Sugar Cookie Icing

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The easiest and best Sugar Cookie Icing that’s both delicious and looks fantastic! Use this recipe to decorate your buttery cut out sugar cookies for any occasion, whether it’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or whenever you want a fun and festive treat. 

One of my favorite holiday cookies to make and eat is the traditional sugar cut-out cookie that’s been festively decorated. When I first discovered this recipe several years ago, it quickly became my go-to topping for sugar cookies. It is easy to make, easy to use, and looks great. 

You can tweak the consistency of this recipe for different applications. I am not a great cookie decorator and stick with spreading the frosting on with a butter knife and topping with sprinkles. But I’ve included instructions on thickening or thinning the piping and flooding cookie decorating recipe. 

Use this icing on your cut out sugar cookies, and if you are looking for more festive cookies to round out your holiday tray, try my eggnog cookies, Confetti Shortbreadsoft gingerbread, or Russian Gingerbread Cookies 

What You’ll Need for This Recipe

This recipe doesn’t require any fancy ingredients or tools. All you need are five simple ingredients to create the perfect topping for your holiday cookies.

  • Powdered Sugar. Sometimes referred to as Confectioner’s Sugar or Icing Sugar, this finely ground sugar will give you lovely lump-free icing.
  • Milk. Milk will give your icing a nice creaminess, and it is necessary to thin the icing to the proper consistency.
  • Light Corn Syrup. Light Corn Syrup will give your icing a pretty sheen. 
  • Vanilla Extract. This icing is lightly flavored with vanilla and perfectly complements the buttery cut-out sugar cookies. 
  • Food Coloring– This is the fun part! Use food coloring to create bright, vivid cookie icing or soft, beautiful muted pastels. Mix colors and play with the amounts to get just the color you want. 
  1. Sift Powdered Sugar- To avoid the possibility of clumps of powdered sugar in your icing, sift the powdered sugar with a sifter or mesh strainer into a mixing bowl before adding other ingredients.
  2. Stir in milk, corn syrup, and vanilla into the powdered sugar until well combined.
  3. If icing is too thick, add more milk a little bit at a time, until the icing is thick but spreadable or pipeable. If it’s too thin, add a little more powdered sugar until desired texture is reached. 
  4. If coloring the icing with different colors, divide into bowls and color as desired.

How Long Does it Take For Icing to Set or Harden?

Freshly iced sugar cookies can be a little bit sticky, but you can enjoy the glazed cookies right away. If you’d rather wait for the icing to set, the icing will begin to set up pretty quickly, but to fully harden, it can take anywhere from 3 hours up to overnight at room temperature. How long it takes the icing to set depends on the temperature and humidity, the thickness, and the consistency of your icing. What makes this icing my favorite is that once the cookies are iced and decorated and the icing is completely dry, you can stack them or package them up for storage or gifting.

Sugar Cookie Icing

Sugar Cookie Icing

Yield: 1 batch
Prep Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk (whole milk preferred)
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring


    1. Sift sugar then mix in the corn syrup and extract.
    2. Add milk 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.
    3. Add food coloring a little at a time until you reach your desired color.


It is not usual to have to tweak the amount of milk you add to get the desired consistency. Add a little at a time until the right consistency is reached.

*Nutritional Information reflects the entire batch.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 479Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 19mgCarbohydrates: 122gFiber: 0gSugar: 120gProtein: 1g

Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates. Please see my Nutrition Disclaimer for more information.

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