These delectable Lemon Meringue Cupcakes are wonderfully moist, filled with a luscious lemon curd and topped with a perfectly toasted meringue. These gorgeous cupcakes are sure to impress and are perfect for holidays, special occasions or any day that calls for something special!
Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe
Last week I shared this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake and the response was overwhelming! As a fellow lemon lover, I am so excited to be sharing these gorgeous Lemon Meringue Cupcakes with you today.
Moist and light lemon cupcakes are filled with lemon curd (use store bought or my homemade lemon curd recipe below) and topped with a stunningly perfect toasted meringue. Truly a heavenly blend of tart lemon and airy meringue that will make anyone’s mouth water.
Whether you’re adding this lovely dessert to your Easter menu, serving to your favorite mom on Mother’s Day or just simply satisfying a craving for a light and bright dessert, these cupcakes are sure to be a hit.
More Cupcake Recipes
Cupcakes are the perfect treat for all occasions! Here are some of our favorites!
- Cotton Candy Cupcakes
- Cherry Almond Cupcakes
- Grinch Cupcakes
- Caramel Apple Cupcakes
- Mini Cheesecakes
Get ready to indulge in the heavenly blend of zesty lemon and fluffy meringue with these amazing Lemon Meringue Cupcakes! Tart lemon curd is tucked inside a tender, moist cupcake and crowned with a perfectly toasted meringue. As always, you can find the full printable recipe with complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need…
- eggs – Provide moisture, structure and richness to the cupcakes.
- vegetable oil – Any flavorless oil will work here. Canola oil is another option. The oil creates a moist and tender cupcake.
- buttermilk – Create a tend crumb and adds a slight tanginess to the lemon cupcakes.
- whole milk – Adds richness. I do recommend whole milk although other milk will work in this recipe.
- vanilla extract – Enhances the other flavors and adds warmth to the cupcakes.
- granulated sugar – Perfectly sweetens the cupcakes so that they beautifully complement the tart lemon curd.
- salt – Enhances all of the other flavors.
- all purpose flour – Provides structure to the cupcakes.
- baking powder – Help the cupcakes rise.
- lemon juice and lemon zest – Add that lovely lemon flavor to the cupcakes.
Just four ingredients are needed in this simple lemon curd recipe. You can also use store bought lemon curd if you prefer.
- lemons – You’ll need two lemons for the curd. The lemons need to be zested and juiced.
- egg yolks – Make sure to save the whites for the meringue topping.
- granulated sugar – Helps to balance the tartness from the lemons.
- butter – Make the lemon curd silky smooth and rich.
You’ll be surprised at how easily this meringue comes together. Just three ingredients are needed.
- egg whites – The egg whites create the volume in the meringue.
- granulated sugar – Adds a touch of sweetness.
- cream of tartar – Helps to stabilize the meringue.
How To Make Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
For the Lemon Cupcakes
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 320-325°F and line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.
- Prepare Batter. Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, milk and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat until combined. Beat in the sugar and salt until very well mixed. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in just until combined. Add the lemon juice and zest and fold into the cupcake batter by hand, being careful not to over mix.
- Bake. Evenly divide the cupcake batter between the 12 cupcake liners and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 21 minutes. The cupcakes are ready when they have risen, are golden brown and feel springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Cook curd. Put the lemon zest, juice, egg yolks, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water. Stir continuously for 10-15 minutes. You will see the curd thicken and know it is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool completely.
- Fill cupcakes. When the cupcakes have completely cooled, core the middle (I used a frosting tip) and add a heaped teaspoonful of the cooled lemon curd.
Making lemon curd is easier than you think and tastes so much better than store bought. It’s really important that when you separate the egg yolks from the whites you don’t get any of the white in there. If there are egg whites present in the bowl when you heat the yolks, they will scramble.
If you do see any white specks of scrambled egg, scoop them out with a teaspoon. This will also remove the zest and might mean the curd isn’t as flavorful so that’s why it’s important to be very precise when you separate the eggs at the start.
- Prep. Clean the mixing bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer with lemon juice or white vinegar.
- Stiff peaks. Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into the mixing bowl. Whisk on the slowest speed at first until bubbles appear then increase the speed to medium and whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Add sugar. Turn the mixer speed to high and add the sugar a tablespoon at a time allowing the mixture to come back to stiff peaks between each addition. When all the sugar has been added feel the mixture between your fingers, if it feels grainy continue to beat on a high speed until you can’t feel the grains of sugar. When the mixture is ready you will have a bowl filled to the brim with a billowy white meringue frosting.
- Pipe meringue. Transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a piping nozzle – we used the Wilton 8B. Pipe swirls of frosting on top of each filled cupcake.
- Toast meringue. Use a chefs’ blowtorch to toast the meringue or put the cupcakes under a broiler until they are lightly toasted. Keep an eye on the meringue, the browning will happen quickly.
