Fluffy lemon buttercream frosting with the flavor of fresh citrusy lemon is great on sugar cookies, cheesecake, and cupcakes!

This fresh lemon buttercream frosting recipe uses real lemons, and it makes the bright, sunny flavors pop on everything!

a cupcake topped with fresh lemon buttercream frosting

Perfect over lemon cupcakes, to top a layer cake filled with lemon curd, this lemon frosting is a favorite with lots of fresh lemon flavor.

How to Juice and Zest Lemons

  • Lemon Zest: For zest, use the zest of two full lemons (or more) with a Microplane grater or the finest side of a box grater. Be sure to use just the yellow part of the peel, the white part underneath (the pith) is bitter.
  • Lemon Juice: To get the most juice from your lemons, For juicing lemons, place lemons in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. Using the heel of your hand to roll them with gentle pressure on the counter before cutting.

How to Make Lemon Buttercream Filling

  1. Cream room temperature butter & shortening with a hand electric mixer until it is light and fluffy per the recipe below.
  2. Add lemon zest and juice and mix well.
  3. Add the powdered sugar a bit at a time and mix well. Once it’s fully incorporated, mix on high for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy!
fluffy Fresh Lemon Buttercream Frosting with lemon slices

Tips for Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • If you’d like a thinner consistency, add a bit more lemon juice.
  • For a thicker consistency, add more powdered sugar.
  • Make sure your cake or cupcakes are completely cooled before using.
  • If you’re spreading this on a 9×13 cake or another use where it doesn’t need to hold its shape, you can add 2 ounces of cream cheese along with the butter for a little tang. If you add the cream cheese, it won’t hold its shape as well when piped.
  • Because this is flavored with natural lemon, the color is pale yellow. Feel free to add a few drops of yellow food coloring for a brighter yellow color.
a cupcake topped with fresh lemon buttercream frosting

Can You Freeze Buttercream Frosting?

Lemon buttercream frosting will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. You can also freeze this frosting for up to three months in an airtight container or freezer bag.

Allow it to thaw completely, and feel free to refresh the flavor with a bit of extra lemon juice and whisk it, so it is smooth again!

More Fantastic Frosting Recipes

Did you love this Lemon Buttercream Frosting? Leave us a comment and a rating below!

a cupcake topped with fresh lemon buttercream frosting
4.80 from 39 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Fresh Lemon Buttercream Frosting

A smooth and extra creamy lemon buttercream frosting recipe flavored with fresh lemon juice and zest.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 12
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  • 2 lemons
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract optional


  • Zest both lemons and set zest aside. Juice one of the lemons to make two tablespoons of juice. Reserve the remaining lemon for another use.
  • In a medium bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), cream butter and shortening with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest, lemon juice (and extract if using), and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
  • Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and beat until light and fluffy.
  • To thicken consistency, add more powdered sugar. To soften consistency, add more lemon juice if required.


Lemon buttercream frosting can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days. Allow it to come to room temperature and whisk again before using. 
Freeze for up to 3 months in a sealed & labeled container or plastic bag.
Allow it to thaw completely & refresh the flavor with a bit of extra lemon juice and whisk it so it is smooth again!
4.80 from 39 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 261 | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 359IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Fresh Lemon Buttercream Frosting on a cupcake with a title
bowl of Fresh Lemon Buttercream Frosting with a title
cupcake with Fresh Lemon Buttercream Frosting and a title
Fresh Lemon Buttercream Frosting in a bowl and on a cupcake with writing


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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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4.80 from 39 votes (28 ratings without comment)

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  1. Please note that the recipe for the frosting makes enough for another 12 cupcakes, so you could pretty much cut it in half or just make 2/3 of the recipe.4 stars

  2. I only eat natural fats so replaced shortening with more butter and used 2.5 cups of powdered sugar instead of 3. I did add the 1/4 cup of cream cheese and it tasted delicious. Thank you for sharing.5 stars

  3. So delicious and super easy. Love the subtle lemon flavor – not overpowering or puckery! :) Your baking recipes really have brought me back home to homemade everything. I’ve learned to enjoy buttercreams again. Bakery stuff NEVER comes close to homemade. Thank you. Once again.5 stars

  4. I made this cream for the Banana Cupcakes (also your recipe). The combination is awesome and I’m not much of a lemons lover, but this frosting lemon is absolutely delicious! And the cupcakes are sooo fluffy! Thank you!5 stars

  5. Did everything you said but it came out to juicy . I had also added more sugar to thicken it but no good.
    It tasted good but couldn’t spread it too runny , destroyed my cake.1 star