The BEST keto lemon cupcakes with creamy sugar-free lemon frosting.
Discover why you don't even need to peel the lemons. This whole lemon cupcake recipe is all made in the food processor.
These almond flour mini keto lemon cupcakes can be enjoyed guilt-free at under a gram of net carbs each (0.9 net carbs each!).
Looking for a treat that's equally tart and sweet? These incredible keto lemon cupcakes are moist almond flour cupcakes, filled with real lemon zest and topped with a delicious cream cheese icing just bursting with lemon flavor!
Following on from the amazing success of my Orange and Almond flourless cake, I have adapted the recipe to create mini low-carb lemon cupcakes. I also have a low-carb lemon coconut cake if you want a larger cake for sharing.
Love lemon flavor? Then you'll love these! These are the best lemon cupcakes especially when you only want a portion-controlled bite-size piece of cake.
I manage to make 48 in my mini cupcake cases, which is plenty for the next few days, and plenty leftover for the freezer.
Baking 101 (tips & charts)
Are lemons keto?
Lemons are a low-sugar citrus fruit that is popular and versatile on the keto diet.
Lemon juice can be used to make a zero-carb flavored water or tea. Lemon wedges give a citrus burst on the side of salmon. And lemon zest can be used to give a strong lemon flavor with very few carbs.
How many carbs are in lemons?
There are very few grams of net carbs in a whole lemon. The highest number of carbs is in lemon juice because it will take 4 or 5 lemons to produce 1 cup of lemon juice.
Why do keto lemon cupcakes require a whole lemon?
The recipe calls for a whole fresh lemon because the lemon zest and lemon peel, give a very strong lemon flavor, but for only 2.5 grams of net carbs.
So many recipes and recipe instructions ask for 1 cup of lemon juice, or to boil 1 or 2 lemons. But these keto lemon cupcakes are made in the blender in under 5 minutes.
|Lemon juice, per cup||16||54|
|Lemon zest, per tbsp||0.3||3|
|Whole lemon, small||2.5g||12|
|Lemon wedge, ⅛ of a lemon||0.4g||2|
There are two main parts to these gluten-free cupcakes: the cupcake itself and the creamy sugar-free frosting. You only need a few simple pantry ingredients.
All quantities, ingredients, and instructions are in the recipe card below.
For the cupcakes, you will need:
- Fresh whole lemon - I recommend a Myer's lemon for the best lemon flavor. If you live in a country where the fruit is commonly coated in wax (such as the United States), make sure to remove the wax before baking with the lemon. Place the lemon in a bowl of hot water and watch the wax melt and float to the top.
- Almond flour - or ground almonds, almond meal instead oaf almond flour.
- Baking powder - do not confuse baking powder with baking soda.
- Your favorite sweetener - choose your favorite such as monk fruit sweetener, xylitol, allulose, or stevia.
- Vanilla extract - I recommend getting the best vanilla extract you can afford. It's an ingredient that really makes a difference, especially if you plan on doing lots of baking
- Salt - this brings out the sweetness of the keto lemon cupcakes.
For the creamy lemon frosting, you'll need:
- Plain unsweetened yogurt - look for a variety that is full-fat and as low in sugar as possible
- Cream cheese - leave the cream cheese out on your counter for a bit to soften it before making these cupcakes
- Granulated sweetener
- Lemon zest
- Lemon juice - you'll get the best flavour if you use freshly squeezed lemon juice rather than the bottled variety
Find the exact quantities in the keto lemon cupcake recipe card below.
The good news is, this is one of the easiest lemon recipes to put together, especially for those following the keto diet!
We'll start by making the batter. And I'll let you in on my super sneaky, easy way to get all that yummy fresh lemon flavor in there.
Step 1: Puree the whole lemon
There is no peeling or chopping the lemons into tiny pieces. Instead, simply cut the whole fresh lemon into 4 quarters, remove any pips and place them in the food processor ... yes, skin and all.
Pulse and blitz with the food processor blade until it is almost pureed. It is up to you how fine you want the lemon pieces to be.
Step 2: Make the almond flour cupcake batter.
Add the almond flour, eggs, baking powder, sweetener, vanilla, and salt. Mix on low speed until you create a smooth cupcake batter. It should not have a grainy texture.
Once you have the desired consistency, scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure you don't have any lumps of almond flour.
The cupcake batter should be similar to a thick pancake batter and should be pourable but not runny.
Step 3: Pour the lemon cupcakes into mini-cupcake tray.
You can smell the fresh flavor of the lemons as you pour the almond flour cupcake batter into the mini muffin cups.
Add the batter into muffin cups, cupcake cases, or a mini-muffin tin. The lemon cupcakes recipe will make 48 mini cupcakes. Alternatively, you can bake these as 24 regular-sized cupcakes. You will need to cook them for longer depending on the size of your cupcake cases.
Step 4: Bake then cool.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for 10-12 minutes. Adjust cooking times according to the size of your cupcake cases.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temp before removing from the baking tin. Place the cooked and cooled keto lemon cupcakes on a wire cooling rack to ensure they are cooled completely before icing.
