon Curd.
    Mix well.
  4. Spread mixture onto cake as a filling or coating or pipe onto cupcakes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 123mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 0gSugar: 27gProtein: 0g
Originally Posted: July 14, 2016

Photos & Text Updated: May 23, 2024


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Thursday 21st of December 2023

In England were I love we have lemon curd on toast for breakfast 😋


Sunday 2nd of April 2023

Wow! This was delicious! I added a little bit of strawberry puree to the piping bag, too, to top my strawberry lemonade cupcakes. Will definitely put this in the "Make Again" pile. Thank you!


Tuesday 28th of March 2023

I just made this but added 3 Tbsp of cocoa powder and used orange curd instead. My 2 year olds eyes were glowing with how good it tastes! Thanks for the recipe.


Wednesday 18th of May 2022

Totally amazing! I made a daffodil sponge cake and wanted to spruce it up a bit. I filled it with homemade lemon curd and decided to frost it with this recipe using the rest of my lemon curd. The flavor and texture was spot on. So creamy and not too sweet. I'll be making this ensemble again!


Wednesday 13th of July 2022

Jerilee I would have LOVED a slice of your cake. Sounds absolutely amazing! Thank you for taking the time to leave the comment. I'm so glad this recipe did not disappoint!


Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Hi Janelle, I love making lemon curd and I'm going to try your lemon curd buttercream recipe. Once I pipe it onto cupcakes will it be safe to leave them at room temp for a couple of days or not? Thank you so much.


Wednesday 13th of July 2022

Hi Simone. Unfortunately buttercream is made with real butter and will melt. So if your kitchen isn't hot, they'll be fine. However if your kitchen it like mine (hot and in the south) then in the fridge they go! I know I'm a little late in replying but thought others might have the same question. Thank you for your comment.

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