This EASY lemon buttercream frosting recipe creates the BEST creamy and light American buttercream. Fresh lemon juice and zest give a nice punch of tartness to balance the sweet. Perfect for cakes, cupcakes or sugar cookies!
Bringing some sunshine to you today in the form of lemon buttercream. This recipe is quick to prepare and creates a light and silky frosting. It's pairs nicely with my lemon cupcakes and is easier to prepare than Swiss meringue buttercream. #winning
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The Seattle rain has been relentless so far for 2020. January saw 28 days of measurable rain and only ONE truly dry day. According the the National Weather Service, Seattle has had the wettest start to a year in over a decade. Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted an early spring, but we've yet to see that in the Pacific Northwest! 😂
I am pretending that it's spring in my kitchen and this recipe is perfect for all the spring vibes. While I tend to prefer a Swiss meringue buttercream frosting for the silky texture and subtle sweetness; the tart punch of lemon in this lemon buttercream keeps it from being too sweet. An extra long whipping of the butter with the whisk attachment also helps to create a lighter and silkier texture to this American buttercream.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
I like to get all my ingredients prepared prior to starting this recipe. You will use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to get the zippy tang of lemon to shine through.
Zest your lemon first, then juice it. I have learned this lesson the hard way for you! This is my favorite zester and juicer.
Then place the unsalted butter in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the butter on high (I use 8 on my Kitchen Aid mixer) for 7 minutes. Stop and scrape up and down the bowl about halfway through. The butter will get paler in color and will look fluffy.
Next, slowly add the powdered sugar. Make sure the mixer is on the lowest speed so you don't end up with a powdered sugar cloud and powdered sugar all over the kitchen. Not that I've ever done that myself.😉😉. Stop and scrape up and down the mixing bowl as needed. Once most of the powdered sugar is incorporated you may have to increase the speed of the mixer a little to fully incorporate the powdered sugar.
Then add the lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract and heavy cream. Turn the mixer back up to high and whisk another 2-3 minutes until the buttercream is light and creamy. Add a small pinch of salt if your taste buds feel like the sweetness needs to be toned down.
This recipe yields 2 cups and will frost about 12 cupcakes. I used a Wilton 1M for piping the swirls in these photos.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO USE AND STORE BUTTERCREAM?
I find this recipe has the best consistency and pipes the best when freshly made. You can store any remaining frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Allow it to come to room temperature before using. You may also need to re-whip the frosting to get back to a spreadable consistency.
Here is an interesting article I found on Bluprint about FAQs on American buttercream.
RECIPES TO PAIR WITH LEMON FROSTING
- Always Perfect Sugar Cookies
- Homemade Lemon Cupcakes
- Homemade Raspberry Cake (I would double the recipe for frosting a cake)
- Sugar Cookie Bars
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Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Fresh lemon juice and zest give a nice punch of tartness to balance the sweet in this easy lemon American buttercream.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Whip the butter on high with the whisk attachment on a stand mixer for 7 minutes; stopping once to scrape up and down the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Stop and scrape up and down the bowl as needed until it’s all incorporated; you may have to up the speed a little to fully incorporate it all.
- Add the lemon juice, zest, vanilla and heavy cream. Whip another 2-3 minutes on high until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
Store any leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. The buttercream will pipe best when it is freshly made.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 0gSugar: 27gProtein: 0g
The nutrition information is an estimate and may not be entirely accurate.
Oh my Tasia! Lemon ANYTHING makes me crazy and this lemon buttercream looks perfect!!
Thank you Kathleen! I know you'll love this recipe!
Heidi | The Frugal Girls
What a delicious and luscious frosting... it's so perfect for those upcoming Spring and Summer desserts!
Thank you Heidi! Yes, lemon just screams spring and summer, doesn't it?
WOW!!!! I'm so proud I found your website, you have so many amazing recipes!!!!!!
I can't wait to try more of them🍰🧁🥧🍩🎂
Hi Crystal! Thank you for such a nice comment. I'm happy you enjoyed the buttercream and I look forward to seeing what you make next.
Wow this looks sooo good and the buttercream is so soft and airy! I love this. I'll definitely try this the next time I need to make some frosting!
Thank you Christie! I hope you love it!
Katherine | Love In My Oven
It's definitely the time of year for lemon, Tasia! This buttercream sounds so perfect for so many things! Even just piping it right into my mouth.... 😉
Hahaha, that kind of thing never happens around here!😉. Thank you Katherine!
Never Ending Journeys
Ooh, this frosting looks absolutely delicious!
Thank you! So delicious!
Josiah - DIY Thrill
This frosting looks yummy!
Thank you! It is!!
This lemon buttercream is to die for! My customers rave about the burst of flavor and how light and airy it is. Thank you!
Thank you for leaving a review Kelly! I am so glad to hear that this lemon buttercream is a hit with you and your customers!