This homemade Lemon Buttercream Frosting tastes fantastic and couldn’t be simpler to make! It pipes beautifully, and tastes amazing with so many different flavors of cakes and cupcakes! You’re just going to want to dive in with a spoon, it is highly addictive!
(In the above photo, our Doctored Lemon Cake Mix Recipe is filled and frosted with this delicious homemade Lemon Buttercream Frosting! We crumb coated the cake and then followed up with alternating rows of buttercream shells and squiggles for a fun, whimsical look! We used star tip 21.)
How to Make Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
The process is actually really simple! If you are familiar with American Buttercream Frosting recipes, this falls into that category, and it also develops a slight crust which is an added bonus if you are a fan of the Viva Paper Towel Method of smoothing!
- First, in the bowl of your mixer, beat your slightly softened butter until smooth. Then, add your lemon extract and zest. The zest gives a nice flavor boost, as so much of the lemon flavor is concentrated in the skin. Just be careful not to go into the white part of the peeling known as the pith, as it is bitter.
- Add half of your milk and half of your powdered sugar and mix at medium speed until combined. (We prefer to use whole milk to up the creaminess and flavor. If you use skim milk, the crust that develops will be just slightly more than if you use a milk that contains more fat.)
- Next, add the remaining powdered sugar and gradually add the milk. You’ll be tempted to stop mixing as soon as the lemon buttercream looks “right” but for best results, let it continue mixing for 3-5 minutes. The consistency will improve as it mixes and will transform into a creamy, luscious buttercream. Slowing down the mixing for the last minute or two will decrease air bubbles.
- As someone who LOVES all things lemon, I would spread this frosting on just about anything! However, there are a few favorite flavor combinations that you should keep in mind, whether you are spreading this onto cakes and cupcakes, using as a cake filling, or injecting into cupcakes!
- Lemon Cake from Scratch– One of our most popular recipes!
- Lemon Cake from a Doctored Cake Mix (this easy recipe is always a crowd pleaser!)
- Strawberry Cake– This will give you an instant Strawberry Lemonade cake!
- Strawberry Cake from a Doctored Mix- Another favorite and SO easy!
- Lemon Blueberry Cake– We frosted this delicious cake in Blueberry Buttercream, but Lemon Buttercream is a great option too!
- Vanilla Buttermillk Cake– Because everything is good with Vanilla Cake!
- Coconut Cake– I just love the coconut and lemon combination!
- Pink Lemonade Cake– Oh so good! You’ll love this lemony recipe with the perfect amount of tartness!
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- 3 sticks (339g) unsalted butter slightly softened
- 2 teaspoons (8g) lemon extract
- Zest of 1 lemon (we prefer to use a microplane but a fine grater works too)
- 7 1/2 cups (863g) powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup (60g) milk or more to reach the consistency you like
- *Yellow Coloring Gel is Optional (we used a touch of Americolor Lemon Yellow)
- In the bowl of your mixer beat the butter until smooth, blend in the lemon extract and zest.
- Add 1/2 of the powdered sugar and 1/2 of the milk and mix at medium speed until combined.
- Add remaining powdered sugar and gradually add the milk. You can also add a touch of lemon yellow coloring gel at this point if you would like more color. Mix at medium speed 3 to 5 minutes scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally. At the end of mixing, slow down the mixer to very low speed for a minute or two, this will help to eliminate air pockets in the buttercream.
- Yield: 6 cups - enough to fill and frost a 3 layer 8 inch cake
- Can be frozen in an air tight container for at least 3 months. Thaw on countertop and remix
- If your buttercream is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If the consistency is to thick, add a bit more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.