Today, I’m sharing how to make the best lemon buttercream frosting I’ve ever had!
It is fluffy, not overly sweet, and perfectly citrusy. And the texture is not grainy and incredibly smooth. It'll be a perfect lemon frosting for cakes, cupcakes, and macarons.
🍋 What I love about this lemon buttercream frosting:
- It is stiff: It's perfect for piping detailed designs and sustains heavy cakes well.
- The buttercream is very fluffy and not too dense.
- The texture is not grainy and incredibly smooth.
- It's not overly sweet and perfectly citrusy.
- There is no need to re-whip it after thawing it. Use it right away!
💬 The secret to the amazing texture is combining Swiss buttercream and lemon curd. By combining both, you can create a very stiff and stable buttercream. And no worry, they're both very easy to make - I'm sharing how to make them step-by-step!
In this post, you'll learn essential baking tips such as:
- How much should we heat the meringue? And why.
- Tips for making the fluffy Swiss meringue
- How to know if the meringue is ready to add butter
- Common troubleshooting
- How to store it properly
... and so much more!
Let's get started.
- 📌 What's In Lemon Buttercream Frosting?
- 📌 How To Make Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- 📌 Uses For Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- 📌 How To Store It
- 📌 Frequently Asked Questions
- 📌 Common Troubleshooting
- 📌 VIDEO: Watch It How To Make It!
- 📌 Lastly...
- 📌 Printable Recipe
- Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- 📌 Pin It!
- 💬 A Sprinkle Of Life
📌 What's In Lemon Buttercream Frosting?
The 4 ingredients:
You'll only need eggs, sugar, lemon, and butter to make homemade lemon curd.
- Whole egg
- It helps to thicken the curd. Use a large egg instead of a small one to make it thicker.
- Egg yolk
- It adds amazing richness.
- Granulated sugar
- Sugar helps to make a smooth and shiny texture.
- Lemon zest
- It adds another layer of refreshing flavor.
- Lemon juice
- Use any lemon of your choice!
- Unsalted butter
- Butter helps to thicken the curd and make it taste milder. You can adjust the amount depending on what texture you are looking for.
The 4 ingredients:
The 3 essential ingredients to make Swiss buttercream are egg white, sugar, and butter. Today, I'm adding salt to enhance the citrus flavor.
- Egg white
- Ensure that no yolk, liquids, or dirt is mixed in the egg white to make a fluffy meringue.
- Granulated sugar
- We make Swiss meringue by whipping heated egg white and sugar in a water bath.
- Unsalted butter
- Use soft butter to make fluffy and smooth buttercream.
- It enhances the lemon flavor.
👩🏻🍳 Oil and liquids prevent the egg white from getting whipped well to make stiff meringue. - Check if all the tools are not greasy or wet before you start!
📌 How To Make Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Follow the 5 Steps:
- Make half of my lemon curd recipe. Follow the 6 steps to make it in just about 10 mins!
- Let it cool completely in the fridge.
- The printable recipe in this post is already calculated to the half batch.
- Heat egg white and sugar in a water bath while mixing constantly until it reaches 160 F | 71 C.
- Whip the heated egg white and sugar at high speed:
- Touch the bowl and check: Initially, it should feel hot. Continue whipping at high speed.
- Turn it down to medium speed when it feels comfortably warm.
- Turn it down to low or medium-low speed when it is slightly warm.
- And turn it off when it doesn't feel anything.
- Add soft butter and salt and mix.
- Scrape off the bowl with a spatula 1 -2 times to ensure it's incorporated evenly.
- Add the cold lemon curd to the buttercream. And mix.
- Again, scrape off the bowl with a spatula 1 -2 times to ensure it's incorporated evenly.
📝 More Tips With Images
Now, let me share detailed tips on each step, which are all crucial for making lemon buttercream frosting!
Step 1: Make lemon curd.
Make a half batch of my lemon curd recipe. (The printable recipe in this post is already calculated to the half batch.) Follow the 6 steps and the tips to make it successful.
Chill it in the fridge while making the Swiss buttercream.
🍋 I often make more lemon curd than I need for the frosting and set aside the rest to fill my lemon cake, cupcake, macarons, etc!
💬 Save the egg white for Swiss meringue.
Step 2: Heat egg white and sugar in a water bath.
