Easy Lemon Glaze for Desserts

Lemon glaze on a spoon over a white bowl

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Yield: 1/2 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
44 Calories
0g Fat
11g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 44
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 6mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Drizzling a lemon glaze over a dessert is an easy way to dress it up and add a bit of freshness, interest, and extra flavor. This easy lemon glaze recipe is made with only three ingredients: confectioners' (or powdered) sugar, milk, and fresh lemon juice or lemon extract. It's perfect for pound cake, rum cake, Bundt cake, coffee cake, sweet rolls, and cookies.

Making lemon glaze from scratch allows you to adapt the taste and consistency to any baked good. For instance, if you want it a little thicker, add a bit more sugar, or you can give it extra flavor with more lemon juice or switch to another type of citrus. Citrus glazes are especially good with other fruits, and lemon is particularly delicious with blueberry and raspberry goodies.


Click Play to See This Dessert Lemon Glaze Come Together

"The glaze is very easy, quick, and delicious, with a nice sweetness and bright lemon flavor. The recipe does produce a thin, runny glaze. To fix that, I’d whisk in about half the milk and drip it from a spoon to check the consistency, then add more milk as needed." —Colleen Graham

Easy lemon glaze for desserts on top of a pound cake
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Lemon glaze ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Test the consistency by dripping the glaze from a spoon.

    Lemon glaze in a bowl with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Whisk in lemon juice or lemon extract. If you'd like it a bit thinner, add more milk as needed.

    Lemon juice whisked into confectioners' sugar and milk in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats

  4. Brush or drizzle the lemon glaze on a warm or cooled cake.

    Lemon glaze being drizzled on Bundt cake

    The Spruce Eats


  • One average-sized lemon should yield about 3 tablespoons of juice, which is more than enough for this recipe. To maximize juice yield, let the lemon reach room temperature and apply firm pressure as you roll it back and forth under your palm on the counter a few times.
  • For the best coverage, pour the glaze over baked goods that are completely cool. Slightly warm will work if you prefer to spread it. If the cake is too warm, the glaze will run off it or soak into the crust and create a soggy cake.
  • The glaze will harden as it sets. Depending on the consistency, this typically takes about 30 minutes.

How to Store and Keep Lemon Glaze

Store any leftover glaze in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. To use the refrigerated glaze on a future dessert, let it come to room temperature and whisk to recombine, or heat in a microwave until pourable.

Recipe Variations

  • Switch to grapefruit, lime, Meyer lemon, or orange juice or extract for a slightly different glaze flavor.
  • Make a keto lemon glaze by switching to a low-carb powdered sugar substitute. Erythritol, monk fruit, and stevia are popular options.

What's the Difference Between a Glaze, Icing, and Frosting?

Glazes are nice for cakes because they add just a bit of flavor without overwhelming the baked good. This differentiates it from icing and frosting. Glazes can be sweet or savory, but icing and frosting are generally sweet. An icing, such as royal icing, sits between a glaze and a frosting in terms of consistency; it's glossy and thin, but thicker than a glaze. Frosting is thicker and fluffier and typically used for cupcakes and birthday cakes.