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Powdered Sugar Icing

This easy powdered sugar icing uses only 3 ingredients and is the perfect way to elevate your cookies, cakes and muffins.

Looking for more frosting recipes? Check out my buttercream frosting, sugar cookie icing and gingerbread house icing.

Powdered sugar icing in a bowl.
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Powdered Sugar Icing Ingredients

That is all it takes to make an icing you can use on a variety of baked goods.

Powdered sugar icing ingredients on counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Heavy cream: Or whole milk, the higher the fat content, the thicker the icing will be. Thin icing to desired consistency by adding the cream or milk little by little.
  • Powdered sugar: This is sugar ground up to a powder and usually contains cornstarch to act as an anti-clumping agent. Even still, make sure to sift it to guarantee a smoother glaze.
  • Vanilla extract: I use pure vanilla extract. For a pure white glaze, use a clear vanilla extract.


  • Citrus: You can make a lemon icing, lime icing or even orange glaze. Just replace the milk with 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, lime juice or orange juice and omit the vanilla. Add citrus zest as desired.
  • Extract: For a almond icing, substitute almond extract for the vanilla. You can also use coconut extract, lemon extract or butter extract.
  • Chocolate: Add unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolate version.
  • Fresh berries: Add 1/4 cup pureed strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
  • Colored icing: Tint your powdered sugar icing by adding any food coloring or gel food coloring you would like.
  • Seasonal: Add a pinch of cinnamon sugar or pumpkin pie spice to add a warm flavor to the icing or sprinkle on after glazing.
  • Light icing: Use a low-fat milk. Increase vanilla extract for added flavor.

How to Make Icing with Powdered Sugar

If you can stir, you can make this powdered sugar glaze. Just be sure to get the right consistency by adjusting the amount of liquid, if needed.

Powdered sugar icing in a glass bowl.
  1. Combine: Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and add heavy cream (or whole milk) and vanilla. Stir until smooth.
  2. Add: If you are finding it too thick, add more cream a teaspoon at a time, as needed. You want it on the thicker side, otherwise, it will run off of your baked goods!
  3. Use immediately: Once your cookies, muffins, donuts, quick bread or other baked goods have cooled, drizzle the icing over top using a spoon.

Expert Tips

  • Yield: This icing makes about 3/4 cup glaze or 12 Tablespoons. This could differ depending on how thin or thick you make it.
  • If it thickens: If your icing starts to stiffen, whisk it vigorously to bring back to smooth consistency.
  • Piping the icing: If you’re wanting to decorate using a piping bag, make your own by placing the icing in a zip-top bag and snip the end to create a small opening. Best used immediately while nice and smooth!
  • Add after baked goods cool completely: If you do this while they are still hot, the icing will thin out almost completely and drip right off the baked good.

Favorite Ways to Use the Icing

This glaze tastes delicious on sweet recipes like pound cakes, cinnamon rolls, muffins, donuts, quick bread, and scones. I even love it as as an easy sugar cookie icing!

Recipe FAQs

Can powdered sugar be used as icing sugar?

The names can be confusing, but powdered sugar, icing sugar, confectioner’s sugar, confectioners sugar and 10x sugar are one and same thing and can be used interchangeably.

Can I make this powdered sugar icing dairy free?

Absolutely! For a dairy-free alternative and vegan version of this powdered sugar glaze recipe, simply use water in place of the heavy cream. You can also use oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk or almond milk.

Can I make this glaze without powdered sugar?

If you need to avoid powdered sugar because of allergies, you can use granulated sugar but it will need to be melted on the stove and you may need to add a pinch of flour to thicken it. Brown sugar can be used but will need to be blended to a fine consistency.

Does powdered sugar icing need to be refrigerated?

No, even if you use milk. This glaze will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. The small amount of milk is preserved by a large amount of sugar and will remain safe. If your frosting contains eggs, egg whites, cream cheese or has whipped cream this is when refrigeration is required.

powdered sugar glaze in bowl

More easy frosting recipes to try include chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting and cream cheese frosting.

More Easy Icing Recipes

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Powdered sugar icing in a glass bowl.

Powdered Sugar Icing

5 from 16 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This easy powdered sugar icing uses only 3 ingredients and is the perfect way to elevate your cookies, cakes and muffins.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12



  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk , more or less as needed
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract , plus more to taste
  • Pinch salt (optional)


  • In a medium bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add more cream as needed to thin out the consistency. You want it to be smooth and slightly thicker so that it doesn't run off your baked goods. Taste and add salt or more vanilla, if desired.
  • Place in a zip-top bag and snip the end or use a spoon to drizzle over the top of cookies, doughnuts, quick breads, or muffins. Best used immediately.


Storage: This glaze will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. The small amount of milk is preserved by a large amount of sugar and will remain safe.


Calories: 48kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 3mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.01mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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