⚠️ Ensure that all the tools and ingredients are dried without oil, liquids, or chemicals such as soaps. - They prevent the egg white from getting whipped well to make stiff meringue. Egg yolks contain oil, so separate them carefully!
Mix egg white and sugar.
Heat it with a water bath.
💬 Mix constantly while heating so that the egg white is not getting cooked partially.
Heating Swiss meringue to 160 F | 71 C
Continue heating until it reaches 160 F | 71 C. This is very important! The meringue doesn't get stable enough when you don't heat it enough, and the buttercream could collapse after some time.
When you heat less, the buttercream gets looser and less stable after some time. And when you heat too much, egg whites can get cooked. (we don't want scrambled egg whites!)
By heating it to 160 F, you can also kill salmonella if it's there. It’s good for food safety as well.
Every recipe might recommend different temperatures, but it is what I like for those reasons.
Step 3: Whip the heated egg white and sugar.
Pour that into the bowl and start whipping at high speed while it's hot.
💬 Egg white whips A LOT more when the temperature is higher. Once it reaches 160 F | 71 C, don't wait; start whipping immediately!
How to whip Swiss meringue:
Turn down the speed as it cools down.
Touch the bowl and check:
- In the beginning, it feels hot. Continue whipping it at high speed.
- Turn it down to medium heat once it feels comfortably warm.
- And turn it down to low to medium-low speed when it feels slightly warm.
- Stop right away when it doesn't feel anything.
⚠️ Pay closer attention toward the end. The meringue eventually starts getting loose if you continue whipping after it cools down.
The finished meringue should be nice and stiff like this:
👩🏻🍳 Ensure that the meringue is cooled completely before adding butter. Butter melts when added to the warm meringue, leading to loose buttercream!
Step 4: Add soft butter and salt and mix.
🧈 It's essential to use soft butter to create very smooth buttercream.
Cold butter leaves pieces of butter in the buttercream, and the meringue can lose some volume by forcing it to blend with the solid butter.
💬 Clean the bowl and a whisk on the way to ensure everything is incorporated evenly. Do it once or twice on the way.
Step 5: Add the cold lemon curd to the buttercream.
💬 Check if the lemon curd is completely cooled so that the buttercream is not getting loose with the heat.
And again, clean one or two times on the way to make even buttercream.
How much should we whip the buttercream?
It's your choice, but you don't have to whip A LOT here because the buttercream is already fluffy, thanks to the meringue.
Whip it longer if you want to make it a little more airy. Today, I whipped for about 1 minute in total after adding butter.
💬 This is how much you can get from one batch of the recipe. It should be enough to frost a simple 6" cake (without piping on top) or about 6 - 7 cupcakes. Make the double, triple, or more as you like!
📌 Uses For Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Enjoy it for many desserts, such as:
- Macarons: It is a must-try if you love lemon desserts! Pipe this buttercream with a spread of lemon curd on one of the shells. It makes an incredibly delicious treat. I have to say it is my top 3 favorite macarons.
- Cakes: This frosting sustains cakes beautifully, from a birthday cake to a wedding cake. It's also very stiff to pipe detailed designs.
- Cupcakes: The fluffy buttercream goes well with any cupcakes. Pipe the lemon curd in the middle as an option!
The lemon buttercream and the spread of lemon curd taste incredible. Check out this post to see how to make the lemon curd step-by-step!
📌 How To Store It
Store the buttercream in an air-tight container.
I also like to wrap the whole thing sometimes and store it because I can cut the edge and pipe right away.
You can store it in the fridge for about four to five days.
Or store it in the freezer for about a few months.
After it's cooled:
I also can't forget to mention that the buttercream, including other types, gets much firmer in the fridge when it's chilled due to the butter inside.
Leave it at room temperature for some time after chilling it in the fridge to enjoy a fluffy and creamy texture.
How to thaw it:
To thaw it, leave it at room temperature, and it gets softer gradually. (You can leave it in a fridge overnight if it's frozen.)
How long it will take depends on the room temperature and how cold the fridge or the freezer is. It often takes about 3 - 6 hours.
There is no need to re-whip this buttercream; it'll stay fluffy and stiff after thawing it.
📌 Frequently Asked Questions
There is no need to re-whip it when it's made successfully. It should stay stiff and stable!
Move it in an air-tight container or wrap it to store. You can store it in a fridge for up to 4 - 5 days or a few months in a freezer.
