Lemon Cupcakes

12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes

Lemon Cupcakes are the perfect tender, moist cakes with refreshing citrusy flavors from fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.

Delicious Cake Recipes, like this one, are ideal to make for a bake sale, get-together, or birthday. The delicious lemon flavor takes a regular Vanilla Cupcake and adds a refreshing tangy flavor to it for a more unique treat.

Lemon Cupcakes on cutting board


You’re sure to love the bright taste of these Citrusy Lemon Cupcakes. The lemons add a tart and tangy taste to the buttery vanilla flavor of the classic cake recipe. Then silky lemon buttercream tops off the lemon cake for the perfect treat!

Lemon Cupcakes in muffin tin before and after baking

You don’t have to be an extreme lemon lover to adore this lemon dessert. Although the lemons add a delightful sour taste, it’s not so much that it’s overwhelming. The trusty Vanilla Buttercream gets a slight make-over by adding 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. It’s just enough to enhance the vanilla taste without losing it.

Lemon Cupcakes on cutting board

This Lemon Cupcake recipe is perfect to bake for a special occasion. Serve up cupcakes with lemon at your next potluck, picnic, or get-together. You can even leave off the icing and serve them at a brunch. The citrusy taste of lemons is perfect to wake you up so they’re perfect for a morning social. 



  • Prep time: Start by preheating your oven and lining your cupcake tin with paper liners. You should also take the butter out of the fridge in advance so that it has time to soften.
  • Cupcake batter: Add the softened butter and granulated sugar to your stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment to beat them together on medium speed until they’re fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and milk. Beat in the wet ingredients until it reaches a smooth consistency. In a separate medium bowl sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the electric mixer and stir until the flour mixture is just combined with the rest of the ingredients. Finish it off with the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Baking time: Use an ice cream scoop to fill each of the cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Take the cupcake tins from the oven and let the cakes cool to room temperature before icing.
  • Lemon Frosting: Add the butter to your stand mixer at low-speed. Add the confectioners sugar ½ cup at a time until it’s mixed in. Raise the speed for 1 minute. Then add vanilla and lemon juice to the butter mixture and stir until light and fluffy. Move the frosting from the mixing bowl into a piping bag to top the cupcakes.

Lemon Cupcakes on cutting board


  • Homemade Lemon Curd: Instead of icing, you can make an easy, Lemon Curd Filling recipe to top off your cakes. This will make a stronger lemon taste overall. 
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: Instead of buttercream, you can make lemon cream cheese frosting. Just follow the regular cream cheese recipe and mix in a tablespoon lemon zest and a tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • Lemon Blueberry Cake: Lemon and blueberries make a delicious combination. To add some juicy blueberry flavor to the recipe, toss a cup of blueberries in flour and lemon juice. Then mix them in with the batter.
  • Decorations: For some decorations add sprinkles, lemon drop candies, or slice additional lemon slices to add to the top for garnish.



  • Serve: Lemon Cupcakes can stay good at room temperature for up to 2 days. Cover them in plastic wrap to keep them moist while they sit out on the counter.
  • Store: You can also put the homemade Lemon Cupcakes in an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Freeze: To store them for a long period of time, seal the cupcakes and freeze them for up to 3 months.

Lemon Cupcakes on cutting board

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Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes are the perfect tender, moist cakes with refreshing citrusy flavors from fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


Lemon Cupcakes:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


Lemon Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tray with liner cups.
  • To a stand mixer add the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs, vanilla, and milk until smooth.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and add it to the stand mixer on the lowest speed setting until just combined.
  • Add in lemon zest and lemon juice until combined.
  • Using an ice cream scoop fill the cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

  • To your stand mixer on low-speed cream the butter then start adding in the powdered sugar in ½ cup increments until fully combined then raise the speed to medium-high for 1 additional minute.
  • Add in the vanilla and lemon juice and beat until light and fluffy for 1 minute.
  • Add frosting to a piping bag and frost your cupcakes.


Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 90mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 687IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

Lemon Cupcakes collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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