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Lemonade Russian Buttercream

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This silky smooth Russian buttercream is made with sweetened condensed milk and flavored with lemonade. Pipe some on lemon cupcakes for an luscious lemon treat!

group of cupcakes, some with swirls of frosting others waiting to be frosted.

If you are looking for a super simple frosting that doesn’t involve any cooking or powdered sugar, Russian buttercream is for you. If you are in the mood to give it a lemonade twist, you are really in the right place.

Bake a batch of lemon cupcakes ASAP so you can enjoy this luscious lemon goodness without delay.

Russian buttercream has been on my radar for a little while now. It sounds almost too simple to be true.

Whip together some softened butter and chilled sweetened condensed milk. Add a pinch of salt or a little flavoring if desired. That’s it!

pouring cold sweetened condensed milk over bowl of whipped butter.

I knew I had to make some for a couple of reasons. First, I am on a quest to try all of the frosting recipes known to man.

You know, I’m doing it for the sake of science. It’s totally the chemist in me and not my sweet tooth. Ahem…. totally!

Did you believe that? Me either!  But in addition to my own wants and needs, I know you guys love a good frosting recipe.

We all love it even more when it contains some liquid gold, sweetened condensed milk.

lemon sweetened condensed milk frosting with no powdered sugar in bowl.

In fact, two of my most popular recipes for the past few months have been sweetened condensed milk buttercream and whipped sweetened condensed milk frosting.

Both are absolutely delicious and very different. The first sweetened condensed milk frosting recipe to grace my site was the buttercream version.

smoothed out bowl of lemon frosting

It is made a lot like a traditional American buttercream, so the final consistency can be adjusted and it forms a slight crust.

It is the most similar to what I was used to working with, so it remained my favorite for quite some time.

Then a reader suggested a recipe that involved cooking the sweetened condensed milk with some sugar and whipping that cooled mixture with butter and shortening.

It is almost like a cross between ermine frosting and buttercream.  The result was much less sweet than the buttercream version and super fluffy. It is like spreading a cloud over your cake.

This recipe gives us yet another delicious option. It only takes a few ingredients and is super silky.

It takes a bit of a cue from its whipped cousin in that it’s not overly sweet. It also takes a cue from its buttercream cousin in that it doesn’t require any cooking.

Cupcake topped with tall swirl of lemonade Russian buttercream and colorful sprinkles.

I had a batch of lemon cupcakes baked for a bags tournament we were hosting. I had also been experimenting with some Christmas cookie recipes, so I wanted to prove I hadn’t lost all concept of season.

But hey, when you’re a food blogger sometimes you have to make stuff well ahead of the actual season!

Anyway, I had originally planned on just making vanilla Russian buttercream for the cupcakes. But Little Dude requested we make some lemonade for the party and I couldn’t resist adding a bit to the frosting as well.

I am glad I did! It added just enough lemon to make the frosting bright and tasty.

Plus the lemonade mix is a fine powder, so there was no gritty or grainy texture to worry about.

rosette piped in russian buttercream.

One of my husband’s cousins had the first cupcake. She couldn’t quite put her finger on what the frosting was made from, but she was hooked.

That’s just the way I like it!

Check out my post on how to make frosting with condensed milk and no powdered sugar for more ideas if you are looking to avoid confectioners sugar.

Or check out pink lemonade buttercream if you love lemony goodness but don’t have any sweetened condensed milk on hand.

Tips and tricks:

  • Chill the sweetened condensed milk several hours or overnight before you make the frosting. Beat the butter until it is completely smooth and fluffy before adding the chilled milk.
  • If you are like me and are used to piping with a thicker frosting, chill before piping. 20-30 minutes in the fridge gave it a great texture for piping. Just give it a quick whip before you load up the bag.
  • If it looks like it’s separating, keep beating. If that doesn’t work, chill it for a bit and then beat again.
  • If the frosting isn’t sweet enough for you, you could always add a bit of powdered sugar to taste.
  • I chilled the cupcakes to set the frosting, but it held up great at room temperature.
piping bag filled with lemonade russian buttercream next to cupcakes, some with swirls of frosting on top.

Lemonade Russian Buttercream

Servings: 24 Servings
Author: Carlee
This silky smooth Russian buttercream is made with sweetened condensed milk and flavored with lemonade. Pipe some on lemon cupcakes for an luscious lemon treat!
4.77 from 13 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk chilled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons lemonade mix the kind where you just add water to make lemonade


  • Beat butter until light and fluffy.
    1 cup butter
  • Add about a third of the sweetened condensed milk and beat until incorporated. Continue two more times until the whole can is added.
    14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • Once the frosting is fluffy, beat in the vanilla and lemonade powder.
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 Tablespoons lemonade mix
  • If desired, chill the frosting and then pipe or spread on cooled cake.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 140kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 89mgSugar: 12g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4.77 from 13 votes (13 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Monday 8th of April 2024

Do you have a recipe for the version where you cooked the condensed milk with sugar and then whipped it with butter and shortening? I love traditional Russian buttercream but am curious to try that version.


Wednesday 10th of April 2024

@Carlee, thank you! Do you think I could use that recipe, mix in curd and use as a filling for cupcakes?


Monday 8th of April 2024

I do! That is a fun recipe too. I actually plan to make another batch this weekend. You can click on the link for condensed milk ermine frosting. I hope you love it!


Saturday 9th of May 2020

Does it matter if you use salted or unsalted butter?


Saturday 9th of May 2020

Either would be fine. With so few ingredients, it will make a difference in taste. So it depends if you like salt in your sweets.


Sunday 3rd of May 2020

Looks awesome! I live in Southwest Florida where the temperature is usually 80+ and the humidity always high - should I stabilize this with meringue powder for staying power?


Thursday 7th of May 2020

That probably wouldn't be a bad idea. You'll have to let me know how it goes.


Tuesday 21st of April 2020

Hello, can I use fresh lemon juice instead of lemonade mix because i do not have it. Please advise. Thank you.


Friday 24th of April 2020

I would be afraid to add too much liquid, but a little should be fine. Start small and add slowly so you can see if it's getting too loose. Make sure the sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice are cold and you should be good!


Friday 15th of March 2019

How stable is this buttercream. I am looking to use it for cupcakes and then bring it to work. may be out of fridge about 2 or 3 hours before serving?


Saturday 16th of March 2019

I was worried about it when I first made it, but it was actually really stable. We had ours out all afternoon and evening for a party and the frosting held up great. I haven't had the frosting out in the summer heat yet, I plan on seeing how that goes this year. But it held up wonderfully for me at room temperature.