Small Batch Lemon Cupcakes Recipe

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Small-batch lemon cupcakes are just what you need to make when you don’t want a whole batcg of treats. This recipe is easy to follow and has the perfect amount of sweet citrus flavor that will please anyone who tries it! Serve these up with your favorite frosting or let them stand on their own.

Lemon cupcake topped with frosting.

There are days when you know you should NOT make a whole batch (2+ dozen) of cupcakes. The reasons may vary and you might be the only one who knows why, bless your heart. And then a little special someone wants a sweet treat. What’s a gal – or guy – to do? The answer is simple – make a small batch of lemon cupcakes.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

These sweet little treats aren’t made with lemonade, but they are light and delicious. The batter easily makes six cupcakes with enough leftover for you to lick the spatula. If you have lemons, you could add some fresh grated lemon zest to make them even better.

I love to top cakes and cupcakes with simple buttercream icing. (You can get my recipe by clicking here.)  My topping is not snow white because I prefer to use organic powdered sugar and real vanilla (which is BROWN). If you are really ambitious, you can make these babies with ALL organic ingredients.


For this easy cupcake recipe, you need the following ingredients:

  • ½ stick (4 Tbsp butter), softened
  • ¼  cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼  cup + 2 Tbsp milk
  • ¼  tsp lemon extract
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
Lemon cupcake ingredients.

How To Make Lemon Cupcakes

The easiest way to make these is to use a stand mixer. However, you can make them using a large mixing bowl. Start by whipping butter at medium-high speed in a mixer bowl. Add sugar and mix until creamy. Add egg, milk, and lemon extract.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients at a slow speed until the batter is moist. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth.

Lemon cake batter in a glass mixing bowl.

Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cupcakes in a pan to be baked.

Depending on the cupcake liners you use, the recipe will yield 4-6 cupcakes. A batch made four cupcakes using these stand-alone cupcake liners.

Baked lemon cupcakes.

Allow the cupcakes to cool before decorating.

Buttercream frosting in a mixer.

Homemade buttercream is always a great option for topping these sweet treats.

Lemon cupcake with buttercream frosting.

These little treats are great at any time of the year, but especially so in Spring. You can top them with some shredded coconut that has been tossed with green food coloring and it will look like fresh new grass. For Easter, you could add a couple of jelly beans on top and serve them in small terra cotta pots.

Need a gluten-free cupcake? Check out the small-batch gluten-free chocolate cupcakes at Well Fed Baker. They’re so stinkin’ cute!

Small Batch Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes are a classic favorite. These small batch treats are the perfect way to brighten up your day with the tart and tangy flavor of lemon. The cupcake recipe is great for those days that you know you do not need to whip up a whole box of treats.
4.59 from 31 votes
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 4 cupcakes
Calories: 252kcal


  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whip butter at medium-high speed in mixer bowl. Add sugar and mix until creamy. Add egg, milk, and lemon extract.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
  • Add flour mixture to wet ingredients at slow speed until the batter is moist.
  • Turn speed onto medium-high and beat until smooth.
  • Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool before decorating.


Nutrition information does not include any toppings.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 114mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 439IU | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg
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Cupcake in flower pot.

Hungry for more sweets? Check out these other dessert recipes on Southern Kissed:

  • Easy Peach Cobbler – Make this easy cobbler and top it with a scoop of ice cream for a sweet, semi-homemade dessert.
  • Ooey Gooey Butter Cake – Tastes just like Paula Deen’s famous cake that is served at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen in Pigeon Forge.
  • Mini S’mores Pies – These sweet little pies have the great flavors of campfire s’mores without the campfire hassle.
  • Lemon Cake Roll – A sweet, lemony cake is rolled with a layer of luscious cream and fresh blueberries. It’s like a springtime version of a Swiss Cake Roll.

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  1. Hi Lynda! I made these wonderful lemon cupcakes a few days ago and they turned out absolutely wonderful 🙂
    I enjoyed them along with ermine frosting that I added lemon zest to. I didn’t have lemon extract so I subbed for zest and it turned out amazing!! This’ll now be my go to base recipe for all my small batch cupcakes.
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  2. I’m so excited to try these!
    I don’t have lemon extract on hand, would I be able to use lemon juice in lieu of the extract? I am verrry new at making homemade cakes/cupcakes. Thank you for any advice.

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