Lemon buttercream frosting – just saying the words can make your mouth water! This tangy, sweet concoction is the perfect finish to a variety of desserts, from zesty fruit cakes to delicious breads and even some delectable cookies. Its creamy texture and the perfect balance of lemony zing with the sweetness of sugar make it an absolute delight.

This recipe is a simple process resulting in something that brings a smile to everyone’s face. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice, this lemon buttercream is going to elevate your desserts to a whole new level of deliciousness.

lemon buttercream in a measuring bowl being scooped out on a rubber spatula

The Chemistry of Buttercream

The magic lies in the chemistry. Butter and cream cheese provide a rich, creamy base, thanks to their high-end fat content. When whipped, these fats trap air, giving the buttercream its light and fluffy texture. The powdered sugar, apart from adding sweetness, also stabilizes the mixture. Then there’s the lemon extract – the star of the show! It not only adds flavor but also balances the sweetness, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. And let’s not forget the heavy whipping cream, which introduces more air and lightness to the mix, making our buttercream irresistibly smooth.

Can lemon buttercream be made in advance?

Absolutely! You can prepare this up to 2 days in advance. Just store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to use it, let it come to room temperature and give it a quick whip to bring back its fluffy texture.

How do you fix curdled lemon buttercream?

If your buttercream curdles, don’t panic! It’s usually because the ingredients weren’t at similar temperature. To fix it, you can try warming the mixture slightly in the microwave (only 5-15 seconds) and then re-whipping it. This should bring it back to the perfect consistency.

Can lemon buttercream be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then bring it to room temperature before re-whipping and using.

How can I make my lemon buttercream more lemony?

For an extra lemon kick, add more lemon extract, a bit of lemon zest or a few drops of pure lemon oil. Be careful to not overdo it – a little goes a long way.

Lemon buttercream on a spoon next to a whole lemon

What is in lemon buttercream?

Unsalted butter

Often the main ingredient of frosting, it adds structure to your buttercream. It also adds a smooth and velvety texture. Butter melts at body temperature, so it will make your frosting have a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

Cream cheese

Provides a unique, tangy flavor. When baked it adds moisture to your treat.

Lemon Extract

Adds a fresh zing and flavor to your treat.

Powdered Sugar

Is just finely ground granulated sugar. It will absorb moisture in your batter or dough. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. Because it is so fine, it can melt quickly in the oven and spread cookies out more. Powdered sugar also stabilizes and thickens the frosting, thanks to the small amount of cornstarch it contains.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Makes a softer, more spreadable frosting. When melted with chocolate it adds more fat and moisture to the mixture, resulting in a silkier blend.

How to store buttercream

Store your lemon buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Ensure it’s well covered to prevent it from absorbing any odors in the fridge. When stored correctly, this buttercream can last up to a week in the fridge. Remember to bring it to room temperature before using it to spread or pipe.

Why make lemon buttercream?

This lemon buttercream recipe is more than just a frosting; it’s a celebration of flavors and textures. It’s the perfect addition to your baking repertoire, promising to transform any ordinary dessert into something extraordinarily delicious. Happy baking!

lemon buttercream in a measuring bowl being scooped out on a rubber spatula

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Lemon Buttercream

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12
This tangy and sweet buttercream is perfect for fruit cakes, breads and cookies.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounce cream cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  • In a standing mixer soften the butter and cream cheese
  • Add the lemon extract, powdered sugar & cream
  • Mix until combined
  • Whip on high for 2 minutes until the frosting is lighter in texture and color
  • Spread on all your citrus treats


Calories: 452kcal Carbohydrates: 61g Protein: 1g Fat: 24g Saturated Fat: 15g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 65mg Sodium: 64mg Potassium: 35mg Sugar: 60g Vitamin A: 799IU Vitamin C: 0.03mg Calcium: 27mg Iron: 0.1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.