This lemon cream cheese frosting is smooth, creamy, and perfect for piping onto layer cakes and cupcakes. The tangy lemon flavor of the frosting is made with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. This lemon cream cheese frosting recipe pairs well with lemon cupcakes, berry desserts, and vanilla cake!
Ingredients for Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Unsalted butter: Room temperature, softened butter.
- Cream cheese: Room temperature, softened cream cheese.
- Powdered sugar: Also known as icing sugar or confectioners’ sugar.
- Salt: To contrast the sweetness in the frosting.
- Lemon zest: Use a fine grater or zester to make fresh lemon zest. You will need the zest of one lemon.
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed. About the juice of one lemon.
How to Make Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
To make the frosting, I recommend using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. If you prefer, you can use a paddle attachment as well. If you do not have a stand mixer, a handheld electric mixer will also work!
- Cream unsalted butter and cream cheese for 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the powdered sugar in two batches, mixing on low speed in between each addition until the powdered sugar is fully combined with the butter mixture.
- Add in the salt, lemon zest, and lemon lemon juice. Mix on low and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Whip the frosting for an additional 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed until smooth, light, and fluffy.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe Tips
Use room temperature butter and cream cheese
The butter and cream cheese should be at room temperature. Not only will it cut down on the overall mixing time of the recipe, but it allows the ingredients to whip up smooth and create a light and fluffy frosting.
Use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest
For the best and brightest lemon flavor, be sure to use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
Use a whisk attachment for light and fluffy frosting
Whisk or paddle attachment is up to you, but for my cream cheese frosting recipes, I usually always go with the whisk attachment. It helps the frosting whip up to be light and fluffy by adding a bit of air, which makes it more of a cream cheese buttercream than a traditional cream cheese frosting.
If you find the frosting becomes too soft, do not add more powdered sugar. Chill the frosting in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes and rewhip until you reach your desired consistency. Cream cheese frosting is a bit more delicate than buttercream and does not hold up well in heat and humidity. If you are looking for something a little more stable, check out my lemon buttercream frosting recipe!
Storing and serving
This frosting can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. To use, bring to room temperature and rewhip. The frosting is best served at room temperature, so I recommend taking your layered cake or cupcakes out of the refrigerator at least one hour before serving. Be sure to check out my lemon cake recipe where this frosting is literally the icing on the cake!
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer whisk attachment preferred
- 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 7 cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add room temperature butter and cream cheese. Whip on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Add the remaining half of the powdered sugar and continue to mix until combined.
- While mixing on low speed, add in salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and whip for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Whip until the lemon cream cheese frosting is light, fluffy, and smooth.