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. Hi Jack, you can definitely freeze this recipe but you may struggle when icing the cookies with defrosted icing to get it nice and smooth. We prefer to ice the cookies first then freeze them for best results.

    1. Hi Susan, 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. Dear Holly!
    I need to entertain some little ones making Easter cookies next week – can you please tell me approximately how long it takes for this icing to harden and wether or not you think edible ink food marking pens will work well on this icing?
    Thanks so much!
    Joanne5 stars

    1. Hi Jo, it can take up to 24 hours for sugar cookie icing to harden enough. I haven’t tried the food pens on the icing, but think it would work if the icing is fully hardened. Have fun!!

  2. My son is deathly allergic to tree nut products and all the paste did coloring days may be made on material that contained but products. . What you do?

    1. You can use any type of food coloring you would like. More water-based ones may mean adding a bit less milk or more powdered sugar. Hope that helps Peggy.

  3. I thought it was perfect icing for cookies. I am not sure what the comments that say it’s “chalky” are about because I didn’t detect that at all. I made this with Agave syrup (because the corn syrup was one shelf higher and I couldn’t reach it) and it worked perfectly.

    I did see comments that this ruined an entire batch of cookies and one thing I was taught very early on when cooking anything, is to taste everything as you go so you can make changes to suit your taste… and so if you can’t make it work you aren’t wasting cookies/cakes or whatever else by incorporating it. Just a suggestion but great recipe:)5 stars

  4. Dries fast, what I was looking for. However would be much easier to frost with piping and squirt bottle like suggested in thinner consistency. I was in a rush bit know better next time. Goes well with sugar cookies, classic holiday cookie flavor. Can be very sticky when thick.4 stars

  5. I left my cookies to dry overnight and the icing hardened perfectly! Stacked this morning and the icing didn’t transfer at all! Thank you!5 stars

  6. My grandma always made this frosting that you had to boul. It only had confectionery sugar and milk. You had to frost cookies fast before it got hard. But I cant find it anywhere.

    1. My mom did the same and if I recall it was called Seven Minute Frosting. If you do a search you’ll find many recipes. I remember it was pretty stiff on cakes but very good.