How to Make Lemon Icing

Two Methods:Making Lemon FrostingMaking Lemon Glaze

Lemon icing is tangy and sweet, and perfect for cakes, scones, cupcakes, and other types of pastries. It pairs well with flavors such as lemon, blueberry, or lavender. You can make a thick, frosting-like icing, perfect for spreading onto cakes or swirling onto cupcakes. You can also make a thinner glaze-like icing instead, perfect for drizzling over loaves and scones.


Lemon Frosting[1]

  • ½ cup (115 grams) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) lemon zest (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) vanilla extract (optional)
  • 3 cups (375 grams) icing/confectioners' sugar
  • Yellow food coloring (optional)

Lemon Glaze[2]

  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter or margarine
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 cup (125 grams) icing/confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) lemon juice

Method 1
Making Lemon Frosting

  1. Image titled Make Lemon Icing Step 1
    Cream the butter until it turns light and fluffy. Put the butter into a mixing bowl, and beat it with a handheld mixer. If you have a food processor with a whisk attachment, use that instead.
  2. Image titled Make Lemon Icing Step 2
    Mix in the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. If you'd like a smoother frosting, omit the lemon zest. If you'd like a less sweet frosting, omit the vanilla extract.
  3. Image titled Make Lemon Icing Step 3
    Beat in the sugar gradually, 1 cup (125 grams) at a time. Use medium speed, and keep beating until the mixture becomes smooth. From time to time, scrape the sides of the bowl so that everything mixes evenly.[3]
  4. Image titled Make Lemon Icing Step 4
    Add more sugar or lemon juice, if necessary. If the frosting is too dry, add a little more lemon juice or milk. If the frosting is too wet, add a little more sugar. At this point, you can also add a few drops of yellow food coloring to make your frosting more lemon-colored.
  5. Image titled Make Lemon Icing Step 5
    Use the frosting on cakes, cupcakes, or as a filling in pastries. If you won't be using the icing for a while, keep it covered with a damp cloth in the fridge, and re-whip it before you spread it.[4] If it is too dry, then add a little more lemon juice or milk.
  6. Image titled Make Lemon Icing Step 6

Method 2
Making Lemon Glaze

  1. 1
    Add the ingredients into a glass, heat-safe bowl. You can add the lemon zest for a little extra texture, or omit it entirely. You will be heating the ingredients in a microwave.
  2. 2
    Put the bowl into a microwave, and heat for 45 seconds or until the butter is melted.[5] Depending on the strength of your microwave, you may need a little more/less cooking time. Keep an eye on the butter.
  3. 3
    Take the bowl out and mix the ingredients with a whisk. Keep mixing until there are no lumps or clumps. You want everything to be smooth.
  4. 4
    Let the mixture cool for a few minutes. During this time, it will thicken. It will ooze over your pastries, as opposed to sinking into it. If the mixture is too thin, then mix in a little more sugar.
  5. 5
    Pour the mixture over your cake or pastry. It is perfect for scones, bundts, cakes, and loaves, especially lemon or lavender-flavored ones!


  • If you'd like to cut down on sweetness, add a pinch of salt, or use salted butter instead.[6]
  • If the frosting is too dry, add some more milk or lemon juice.
  • If the frosting is too wet, add more sugar.
  • If you'd like to use the frosting as a filling, you can put it into a pastry bag, and pipe it into the pastry.
  • Lemon frosting and icing goes well with lemon, vanilla, lavender, and blueberry flavored cakes, scones, and loaves.

Things You'll Need

Lemon Frosting[7]

  • Hand-held mixer or food processor with a whisk attachment
  • Spatula for spreading

Lemon Glaze

  • Heat-safe, glass bowl
  • Whisk

Article Info

Categories: Frosting Icing and Fondant