Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream have a zingy lemon flavor in both the cupcakes and the buttercream for a sweet and tart flavor. I also have Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes which feature the same lemon cupcake base paired with sweet and fruity strawberry buttercream. Check out all of my cupcake recipes for even more varieties!

Lemon Cupcake
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Ingredients & Substitutions

There are two parts to this recipe–the cupcakes and the frosting.

Room Temperature Ingredients: Using room temperature ingredients (specifically butter, eggs, and milk in this recipe) will help you get the best results when baking the muffins and making the buttercream.

Butter: Use unsalted butter in both the cupcakes and buttercream. Unsalted butter gives the cupcakes a better texture and it also allows you, the baker, to have control over the amount of salt.

Lemon Juice: For the best lemon flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Lemon Extract: When adding the lemon extract to the buttercream, start with just 1 teaspoon, tasting as you go. Remember, the buttercream with the cupcakes will give you a full blast of lemon flavor!

Food Coloring: You don’t have to add yellow food coloring to the buttercream. However, the yellow buttercream makes this treat look like sunshine and really can brighten your day! Or, go for a totally contrasting color for a real statement!

Lemon Cupcake Recipe

How to Pipe the Frosting

To pipe the frosting on top, just fill your pastry bag fitted with an 8B tip. Starting at the center, apply pressure and then move the bag around the cupcake. If you want a tall frosting swirl, apply pressure and then build it up by going around 3 times. Easy peasy!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Oreo Cookies

How to Store Lemon Cupcakes

Store the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last 4-5 days.

Can I Freeze Lemon Cupcakes?

Yes! Freeze the cupcakes before they are frosted with the buttercream. To freeze, let the cupcakes cool completely before storing them in a freezer-safe container for up to a month. Let them thaw in the refrigerator when ready to enjoy or frost them.

lemon-cupcake4 (1)
4.56 from 25 votes

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream are soft and moist lemon cupcakes frosted with lemon buttercream.


Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups (187 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest
  • ½ cup (122.5 g) whole milk, room temperature, divided
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

Lemon Buttercream*

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-3 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons whole milk, or more as needed
  • 5 drops yellow food coloring, more or less as desired
  • 2 cups (250 g) confectioners' sugar, or more as needed


Lemon Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12-count cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the eggs one at a time, beating each egg until fully incorporated after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Beat until combined.
  • To the butter mixture, add about ⅓ of the flour mixture. Next, add half of the milk and lemon juice. Repeat the steps, ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined, making sure not to overmix.
  • Fill the prepared cupcake liners about ¾ full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing them to finish cooling on a rack.
  • While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream.

Lemon Buttercream*

  • To a large mixing bowl, add butter, lemon extract, and milk. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat ingredients together until smooth. If desired, add yellow food coloring.
  • Add confectioners' sugar into butter mixture and beat on low speed until desired consistency is reached. You may want to add more sugar.
  • Frost each cupcake with the buttercream.



*This recipe makes enough to do a smooth layer of frosting on each cupcake. There is not enough to do the mile-high swirls pictured.

Did you make this recipe?

Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.

Share with your friends!

Categorized in: ,

Related Recipes

Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. These look amazing! I was looking for something like this but want to add blueberry’s into the frosting and as a filling for the cake!

  2. The cupcake is delish! The frosting, tho, is too sweet for us. Next time, I’ll use a cream cheese frosting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.