This is the perfect sugar cookie icing. It is sweet, delicious, and doesn’t overpower the flavor of your sugar cookie recipe. It is the best decorating icing too!

Decorating sugar cookies doesn’t need to be intimidating. It’s not difficult to make and it’s fun to create once you get the hang of it! I’m going to show you how!

What is Sugar Cookie Icing

This sugar cookie icing hardens smooth, firm, and glossy. You can add sprinkles and sparkles. Once dried, these cookies can be stacked and stored or frozen and enjoyed later.

For the average cookie baker, sugar cookie icing or decorating icing is more than enough to make some fun and pretty designs.

How to Make Sugar Cookie Icing

This easy powdered sugar cookie icing is hardly 3 steps and can be colored to whichever color you desire!

  1. Beat all ingredients, except milk, together (see recipe below).
  2. Add milk slowly until the desired consistency is reached.
  3. Separate into bowls and add food coloring!

Color For Icing

I would highly suggest using gel food coloring for icing. It produces vibrant colors and doesn’t add extra liquid to the icing (even 1/4 teaspoon of liquid can change the consistency).

sugar cookie icing ingredients

How Thick to Make the Icing

If you’ve watched cookie decorating videos on Instagram (I’m obsessed with them) you’ll notice there are usually two types of icing:

  • A thick icing (almost thick like a peanut butter consistency) is used to outline the shape
  • A thinner icing is used to fill the inside (more like a gravy consistency). If you’re making fancy cookies, you’ll likely want both consistencies.

I decorate cookies just for my family so, I’m not looking for perfection and I usually make only one consistency.

To get the right consistency. If it is too thick, add a little more milk (1/2 teaspoon at a time, it doesn’t take much). If it’s too runny, add a little more powdered sugar.

You can test one cookie to make sure it doesn’t run off the edges and holds its shape well enough but still spreads.

sugar cookie icing in a bowl

How to Ice Sugar Cookies

This is always the fun part! Spread out lots of bowls of fun edible decorations like sprinkles, non-pareils, dragees, or even colored whips of licorice.

To Ice Cookies:

  • piping bag with a #2 cake decorating tip and outline sugar cookies.
  • Once the cookie outline has set for about 10 minutes, then you can ‘flood’ the inner section of the cookie with the same or another color.
  • Top with sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or a variety of fun toppings!

If you are new to piping with icing, practice your ‘drawing’ on a piece of parchment paper until you get the hang of it. Instant sugar art!

Sugar cookies with sugar cookie icing in Christmas shapes

Can You Freeze Cookies

Yes, you can freeze iced cookies! Ensure the icing has fully dried. Place your finished sugar cookies in an air-tight container or freezer bag and pop in the freezer for up to three months.

To defrost, remove cookies from the freezer and pop in the refrigerator overnight or leave at room temperature from a few hours!

More Christmas Cookie Recipes

Did you love this Sugar Cookie Icing? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

decorated sugar cookies
4.95 from 268 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Sugar Cookie Icing

An easy cookie icing that hardens quickly and tastes delicious!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 48 cookies iced

Ingredients  

  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract clear
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk divided
  • food coloring gel is best

Instructions 

  • Beat powdered sugar, vanilla, corn syrup and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl until smooth.
  • Add milk a little at a time to reach desired consistency.
  • Stir in food coloring to reach desired color. Decorate cookies and allow icing to set.

Notes

*Number of cookies iced will depend on size and amount of icing used on each cookie.
Consistency of the Icing
If you've watched cookie decorating videos you'll usually see both:
  • thick icing (peanut butter consistency) used to outline the shape
  • thinner icing to fill the inside (more like a gravy consistency)
If you're making fancy cookies, you'll likely want both consistencies. If it's too thick, add a little more milk (1/2 teaspoon at a time, it doesn't take much). If it’s too runny, add a little more powdered sugar.
You can test one cookie to make sure it doesn't run off the edges and holds it shape well enough but still spreads.
To Ice Cookies:
  • piping bag with a #2 cake decorating tip and outline sugar cookies.
  • Once the cookie outline has set for about 10 minutes, then you can ‘flood’ the inner section of the cookie with the same or another color.
  • Top with sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or a variety of fun toppings!
If you are new to piping with icing, practice your ‘drawing’ on a piece of parchment paper until you get the hang of it. Instant sugar art!
4.95 from 268 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 27 | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Calcium: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Recipe slightly adapted from food.com

close up of Sugar Cookie Icing on cookies with a title
ingredients to make Sugar Cookie Icing with icing on cookies with a title
Sugar Cookie Icing on a cookie with writing
Sugar Cookie Icing ingredients in a bowl and a title

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. My husband said they were the best he has ever had. I did take the advice from another review and added an extra cup of sugar and a teaspoon of almond extract. They are amazing.5 stars

    1. I wouldn’t make this icing too far in advance but you should be able to make it a day ahead and let it sit out on the counter for a bit before using. Let us know how it turns out for you!

    1. Hi Stacy, yes this icing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Just bring it out and let it return to room temperature before using as it will be quite thick straight from the fridge.

    1. This icing can be layered, the amount of time to dry can vary based on how thick it is and the temperature in your kitchen. It should have a thin crust within about 15 minutes or so but can take several hours to dry all of the way.

  2. Once this frosting hardens a little, can you do another layer on top with another color for decorating? How long should you wait?

    1. Hi K, I’m not exactly sure how long it will take to dry enough for another layer but I would say wait until it’s hard to the touch. I hope that helps!

  3. This is my go to sugar cookie icing! It always firms up nicely overnight and is super easy to work with for decorating.

    1. I have tried it without corn syrup and the results were that the icing does not dry. If you try to decorate with sprinkles the colors will bleed.5 stars