Five ingredients and five minutes is all it takes to make a flawlessly easy Sugar Cookie Icing that dries hard, sets up beautifully, and tastes amazing! Surprisingly painless to make and apply, this is a foolproof recipe that produces a sweet, shiny icing every single time.
Whether you choose to dip your cookies directly into the icing or spread it on, this is the perfect recipe for decorating cookies come Christmas or any time of the year!
SUGAR COOKIE ICING INGREDIENTS
- Powdered Sugar
- Light Corn Syrup
FOOD COLORING FOR ICING
There are two types of food coloring you can use for Sugar Cookie Icing. One is traditional liquid food coloring and the other is called gel food coloring. You’ll find gel food coloring sold at specialty craft stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. It is much more pigmented than liquid food coloring, and you’ll discover a large variety of vivid color options if going this route.
HOW TO MAKE SUGAR COOKIE ICING
- Mix Sugar, Corn Syrup, and Milk — Important things to keep in mind before you begin making Sugar Cookie Icing is (a) how you measure the sugar matters and (b) you will not be adding all of the milk on the first go-round. Measure and add the powdered sugar, corn syrup, and only 3 tablespoons of milk to a small mixing bowl. Then, use a whisk to mix the ingredients together.
- Add More Milk (if needed) — If the icing does not turn to liquid after a few turns of the whisk, add an additional tablespoon of milk and whisk again. Don’t add all of the remaining milk at once. If the icing is still too thick for spreading, you can repeat this step once more with the remaining tablespoon of milk. You want your icing to be the consistency of honey.
- Add Vanilla and Salt – Once the icing is the right consistency, add the vanilla, a pinch of salt, and stir. This is also the time to add the food coloring if using. Then, whisk once more and it’s time to decorate!
HOW TO MEASURE POWDERED SUGAR
Rather than digging your measuring cup into a bag of powdered sugar and hoping for the best, measure your powdered sugar by using the “spoon and level method.” Use a spoon to add the powdered sugar to the measuring cup. Then, use the back of a knife to level it off. This will keep you from packing in the powdered sugar too tightly, and throwing off the recipe’s measurements.
HOW TO ADD COLOR TO ICING
The general rule of thumb when adding food coloring to your Sugar Cookie Icing is you can add, but you can’t take away! Add the coloring in small increments, and mix well after each addition until you reach the desired pigment.
HOW TO ICE SUGAR COOKIES
First, prep your work surface with sheets of wax paper. If you are working with sprinkles (particularly nonpareils), you may want to place the wax paper over rimmed baking sheets to avoid a mess of sprinkles on the ground.
Next, spoon the icing over the tops of cooled sugar cookies and spread it to the edges using either an offset spatula or the back of the spoon. You could also use our favorite go-to method for decorating sugar cookies which is to simply dip the tops of them in the icing and call it a day.
Be sure to top with sprinkles right away, while the surface of the icing is still wet. Then, allow plenty of time for the icing to completely set.
TIPS FOR MAKING SUGAR COOKIE ICING
- Do not add icing to cookies until they are completely cooled! Even a slightly warm cookie could cause the icing to melt and slide off.
- Don’t pack the powdered sugar in the measuring cup. Instead, use the method discussed above.
- You don’t want your Sugar Cookie Icing to be too runny, so don’t add the milk all at once. The ideal consistency will be similar to that of honey. Start with a few tablespoons, and if your icing liquifies — it’s ready to go! If it doesn’t, add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is a smooth and spreadable consistency.
- This frosting hardens quickly, so don’t delay adding the sprinkles. Have them on standby, ready to use!
- This is not the proper icing for piping cookies. For piping icing onto sugar cookies, you’ll want to use Royal Icing instead.
- Just because the icing is hard on top, doesn’t mean it’s hard in the middle. Take extra care that the Sugar Cookie Icing is completely set and hardened before stacking! The icing acts as a sealant, keeping your cookies from drying out, so feel free to leave them out on the counter overnight to set up.
HOW TO STORE ICED SUGAR COOKIES
If you are storing Iced Sugar Cookies, wait until they have completely set, and then store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh for up to 5-7 days.
HOW TO FREEZE ICED COOKIES
To freeze Iced Sugar Cookies, place them in a freezer-safe, airtight storage container separated by sheets of wax paper. You want the container to fit the cookies snugly, but not so much so that they will be crushed and your beautiful Sugar Cookie Icing disturbed!
5 MORE COOKIE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Christmas Cookies with Icing feature buttery, flavorful sugar cookies topped with a decadent buttercream icing. Yes, please!
- Royally Iced Sugar Cookies are beautiful and perfect for gifting! This recipe makes easy work of making royal icing, along with detailed tips for icing your cookies.
- Painted Sugar Cookies are simple, easy, and the creative possibilities are endless. If you want to pain-free, quick method for decorating sugar cookies, this is it!
- Chocolate Peppermint Cookies come with a chocolate peppermint cookie base and a cascade of white Peppermint Frosting across the top. Crushed candy canes across the top make for an especially festive touch!
A flawlessly easy Sugar Cookie Icing that dries hard, sets up beautifully, and tastes amazing! Perfect for decorating cookies any time of the year!
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3-5 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Food coloring (if using)
- Sprinkles (if using)
Add the powdered sugar, corn syrup, and 3 tablespoons of milk to a small mixing bowl. Using a whisk, mix the ingredients together.
If the mixture does not turn to liquid after a few turns of the whisk, add an additional tablespoon of milk and whisk again. Repeat once more with the remaining tablespoon of milk, if needed.
Once the icing has liquified, add the vanilla and the pinch of salt (as well as the food coloring, if using) and whisk once more.
Spoon the icing over the tops of cooled sugar cookies and spread either using an offset spatula or the back of the spoon. Top with sprinkles right away (while the icing is still wet), if desired.
Allow the icing to set, serve, and enjoy!