These Vegan Lemon Cupcakes are bursting with flavor! Perfectly soft and moist lemon cupcakes are topped with a vegan lemon buttercream frosting. Best of all, they are easy to make in just 1 bowl!

straight on photo of 3 vegan lemon cupcakes

Of all the many flavors of dessert out there, lemon has become my absolute favorite. Of course, there are times when nothing but chocolate will satisfy (I’m looking at you Vegan Brownies or Chocolate Cake), but most of the time I would choose a lemony dessert.

I am so excited to share this recipe for vegan lemon cupcakes with you! Not only are they bursting with sunshine lemon flavor, they are also incredibly EASY to make in just 1 bowl. They have just the right amount of “tang” for a lemon cupcake, and are perfectly sweet and moist. This recipe makes about 18 cupcakes, so feel free to cut the ingredients in half or double if you’re planning a party!

straight on photo of 3 vegan lemon cupcakes

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What provides the lemon flavor for vegan lemon cupcakes?

A few things contribute to the lemony-ness of these cupcakes. First, freshly grated lemon zest. I highly recommend getting an inexpensive but handy Zester/Grater so you can easily have fresh lemon zest anytime you want without a struggle. Lemon zest is basically finely grated peel of a lemon, and it adds so much wonderful fresh lemon flavor to food!

There is also a bit of lemon extract in the cupcakes, and lemon juice in the frosting, as well as more zest!

close up looking down on a vegan lemon cupcake.

Want more Vegan Lemon Dessert recipes? Try one of these:

bite taken out of vegan lemon cupcake

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straight on photo of 3 vegan lemon cupcakes
4.74 stars (46 ratings)

1 Bowl Vegan Lemon Cupcakes

These Vegan Lemon Cupcakes are bursting with flavor! Perfectly soft and moist lemon cupcakes are topped with a vegan lemon buttercream frosting. Best of all, they are easy to make in just 1 bowl!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 22 minutes
Total: 32 minutes
Servings: 18 cupcakes


Lemon Cupcakes:

Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup vegan butter softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy milk


For the Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a standard muffin pan with paper liners. Spray the cups lightly with oil to help the cupcakes come out easily.
  • In a measuring cup, combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit a few minutes until it curdles (this is your vegan buttermilk).
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened vegan butter and sugar with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla and beat to combine.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add in the soy milk/vinegar mixture and mix for 30 seconds.
  • Now add the flour, then sprinkle the baking powder and salt on top of the flour. Mix on low speed until well combined, scraping the sides as needed with a spatula.
  • Fill the liners 3/4 full and bake for 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and they are lightly golden on top. Let them cool completely before frosting.

For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

  • Wipe out the bowl you used for the cupcakes and rinse the beaters from your mixer. Beat the vegan butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in 2 cups of the powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Beat on low, then switch to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Now add in the remaining 2 cups of powered sugar and mix. If the frosting seems too thick, add a tablespoon at a time of soy milk. If the frosting gets too thin, add a little more powdered sugar until a spreadable, thick frosting consistency is reached.
  • Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes or simply spread it on with a butter knife. 


  1. May substitute almond, coconut or hemp milk for the soy if desired. I think soy milk makes the best vegan buttermilk though.
  2. For the cupcakes, softened coconut oil could be substituted for the vegan butter, but it won't work in the frosting. You really need vegan butter for the buttercream frosting.
  3. May also be frosted with my Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting if desired.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 800IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!


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  1. These are awesome and sooooo easy to make. We are Orthodox Christian and fast from eggs and dairy during Lent. Your recipes are perfect for this time. No rubbery textures or weird ingredients (like black beans for chocolate brownies – bleh!). I am referring everyone to your site. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lizzy. You are welcome! Thank YOU for your fabulous review and uplifting comments! I’m thrilled you are loving my recipes and appreciate you sharing my site! Wishing you happy cooking!

  2. I made your Vegan Vanilla cupcakes and they were wonderful! Can both those and the Lemon cupcakes be made as mini-cupcakes? I know not all recipes downsize happily. Thank you for your delicious recipes!

    1. Yes, they can both be made into mini cupcakes, I’ve done both! 🙂 They just only bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Thank you!

  3. Just made these for a colleague at work. Sadly, they came out flat on top. I did double the recipe, and used coconut milk instead of soy because that was all I had. Just wondering why. I am sure they will be great but sad they didn’t rise more (for the occasion).

  4. These were so easy to make with my stand mixer. They baked for 20 min and came out so nice and fluffy. The recipe made exactly 18 cupcakes. Can I use the recipe without the lemon for regular vanilla cupcakes? I have made your vanilla cupcakes recipe many times, but I think I like these more.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the lemon cupcakes! Yes, you can turn these into vanilla cupcakes, no problem. Thanks!

  5. Can I use lemon juice instead of lemon extract? I haven’t found a lemon extract that is alcohol free, we have a grain allergy here.

    1. I prefer to store mine in the refrigerator. I love them cold, and they last a bit longer that way. They can, however, be stored on the counter for a couple of days.

  6. Hi Nora,

    How long should I bake this for if I want to use two 9 inch cake pans?

    Thanks for all of your amazing recipes – you’re the best!

    1. Try baking the cake layers for 30-35 minutes instead. I’ll also suggest making this Lemon Cake recipe instead. Both recipes are similar, but the cake is just a bit more light, moist and fluffy.

  7. Hi Nora,

    How long should I bake this in the oven for if I want to make it into a sheet cake?

    Thank you for all your recipes, we love them!

    1. It should take between 30 to 45 minutes to bake, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Hope this helps!

  8. Hi Nora – Love, love all your recipes! I plan to make the lemon cupcakes and was thinking of adding some fresh blueberries. What advice can you offer about adjusting the recipe?

    1. That should be fine! You could try adding up to 1 cup of blueberries into the cupcake batter, then bake as normal. Happy baking!

  9. Hello Nora,
    I was going to make your Vegan Lemon Cake recipe. Can I make it into cupcakes. I know you have a lemon cupcake recipe. But I have aquafaba I would like to use. The cupcake recipe doesn’t call for it. Bake time same as cupcake recipe?
    My family LOVES all your recipes. We are big fans!!!
    Thank you

    1. Hi Diane. I’m glad your family loves my recipes! Thanks for sharing that! Yes, you can make cupcakes with the lemon cake recipe. The recipe will make around 20-24 depending on how you fill the cups. Bake for 20-24 minutes. I hope this helps!

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