Lemon Cupcakes

These light and fluffy Lemon Cupcakes are made with a creamy lemon frosting for the best lemon cupcakes! They are easy to make and perfect for spring and summer!

A Frosted Lemon Cupcake with One Bite Taken Out

Moist Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting

Lemon desserts are always something special, and these cupcakes are certainly no exception. Both the buttercream and the cupcakes are naturally flavored with fresh lemon juice and zest. The results are decadent lemon cupcakes with just the right amount of lemon!

The cupcakes are decorated with a half of a lemon slice, which makes them bright and cheerful. Such a refreshing flavor and presentation that’s sure to be a hit! Grab your lemons and let’s get baking.

A Cake Stand Full of Lemon Cupcakes in Front of a Marble Backdrop

What You’ll Need

These cupcakes keep it simple when it comes to ingredients, and so does the frosting! Here’s the lineup for both:

For the Lemon Cupcakes

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder: To help the cupcakes rise.
  • Baking Soda: A little bit of baking soda supplements the baking powder in this recipe and is ideal in an acidic cupcake, like lemon.
  • Salt: You’ll need 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Unsalted Butter: Bring the butter to room temperature.
  • Vegetable Oil: For extra moist cupcakes!
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract: To compliment out the lovely lemon flavor.
  • Eggs: You’ll need 2 large eggs.
  • Milk
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: About 1/4 cup.
  • Fresh Lemon Zest: You’ll need 1 tablespoon.

For the Lemon Buttercream

  • Unsalted Butter: Room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar: Confectioner’s sugar gives the frosting its volume and consistency.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Fresh Lemon Zest
A Cake Stand Holding a Batch of Lemon Cupcakes Garnished with Lemon Slices

How to Make Lemon Cupcakes

If you’ve made cupcakes before, this recipe won’t be unfamiliar at all! The process is super simple and uses the creaming method.

  1. Prep for Baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream Butter, Oil, Sugar & Vanilla: Add the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add Eggs: Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Start Adding Dry Ingredients: Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Add Milk & Lemon: Combine the milk and lemon juice, then slowly add the mixture to the batter along with the lemon zest and mix until well combined.
  7. Finish Adding Dry Ingredients: Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix just until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not overmix the batter.
  8. Bake: Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let Cool: Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Lemon Cupcakes on a Cake Stand with Slices of Fresh Lemon

How to Make the Lemon Buttercream Frosting

This 5-ingredient frosting comes together in no time. And it’s easy to adjust for flavor and consistency!

  1. Beat Butter: Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Start Adding Powdered Sugar: Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add Vanilla & Lemon: Add the vanilla extract, 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice and the lemon zest to the frosting and mix until well combined.
  4. Finish Adding Powdered Sugar: Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth. Add additional lemon juice as needed to get the right consistency and flavor.

Frosting Your Cupcakes

The last step is simply putting everything together! Feel free to use your favorite piping tip for the frosting, however you should make sure that it’s not too small. You don’t want any lemon zest getting caught up in small openings. I used Ateco tip 844.

Eight Cupcakes on a White Cake Stand with a Wooden Base

Tips for Success

Want to make sure your cupcakes come out perfect? Just follow these quick tips and suggestions!

  • Use Fresh Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice will give your cupcakes and frosting much better flavor than a bottled version would.
  • Cream Butter Mixture Completely: Make sure you cream the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla for the full 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. It should become light, fluffy and also lighter in color.
  • Adjust Frosting Consistency: You may need to adjust the amount of lemon juice you use to get the buttercream just right. If you’re not sure what consistency to go for, check out my tutorial for How to Get the Right Frosting Consistency.

How to Store Frosted Cupcakes

Leftover lemon cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for about 24 hours, then refrigerated after that. Keep them in an airtight container and enjoy them within 2-3 days. They are best served at room temperature.

Print
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Lemon Cupcakes on a Cake Stand with Slices of Fresh Lemon
Recipe

Lemon Cupcakes

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 14
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These light and fluffy Lemon Cupcakes are made with a creamy lemon frosting for the tastiest citrus dessert ever! You’ll love how easily they come together.


Ingredients

For the Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cups (155g) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest

For the Lemon Buttercream

  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 45 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Combine the milk and lemon juice, then slowly add the mixture to the batter along with the lemon zest and mix until well combined.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix just until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove cupcakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
  10. When the cupcakes have cooled, make the buttercream. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  11. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  12. Add the vanilla extract, 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice and the lemon zest to the frosting and mix until well combined.
  13. Add the remaining powdered sugar and salt and mix until well combined and smooth. Add additional lemon juice as needed to get the right consistency and flavor.
  14. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 844.
  15. Cupcakes are best when stored well covered and eaten within 2-3 days. They can be left at room temperature for about 24 hours, then refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

Makes 12-14 cupcakes.

Keywords: lemon cupcakes, lemon buttercream frosting, lemon desserts

More Cupcake Recipes

I have so many more yummy cupcake recipes that you have to try! Here are a few of my favorite ones:

A Collage of Two Images of Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

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Recipe rating

24 Comments
  1. Dana Van Clieaf

    Hi Lindsay, I’m wondering in you use a stand mixer, or a handheld to make the batter and if it matters?

  2. Abigail

    I baked these for my coworkers for Associate Appreciation Week a month ago since a lot of them love lemon. Huge hit! Coworkers loved them! The main issues were that I had trouble zesting the lemon and my buttercream didn’t have much lemon flavor even though one of the managers, who’s a baker herself told me that there was lemon flavor. What should I do if I was to do lemon cream cheese frosting instead?

  3. Hallie O

    Thank you for this recipe! I have made them as cupcakes in the past and now I’m going to try to make a “pink lemonade” cake for my birthday! I’m planning on using egg whites and then adding electric pink food coloring but I was curious about cake pan size. Any thoughts on how much batter this recipe makes and if I should use 6 in. Or 9 in. pans? Thanks again!

  4. Abigail

    I’m planning on making these for my coworkers for Associate Appreciation Week since a lot of them love lemon, myself included, but a few are complaining that the store-bought frosting is too sweet. Is buttercream frosting sweeter than cream cheese frosting? If so, what could I do to make it less sweet?

  5. Nikki

    My niece made these on the East Coast and loved them! So now that she’s visiting me, she wanted me to try! Making this recipe in high altitude! Any idea the adjustments needed? Thanks!

  6. Julie

    I was just making your cupcakes and went to check on my butter, oil, sugar and vanilla to see if it was fluffy and I was very watery. Double checked the recipe to see if I added too much oil. I always weigh my ingredients and saw that you had 120ml of oil but then I missed you wrote 1/4 cup… so I’m assuming the recipe should have read 60ml?

    1. Lindsay

      You can. I do think they’re better when fresh, but you can freeze them. Just be sure to wrap them well and thaw them in the fridge.

  7. Cathy

    I decided to make these since my whole family love lemon. OMG they are so good! I had one the first night I made them and thought “oh no, these are really rich!!”. The next day I had one with a cup of hot tea and they were amazing!!! I will definitely make these again!!!!!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12