Maybe it’s you, a friend, or a family member, but everyone has a certified lemon-lover in their life. Made with 100% real lemon, these moist gluten-free lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting are the perfect dessert for all lemon affectionate aficionados.
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Why You’ll Love These Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Lemon Cupcakes
Fluffy, sweet, zesty, and tangy. These gluten-free lemon cupcakes are all that and more. Topped with a light whipped lemon cream cheese buttercream frosting, these celiac-friendly and dairy-free cupcakes are the loveliest lemon celebration sweet treat for any and every occasion.
First of all, did I mention that you only need one bowl and a whisk for the batter? Secondly, the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled. In quick conclusion, and plain as day to see, this is the best and only lemon cupcake recipe you need.
Easy Lemon Cupcake Ingredients
As always this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free. With that said, I do test each recipe with “regular” ingredients and make notes of alternatives or swaps so that everyone can enjoy it.
**Make sure you go to the bottom recipe card for the entire list of ingredients needed.
Flour: I used Kinnikinnick Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour for these cupcakes. This can also be swapped for regular cake flour if you are not gluten-free.
Sour Cream: This can be swapped for dairy-free plain yogurt. You can also use regular sour cream or yogurt if you are not dairy-free. The higher the fat content the better!
Milk: I love to bake with unsweetened almond milk but this recipe will work with any type of dairy-free or dairy-full milk. Like above, the higher the fat content the better.
Oil: Use canola or vegetable oil for best results.
Eggs: A liquid egg replacer such as Just Egg, aquafaba, or applesauce can be used to replace the eggs if vegan. Note that the cupcake texture will change.
Lemon Juice & Zest: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest is best. You could use bottled lemon juice if need be but I do not recommend dried lemon zest. It’s far too bitter.
Butter: A must for buttery yummy frosting. I used President’s Choice plant-based butter alternative. Feel free to swap regular salted butter if you are not dairy or lactose-free.
Cream Cheese: Again, as this is written dairy-free, I used Violife plant-based cream cheese. Feel free to swap in regular full-fat cream cheese, the brick kind, in place.
How To Make Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Lemon Cupcakes
As shocking as it may seem, gluten-free and dairy-free cupcakes are just as easy to make as their “regular” counterparts. In fact, the batter only requires a large mixing bowl and a whisk. Here’s how:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two cupcake trays with cupcake liners.
Step 2: Combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl and with a spatula or clean hands, begin to mix together firmly. This allows the lemon oil found in the zest to release and deepen in flavor.
Step 3: Pour all the wet ingredients into the bowl and whisk together until fully combined.
Step 4: Add in dry ingredients and again, whisk together until just combined.
Step 5: Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake. Allow the cupcakes to fully cool while you prepare the frosting.
Step 6: Cream the butter, cream cheese, and lemon zest with an electric or stand mixer until light and fluffy.
Step 7: Add the icing sugar, salt, and lemon juice to the creamed butter and mix until combined, fluffy, and delicious.
Step 8: Decorate the fully cooled cupcakes.
Step 9: The best part: devour them!
Lemon Cupcake Options & Variations
A luscious lemon cupcake, in my humble opinion, is hard to beat. If, however, you are looking for a fun flavorful twist on this cupcake staple here are a few different ideas:
Add A Filling: Jam, jelly, pudding, and/or ganache are all delicious filling options. Maybe give this raspberry filling a shot from my lemon raspberry layer cake recipe.
Frosting Flavors: Try topping the cupcakes with a different frosting flavor. I bet this strawberry buttercream would be phenomenal! So would classic vanilla frosting as found in my vanilla cupcake recipe.
Fresh Blueberries: You could add some fresh blueberries to the cupcake batter for a next-level lemon blueberry cupcake. I show you how to add berries to this lemon blueberry cake recipe.
Cupcake Tips & Tricks
Tip 1: Don’t overfill the cupcake liners. I use a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure the batter into each cupcake liner. This helps keep them uniform and prevents me from overfilling. You want each liner approximately ⅔ to ¾ full.
Tip 2: Always make sure the cupcakes are fully cooled before frosting and decorating. Even if just a tad bit warm, the frosting will fall right off. Whomp whomp.
Tip 3: Room temperature ingredients, as noted in the recipe card, aren’t just a suggestion. By helping the cupcake batter fully mix and combine evenly, room temperature ingredients will help prevent over-mixing and gummy cupcake texture.
Tip 4: Vegan cream cheese buttercream is quite soft in nature. Even more so with the addition of lemon juice. Allow the frosting to chill for at least 30 minutes before using it to decorate the cupcakes. This will give the buttercream more structure to pipe with.
Common Cupcake FAQs
How Do I Store Gluten-Free Cupcakes?
These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Note that as each day passes, the cupcakes will further dry out. Allow the cupcakes 20-30 minutes to sit at room temperature for the frosting to soften back up a bit before serving.
Can I Freeze Them?
Yes, you absolutely can bake and freeze the undecorated or decorated cupcakes in advance. Remove them from the freezer the night before and allow the cupcakes to slowly thaw overnight in the fridge. And like above, I recommend allowing the cupcakes to sit at room temperature for 20-30 before serving to help soften the frosting.
Can I Double The Recipe?
Double it, triple it, whatever. You’ll find this recipe translates beautifully into larger quantities. However, I do advise baking cupcake trays one at a time in the oven to ensure even baking. If you want to bake a double batch, which will give you 4 dozen vanilla cupcakes, I highly recommend using this large cupcake pan.
Can I Halve The Recipe For 12 Cupcakes?
Need only a dozen cupcakes? No problem! All the measurements can easily be halved except the eggs. Since 3 eggs are hard to divide equally, use 2 eggs and you’ll be good to go. Pinky promise.
Can These Be Made Vegan?
Yes, these easy lemon cupcakes can be made vegan. Swap the eggs with a liquid egg replacer such as Just Egg or aquafaba. Not that this will change the cupcake texture.
The Best Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Lemon Cupcakes
Bring on summer! These easy and delicious gluten-free dairy-free lemon cupcakes will have you and every lemon-lover in your life, whether they are gluten and dairy-free or not, enjoying a bright and fresh lemon citrus sweet treat.
I’d love to hear if you make these easy one-bowl lemon cupcakes. If you do, tag me on social media @cakedbykatie and leave the recipe a rating and review below.
More Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cupcakes
Need an allergy-friendly dessert to bring or share at the next festive occasion? I’ve got you covered:
- Sangria Cupcakes (GF & DF)
- Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes ( GF & DF)
- Peach Rose Cupcakes (GF & DF)
- Vanilla Cupcakes (GF & DF)
- Honey Pumpkin Cupcakes (GF & DF)
- Honey Lavender Cupcakes (GF & DF)
- Eggnog Cupcakes (GF & V)