Who doesn’t love the fresh and bright, pick-me-up flavor of homemade lemon cupcakes made from scratch?

Sweet, moist, and citrusy, this lemon cupcake recipe has an optional lemon buttercream frosting for even more reasons to pucker up!

close up of Lemon Cupcakes

A Delightful Dessert!

  • Lemon cupcakes only take one bowl for the batter and one bowl for the frosting! So easy, even the littlest baker in the family can help out!
  • Light and fluffy lemon cupcakes are the perfect way to usher in warmer weather. But since lemons are in season year-round, why not bake them as a refreshing surprise dessert for a holiday brunch or get-together?
  • Make them in as minis for grab-and-go treats or jumbo-sized for a decadent dessert!
baked Lemon Cupcakes with lemon slices on top

Ingredients and Variations

Batter – Feel free to switch out the white flour for your favorite gluten-free blend. Simply refer to the conversion tables on the package. A medium-sized lemon will produce enough fresh lemon juice and zest for the batter and the frosting, but if you have extra lemons, repurpose some of them.

Frosting – You can’t go wrong with this quick and easy lemon buttercream frosting recipe! Be sure to use real butter since butter alternatives won’t have the same texture or flavor. Extra zest can be added to the frosting as well as used as a garnish. Lemon cupcakes can also be topped with a squirt of whipped cream or pipe on some meringue.

How to Make Lemon Cupcakes


  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Make a well, add remaining ingredients, whisk in boiling water until the batter is smooth.
  3. Pour batter into paper liners and bake until a wooden pick comes out clean.
  4. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack and frost when they are cool enough to handle.


  1. Beat butter until fluffy.
  2. Slowly add remaining ingredients (per recipe below) and beat on low speed until the frosting is whipped and pale in color.
  3. Frost cupcakes and garnish with a lemon slice, sliced strawberries, fresh blueberries, or raspberries for a pop of color.
top view of Lemon Cupcakes

Tips For Success!

  • Use fresh ingredients, such as lemon juice and zest from real lemons, for the best lemon cupcakes!
  • Mix in room eggs, butter, and dairy products that have been brought to room temperature for better blending and even baking.
  • For the most moist cupcakes, create a ‘well’ in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and mix until just moist. This ‘well’ helps ensure the ingredients are not over-mixed, so don’t skip that step!
  • Since all ovens are different, check for doneness before the end of the specified bake time to be sure your cupcakes aren’t over-baked.
  • Keep leftover lemon cupcakes in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Freeze unfrosted cupcakes on a sheet pan and then transfer them to a zippered bag for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
  • Make a decadent cupcake platter with some double chocolate cupcakes, decadent S’mores cupcakes, colorful rainbow cupcakes and of course these lemon cupcakes!
Lemon Cupcakes with a bite taken out of one

More Delicious Desserts!

close up of Lemon Cupcakes
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Lemon Cupcakes

These lemon cupcakes are light, fluffy and topped with a tangy and sweet lemon buttercream frosting for the perfect spring time dessert!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Melanie


For the Lemon Cupcakes:

For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • pinch salt
  • lemon zest for garnish
  • lemon slices for garnish


For the Lemon Cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, zest, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center.
  • Add the egg, milk, vegetable oil, lemon juice, and extract into the well. Mix until everything is combined. Add the boiling water and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour batter into paper liners using a measuring cup or trigger scoop. Bake for 15-18 minutes. 
  • Remove cupcakes from tin when cool enough to handle. Frost when cool.

For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

  • Beat the butter for 2 minutes on medium-high until light and fluffy.
  • On low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar followed by the cream, extract and salt. Increase speed to medium and beat for about 5 minutes or pale in color.
  • Frost cupcakes, sprinkle with zest, and top with half a lemon slice.
5 from 3 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 276IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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About the author

Melanie is a Midwest girl currently living in Nebraska with her husband and daughters. She started rubbing elbows with her mom in the kitchen as soon as she discovered she could lick the bowl clean. She loves spending time in the kitchen creating healthy dinners and indulgent desserts for her family and friends. You can visit Melanie on her blog: Garnish & Glaze.
See more posts by Melanie

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