The Best Lemon Buttercream Recipe (video)

the best lemon buttercream recipe for cakes and cupcakes

If you’re looking for an amazing lemon frosting, this one is it! My best ever lemon buttercream recipe is so fluffy, creamy, zesty and tangy! Made with lemon zest, lemon extract and a bit of citric acid, which makes the buttercream zesty and sour! This recipe makes enough frosting for a three layer, 8-inch cake; two-layer, 9-inch cake; or 24 cupcakes. Make sure to check out the rest of my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ episodes for more cake and frosting recipes!

Watch My Lemon Buttercream Video!

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Ingredients for Lemon Buttercream

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this zesty frosting:

  • Unsalted Butter: use only unsalted butter for this recipe. Soften it at room temperature for 30 minutes before using it.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: for best results, use a fresh bag of sugar. This type of sugar absorbs moisture very quickly and this cause the frosting to feel grainy.
  • Lemon Extract: lemon oil will also work well to add lemon flavor.
  • Lemon Zest: fresh lemon zest adds tons of lemon flavor!
  • Citric Acid: this is the same ingredient used in sour candies to make them sour. It will make this frosting extra zesty.
fluffy lemon buttercream recipe; lemon frosting

How to Make Lemon Buttercream

This lemon frosting recipe is so simple and so delicious! Here’s how to make it:

  1. To make this recipe, I start with a basic buttercream base, then add the lemon flavors and color.
  2. When making any type of buttercream, the first step is preparing the butter. Allow the butter to soften at room temperature. The butter should be just slightly soft, not runny or melted! Whip the butter on its own for about 6 to 9 minutes on high speed, making sure all the butter is whipped. The butter should be fluffy, creamy and a pale creamy color.
  3. Next, add in the confectioner’s sugar and start whisking on low speed first, then on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until the lemon frosting is fluffy.
  4. And now, you’re ready to add the flavors! Add in the extract, acid, zest and color and whisk for 1 minute until the flavors are well incorporated.
dollops of piped lemon buttercream on a cutting board

How to Store Buttercream

If you don’t plan to use this buttercream frosting right away, you can store it for later. You can store it in the refrigerator for 1 week. Simply place it into an airtight container and into the fridge. Soften at room temperature for 1 hour, then mix again and use. You can also store it in the freezer. Transfer the buttercream into a freezer friendly container and store it for up to 1 month. Defrost the frosting in the refrigerator overnight.

Recipe Ideas

Want to enjoy this lemon buttercream? Here are a few recipes you can use this frosting with!

lemon cake with strawberries and berry lemonade

Supplies For Lemon Frosting

You’ll need a few supplies for this recipe. The lemon extract and yellow color is available at most stores, while the citric acid may be harder to find. Here are some products links (affiliate links):

  • Citric Acid – this is what makes sour candies, sour! Citric acid has the same texture as granulated sugar is a great option for this recipe because it makes this lemon buttercream sour and tangy.
  • Lemon Extract – add 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon extract for more lemon flavor.
  • Lemon Zester – I love this zester and use it all the time for zesting lemons, limes or oranges.
  • Yellow Gel Food Coloring – I recommend using a concentrated gel food color for this frosting recipe.

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The Best Lemon Buttercream video recipe

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this lemon frosting recipe? It’s part of my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series. Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

the best lemon buttercream recipe for cakes and cupcakes
5 from 1 vote

The Best Lemon Buttercream Recipe (video)

15 minutes prep + 0 minutes cook
4 cups
The most delicious lemon buttercream with lemon extract, lemon zest and citric acid to make it extra zesty!


  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tsp citric acid
  • lemon zest from 1 to 2 lemons
  • yellow food color


  • Soft the unsalted butter at room temperature until slightly soft to touch. Butter should not be melted, runny or too soft. Place the butter into a mixer bowl and whisk on high speed for 6 to 9 minutes, until the butter is very fluffy, creamy and a pale creamy color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often to get all the butter whipped.
  • To the whipped butter, add the confectioner’s sugar and continue whisking. Whisk first on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, then whisk on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes until the frosting is fluffy.
  • Next, add the lemon extract, citric acid, lemon zest and yellow food coloring. Whisk the flavorings into the buttercream for about 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and whisk again for another 30 seconds, until the flavorings and color is well incorporated.
  • This recipe makes enough frosting for a three layer, 8-inch cake; two-layer, 9-inch cake; or 24 cupcakes. This frosting will also work well for filling macarons or pastries. Buttercream can stand in the refrigerator for 1 week; cover well.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 1171kcal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 92g | Saturated Fat: 58g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 244mg | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 29mg | Sugar: 88g | Vitamin A: 2836IU | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg