Lovely Lemon Buttercream Frosting | Ambitious Kitchen

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Consider this your Valentine’s Day cake preview, plus another beautiful frosting recipe to have on hand for your winter & spring sweet treats.

This lemon buttercream frosting is luscious, fluffy, a little tangy, perfectly sweet, and basically what lemon dreams are made of. One thing I know about AK readers: you all LOVE lemon desserts. I personally opt for chocolate, peanut butter, and a really good oatmeal cookie, but I try to bring on the citrus this time of year to satisfy all of you lemon lovers.

Long story short, this lemon frosting is out-of-this-world delicious and would be amazing on lemon cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and more. Stay tuned VERY soon for the ultimate Valentine’s Day cake using this frosting (there may or may not be a hint at the bottom of this post).

lemon buttercream frosting in a bowl

Everything you’ll need to make the best lemon frosting

This lemon buttercream frosting couldn’t be easier to make because it just requires 3 simple ingredients:

  • Butter: because this is a buttercream frosting, you’ll, of course, need butter! I always use salted butter because it adds extra flavor, but you can absolutely use unsalted butter. Some people use shortening in their buttercream frosting recipes, but I like to keep mine easy (and still delicious).
  • Powdered sugar: the frosting gets its sweetness from powdered sugar (aka confectioners sugar).
  • Lemon: gotta have that bright lemon flavor from both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. No lemon extract here!

ingredients for lemon frosting in bowls

How to make vegan lemon buttercream

As I mentioned, this lemon frosting can easily be made vegan and dairy-free! Simply swap the butter for your favorite vegan butter (I like Earth Balance).

Why isn’t it bright yellow?

Because we’re only using fresh lemon juice and zest, the frosting will turn out pale yellow instead of a bright yellow. I personally like this look better because it’s real! Some people add a few drops of yellow food coloring to their lemon frosting recipes to make it pop more, which you’re welcome to do if you want a brighter or more neon yellow.

butter whipped in a bowl to make lemon buttercream

Lovely lemon buttercream frosting in 2 steps

  1. Whip the butter. Add your softened butter (or vegan butter) to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high until it’s nice and fluffy.
  2. Mix the frosting. Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest and beat on high until it’s well combined. Taste and add more powdered sugar if you’d like, plus a little milk if you want a creamier frosting texture. Use it on your fav treats!

ingredients for lemon buttercream frosting in a glass bowl

The key to fluffy buttercream frosting

In order to make get a super fluffy consistency in this lemon frosting recipe, you’ll want to whip together all of the ingredients slowly and increase the speed of your electric mixer as you go. This will create beautiful peaks in the frosting and make it super easy to frost your favorite treats. Feel free to add a little bit of milk (about 1 tablespoon) if you like your frosting creamier. This will also help to make the frosting easier to spread.

lemon frosting whipped in a glass bowl

Storing tips

  • At room temp: this lemon buttercream will stay good at room temp for about a day on a cake that’s on the counter.
  • In the fridge: feel free to keep the frosting in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container if you’re looking to prepare it ahead of time. Let the frosting come to room temp before using it. After you’ve frosted your cake or another dessert, I also recommend storing the cake in the fridge after one day.

lemon buttercream frosting in a bowl with a spoon

Freezer-friendly lemon frosting

Yes, you can freeze this lemon buttercream frosting for later! Place it in an airtight glass container or freezer-friendly bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, simply let it thaw in the refrigerator, let it come to room temp, and then re-whip it in your electric mixer.

Delicious ways to use this lemon buttercream

topping a cake with lemon frosting

More frosting recipes

I hope you love this lemon butter cream frosting recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Lovely Lemon Buttercream Frosting

frosting a cake with lemon buttercream

Prep Time 15 minutes

Total Time 15 minutes

Serves16 servings

Lovely lemon buttercream frosting made with 3 simple ingredients and whipped to fluffy perfection. This simple lemon frosting will brighten up all of your favorite treats and can easily be made vegan and dairy free!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter (or vegan butter), at room temperature
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups powdered sugar, depending on how sweet you like your frosting
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Instructions

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a hand mixer), add the softened butter or softened vegan butter and whip on high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest; beat on high for 1-2 minutes more until well combined. Taste and add ½ cup more powdered sugar, if necessary. You may need to scrape the frosting down the sides of the bowl and then beat again. Optional: You may need to add in a little bit of milk (about 1 tablespoon) to thin the frosting out so it’s a little more creamy, but it depends on how you like it.

  • Spread frosting over a cooled cake or your favorite treats!

Recipe Notes

See the full post for tips, tricks & storing instructions!

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