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.
These gluten-free cupcakes are perfect for your low-carb diet or keto diet with only 0.9 grams of net carbs per mini cupcake.
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.
These sugar-free cakes for diabetics taste just like the real thing. You just need to use low-carb flour and sugar-free sweeteners.
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)
- Keto chocolate cupcakes (almond flour recipe)
Please rate this recipe.
Keto Lemon Cupcakes Recipe (Creamy Lemon Frosting)
Keto Lemon Cupcakes
- 60 g (2 oz) 1 whole sweet lemon, quartered I use Meyer lemons.
- 6 eggs - medium
- 250 g (2 ½ cups) almond meal/flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 tablespoon granulated sweetener of choice or more, to your taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Creamy Keto Lemon Frosting (Icing)
- 125 ml (½ cup) natural unsweetened yoghurt unsweetened
- 110 g (½ cup) cream cheese softened
- granulated sweetener of choice to taste
- lemon zest and juice to taste
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.
YOUR HOLIDAY PANTRY & GIFT GUIDES
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.
More keto lemon recipes
When you have fresh lemons to use, there are so many delicious keto lemon recipes to try.
Mini single-serve lemon meringue pies, family-sized low-carb lemon meringue pie, no-bake lemon cheesecake, and keto lemon coconut cake (with a keto cream cheese frosting).
These were lovely and all my family loved them; they're usually critical of my cooking 🙂
I weighed 120grams lemons but only added the lemon without the skin. The icing was really nice too and I added it to the cupcakes after putting it in the fridge to set. Thanks for lovely recipes.
HORRIBLE!!! I literally just made these today and followed the recipe exactly. I love lemon flavored desserts but this was a waste of food and ingredients. Wow! Do not try this!!
I wish I would have read this first! Just made these and followed directions perfectly. The consistency is good but horrible bitter taste to the cupcake itself. And the frosting does not look like that. Sad, because these ingredients aren’t cheap.
did you use stevia? I find that cooking with stevia leaves a bitter aftertaste----- my husband can't taste this, but I do. I now use erythritol only.
The recipe is absolutely amazing! I made mine into little lemon lava cake cookies, so good! I don't mean to be a negative Nancy or sound rude but I found that the amount of adds on the website was a bit much. It took forever to get down to the recipe. I'm sorry if that sounded rude, I was just lettin ya know. Anyways Thanks for the AMAZING recipe!!! I will definitely check out your other recipes, I'm sure that they will be just as amazing! <3
My apologies for the adverts. They allow me to continue to supply my website free for everyone and not charge a subscription fee. 🙁
Just made these...I love the sour flavor of the whole lemons. What a neat idea. However your pictures & mine look nothing alike. The almond flour you suggested on using has flecks of brown making my cupcakes looking drastically different than yours. I even used super-fine almond flour. Yours look like the lemon cupcakes that I make with white flour & real sugar.
Did I do something wrong?
I generally use almond meal, which is ground almonds. There may or may not be almond skins in there, depending on which brand you use. I sometimes even make my own almond meal by grinding up almonds in the food processor. Don't worry about the odd brown fleck from the almond skins, they will still taste wonderful. I would check your brand of super-fine almond flour, that doesn't sound right. Almond flour should have no almond skins in there, that is the main difference between flour and meal.
These were amazing!!!! Thank you so much for the recipe!
Julie M- Oregon USA
Just made these. Please include a rough american cup measurement for those of us who are not used to weighing our ingredients. I think I used about 2 -3 cups of almond flour because at first I only used 9 dry ounces and had to add more... I could only find regular lemons and wished I had not used the whole lemon. Next time I will only use the juice. I made them mini and muffin top and the mini turned out the best. Thank you so much for developing this recipe:)
Actually there is a button to click which alters the measurements between metric and US... that should help. 🙂
Just made these and the kids are loving them! Can I leave these on the counter in an air tight container or do they need to be refrigerated? Thanks!
I leave them in an airtight container in the pantry, but if it is hot and humid, you may want to pop them in the fridge to be safe.
My Manager made these for my birthday celebration and they were LOVELY! such a treat. She made full size cupcakes, and even those who aren't on an alternative diet really enjoyed them! Going to make them for my family this weekend.
Oh my goodness did these not turn out!!! ?? They were entirely too sour/bitter. I made them as mini cupcakes and I couldn't even eat a whole one. So disappointing. And a waste of expensive ingredients.
Oh dear - such a disappointment and waste of time & money (ouch, all that almond flour) 🙁 I've usually had great success with your recipes and missed having something lemony as a treat so was looking forward to these; but these are sooo bitter and very eggy tasting 🙁
I just made these and they turned out perfect and delicious.
Just use tge zest of 2 lemons and the juice if you use the whole lemon like you do with an orange you get a very bitter after taste that believe me you cant get rid of. I adapted and orange almondmeal cake to lemon and learned the hard way.
