3-Ingredient Lemon Glaze

BY : PUBLISHED : January 31st, 2022 UPDATED: August 5th, 2022

You need just 3 ingredients for this simple, naturally vegan lemon glaze recipe, perfect for drizzling and spreading over cakes, cupcakes, cookies, donuts, and more! (Keto lemon glaze option included!) This 3-Ingredient Lemon Glaze is incredibly easy to make and great to have on hand to dress up your favorite baked goods!

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completed lemon glaze in white bowl with whisk in bowl against white background

Easy Lemon Glaze in Minutes

If you like baking, then getting to grips with the basics is key. This includes learning about egg replacers, how to make regular vegan buttercream frosting, and how to make a simple and downright delicious lemon glaze for cakes (keto lemon glaze option included)! All you need is just 3 ingredients and a couple of minutes to prepare this powdered sugar lemon glaze to the perfect drizzling consistency.

Once made, easily tweak the lemon drizzle icing to your needs in consistency and flavor (several variations listed below!), then get it ready to pour, drizzle, or brush over all your favorite baked goods. It’s the perfect ‘finisher’ to add something special to all sorts of baked goods, including a lemon glaze for cakes (like this simple lemon loaf), cookies, donuts, pancakes, and more!

The Ingredients

This lemon glaze icing recipe requires just three ingredients (though technically two)!

  • Lemon: You’ll need lemon juice and lemon zest to make a delicious lemon drizzle icing.
  • Powdered sugar: Use regular powdered sugar/confectioner’s sugar OR for a keto lemon glaze, use a powdered sugar substitute (like erythritol).

To make your own powdered sugar

This allows you to create powdered sugar from various granulated sugars and sugar-free sweeteners (avoiding any ‘wet’ sugar like brown sugar, muscovado, etc.) Simply grind your sugar or granulated sweetener of choice in a coffee/spice grinder or high-speed blender. Then, sift into a bowl and re-process any chunkier bits. To make powdered sugar to spare, we recommend using 1 cup granulated sugar PLUS 1 tablespoon cornstarch. The latter will stop the sugar from clumping while storing.

ingredients for lemon glaze measured out against white background

Optional add-ins & Simple Flavored Lemon Icing Glaze Options

There are several ways to easily adjust this powdered sugar lemon glaze, including:

  • Salt: A pinch of salt will enhance the flavors and balance the sweetness in the lemon cake glaze. All you need is a pinch.
  • Vegan butter: Add a teaspoon of melted unsalted (or salted) plant-based butter to the lemon icing glaze for a silky mouthfeel and richer flavor.
  • Strawberry lemon glaze: Either blend and strain strawberries OR combine sliced strawberries and sugar in a small bowl and allow it to macerate. You can then use the juice extracted from the fruit instead of some of the lemon juice in the icing.

You can use the macerated strawberries over oatmeal, in a vegan parfait, over ice cream, pancakes, waffles, vegan French toast, etc.

  • Lemon and raspberry drizzle: Use the same method as above, but with raspberries.
  • Lemon elderflower glaze: Use a teaspoon or so (adjust to taste) of elderflower cordial in place of some lemon juice.
  • Ginger lemon drizzle icing: Add a small amount of the syrup from a jar of stem ginger in place of some lemon juice.

How to Make Lemon Glaze Icing?

1) First, zest and juice the lemon (in that order. Avoid the white pith when zesting the lemon with a microplane). You can save any leftover zest in a Ziplock/Stasher bag in the freezer to use at another time.

ingredients for lemon glaze measured out against white background

2) Then, in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar (or powdered sweetener for keto lemon glaze) and lemon juice and mix/whisk until you achieve a paste-like yet drizzly consistency (like corn syrup consistency). Then fold in the lemon zest.

process of adding sugar to wet ingredients for lemon glaze in white bowl process of mixing lemon glaze ingredients together process of mixing lemon glaze ingredients together

Be careful when first starting to whisk/mix the powdered sugar, as it will cover you and the entire kitchen in a cloud of sugar if you aren’t ready. Start by whisking/mixing in small circles in the center of the bowl.

If you need to thin the lemon drizzle icing further, add more lemon juice, ½ tablespoon at a time.

How to Make Ahead and Store?

Once prepared, you can store the powdered sugar lemon glaze in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Before using it, bring it back to room temperature and whisk well. If it has thickened, add a few drops of extra liquid (lemon juice, plant-based milk, or water).

How to Use Lemon Glaze?

Unsurprisingly, this lemon icing glaze works well for many baked goods, including:

completed lemon loaf against a white background

FAQs

Is icing sugar the same as confectioners’ sugar?

Yes, these are just different names for the powdered sugar product, depending on where you’re based.

How do you thicken up lemon icing glaze?

