Vegan Lemon Cupcakes (Moist + Fluffy!)This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.
Fluffy vegan lemon cupcakes are moist and light, with a silky smooth lemon buttercream on top! These plant-based treats strike the perfect balance between sweet and tangy. Easy to customize, with a gluten-free option too!
Nothing brightens up a treat quite like fresh lemon, with its mouth-puckering juice and bright yellow color. Come spring and summer, I like to incorporate them into as many desserts as possible! Lemon bars with graham cracker crust? Yep! A show-stopping vegan lemon tart with a nut-based crust? Oh yeah!
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Lemon desserts have a special place in my heart, and while they’re great in the warmer months, they really can be made any time of year. It felt only right to create a vegan lemon cupcake recipe alongside them. These vegan cupcakes are soft, light, and bursting with citrusy flavor. They’re fancy enough for Easter or Mother’s day but easy enough for a casual weekday.
My kids devour them, and quickly ask for seconds! These plant based lemon cupcakes are dangerously good. I like to freeze any leftover cupcakes for the next time I crave something sweet and lemony.
👩🏽🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- Plenty of lemon flavor
- Show stopper presentation to bring to a party!
- Easy recipe
- Super decadent
- Perfect sweet treat for kids
- Bright citrus flavor in every bite
- Best vegan lemon cupcakes ever!
This easy vegan lemon cupcakes recipe requires simple ingredients found at your local grocery store! For the detailed ingredients list and nutritional information, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Oil: I used olive oil, but any neutral flavored oil works well. Oil works twofold, binding the cupcakes and adding moisture. Coconut oil or vegetable oil work great too.
- Lemon Juice & Lemon Zest: For best results and a delicious lemony dessert, use fresh lemon juice and zest, not the bottle. I don’t recommend lemon extract. It doesn’t impart the same fresh and tangy flavor.
- Soy Milk: Unsweetened soy milk has a mild flavor perfect for cupcakes, but any plant milk will do. Try almond milk or oat milk if you can’t have soy.
- All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour keeps the cupcakes light and soft. I don’t recommend subbing in an alternative flour like almond flour, oat flour, or coconut flour. Alternative flours are great, but not a 1:1 substitution for all-purpose flour. To make these a bit healthier, you could try whole wheat pastry flour, but you might end up with a denser cupcake.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Leavening agents create carbon dioxide bubbles which causes the batter to rise! Without them, the cupcakes would be dense.
- Sugar And Vanilla Extract: Sugar for sweetness of course, and vanilla enhances the overall flavor of the sugar + lemon! I like to use organic cane sugar.
- Vegan Butter & Powdered Sugar: Vegan butter is the base of the vegan lemon frosting. All the brands vary slightly in taste and texture. Use your favorite brand! Vegan margarine works too or for a vegan cream cheese frosting, swap half of the butter with vegan cream cheese. Powdered sugar is essential for a silky smooth textured frosting.
- Vegan Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes: Add 3/4 cup of fresh blueberries to the batter before scooping it into the pan. Avoid frozen blueberries, as they release too much liquid.
- Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes: Poke holes in the warm cupcakes. Combine caster sugar and fresh lemon juice, then drizzle over the warm cupcakes. Let the cupcakes cool then frost as directed.
- Gluten Free Lemon Cupcakes: Swap the white flour for a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. I prefer Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur brand. Use their 1:1 version that includes xanthan gum.
- Healthy Lemon Cupcakes: Swap the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour, use coconut sugar instead of regular sugar, and reduce the quantity of sugar by half, and use only half of the frosting that you end up with to frost the cupcakes. This will reduce both the sugar and fat in the recipe, but keep in mind it won’t be as sweet as a traditional cupcake!
- Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes: Add 3/4 cup of fresh raspberries to the batter before scooping it into the pan.
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes: Add 1.5 tablespoons of poppy seeds to the cupcake batter.
- Vegan Lemon Curd Cupcakes: Fill the center of the cupcakes with vegan lemon curd. Top with vegan lemon buttercream frosting.
Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Combine Wet Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and soy milk.
Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar.
Mix Together: Pour the wet into the dry and mix until smooth.
Scoop: Use an ice cream scoop to evenly distribute the lemon cupcake batter between the cupcake pan.
Bake: Bake cupcakes in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack.
Whip Butter: Whip the vegan buttery sticks until light and fluffy. You can mix them in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer.
Add Sugar & Soy Milk: Add the lemon zest and the powdered sugar a half cup at a time. Whip between each addition of powdered sugar. Add the soy milk to the frosting and whip until smooth and creamy.
Pipe Frosting: Using a piping bag, pipe the fluffy frosting onto the top of the cupcakes!
❓ Recipe FAQs
Store these cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cupcakes are best served at room temperature. If the cupcakes are chilled, let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes before enjoying.
Yes! These moist lemon cupcakes freeze very well. Simply place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let them thaw on the counter before enjoying.
It depends on the recipe! Vegan cupcakes just means the cupcakes are made with no animal products or byproducts. This recipe is more decadent than it is healthy, as it still contains fat and sugar, just like normal cupcakes. Enjoy in moderation like you would any treat. For a healthier option, see the variation recommendations earlier in the post.
No, this recipe is created without the need for one! Just follow the recipe as directed for delicious vegan lemon cupcakes!
💭 Expert Tips
- Use a ¼ measuring cup to measure the batter to fill the cupcake tin. This will ensure all the cupcakes are the same size.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tins before transferring them to a cooling rack.
- Wait until cupcakes are completely cool before frosting. Otherwise the frosting will melt!
- You could also make this recipe into a lemon cake by using a 9 inch cake pan!
- If you find the frosting is a bit thick continue to add a little more soy milk.
- Use room temperature butter for the vanilla frosting! Cold butter will be difficult to whip.
🧁 More Vegan Cupcake Recipes!
- Healthier Red Velvet Cupcakes
- Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes
- Cinnamon Sugar Muffins with Raspberry Jelly
- Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
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📋 Recipe Card
🎥 Watch How to Make It
Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
- ½ cup oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk or unsweetened almond milk
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup vegan butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 170 C. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and soy milk.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before topping with frosting.
- To prepare the frosting by placing the vegan butter into a stand mixer and whip until smooth, pale and fluffy.
- Add the lemon zest and slowly add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Whipping in between each addition.
- Finally, add the soy milk to the frosting mixture and whip until desired consistency.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cold cupcakes.
- If you find the frosting is a bit thick continue to add a little more soy milk.
- Cupcakes can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up 5 days.
- Cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Always use fresh lemon juice and not bottled.
- To make these cupcakes gluten-free substitute the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour.
- You can reduce the amount of frosting you put on each cupcake by half, if you want a thinner layer of frosting. This will reduce the amount of sugar in each cupcake to 27 grams and the total calories per cupcake to 315 calories.
Loved these lemon cupcakes, so light & moist!!
I topped mine with vegan white chocolate buttercream & freeze dried raspberries, they were yummy. This cupcake recipe will be my go to favourite from now on & next time will top with the lemon buttercream!!
Aw yay!! I’m so happy to hear that Aly!! Love the idea of vegan white chocolate buttercream as a topping too! 🙂
I’m dairy free so this recipe was perfect for me! So delicious and full of big lemon flavors.
Awesome! So happy to hear that MJ!
That lemon cupcake with that decadent frosting is calling my name! Delicious!
Yay! You will love this recipe Beth!
These cupcakes were delicious! Just the right amount of lemon flavour for me.
Woohoo! Thanks Janessa!
Such a great tasting cupcake with all the lemony flavors. My kids really enjoyed these!
Aw yay! I’m so glad you all loved this recipe!
Love how you added a French toast topping to these – such a creative idea! That paired with the blueberries in the batter sounds like the perfect combo.
Thanks so much Alex! Enjoy!!
very pretty and versatile to decorate to any party these especially patriotic!
These are totally a great party dessert!
So fun and scrumptious! The kids just love these adorable treats!
So happy you all liked these Beth! 🙂
Love the healthier swap ideas in this recipe, such a great cupcake!
Thanks so much Gina!
Such beautiful cupcakes! I love that vibrant blue color and the French toast topping for garnish. Yum!
Thanks Tara – so glad you liked them!
OK, if there was a cupcake recipe that had a WOW factor this season, this would be it. I really like how these look and can’t wait to recreate them at home!
Awww yay! Thank you so much Danielle!! I’m sure these will be a hit at your house!
What a great way to get kids to eat more fruit! These are so easy to make and delicious!
Definitely! There isn’t a kid I’ve met that will say no to cupcakes – even those with fresh blueberries!
My kids loved this recipe! How fun to put the french toast on top!
My kids like to eat the french toast bits first and then dive into the cupcake – they also like “decorating” the cupcake with the french toast! So glad your kids liked it as well!
What a cool and different idea. These look delicious, thanks Anjali for another great recipe.
Yay! Thank you so much Megan! I hope you love these if you try them!
What a fun, fabulous, delicious recipe! I was looking for something special to make for a celebratory get-together tomorrow. These blueberry cupcakes are it! Thank you so much for sharing this.
Hooray!! Thank you so much Denay! I’m sure all of your guests will love this recipe! 🙂