Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

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Perfectly balanced lemon cream cheese frosting. It’s silky, slightly tart, and a little sweet. Everything you’d expect with cream cheese and lemon-flavored frosting! Spring has sprung.

Lemon cream cheese frosting swirled in top of a cupcake.

As you all know, I love cakes. Chocolate cakes, vanilla cakes, or carrot cakes. I really haven’t met a cake I don’t like.

What’s great about cakes is that the same vanilla cake recipe can taste dramatically different depending on the frosting you use. Use this fresh and bright lemon frosting, or this pineapple frosting, or my strawberry frosting – and each one will taste totally different.

Check out my frosting archive for more of my delicious frosting recipes. Here is a quick hint – people love this 7 Minute Frosting!

My latest and most favorite is homemade lemon cream cheese frosting. This one took several tries to get right. It’s finicky because cream cheese frosting is already soft. It’s not a frosting that holds up well against intricate piping.

If you add lemon curd to the mix, it can get all sorts of soupy. To counterbalance the soupiness, you have to add a billion pounds of powdered sugar. Then you end up with a frosting that’s overly sweet and tooth-achey.

I needed to make a frosting that was a happy balance of creamy, tangy, and sweet.

I chose lemon curd because it offers the most natural lemon flavor without being too wet. You can add some lemon zest if you find the frosting isn’t quite lemony enough, but I was pleased with the lemon curd alone.

Taste it here and if you feel like it’s just not lemony enough for you, add the zest of one lemon. But please, trust me on this one – if you want more lemon, resist adding more lemon curd as this could throw off the texture and consistency of the frosting.

Everyone raved about this lemon cream cheese frosting and claimed that it tasted like cheesecake. I’ll agree with that!


Recipe Snapshot

  • TASTE: Lemony and springy
  • TEXTURE: Thick and creamy
  • EASE: Super easy
  • TIME: Under 10 minutes

What You’ll Need

This creamy, dreamy lemon frosting is made with a handful of simple ingredients. You can buy lemon curd at the store, or choose to make it yourself.

Ingredients

  • Cream cheese – One package of full-fat block cream cheese, softened. Adds creaminess, richness, texture, and tang to the frosting.
  • Butter – Sweet cream butter, unsalted, softened
  • Confectioners’ sugar – Powdered sugar is preferred for frostings because it doesn’t impact the texture.
  • Lemon curd – Gives the frosting a delightfully bright and lemony flavor.
  • Vanilla extract – Use a high-quality recipe
  • Salt– To balance the flavors
  • Zest of one lemon – This is optional but will add a burst of flavor

Recommended Tools

  • Sifter
  • Mixer
  • Bowl
Lemon cream cheese frosting in white bowl.

How to Make Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

This lemon cream cheese frosting is a quick and easy way to infuse spring into your favorite layer cake recipe. It is easy to make, and delicious to boot!

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below

  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese Using a handheld mixer (or a stand mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Add the sugar, lemon curd, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low until just incorporated then turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Mix in lemon zest if desired.

Handy tip:

My biggest tip for frosting success is to make sure the cream cheese, butter, and lemon curd are at room temperature. Softened butter and cream cheese will mix together so much more easily.

Overhead of lemon cream cheese frosting pipped on top of vanilla cupcakes.

Tips For Success

  • Taste it here and if you feel like it’s just not lemony enough for you, add the zest of one lemon. But, resist adding more lemon curd as this could throw off the texture and consistency of the frosting.
  • This recipe yields about 2.5 cups which is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9×13 sheet cake.
  • The lemon zest is completely optional and may not be needed depending on your taste preference.
Close up of lemon cream cheese frosting swirled in top of a cupcake.

Storage & Freezing

Store this lemon frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

The most important of my storage tips – if you frost the cake and then freeze it, all will be ok. Though some will say it is ok, I don’t have great luck freezing frostings, thawing them, and then spreading them. So if you must freeze the frosting, make sure it is on the cake when you do it!

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

4.55 from 31 votes
Close up of lemon cream cheese frosting swirled in top of a cupcake.
Perfectly balanced Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s silky, slightly tart, and a little sweet. Everything you’d expect with cream cheese and lemon flavored frosting!
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serving Size 16

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (226 g) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (360 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup (56 g) lemon curd, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • zest of one lemon

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the sugar, lemon curd, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low until just incorporated then turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Mix in lemon zest if desired.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  • This recipe yields about 2.5 cups which is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9×13 sheet cake.
  • The lemon zest is completely optional and may not be needed depending on your taste preference.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 279IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.03mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
4.55 from 31 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Using your lemon cream cheese frosting for my Easter lamb cake this year – perfect!

  2. Rachel Boothe says:

    Is this frosting sturdy enough to pipe roses? I am looking for a lemon cream cheese frosting containing lemon curd that is sturdy enough for piping. Thanks.

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      This frosting is a little softer than my regular cream cheese frosting so it may not pipe well.

  3. Judith Boyd says:

    5 stars
    This frosting is SO good. Didn’t have to add lemon zest but used it on the top to add contrast

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      Hi Judith! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the frosting.

  4. Judith Boyd says:

    5 stars
    This frosting is SO good. Didn’t have to add lemon zest but used it on the top to add contrast

  5. Esther Mband says:

    what about the lemon curd….can i have its replacement something homemade maybe

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I’m sorry I don’t currently have a recipe for homemade lemon curd but you’re more than welcome to use any other curd as a replacement.

  6. Esther Mband says:

    I would really love to make this cakes but i dont have the electric kitchen appliances. Do i have another option?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      Well, considering this is a frosting recipe, you technically don’t need electric appliances. Just use a wire whisk and some arm strength to whip it up.

  7. 5 stars
    This frosting is one of my favorites! Great recipe!!

  8. 5 stars
    This frosting is one of my favorites! Great recipe!!