Usually, it’s easiest to thicken up with the addition of more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time. However, if you want to thicken it up without adding extra sugar, you can instead add a tiny amount of cornstarch (literally just ¼-½ teaspoon to begin) OR some flour (½ teaspoon at a time). However, if using the latter, you’ll first need to heat treat the flour.

How long should a cake cool before glazing it?

It should cool completely before adding any glaze/icing. The time to cool will vary on the size and height of the cake, but this can take a good 2-3 hours in some cases.

Can powdered sugar go bad?

When stored well, icing sugar will last almost indefinitely (in a dry, cool, airtight location away from strong smells). However, if it smells odd, has any signs of mold, or even gets insects in it, then it’s time to get rid of it!

Will lemon glaze harden?

While a glaze icing will ‘set,’ it won’t harden as such. It can still smudge after setting.

How to make glaze icing without lemon flavoring?

Use your favorite plant-based milk instead of lemon juice to make a plain glaze. If preferred, you can then flavor it with natural extracts. You could also substitute the lemon juice for orange juice (and zest), grapefruit juice, lime juice, or pineapple juice for other natural flavors.

How much juice is in a lemon?

One regular-size lemon usually yields between 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice.

completed lemon glaze in white bowl with whisk in bowl against white background

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • To adjust the thickness: Simply tweak the ratio of ingredients. If you want to thicken the lemon cake glaze without additional powdered sugar, use one of the alternative ingredients listed in the FAQs.
  • To keep the lemon glaze from setting: If you have to wait a while (for example, for the cake to cool) before using the prepared powdered sugar lemon glaze, place the bowl in a larger bowl of warm water. This will help prevent it from thickening/setting before you’re ready to use it.
  • For a very thin layer of glaze: It can actually help to spread/pour it over the baked good when it’s just slightly warm as it will melt slightly and thin out.
  • When adding toppings: Sprinkle them over the glaze before it fully sets, so they can adhere to the top of the baked good.
  • When glazing cakes/donuts: Place the baked item on a cooling rack above a tray/layer of parchment paper. That way, any excess glaze can drip down. For example, if you’re using the lemon glaze for cookies, you can either dip the cookies into the glaze or use a piping bag to drizzle it over the top.
  • To get the most juice from the lemon: Make sure it’s at room temperature and roll it back and forth on your kitchen counter several times. For even more juice yield, microwave the lemon for 20-30 minutes and repeat the rolling step, then juice.
  • To remove any lumps: Gently microwave the glaze icing for 10-15 seconds, then whisk.

More Healthy Vegan Dessert Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed lemon glaze in white bowl with whisk in bowl against white background

3-Ingredient Lemon Glaze

Toni Okamoto
3 ingredient naturally vegan lemon glaze recipe, perfect to drizzle over cakes, cookies, donuts, and more! (Keto lemon glaze included!)
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 serving
Calories 478 kcal
METHOD Mixing
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. If you need to thin it out more, add more lemon juice ½ tablespoon at a time.

Notes

There are several ways to easily adjust this powdered sugar lemon glaze, including:
  • Salt: A pinch of salt will enhance the flavors and balance the sweetness in the lemon cake glaze. All you need is a pinch.
  • Vegan butter: Add a teaspoon of melted unsalted (or salted) plant-based butter to the lemon icing glaze for a silky mouthfeel and richer flavor.
  • Strawberry lemon glaze: Either blend and strain strawberries OR combine sliced strawberries and sugar in a small bowl and allow it to macerate. You can then use the juice extracted from the fruit instead of some of the lemon juice in the icing.
  • Lemon and raspberry drizzle: Use the same method as above, but with raspberries.
  • Lemon elderflower glaze: Use a teaspoon or so (adjust to taste) of elderflower cordial in place of some lemon juice.
  • Ginger lemon drizzle icing: Add a small amount of the syrup from a jar of stem ginger in place of some lemon juice.

Nutrition

Calories: 478kcalCarbohydrates: 123gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 57mgFiber: 1gSugar: 118gVitamin A: 9IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Toni Okamoto

"They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
'Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways...
we got to start taking better care of ourselves " - Dead Prez

View all posts by Toni Okamoto

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Gina House says

    Yum! I'm in love with anything lemon flavored. Can't wait to try this on vegan cupcakes and cookies!

    • Andrea White says

      You're going to loveee this one!

  2. Nancy Wu says

    love how easy this to make and perfect on desserts

    • Andrea White says

      The perfect topper!

  3. Teodora Grujic says

    This is great! Thanks!

    • Andrea White says

      So easy!

  4. Amanda says

    What an easy recipe! Yum!

    • Andrea White says

      Love the easy ones!!

  5. Andrea White says

    Love how easy this is to whip up! So good!

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