For an eye catching touch of elegance and color, garnish your Lemon Meringue Cupcakes with thin lemon slices or lemon zest curls.
Tips For A Beautiful Meringue
If you’re new to making meringue, take your time and be patient. Meringue can be finicky but follow my instructions and you will see that you can create that perfect, glossy, billowy meringue topping that makes these cupcakes total showstoppers.
To keep your Lemon Meringue Cupcakes fresh and delicious, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. The delicate nature of the meringue doesn’t allow for longer storage.
The unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to three months. The meringue should not be frozen as it will become water when defrosted. Make the meringue the day you intend on serving the cupcakes.
Variations To Try
These Lemon Meringue Cupcakes are delectable on their own but there are easy ways to customize this recipe to create delicious variations. Check these out:
- Lime Meringue Cupcakes: Simply replace the lemon zest and juice with lime zest and juice for a refreshing twist.
- Orange Meringue Cupcakes: Swap in orange zest and juice instead of lemon for a sweeter, more mellow citrus flavor.
- Berry Meringue Cupcakes: Add a spoonful of berry compote or jam to the cupcake center along with the lemon curd for a fruity surprise. Serve with fresh berries on top.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! It’s a great option if you’re short on time or just want to cut out some steps.
Yes, you can make the cupcakes and lemon curd ahead of time. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days, and keep the lemon curd in the refrigerator. Prepare the meringue the day you plan to serve and assemble the cupcakes just before serving.
While a blow torch is a wonderfully handy tool for the meringue, you can also pop the cupcakes under the broiler for a minute or two (maybe less!) to brown the meringue. Keep an eye on the cupcakes and remove with the meringue is just lightly golden brown.
Trish’s Tips and Tricks
- Bake the cupcakes at a low temperature (320°F-325°F) so that they get a beautiful even rise. The important thing is to look for cupcakes that have risen, are a pale golden brown and feel springy when you touch them.
- You’ll notice the lack of butter in the cupcake recipe. We opted for a flavorless oil and buttermilk as this yields a soft crumb and incredibly moist texture. You can use any flavorless oil such as vegetable, sunflower or canola oil. Avoid anything like olive oil as the taste is too strong and it will overpower the cupcakes.
- Only fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. Baking time may vary depending on your oven.
- Since we’re not cooking the egg whites for the meringue, be sure to use pasteurized eggs.
- We use cream of tartar in the meringue frosting because it really helps with achieving a successful meringue. You will find that by adding cream of tartar the sugar dissolves quicker and you generally get a better, fluffier meringue.
- When preparing the meringue, make sure the mixing bowl and whisk attachment are grease-free to achieve stiff peaks.
- You can omit the cream of tartar and follow the recipe but it will take longer for the sugar to dissolve.
- No blowtorch? No problem. Meringue can be toasted under a hot broiler. Also, keep in mind you don’t have to toast the meringue at all if you don’t want to as it is safe to eat (as long as pasteurized eggs are used).
Must Make Lemon Desserts
- Lemon Bars
- Lemon Rice Krispie Treats
- No Bake Lemon Pie
- Lemon Zucchini Muffins
- Lemon Zucchini Cake
- Limoncello Cake
How To Make Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- 2 eggs room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil vegetable, canola etc
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice about half of one lemon
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest from one lemon
- 2 large lemons zested and juiced
- 4 egg yolks save the whites for the meringue
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
For the Lemon Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 320-325°F and line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, oil, buttermilk, milk and vanilla extract. Beat well to combine.
- Add the sugar and salt and beat again until very well mixed.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir just until combined.
- Add the lemon juice and zest and fold into the cupcake batter by hand. Do not overmix.
- Divide the cupcake batter between the 12 cupcake liners and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes. The cupcakes are ready when they have risen, are golden brown and feel springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
For the Lemon Curd
- Put the lemon zest, juice, egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue frosting), sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.
- Stir continuously for 10-15 minutes. You will see the curd thicken and know it is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool completely.
- When the cupcakes have completely cooled, core the middle (I used a frosting tip) and add a heaped teaspoonful of the cooled lemon curd.
- Clean the mixing bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer with lemon juice or white vinegar.
- Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into the mixing bowl. Whisk on the slowest speed at first until bubbles appear then increase the speed to medium and whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Turn the mixer speed to high and add the sugar a tablespoon at a time allowing the mixture to come back to stiff peaks between each addition.
- When all the sugar has been added feel the mixture between your fingers, if it feels grainy continue to beat on a high speed until you can’t feel the grains of sugar. When the mixture is ready you will have a bowl filled to the brim with a billowy white meringue frosting. Transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a piping nozzle – we used the Wilton 8B.
- Pipe swirls of frosting on top of each filled cupcake then use a chefs’ blowtorch to toast the meringue or put the cupcakes under a broiler until they are lightly toasted. Enjoy!