Sugar Cookie Icing

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Ready in minutes, this Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe is perfect for decorating cookies for Christmas and any other occasion. It comes out firm yet soft enough to bite and once it hardens, it’s super vibrant and shiny.

Sugar Cookie Icing on a plate full of cookies.

The Best Icing For Sugar Cookies

This simple and quick sugar cookie icing icing can be whipped up and ready to use in no time. It has a sweet vanilla flavor that pairs so well with sugar cookies.

I absolutely love this sugar cookie icing recipe because once it’s hardened, you can stack these cookies without the icing or your decorations being ruined.

Go crazy with your decorations and have fun making super cute and tasty cookies for any occasion. And, don’t forget to make my amazing Sugar Cookies Recipe with a small list of ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions.

Watch How It’s Made

See exactly how this sugar cookie icing recipe is made in this short video.

Why You’ll Love This Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe

  • Only 4 ingredients. Yup, just 4 ingredients are needed to make this icing for sugar cookies! Plus food coloring and sprinkles, if desired.
  • Hardens perfectly. This icing hardens enough that you can stack the cookies without making a mess but stays soft enough to bite into.
  • Easy to color. This frosting is bright white on its own, which makes it the perfect base for adding virtually any color with just a few drops of gel food coloring.
Decorated sugar cookies on a rack.

Key Ingredients

Here’s an overview of what you’ll need for this sugar cookie icing. Scroll down to the recipe card below for measurements.

  • Powdered Sugar: This will be used to thicken the icing, but also add sweetness along with the
  • Light corn syrup: Makes the icing shiny once it hardens.
  • Milk: Thins the frosting. I recommend whole milk. If you use 2% or skim, you may need to add less.
  • Vanilla: I prefer using clear vanilla extract so that the icing is bright white.
  • Food Coloring: This is an optional ingredient, but can be used to decorate and color the frosting.

How To Make Sugar Cookie Icing

Here’s an overview of how to make this icing for sugar cookies. Scroll down to the recipe card for more detailed instructions.

  • Combine the ingredients. Combine the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk a teaspoon at a time until it is pipeable.
  • Add food coloring. If needed, separate the icing into small bowls and add your desired food coloring.
  • Decorate the cookies. Frost the cookies as desired (see ideas below) then set aside to harden completely before serving, stacking, or storing.
Blue sugar cookie icing being piped onto a round cookie

How To Decorate with Sugar Cookie Icing

Here is a general overview of how to decorate sugar cookies with icing.

  • Pipe an outline. First pipe an outline on each of the cookies. This helps to ensure clean lines on the cookies.
  • Fill in the outline. Add icing to fill in the outline on the cookie. You can use the tip of a toothpick to move the frosting around to fill it out.
  • Add decorations. If you want to add sprinkles or other decoration, add them immediately before the frosting begins to harden.
  • Let harden. Place the frosted sugar cookies in a single layer in an airtight container until fully hardened.

How Long Does This Icing Take To Harden?

This icing for sugar cookies will take up to 24 hours to harden depending on the climate in your household. The top layer of the icing will harden after just a couple of hours. I recommend hardening overnight for the best results before stacking the cookies.

Tips & Tricks

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making this sugar cookie icing recipe.

  • Use gel food coloring if possible.  Gel food coloring does a wonderful job of creating the most vibrant shade for the cookie icing and blends the easiest.
  • Add more powdered sugar if needed for liquid food coloring. If you do use liquid food coloring, know that it can thin out the icing so you may need to add more powdered sugar to thicken the recipe.
  • Separate the icing before adding color. If you plan on using multiple different colors, you will want to divide the icing into different bowls before adding each color. It’s also best to use separate piping bags for each color.
  • How much does this sugar cooking icing recipe make? This recipe will make about 1 1/2 cups of icing which should be enough for a dozen cookies. You can double or cut the recipe in half depending on how many cookies you are making.
Overhead view of a plate of iced sugar cookies

Can I Make This Ahead Of Time?

Yes! You can definitely make this sugar cookie icing recipe up to 2 days in advance. You can keep the prepared icing in the fridge in an airtight container until you are ready to use.

Before use, you will want need to bring the icing to room temperature so that it’s easier to pipe onto the cookies.

A stack of cookies with yellow Sugar Cookie Icing on top.

More Sugar Cookie Recipes

Sugar Cookie Icing feature
5 from 4 votes

Sugar Cookie Icing

Ready in minutes, this Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe is perfect for decorating cookies for Christmas and any other occasion. It comes out firm yet soft enough to bite and once it hardens, it's super vibrant and shiny.
Servings: 1.5 cups
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes



  • Combine powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl and stir until combined. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk, about a teaspoon at a time, until the frosting is thick but pipeable. If you accidentally add too much milk, add powdered sugar until desired texture is reached.
  • Divide into small bowls and add food coloring (if desired).
  • Transfer frosting to a piping bag with a piping tip.
  • Pipe frosting on cookies and decorate with sprinkles/candies, if desired.
  • Allow frosting to harden before serving, stacking, or storing (will most likely take several hours depending on your climate).

Last Step:

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Calories: 1038kcal | Carbohydrates: 264g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 35mg | Potassium: 52mg | Sugar: 259g | Vitamin A: 49IU | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 0.1mg


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4 comments on “Sugar Cookie Icing”

  1. I’ve been trying to find an easy cookie icing that would harden and be easy to make/use. This post came along at the perfect time. Now I can whip up and decorate cookies for the family. friends ‘n neighbors. TY for sharing.

  2. 5 stars
    What can be used instead of milk? First, won’t it go sour if left out? Plus cannot have any milk protein, therefore no milk. Thank you

    1. Hi Vikki. The icing will not sour but I understand your concern about the milk protein. Try replacing the regular milk for unsweetened coconut milk. The results will be very similar.