Sugar Cookie Icing

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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!

Sugar cookies with sugar cookie icing in Christmas shapes

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 in a clear Bowl

How Thick to Make the Icing

If you’ve watched cookie decorating videos on Instagram (I’m obsessed with them) you’ll notice both a thick icing (almost thick like a peanut butter consistency) used to outline the shape and an icing a bit thinner 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 to be honest, I’m not looking for perfection and I usually make only one consistency.

To get the right consistency. If it doesn’t, 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.

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!

Can You Freeze Cookies

Yes, you can freeze iced cookies! Ensure they 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

Sugar cookie icing on sugar cookies with sprinkles
4.91 from 90 votes
Review Recipe

Sugar Cookie Icing

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


  • 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

Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest


  • 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.

Recipe Notes

*Number of cookies iced will depend on size and amount of icing used on each cookie.

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.)

Keyword sugar cookie icing
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Recipe slightly adapted from

Sugar cookie icing on sugar cookies with a title
Sugar cookies with sugar cookie icing and writing
Sugar cookie icing on sugar cookies and sugar cookie icing in a clear bowl with a title
About the author


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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!

More Posts by Holly

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Recipe Rating


  1. I made this icing today and it came out great! I substituted agave nectar syrup for the light corn syrup and it worked fine. Thank you for the recipe and instructions on how to ice the cookies!

  2. Followed the recipe to a T. Everyone in my family HATED the frosting, including me. It ruined the 30 cookies I made. All you taste is the powdered sugar and it leaves a chalky feeling/taste in your mouth. Next time I’ll just spend the $1 for pre made frosting.1 star

    1. Sorry, you didn’t enjoy this recipe. It is an icing, which is different than frosting. Icing is intended to be more glaze-like and generally tends to be more sugary in flavor. Frosting is fluffier, softer and often flavored.

    2. I will never use the meringue that you purchase in the can again!!!! I had to make 150 frosted cookies and they turned out great!!! Thank you!!! I added vanilla extract too. They were for a college football team and they loved them!!!5 stars

    3. Confectioners sugar has corn starch in it. Try heating the dry corn starch in a double boiler for a few minutes to eliminate the “chalky” flavor. I do this will all my icing’s and it makes a huge difference.

  3. Made the icing but didn’t have light corn syrup. I did have dark corn syrup and it works just as well. Thank you for this quick and easy recipe!!

    1. Hi Samantha, it can take up to 24 hours for sugar cookie icing to harden enough to be stacked without worry. So you will want to be careful with them before then.

    1. Janey, you’ll find the ingredients above the instructions on the recipe card. You can scroll down or you can click the Jump to Recipe button at the top to find it. Hope that helps!

      1. I’ve only tried this as written so I can’t say for sure how a substitution would work.

    1. I am an ICU nurse. Uncooked egg whites could kill you, seriously. Stick to the tride and true clear corn syrup. Happy Holidays.

      1. If you are concerned about the egg whites, you can purchase pasteurized egg whites in a carton, they work just as well in this recipe.

    1. Hi Michelle, I would store this icing in the refrigerator for up to several days. Make sure to let it come to room temperature again before using it to decorate your cookies.

      1. We have only tried this as written so I can’t say for sure. Let us know how it works out for you!

  4. I love the sugar cookies that you used to be able to get when we had bakeries. They always had an almondy taste. Could the vanilla be replaced by almond extract in this recipe? Or, is there a recipe for that specific icing? Absolutely love your recipes!!!5 stars

    1. Thank you!! :)

      I’m sure the vanilla could be replaced with almond extract in this recipe. Almond extract tends to have a stronger flavor so I’d suggest adding just a tiny bit at a time and tasting it. Let us know how it goes Julie!

  5. I’m going to have to try this one. I usually make sugar cookie icing with egg white, but it always has that slight eggy taste to it.