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Lime Buttercream

This lime buttercream frosting tastes just like summer and is the perfect way to step up your frosting game.

This recipe uses my American buttercream recipe as a base and adds a generous amount of fresh lime juice and zest to give this frosting an incredible flavor.

image of a lime cupcake that's been unwrapped

How to Make Lime Buttercream

To make sure this lime frosting turns out as amazing as possible, let’s walk through each step together.

I’ve also included a video tutorial of the process below.

Step 1: Beat the Butter

Beat the unsalted butter on a medium-high speed for a minute with a mixer until smooth.

image of butter being beat with a hand mixer to make it smooth and incorporate air into it

Step 2: Mix in All the Good Stuff

Next, add in the zest of 1 small lime, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt and beat on low until the ingredients are incorporated. 

image of lime zest, salt, and vanilla extract being mixed into butter

Then slowly mix in the powdered sugar and lime juice on a low speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as need with a rubber spatula.

Step 3: Make Your Frosting Extra Smooth

Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. 

image of lime buttercream being mixed in a glass bowl with a hand mixer

Cover the buttercream flush with plastic wrap or immediately placing it in a piping bag. Otherwise, it will crust if it’s left sitting out!

My Secret Ingredient – Key Limes

This buttercream recipe tastes great when it’s made with regular limes, but it tastes even better when you use key limes!

Key limes are smaller than regular limes and their juice tastes tarter and has floral notes. This gives the lime curd more depth of flavor and makes it truly irresistible.

It can be hard to find key limes in certain places, but don’t worry! You can use bottled key lime juice which is much more widely available.

image of a bottle of key lime juice in a bottle

I’m usually against using bottle fruit juice, but this stuff is great and tastes just as good as fresh lime juice in this recipe.

Substitutions & Swaps in This Lime Buttercream Recipe

Some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this frosting recipe include:

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for.
  • Lime Juice – Good lime juice is a must in this recipe. Make sure you use freshly squeezed lime juice or really good, bottled lime juice, like this key lime juice.
  • Lime Zest – Fresh lime zest totally makes this recipe. I usually use the zest from 1 large lime or 2 small limes.
image of lime cupcakes that've been decorated with delicious lime buttercream and filled with homemade lime curd

How Much Frosting Does this Recipe Make?

This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting. You can also halve, double, or triple this recipe as needed.

A triple batch can be made in a 5 qt Kitchen Aid Mixing bowl.

I usually make one batch if I’m frosting a dozen cupcakes with big swirls. I make 2 batches of frosting to fill and frost a seven- or eight-inch layer cake.

image of lime cupcakes that've been decorated with delicious lime buttercream and filled with homemade lime curd

What Can I Frost with this Lime Buttercream Frosting?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to using this frosting. Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, macarons, you name it!!

I’ve used it to frost my vanilla layer cakes, vanilla cupcakes, lime macarons, and even my buttercream cookies!  

image of lime macarons stacked on a plate that have been filled with homemade lime curd

Lime Frosting Troubleshooting

While this recipe is pretty straight forward, sometimes people do run into issues making it.

One of the hardest parts is getting the consistency of your buttercream just right.

There are few different factors that influence the consistency of your frosting.

It’s a delicate balance between the temperature of your kitchen, the brand of butter you use, the temperature of your butter, and the amount of heavy cream you use.

The easiest way to see if your frosting is the right consistency is the spatula test! I check the consistency of every batch of frosting I make using this test.

To test your frosting, firmly press a rubber spatula into your frosting and pull directly up. Turn the spatula right side up and look at the frosting on the tip.

The frosting should form a somewhat soft peak that has a little curl on the end. It’s stiff enough to hold up that curl, but soft enough to create that little curl.

image of buttercream frosting being tested for the right consistency

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of this test with this buttercream, but hopefully the picture above using my vanilla buttercream helps you visualize what we’re looking for.

If the frosting is too stiff and sticks straight up, add in additional lime juice (1 tsp at a time).

If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Or if your frosting looks broken, add in more room-temperature butter, 1 Tbsp at a time until it comes back together.

You can also chill it in the fridge in 10-minute intervals if you think your butter was too warm.

After each adjustment, be sure to retest the frosting with your spatula before using it.

image of lime buttercream being piped on top of a lime cupcake

Tips for Making the Best Lime Buttercream

  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature before making this frosting.
  • If your powdered sugar contains cornstarch (most brands in the US do) there’s no need to sift you powdered sugar.
  • Use fresh lime juice and zest! It will give this frosting the best flavor.
  • If you are making frosting for a cake, mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes. This helps remove any extra air that might have been incorporated during the mixing process.
image of lime cupcakes that've been decorated with delicious lime buttercream and filled with homemade lime curd

Does This Lime Buttercream Need to be Refrigerated?

Below are some tips for storing this frosting in case you make it in advance or have leftovers:

  • Make this frosting ahead of time or save any leftover frosting! Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.
  • Store this frosting in the freezer for up to 3 months! Just be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to make it nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for a month. The buttercream locks in the moisture and keeps the cake fresh and delicious!

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make this lime buttercream recipe, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Please leave a rating and comment below.

Don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 3 cups

Lime Buttercream

image of lime buttercream being piped on top of a lime cupcake

This lime buttercream tastes just like summer! It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart & is packed w/ bright citrus flavor!

Prep Time 8 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes

Ingredients

Lime Buttercream

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (254g)
  • zest of 1 small lime - about 2 tsp (4g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt (1g)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (250g)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (15g)

Tools & Decorations

Instructions

Lime Buttercream:

  1. Beat 1 1/4 cups of unsalted butter on a medium speed for 1 minute with a hand mixer until smooth.
  2. Add in the zest of 1 small lime, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix on a low speed until the ingredients are incorporated. 
  3. Mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp of fresh lime juice on a low speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Once fully mixed, if the frosting seems too thick, add in additional lime juice (1 tsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  5. If your frosting looks broken, add in more room-temperature butter, 1 Tbsp at a time until it comes back together.
  6. Stir the frosting by hand with a rubber spatula once it's made for a minute or two to make the frosting super smooth.
  7. Either cover the frosting flush with plastic wrap to prevent crusting or place it in a piping bag fit with your favorite frosting tip. This buttercream can sit at room temperature for a day, be stored in the fridge for up to a month in an airtight container, or stored in the freezer for 3 months.

Notes

Yield

This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting. If needed, this recipe can be halved, doubled or tripled. A triple batch will fit/can be made in a 5 qt Kitchen Aid Mixing bowl.

I usually make 1 batch to frost a dozen cupcakes with large swirls. I make 2 batches to fill and frost a seven- or eight-inch layer cake.

Tips for Making the Best Lime Buttercream

  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature before making your frosting.
  • If your powdered sugar contains cornstarch (most brands in the US do) there's no need to sift you powdered sugar.
  • Use fresh lime juice and zest! It will give this frosting the best flavor.
  • If you are making frosting for a cake, mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes to get out any extra air that might have been incorporated during the mixing process.

Making This Lime Buttercream in Advance and Storage Tips

  • Make this frosting ahead of time or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.
  • This frosting can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months! Just be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to make it nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for a month. The buttercream locks in the moisture and keeps the cake fresh and delicious!

Nutrition Information

Yield

3

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 970Total Fat 77gSaturated Fat 48gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 25gCholesterol 203mgSodium 206mgCarbohydrates 74gFiber 0gSugar 72gProtein 1g

Jay

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

Hi! may I have the recipe for the lime cupcake pictured?

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