Lemon Glaze Icing

Lemon glaze icing cupcake

The Spruce 

  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: Makes 1/2 cup (3 servings)

A lemon glaze icing recipe is a handy one to have in the kitchen when baking as it can turn a basic dessert into something special. Drizzle over a pound cake, sugar cookies, blueberry quick bread, or puff pastry treats. It adds the perfect sweet-tart taste that lemon fans will love.


  • 1 cup powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Optional: 1 small drop yellow food coloring

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lemon icing cupcakes
    The Spruce 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, milk, and food coloring, if desired.

    Combine ingredients in a bowl
    The Spruce
  3. Stir until the mixture is smooth.

    Stir until mixture is smooth
    The Spruce 
  4. Drizzle over cookies, cakes, and other baked goods.

    Drizzle over baked goods
    The Spruce  
  5. Serve and enjoy!


  • Before drizzling the glaze onto a baked good, it is important that you let the baked good cool completely. If you pour the glaze onto a warm cake or cookie, the icing will quickly be absorbed instead of sit on top.
  • You need to store the glaze in the refrigerator since it contains milk; there, it will last up to a week.
  • Once the icing hardens on the cake or cookie, you can keep it at room temperature for a week or so.
  • After being refrigerated, bring the glaze to room temperature before using. If it seems too thin for your purposes, add a little more powdered sugar, in very small amounts, until the right consistency is reached. If the glaze is too thick, dribble in a bit of milk until it becomes the texture you are looking for.
  • If you are finding your lemon isn't producing enough juice, there is a simple way to "loosen up" the flesh to allow more juice to release. Roll the whole lemon, using the palm of your hand, on a countertop or cutting board, gently pressing down while doing so. Just make sure to do this before you zest the lemon since the juice will escape through the skin if done after. Although there is a tool designated to zest citrus, a microplane is much easier and more efficient and is worth adding to your kitchen tool collection.  
  • In addition to dressing up simple desserts, this lemon glaze icing is also delicious when drizzled over sweet baked goods that feature lemon as a star ingredient, such as Polish lemon blueberry bundt cake and lemon cream cheese cookies. The lemon glaze is also an important part of an Easter favorite—the hot cross bun—as it is used to create the crosses on top of the sweet rolls. 

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