Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe

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Calling all lemon lovers! You are going to fall in love with this DELICIOUS Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe. 

It is the perfect lemony, light and flavorful complement to white, yellow, citrus, and even coconut cakes!

Amazing Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe! Perfect as a Filling or Frosting! MyCakeSchool.com Online Cake Tutorials & Recipes!

Why We Love It

We love cream cheese frostings and this recipe is no exception. There are so many reasons to love this recipe. Here are just a few:

  • Wonderful Lemon Flavor
  • Silky smooth consistency
  • Pipeable (as you can see in our photo below of lemon cupcakes)
  • Makes a great filling and frosting
  • So easy to make!
Piping lemon cream cheese frosting onto the cupcakes


We have used this delicious frosting on so many cakes and cupcakes! Here are just a few: Lemon Cake from scratch, Lemon Cupcakes, Blueberry Cake, Strawberry Lemonade Cake, and more!

It would also be great with our homemade white cake or yellow cake, along with a lemon curd filling.

Cream cheese frostings like this lemon cream cheese frosting recipe are a softer consistency than for example an American buttercream like our Classic Vanilla Buttercream Recipe.

It is more sensitive to the heat of your kitchen, heat of your hands (if in a piping bag), etc. We recommend chilling the frosting for at least five to ten minutes after making a batch.

If it still seems too soft, you can add a bit more confectioners sugar, but this usually isn't necessary.

While frosting your cake or adding decorative piping, if you notice that the frosting is a bit too soft or isn't holding the shape of the piping very well, just pop the piping bag, bowl, (and even the cake!) in the refrigerator for five to ten minutes to firm up.

Yes, this frosting needs to be refrigerated. If you have made the frosting in advance and chilled, you will need to allow it to warm closer to room temperature before decorating your cake. We do not recommend microwaving.

If needed, you can remix it once it has softened.

Cakes that have been frosted or filled with cream cheese frosting should be refrigerated.

However, for best taste and texture, remove it from the refrigerator a couple of hours before serving. This will allow the cake and frosting to warm and soften.

We do not recommend low fat cream cheese for our cream cheese frosting recipes. Cream cheese frostings are already fairly soft. If you use a low fat option, it will be even softer, making it more difficult to work with.

We love this recipe! However, if you are not a fan of cream cheese, or are looking for a lemon frosting that is a bit less perishable, try our easy Lemon Buttercream Frosting!

How to Make Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Aside from its wonderful flavor, another reason to love this recipe is how easily it comes together!

You can find the full, printable lemon cream cheese frosting recipe further down, but here is a quick look at our steps:

  • First, cut the softened unsalted butter into smaller slices and add to the bowl of your mixer.
  • Next, slice the softened cream cheese into smaller pieces and add to the butter, mixing until blended.
  • Next comes the lemon juice and lemon extract. The lemon extract is optional but I really like the boost of flavor that it adds.
  • Finally, add the powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Cakes and cupcakes frosted with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting should be refrigerated.
Lemon Cream Cheese Butercream

Tips for Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream  cheese frostings are a softer consistency than other buttercream frostings.
  • If you need a thicker consistency, you can add additional powdered sugar in small amounts until you reach the desired consistency.
  • If your Cream Cheese Buttercream becomes increasingly soft as you pipe, to the point that it no longer holds its shape, just pop the piping bag or bowl in the refrigerator for five minutes or so. This will firm up the consistency.


Delicious Lemon Cake Recipe from Scratch by MyCakeSchool.com! Cake Recipes, Online Cake Tutorials, Videos, and more!

More Cream Cheese Frostings

We have many more cream cheese frosting recipes for you to try! You can find our favorites in our collection of Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting Recipes. Some of our most popular are:

The Most Delicious Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe by MyCakeSchool.com! Online Cake Decorating Tutorials & Recipes!

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

The Most Delicious Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe by MyCakeSchool.com! Online Cake Decorating Tutorials & Recipes!

This lemon cream cheese frosting has amazing flavor is and so easy to make!


  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
  • 2 8oz packages Cream Cheese (453 total gram weight) Use full fat cream cheese. Do not use reduced fat or cream cheese in the tub containers. Soften
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) lemon extract
  • Zest from 1 lemon, approximately 1 ½ teaspoons (3g)
  • 6 to 6 ½ cups (690g - 747g) powdered sugar, adding more if necessary


  1. Add the softened butter to the bowl of your mixer, mix until smooth.
  2. Cut the softened cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, mixing until blended.
  3. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. 1 teaspoon lemon extract, for a stronger lemon flavor.
  4. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until well blended.

This frosting will pipe best if used while still chilled. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly and remix. Do not microwave to soften. If the frosting becomes too soft while using just refrigerate the piping bag or bowl for a short while to firm it up.

Will frost a 3 layer 8 or 9 inch cake.


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  1. Hello!
    Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted(that's what I have)? And if I'm making this in a 9x13 pan do I need to make less frosting? Thank you!

  2. Hi Jenny, Yes, you can use salted butter. This recipe makes 6 to 6 1/2 cups frosting. A 9x13x2 sheet cake needs 3 to 3 1/2 cups frosting. If you are going to serve your sheet cake in the pan, I think you could half the recipe and have enough. If you are going to serve out of the pan you will need to frost the sides so you might want to make the full recipe so you will also have enough for decorative piping.

  3. Woops, my comment disappeared…my family loves the cream cheese buttercream with the doctored lemon cake, the bit of tang pairs so well -I find most frosting too sweet otherwise… it was a hit for my brother-in-law‘s 60th birthday and I made a pink version with sprinkles for my niece’s birthday as well. Everyone commented on how moist & flavourful the cake was. I don’t know if Canadian cake mixes are slightly different?, but for some reason I can never get the weighted measurement that The recipe calls for to add up to the # of cups, have yet to figure out why?
    I make both these recipes over and over and everyone always loves them, especially in August when the blueberries are ripe or with blackberry syrup, Thnk u!

    1. And the kids’ version….Sorry seems to not be working, trying to use a smaller picture file?
      Maybe the moderator can?
      Also wanted to say, the great thing about this icing is I can actually pipe a birthday cake in August and it holds its shape beautifully with the cream cheese. Thnx!

      1. Hi! Your cakes are beautiful, and so smart to add the berries on top. Mine was delicious but not that pretty! I wanted to tell you about the grams vs cups. You are giving the perfect example why grams is more accurate measure. Everyone’s cup size can be slightly different depending on how you fill the cup, if you “tap” your ingredients down, or lots of other factors. So if you use the weight in grams they give in the recipe and don’t worry about the cups, your stuff will turn out great (which it looks like it already did anyway!). 😊

  4. I made this cake for Easter and my family agreed it was the best cake ever!
    I made it according to the recipe. I also used the lemon buttercream frosting, but
    used fresh lemon juice and no lemon extract!! So good and not too sweet!