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A moist, fluffy lemon cupcake with a bite taken out of it.

Lemon Cupcakes

These homemade lemon cupcakes are fluffy, moist and topped with lemon buttercream frosting. The citrus flavor is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, and perfect for true lemon lovers. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Lemon Cupcakes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 46 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes


Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice*

Lemon Buttercream

  • ¾ cup unsalted buter , softened
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 - 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Lemon Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a muffin pan with muffin papers.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Beat in the eggs 1 at a time and vanilla extract.
  • In a liquid measuring cup whisk together the sour cream, milk and lemon juice. 
  • Beat about ⅓ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by about ⅓ of the sour cream mixture. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Repeat the process until all the flour and all the sour cream mixture is incorporated.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each liner about ¾ full. You should end up with about 12-14 cupcakes total.
  • Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 16-19 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Lemon Frosting

  • In a large bowl beat the butter until fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). 
  • Add in the lemon zest and salt. 
  • With starting with the mixer on low speed, beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice until the desired consistency and sweetness/tartness level is reached.
  • Frost the cupcakes with a knife, or transfer the frosting to a piping bag and frost.


You will need about 2 medium lemons for the cupcakes and frosting combined.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
Make Ahead Tips: Cupcakes are best if enjoyed the same day that you make them. Cupcakes can be made 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container. Frost the day that you plan to eat them. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen, then thawed in the fridge. Bring them to room temperature before frosting.