Easy Lemon Glaze for Desserts

Lemon Glaze on Polish Poppyseed Pull-Aparts
© 2009 Robert Rose Inc., 2009, used with permission.
  • 12 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 2 mins
  • Yield: 1/2 cup lemon glaze (1 serving)
Ratings (33)

This easy lemon glaze recipe is made with only three ingredients: confectioners' sugar, milk, and fresh lemon juice or lemon extract.

It's perfect drizzled on pound cakes, rum cakes, Bundt cakes, coffee cakes, cookies and more.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh, or 1 teaspoon lemon extract)

How to Make It

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth.
  2. Whisk in 1 teaspoon (or to taste) lemon extract and brush or drizzle on warm or cooled cake.

How Does a Glaze Differ from Icing and Frosting?


  • A dessert glaze is typically made with confectioners' sugar, milk or water, flavoring and sometimes food color. It can have a thin or thicker consistency but is usually transparent and pourable and applied to cookies, pastries and cakes. In many cases, it is made intentionally thin so it can drip down the sides of a cake.
  • A savory glaze can be made with reduced meat stock and used to give shine and flavor to hot and cold foods.
  • An egg wash brushed on baked goods to give shine and color also is known as a glaze.

Icings and Frostings

  • The terms icing and frosting are used interchangeably, although "icing" has a thinner connotation. Most frostings start with butter. American buttercream frosting is made with confectioners' sugar, butter and water or milk.
  • But culinary snobs consider American buttercream to be an inferior cake cover, opting instead for Italian meringues or French buttercreams, which are made with cooked whole eggs or egg whites.
  • Another common cooked frosting is known as seven-minute frosting that is made by cooking egg whites, corn syrup, sugar and cream of tartar in a double boiler on the stove top while beating for 7 minutes.
  • Icings include poured and rolled fondant and royal icing, the mortar used in gingerbread-house building and used to make sugar flowers.

If push came to shove, the differences between frostings and icings would be these:

  • Frostings are used to fill and coat the outside of a cake. They are usually fluffy and have a cream or butter base with a thick, gooey and buttery taste.
  • Icings, on the other hand, are glossy, thin and sugary and are typically used to glaze cakes and pastries and are made with sugar, egg whites, butter or cream.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 555
Total Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Unsaturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 18 mg
Sodium 69 mg
Carbohydrates 127 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 4 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)