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lemon buttercream frosting on cupcake close up
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5 from 20 votes

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Using one bowl and just four ingredients, you can whip up a batch of this deliciously easy lemon buttercream frosting in just 10 minutes!
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24
Calories: 145kcal

Equipment

  • Standing or Hand-Held Mixer with Large Bowl
  • Zester
  • Citrus Squeezer, optional

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 16 oz powdered sugar 1 pound, about 3.5-4 cups
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp milk or cream optional

Instructions

  • Using a hand held mixer or standing mixer, cream the butter using a paddle or whisk attachment on medium high until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. If necessary, half way through scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing.
  • Turn off the mixer and add powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest. Mix on low for a minute until it incorporates and starts to look crumbly.
  • Turn up the speed and continue mixing on medium to medium high, about 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • If the frosting is too thick, you can add a tablespoon of milk or cream. If it is too thin, you can add another 1 or 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar.

Notes

  • Zest the lemon first, then juice it.  This is probably very obvious, but I constantly forget and go right to slicing the lemon!  This makes it much more difficult to get the zest.
  • When zesting lemons, try to get only the yellow part of the lemon.  The white part can be bitter and add a slightly bitter taste to the frosting if you get too much.  
  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature or slightly cooler. The perfect temperature is if you press your finger on it, it will do a slight indent. 
  • You want to mix the butter for a few minutes before adding the sugar and lemon. Mixing the butter until it is very pale makes for a really light and fluffy frosting.
  • If your powdered sugar is very stiff or hard, you might need to put it through a sifter so there are no lumps in your buttercream. I don’t normally need to do this but it is something to be aware of if your powdered sugar is old and has visible lumps that don’t break up when you press them.
  • When adding the powdered sugar, turn the mixer to the slowest speed and add it gradually so it doesn’t spill out of the mixer. You can also place a hand towel around the top of the bowel to keep it from making a mess. 
  • If the frosting is too thick you can add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or milk. If it’s too thin, you can add a few more tablespoons of powdered sugar.
  • The frosting has a very slight yellow color, but you can add a few drops of yellow food coloring to make it darker yellow. Or, add what whatever food colors you want! It’s light enough it will hold any type of food coloring well
  • This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting. It can easily be doubled as needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbsp frosting | Calories: 145kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 67mg | Potassium: 2mg | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Calcium: 2mg