Sugar Cookie Icing

Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe
The Spruce
  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1-2 cups icing, serves 10

Ideal for decorating sugar cookies, thanks to its consistency, our cookie icing recipe is simply delicious, and you can easily manipulate its density to make it thicker or thinner. And, like royal icing, this homemade sugar cookie icing dries quickly, which means you can add more decorations like colored sugar or sprinkles without having to wait hours for it to set. However, we recommend a total waiting time of 24 hours for the icing to be completely dry and the cookies ready to pack or wrap.

You need three ingredients and food coloring if desired. But consider using natural coloring from beets, carrots, pomegranates, blueberries, and turmeric, which give beautiful and colorful shades minus the artificial and chemical additives. You can easily find these powdered natural colors in specialized supermarkets or online.

1:34

Click Play to See This Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • Optional: Food coloring

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for icing
     The Spruce
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup in a bowl.

    Mixed icing ingredients.
     The Spruce
  3. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. You want the icing to be thin enough to outline the cookies and spread easily, but thick enough so that the icing won't run off the sugar cookies. It should be thicker than Elmer's glue and thinner than paste. It takes some practice to achieve the ideal consistency, but these measurements should yield the right one.

    Sugar cookie icing.
     The Spruce
  4. Decorate the cookies and enjoy!

Tips for a Great Icing

Here's a little expert advice so you can achieve the perfect icing and decoration:

  • The Perfect Texture: If you need to make the sugar cookie icing thinner, add milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the desired icing consistency is reached. If you need to make the sugar cookie icing thicker, add powdered sugar 1 teaspoon at a time until the desired icing consistency is reached.
  • Colorful Icing: If you're decorating a lot of sugar cookies, you may want to double or triple the ingredients and make a large batch of this icing. Divide it into three or four bowls, stirring in a few drops of food coloring into each bowl, until the desired icing colors are achieved.
  • Homemade Piping Bag: While you could easily use a flattened spatula or butter knife to smear on the icing, you could also use a piping bag. If you don't have one, make one by putting the icing into a Ziploc bag and then cutting off a tiny bit of the corner to make a small hole.
  • Squeeze Bottles: For even easier decorating, you can use squeeze bottles, which you can find at a craft store.
  • Best Cookies to Decorate: The best cookies for icing are sugar and gingerbread cookies because they are hard and have a flat surface to decorate. Make sure that the cookies are completely cool, otherwise the heat will melt the icing. Then let your decorated cookies rest for 24 hours to be completely set.
  • How to Decorate: If you're decorating a shape, try piping the border first and letting it dry for a few minutes. Then when you fill it in, the icing won't run off the cookie and if you're using multiple colors, then they won't run into each other. Before it sets, feel free to add sprinkles or colored sugar for extra decor.