Moist, spongey and made in one bowl, these vegan lemon cupcakes are the perfect sweet treat! They’re also gluten free and feature a creamy dairy free lemon buttercream frosting.
These vegan lemon cupcakes are sweet but perfectly tangy and have the most amazing texture all without eggs, dairy OR gluten.
I thought the whole gluten free and egg free thing would be hard, but this recipe was actually pretty easy to create!
Of course, they don’t have to be gluten free, you can use all purpose flour in place of the gluten free blend I used. Either way, this recipe is comes together in about 30 minutes and I promise they’ll impress your friends and family.
There’s no need for any lemon extract or artificial lemon flavor, all of the flavor comes just from fresh, real lemons! Try my lemon loaf next!
Flour. We’ll be using a mix of gluten free all purpose flour and almond flour. The almond flour really helps with the texture, so I don’t recommend any swaps. If you are not gluten free, regular AP flour works!
Sugar. Just regular white sugar! I do not recommend any subs here because we want to keep the color nice and light.
Oil. I used refined avocado oil but any neutral tasting oil will work.
Milk. I highly recommend soy milk, but any other non-dairy milk will work. Soy milk has a higher protein content which helps when you are baking with no eggs.
Lemon. A bit of lemon juice and zest add a lot of flavor. You are welcome to add lemon extract for a more powerful taste.
Baking soda/powder. A bit of both will help the cupcakes rise properly and get a nice fluffy texture.
How to make vegan lemon cupcakes
PREP. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin/cupcake tin with liners and set aside.
WHISK. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients. Whisk in all dry ingredients, sifting the almond flour if it seems lumpy.
Whisk together just until combined. You don’t want to over mix because this will force too much air into the batter and can cause the cupcakes to sink in the middle when they cool. Fill each cupcake tin about 3/4 of the way up.
BAKE. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine take 18 minutes, but all ovens are different.
COOL. Remove from the oven and let cool in the tray for about 10-15 minutes, then careful remove and let cool on a cooling rack.
They’ll still be delicate when they’re warm, so I like to tip the cupcake tin on its side slightly and carefully pull them out by twisting gently so I don’t leave any indents with my fingers.
Buttercream is one of the easiest things to make dairy free/vegan. All you need to do is swap the regular butter for your favorite vegan alternative! This recipe is sweet (as buttercream is), but also has a nice hit of tang from the lemon.
To make the buttercream, add the room temperature butter to a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer and beat until creamy and well combined.
Beat in the lemon zest. You can use as much or as little as you want to achieve your desired lemon flavor.
Mix in the sifted powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. You will need 2-3 cups of sugar, depending on how thick you like it. Sifting the sugar is important for that silky smooth feel, but if you’re in a pinch, you can get away with not sifting. Finally, mix in the milk and lemon juice.
Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. I like to let them cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then stick them in the fridge for about an hour to ensure they’re cool all the way to the center.
The lemon buttercream will make enough to add a generous, but not very thick layer of frosting to each cupcake. If you prefer more frosting on your cupcakes or are planning to pipe it on, I suggest doubling the buttercream recipe.
How to store cupcakes
These vegan lemon cupcakes are best at room temperature, but with the lid slightly ajar or just on a plate with foil on top.
Otherwise, the buttercream can get too moist and almost melt off slightly, especially if it’s a warm day!
They will last at room temperature for a couple of days, or in the fridge for about 5 days.
Can I use a different frosting?
Definitely! While I love the lemon buttercream, you can also try a blueberry or strawberry frosting with these cupcakes. I like this blueberry frosting recipe, but use dairy free butter to keep it vegan.
For a lighter option, you can use the lemon glaze from my lemon loaf instead of a buttercream.
Love this recipe? Try these next!
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
- Funfetti Cupcakes
- Lemon Blueberry Cookies
- Gluten Free Lemon Cake
- Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
by: claire cary
- 1 cup soy milk
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp lemon zest
- ¾ cup granulated cane sugar
- ⅓ cup oil vegetable or avocado
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) dairy free butter at room temperature
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1-2 tbsp non-dairy milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a muffin/cupcake tin with liners and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients.
- Whisk in all dry ingredients, sifting the almond flour if it seems a little lumpy. Be sure to spoon and level the flours.
- Whisk together just until combined. Taste and make sure the lemon flavor is strong enough for you. Keep in mind the buttercream will also add lots of flavor!
- Fill each cupcake tin about 3/4 of the way up.
- Bake for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. They take 18 minutes in my oven, but all ovens are different.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the tray for about 10-15 minutes, then careful remove and let cool on a cooling rack. They'll still be delicate when they're warm, so I like to tip the cupcake tin on its side slightly and carefully pull them out by twisting gently so I don't leave any indents with my fingers.
- Add the room temperature butter to large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer and beat until creamy.
- Beat in the sifted powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. You will need about 3 cups of sugar, but more or less depending on how thick you like it.
- Beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice and milk.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Top them off with fresh lemon zest and enjoy!