I use Meyer lemons which don't seem to have the bitter after taste so go with what you prefer and the lemons you like, then add sweetener to your taste and liking. That would work 🙂
These were ok....I was making them for a get together, but decided against it. The residual pith/bitter taste was undeniable and off putting. Next time I will just use the juice of the lemon and lemon zest but not the whole lemon quartered.
This mixture was so dry I had to add heaps of water and olive oil to get it to a batter. I'd say I just wasted 6 eggs and flour and olive oil
Why did you add olive oil? That would taste very bitter. I can't understand why it was so dry as there are plenty of eggs in this recipe to keep it moist. I'm wondering if the measurements or cups you used got mixed up somehow. I have made this so many times now and so many readers tell me it is a family favourite. Let's see if we can figure out what went wrong.
Sorry I'm thinking of your lemon bars for the coconut flour.
Hi. Can I just use lemon juice instead? If so how much? Also can I just use all almond flour? If so how much?
Sure, add lemon juice to your liking and taste (lemons are incredibly variable in their tartness). Yes you could use almond flour, although it may be a little crumbly.
I've made these 3 times and they always come out dry, almost to the point of hard to swallow, even after I frost them. Do you have any ideas why. I love them and what a great snack when following a low carb program!! Thx
What a shame, I am wondering if you're lemons aren't as juicy as others or you may need to add another egg to lighten and moisten them? Almond flour/meal can be tricky to work with sometimes, it can be quite variable to the amount of moisture in each batch or brand. Cook them for a little less next time and see if that helps. I have made these numerous times so I am thinking it's an ingredient failure here.
Just a suggestion. As I was reading through the comments and replies, I noticed way down at the bottom of the list that you used Meyer lemons in this recipe. It is my understanding that Meyer lemons are much sweeter tasting, i.e., less bitter than regular lemons. You might want to specify this in the ingredient list or in your notes, as it would make a huge difference in the taste of the cupcakes. They may also be juicier than regular lemons. It may solve the bitterness problem that I noticed a lot of comments mentioned.
Great idea, thanks. I didn't realise there were so many varieties, Meyer is pretty much all we can get here. Amended, hopefully that may help. Thanks again.
my frosting was too runny, so I thickened it with locust bean gum.
However, are my cupcakes too bitter. I will fix them with much less pith next time or even leave it completely an only take the juice.
love your cat! I have two that rescued me - Tommy and Gina 🙂 is there anything at all that I can substitute for the yogurt in the Lemon Icing/Frosting? Probably not but thought I would ask 🙂
Ah my cat is called Lucky after we fostered her from the SPCA then couldn't bear to give her back. We thought the name was appropriate for her. As for the yoghurt, you could make the icing with just plain cream cheese, stevia and lemon zest (similar to my carrot cake frosting). I add the yoghurt to make it easy to spread and can be served on the side, but could easily be omitted.
Hello Libby, do like your recipes, but, Please could you make them Printer Friendly, I really like to be able to print recipes to take to the kitchen when I make them and it is very complicated getting yours to that state, Many thanks, Rieann in Western Australia.
Hi Riemann, there is a 'Print' icon just below each featured inmate in the recipe. This is a printer friendly version so the entire page doesn't load up. If this doesn't work you could screen capture the recipe then print that instead? Hope this fixes it.
Can I substitute lemons with strawberries? If so, how much? Thanks in advance.
Strawberries don't bake particularly well in cakes as they are so high in water. Also the lemon zest is what gives these cupcakes most of their flavour. Another recipe that may be better for you is my berry cake which can use any berry you like. I'm sure that would be amazing with strawberries, and served with whipped cream and strawberries on top. Yum.
Sara Viajar Lo Cura Todo
If I want to make a full cake (instead of mini), is it possible to use the same proportions? Thanks!
Sure. Just make the recipe as shown then pour into a baking tin the size you wish. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven, size of cake tin and test the centre to ensure it is cooked throughout. One reader posted a photo showing she made it in a loaf tin then drizzled lemon juice and sweetener across the top. Beautiful.
Hello, great recipe, frosting balances the bitter cupcake, when freezing can you freeze with the frosting on?
I wouldn't recommend it. I think the cream cheese frosting would split when it defrosts.
Just in order to be sure, when you say 2 lemons quartered do you mean 2 whole lemons or without the peel?
Use 2 medium lemons, cut them into quarters with the peel and everything. Adjust the sweetener to your taste as every lemon is different and everyones sweet tooth is different. I like my lemon cupcakes really quite tart so taste before baking.
Can you use these measurements to make a cake instead of mini cupcakes?
Absolutely. Just adjust the cooking times.
Getting ready to make these. Not understanding the almond flour measurement. Is that 9 oz, weight-wise (like, my whole bag of almond flour)? Or 9 oz, like a volume? Trying to figure this out with American measurements.