Creamy lemon frosting
Instead of a complicated buttercream frosting, you can make a deliciously creamy frosting with no added sugar. While you are waiting for the cupcakes to cool completely, you can mix the ingredients together and leave covered in the fridge.
Step 1: Mix the frosting ingredients
As the lemon cupcakes are baking, you can save time by mixing your frosting ingredients. Make sure you save the sweetener for last and add it slowly, bit by bit. Every person will prefer a different amount of sweetener, so make sure you taste the lemon frosting each time before adding more sweetener.
TOP TIP: As with ALL recipes here, ALWAYS taste your batter BEFORE cooking to ensure you have added enough sweetener to suit YOUR tastebuds. Read the Ultimate Guide To Low-Carb Sweeteners.
Step 2: How to frost keto cupcakes
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, ice your cupcakes. If you want to make them extra fancy, top them with a wedge of lemon or your favorite citrus fruit.
The easy way to decorate and frost cupcakes are to use a simple piping bag or place a generous spoon of frosting using the back of a dessert spoon.
I use a piping bag, but you can use an ordinary ziplock bag, fill it with creamy lemon buttercream frosting, zip the bag shut, then snip or cut the corner from the ziplock bag.
Using gentle but consistent pressure, squeeze the lemon frosting over each of the lemon cupcakes.
Due to the yogurt icing, these cupcakes should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. They will remain fresh for 2-3 days.
Alternatively, you can make a batch of these sugar-free lemon cupcakes and then freeze the cupcakes before icing. Once you are ready to enjoy them, let them dethaw on the counter, then decorate with lemon frosting, whipped heavy cream, or some mascarpone cheese (or sour cream) with lemon extract and sweetener.
FAQs about keto lemon cupcakes
Whether you are following a paleo diet or just prefer to avoid dairy, you can easily make this recipe without dairy.
The cupcake batter itself is already dairy-free. There is no butter in these cupcakes. You'll just need to change up the frosting. Rather than make the frosting as directed in the recipe card, simply mix up coconut cream with some lemon juice and lemon zest. Easy and delicious!
Coconut flour and almond flour, while both are gluten-free flours and popular in many keto recipes, they are NOT interchangeable with one another. It takes a while to become used to baking with low-carb flours, but they are healthier and better for the waistline!
If you want to bake with coconut flour, I suggest you use a recipe that is developed specifically for coconut flour.
If you have a bitter flavor in your cupcake, it may be because the variety of fresh lemon you chose was a bitter and sour lemon flavor. This is why I always suggest you taste the cake batter and add extra sweetener if needed before baking. Adding more sweetener can often save a baking failure or baking mistake.
This recipe makes a large number of mini keto cupcakes. They are great to put in the freezer for later. Place in an airtight container with a sheet of baking paper in between each layer of cupcakes. Remove a few at a time to defrost when required.
Some will prefer it with no sweetener and quite a sour taste, others are not ready for this and may require more sweetener.
You can buy preserved lemons but always read the nutrition label because some are not suitable for baking because they are preserved in lemon, vinegar, or alcohol. You can use lemon oil, lemon extract, or lemon-flavored stevia drops in your cream cheese frosting. it may not have the same taste, but it does make it easy to control how sweet, sour, and tart your frosting is.
This can happen if you used granulated sweetener. to get a smooth frosting, I suggest you use a powdered sweetener such as powdered erythritol.
More keto cake recipes
There are plenty of keto recipes that use fresh lemon, oranges, or berries on the keto diet. Perfect for your lemon buttercream frosting.
- Healthy sugar-free blueberry cupcake recipe
- Sugar-free whole orange cupcakes
- No-bake sugar-free lemon cheesecake recipe
- Keto whole orange flourless cake
- Keto cream cheese frosting (15 flavors)
- Keto lemon bars (keto lemon cake)
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Keto Lemon Cupcakes Recipe (Creamy Lemon Frosting)
Keto Lemon Cupcakes
Low Carb Lemon Cupcakes
- Place the lemon quarters (make sure to remove any seeds) in the food processor and using the blade attachment, blitz until almost pureed. It is nice to see small tiny pieces of lemon peel in the final baking mix.
- Add all the other ingredients. Pulse until smooth.
- Place a spoon of the cupcake batter into each mini cupcake case.
- Bake at 180C/350F for 10-12 minutes. Test the centre with a clean fork or skewer to ensure they are cooked thoroughly.
- Mix the softened cream cheese, natural yoghurt, lemon zest, and juice with a fork until smooth.
- Slowly add your preferred sweetener until it is to your taste. Some will prefer it with no sweetener (it's quite a sour taste), others are not ready for this and may require more sweetener.
- When the cupcakes are completely cold, decorate the keto lemon cupcakes with creamy lemon sugar-free frosting. Top each one with a tiny piece of lemon as shown.
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Approximate nutrition information is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. For the most accurate nutritional data, use the actual ingredients and brands you used in your preferred nutrition calculator.