1. Swiss buttercream: Swiss meringue + Butter
2. Italian buttercream: Italian meringue + Butter
3. French buttercream: Pate au bombe + Butter
4. American buttercream: Sugar + Butter
5. English buttercream: Anglaise sauce + Butter
6. German buttercream: Pastry cream + Butter
7. Russian buttercream: Condensed milk + Butter
.... and so on!
You can add extracts or any other ingredients to them.
📌 Common Troubleshooting
There are some reasons you can think of, such as:
1. The butter melted partially because it was added to warm meringue.
2. The meringue got loose because it was not heated enough, or whipped properly (With high speed while it's hot).
3. The meringue got loose because a small amount of oil or liquid was mixed in the bowl.
3. The meringue got loose because it was whipped for too long. (The meringue slowly loses the volume when it's over-whipped.)
4. The room was warm, and the butter got loose.
5. The lemon curd was slightly warm when it was added.
The most common causes are:
1. Meringue: See if it's grainy due to the cooked meringue. To avoid this, mix constantly and evenly while heating it.
2. Butter: It also could be because your butter was too cold. Cold butter doesn't blend well in the meringue. Ensure it is soft before adding it.
📌 VIDEO: Watch It How To Make It!
Watch this video to learn how to make it visually and have a deeper understanding of all!
Don't forget to subscribe if you liked it 😉
To sum up, the most important thing when making this buttercream is to pay attention to all the temperatures: the meringue, butter, and lemon curd.
Is the meringue cooled enough before adding butter?
Is the butter soft? And so on.
Follow all the tips I mentioned in this post, and you should be able to make it beautifully!
📌 Printable Recipe
💬 If you loved this recipe, please share your feedback on this post! I always love hearing how you enjoyed it with your friends and family.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Small pot
- Stand mixer with a whisk attachment or hand mixer
- 1 egg Whole egg
- 1 yolk Egg yolk * Save the egg white for Swiss meringue.
- 1.7 oz Granulated sugar ¼ US cup
- ½ lemon Lemon zest
- 2.1 oz Lemon juice 4 tablespoon or ¼ US cup
- 1 oz Unsalted butter 2 Tbsp
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 2.4 oz Egg white from about 2 large eggs
- 3.5 oz Granulated sugar ½ US cup
- 8 oz Unsalted butter 2 US sticks
- A pinch Salt
- Make half of my lemon curd recipe. Follow the 6 steps to make it in just about 10 mins!Let it cool completely in the fridge.* This printable recipe is already calculated to the half batch.1 egg Whole egg, 1 yolk Egg yolk, 1.7 oz Granulated sugar, ½ lemon Lemon zest, 2.1 oz Lemon juice, 1 oz Unsalted butter
- Heat egg white and sugar in a water bath while mixing constantly until it reaches 160 F | 71 C.2.4 oz Egg white, 3.5 oz Granulated sugar
- Whip the heated egg white and sugar at high speed:Touch the bowl and check: Initially, it should feel very hot. Continue whipping at high speed. Turn it down to medium speed when it feels comfortably warm. Turn it down to low or medium-low speed when it is slightly warm.And turn it off when it doesn't feel anything.
- Add soft butter and salt and mix. Scrape off the bowl with a spatula 1 -2 times to ensure it's incorporated evenly.8 oz Unsalted butter, A pinch Salt
- Add the cold lemon curd to the buttercream. And mix. Again, scrape off the bowl with a spatula 1 -2 times to ensure it's incorporated evenly.
How to store it:Move it in an air-tight container or wrap it to store. You can store it in a fridge for up to 4 - 5 days or a few months in a freezer. This is a ½ batch of my original lemon curd recipe. Make one batch if you want extra lemon curd to fill in the cakes. ** For best results, measure ingredients with a scale. All recipes are designed with weighed ingredients using grams/ounces. Cup measurements are provided for your convenience. **
📌 Pin It!
Pin it if you love this recipe, and find so many other recipes on my Pinterest page!
💬 A Sprinkle Of Life
The sudden storm occurred as I was filming for this recipe. You'll hear the lightning sound at the beginning of the video tutorial⚡️ It cleared out quickly just in time when the frosting was ready🌤️ Viva to the natural sunlight for photos!!
Other lemony desserts:
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