These super moist lemon drizzle cupcakes are light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet. They’re easy to make and have the softest crumb. Easily make them gluten-free too!
The best lemon drizzle cupcakes recipe
These lemon drizzle cupcakes are not overly sweet (which I love!), and you don’t need to frost them. The cupcakes are soft, buttery, soaked in a simple lemon drizzle to keep them moist and tender.
This recipe is my take on a classic British lemon drizzle cupcake, often enjoyed with afternoon tea as a snack or a little dessert. Honestly, these cupcakes are like a super soft vanilla cupcake, and a lemon had a baby. They are so good; it’s crazy!
The best part about this recipe is that you can make them gluten-free without a hassle. All you need to do is substitute the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour. So easy!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Classic British lemon drizzle cupcakes.
- Super fluffy, moist, and tender.
- Make them 100% gluten-free.
- Not overly sweet.
- Soft crumb.
- No frosting is needed.
- Easy to bake in under 30 minutes.
- Beginner bakers can make this recipe.
- The perfect dessert, brunch cake, or snack.
- Try these lemon sugar cookies or this healthy lemon pound cake next!
The taste and texture
These lemon drizzle cupcakes are zesty, lemon-flavored, and not overly sweet. The primary flavor comes from the lemon. They taste like a lemony vanilla cupcake.
Once baked, the cupcakes are incredibly moist, soft, and fluffy. They are not dry or dense. They have a super soft crumb and a similar texture to a vanilla cake. The lemon drizzle makes these cupcakes extra moist and tender.
These British lemon drizzle cupcakes call for nine simple ingredients. You need flour, eggs, sugar, milk, butter, lemons, and a few other baking ingredients. You probably have everything in your pantry already. Here is a list of everything you need so you are prepared:
- Flour: We use regular all-purpose flour or gluten-free 1:1 baking flour for the flour portion of this cupcake recipe.
- Baking Powder: To help the cupcakes rise.
- Salt: Just a little salt goes a long way for the perfect sweet and salty combo.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter, but you can use salted butter (just don’t add the extra salt to the dry ingredients). Make sure the butter is at room temperature. Butter makes these lemon drizzle cupcakes incredibly soft and moist.
- Sugar: We blend granulated (white) sugar in a blender to make homemade caster sugar to sweeten these British lemon drizzle cupcakes.
- Eggs: You need two eggs to make these cupcakes. It helps them stay together and rise.
- Milk: I love using 2% cow’s milk or unsweetened almond milk. You can also use oat milk, whole milk, cashew milk, or skim milk.
- Lemons: You need both the juice and zest of two lemons to flavor these easy lemon drizzle cupcakes. There are NO FAKE flavors or artificial extracts.
- Powdered Sugar: When mixed with lemon juice, the powdered sugar turns into a glaze. This is what we use to drizzle on top of the cupcakes to keep them moist and sweet.
Kitchen tools required
Here is a list of kitchen utensils you will need to make these easy lemon drizzle cupcakes.
How to make lemon drizzle cupcakes
Lemon drizzle cupcakes are super easy to make in a few simple steps. They are fluffy, moist, and have the softest crumb. Here are detailed step-by-step instructions with pictures for visual reference so any level baker can make them. The full recipe and ingredient measurements are in the recipe card’s bottom of this page.
First, preheat your oven to 350°F and line a cupcake tin with 12 liners.
Whisk together all the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
Then, in a high-speed blender, blend the sugar for 30 – 45 seconds. We are making “caster” sugar. It is not necessary for these cupcakes to turn out well, but I recommend it! The sugar should look powdery but still feel grainy when you touch it.
Add butter to a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Beat butter for 30 – 60 seconds with an electric hand mixer or paddle attachment. Add sugar and beat again for another 30 – 60 seconds. Add the eggs and milk. Beat for 30 seconds until just combined.
Add dry ingredients in two increments, beating on medium until combined after each time. The batter will look sticky. Then, mix in the zest of one lemon and ½ Tablespoon of lemon juice.
Fill each cup with 2 Tablespoons or so of batter. I used a 2tbs cookie scoop – it does not look like a lot, but they really do rise pretty nicely to the top.
Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The top should have a little dome, and the edges should be golden.
While the cupcakes are baking, mix 2 tbsp of lemon juice with the powdered sugar in a small bowl and whisk to combine. You can always add more lemon juice to make the glaze thinner. It should be lemony since we will drizzle it over the cupcakes. Let it sit while the cupcakes bake to be sure it dissolves.
Expert tips for moist lemon drizzle cupcakes
- Blend the sugar to make caster sugar. This gives the cupcakes a softer and finer crumb. You can make homemade caster sugar by blending white granulated sugar in a blender.
- Spoon and level the flour. This is my #1 tip for moist cupcakes. Don’t scoop the flour straight out of the bag because you’ll pack it down, add too much, and your lemon cupcakes will be dry. Spooning and leveling ensures that you don’t add too much flour to the cupcake batter.