I generally use grams but I have now added ounces for my American readers. Cooking by weight is far more accurate than using cups, and there are 240ml and 250ml cups which complicate it further. By using both grams and ounces covers most countries.
I just made these and measured 9oz by volume...I have no idea what the weight was. They are pretty moist. I might use all the lemon juice and zest next time, but less of the pith and fibrous parts.
About to whip up a batch of these too! Lemon cupcakes using the entire lemon! Count me in!!!!
I just made these & found my batter too runny & the end result too bitter. I will make again & use 1 lemon & smaller eggs. Hoping for a better result next batch!
Mine were so bitter and had a nasty after taste
Mine too. Really disappointed. I tasted the batter and it was fine, but when cooked, the lemon peel just made them so bitter.
Looks great! I'm looking to pair it with a coconut frosting...can I add coconut milk or should I substitute the cream cheese? Thank you!
I would just use coconut cream as thick as you can find it. Even pop the coconut cream in the fridge and remove the thickened cream from the top then add sweetener, lemon zest and as much juice as is required to make it a spreadable consistency.
do you know that nutrition breakdown of the cake and icing separately?
No, sorry I put the entire recipe ingredient by ingredient into cronometer.com You could use this or MyFitnessPal to calculate them separately.
Hi libby I sent a comment last night asking whether I should use 1 or 2 lemons as our small lemons are between 100gm and 125gm and the recipe says 120gm for 2 medium lemons. I dont want it to be too bitter or runny. I dont know why the comment has disappeared either?
Hi Leisa, I have to moderate every comment here due to spam comments getting through. Your comment didn't disappear, it just wasn't approved yet.
These cupcakes have a lovely flavor, but mine stuck to the pan and are impossible to get out in one piece. Did you spray the pan or use paper liners. Your's look so perfect.
I used paper liners in mini cupcake trays for these. They came out incredibly easy. Silicon cases are also great but I only use them for regular size cupcakes as the mini ones tend to split as you pop them out.
Hi I'm going to make your lemon cupcakes and have weighed my lemons. They are between 100gm and 125gm each lemon. If I was making them for someone who's not worried about the carb content should I still put in 2 medium lemons (225gm) or will it be bitter as it will be too much lemon rind/juice and just use the one lemon?
I just added the weight as a guide as the size of lemons vary so widely. It was just to indicate how much lemon to use (it's not an exact science here) so your cupcakes don't end up with too much liquid from the lemon juice if you had used 2 large lemons. If your lemon are weighing 100 to 125g each. I would perhaps use only 1.5 lemons.
I am making these... and the batter is very thin.. is that correct?
No it should be like a regular cupcake mixture. Able to be spooned into each case. Were your lemons too big? Too much juice?
I would love to make this for the upcoming school bake sale. Since we are a nut/peanut free school, can you substitute almond flour for coconut flour?
Sorry, no. Almond flour and coconut flour cannot be easily swapped, that would be an entirely different recipe. You could try my berry cake which is made with coconut flour and is nut free.
I tried with Almond flour and it was great. The only thing you wanna do is to put the baking soda last, otherwise when you blend it, it will become like a foam and you will have to wait it to come down so you can distribute in the cupcakes parchment
Doesn't the pith of the lemon make them bitter? Or are you using a lemon variety that doesn't have much pith (white part under the skin).
No that's the beauty. Using the entire lemon gives a lovely lemon taste. Similar to the taste of orange in marmalade. I use standard meyer lemons from the supermarket. The feedback so far is everyone is loving them.
I have a nut allergy. Can I use coconut flour instead and what would the quantity be? I have read that you cant substitute coconut flour one for one.
Yum, but do they taste bitter at all, due to the pith being in them? Thanks.
These look amazing Libby ... cute photo of your cat.
What is her name please?
All the best Jan
That's my lovely rescue cat called Lucky - for various reasons. She is delightful and incredibly sweet. Thanks for spotting her Jan, she often watches me and wants to eat my cooking. She's grain free too 🙂
These look great! Do they have to be mini sized? Or do you think you can get away with using the same recipe for larger cupcakes.
Sure you can make these any size you like. I just made these mini as sometimes you want a bite size piece of cake and they last for ages as they make just so many.
Mine didn’t turn out at all! Double checking all ingredients, but it is like a crumble.. after 6 eggs, flour, lemons, etc. am I missing something?
It sounds like there was either a missing ingredient or something additional was added. With 6 eggs, it shouldn't have turned into a crumble. It's almost impossible, even with just 1 egg. Maybe check your flours and sweeteners. Do you store them correctly? Is it humid where you live (humidity affects the flours considerably). Let's see if we can figure this out.
Have just made these - I did one third of the recipe and ended up with six regular muffin size - they are scrumptious, I love lemon!! so moist - wish I had made a larger amount as they will not last long. Thanks.
Ha ha, that sounds like our house too. You can also use the batter to make a lemon drizzle loaf - it's heavenly!