- Use room-temperature butter and eggs. It’s very important to use room temperature ingredients so the butter and sugar cream together properly. Using cold butter, eggs, or milk straight out of the fridge will increase the baking time and will cause underbaked or dry cupcakes.
- Make sure your baking powder is NOT expired. Check the expiration date on your baking powder! If your baking powder is expired or has been open for more than six months, your cupcakes will sink. To avoid this problem, I always write the date I opened a new container on the box.
- Make them gluten-free. Easily make these lemon drizzle cupcakes gluten-free by substituting the all-purpose flour with this 1:1 gluten-free baking flour.
How to make these lemon drizzle cupcakes gluten-free:
I love the best lemon drizzle cupcakes recipe because you can make them gluten-free with just one ingredient swap. Simply substitute the all-purpose flour with gluten-free 1:1 baking flour.
How to make homemade caster sugar:
Caster sugar (also called castor sugar) is finely ground granulated white sugar. It looks powdery like confectioners sugar but is not as smooth since it still has sugar granules. You can easily make it at home by blending white granulated sugar in a high-speed blender for 30 to 45 seconds. It makes these lemon drizzle cupcakes extra soft and tender.
Caster sugar vs. icing sugar
The main difference between caster sugar and icing sugar is its texture. Caster sugar is finely ground white sugar and has tiny grains. It does look powdery similar to icing sugar; however, icing sugar is smooth and soft.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are lemon drizzle cupcakes?
Lemon drizzle cupcakes are buttery, lemon-flavor vanilla cupcakes made without frosting. Instead of topping them with buttercream, you drizzle a simple sugar-base drizzle on top which makes them extra moist and soft.
What makes cupcakes moist?
Butter or another source of fat (like greek yogurt, sour cream, or coconut oil) keeps cupcakes moist when baked. If your cupcakes are dry, you likely didn’t add enough butter or other type of oil.
Why are my cupcakes sinking in the middle?
Cupcakes sink for many reasons; here are a few of the possible issues: (1) you overfilled the cupcake liners, (2) your baking powder was expired, (3) you opened the oven door too soon and let the hot air out, or (4) you overmixed the batter. All of these issues are preventable!
What is caster sugar?
Caster sugar (also spelled castor sugar) is a type of fine white sugar. In a nutshell, caster sugar is just finely ground granulated sugar. It looks powdery like confectioners sugar but is not as smooth since it still has sugar granules – similar to sand.
Can I use regular white sugar?
Yes, you can use regular white sugar. It’s unnecessary to use caster sugar for these lemon drizzle cupcakes to turn out well, but I recommend it!
What’s the best gluten-free all-purpose flour for baking?
There are many types of gluten-free baking flour. Use this 1:1 gluten-free baking flour for the perfect lemon drizzle cupcakes.
Are these lemon drizzle cupcakes gluten-free?
You can easily make these lemon drizzle cupcakes gluten-free by substituting the all-purpose flour with gluten-free 1:1 baking flour. I like this one.
Can I add frosting?
Classic British lemon drizzle cupcakes don’t call for icing or buttercream; however, you can add it if you want. I love this simple vanilla buttercream recipe.
What’s the best substitute for butter?
The best substitute for butter in this recipe is vegan butter or room-temperature solidified coconut oil (not melted).
How to store them:
For best results, store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 6 days or 5 days at room temperature. If storing in the fridge, let the cupcakes come to room temperature for 10 – 20 minutes before enjoying them.
If you love this recipe, try these next!
- Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes
- Healthy Lemon Pound Cake
- Lemon Poppy Seed Crumb Cake
- Blueberry Lemon Pancakes
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled (use this gluten-free flour if needed)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulted sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 tbsp milk, I love 2% or unsweetened almond milk
- 2 large lemons, juice of both & zest of one lemon
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake tin with 12 liners.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together all the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a high-speed blender, blend the sugar for 30 – 45 seconds. We are making “caster” sugar. It is not necessary for these cupcakes to turn out well, but I recommend it! The sugar should look powdery, but still feel grainy when you touch it.
- Add dry ingredients in two increments, beating on medium until combined after each time. The batter will look sticky. Then, mix in the zest of one lemon and ½ Tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Fill each cup with 2 Tablespoons or so of batter. I used a 2 tbsp cookie scoop – it does not look like a lot, but they really do rise pretty nicely to the top.
- Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The top should have a little dome and the edges should be golden.
- While the cupcakes are baking, mix 2 tbsp of lemon juice with the powdered sugar in a small bowl and whisk to combine. You can always add more lemon juice to make the glaze thinner. It should be lemony since we are going to drizzle it over the cupcakes. Let it sit while the cupcakes bake to be sure it dissolves.
I only recommend products I absolutely love and use myself. In full disclosure, by purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. Thank you for supporting Healthful Blondie!
Sharing is caring!