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This sugar cookie icing is made with only 4 ingredients and comes together in just 5 minutes! Great for beginners and tastes amazing. You’ll have perfectly decorated sugar cookies in no time!

Sugar cookie icing.
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Favorite Way To Decorate Cookies

One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is decorate Christmas sugar cookies. I love to use Christmas-shaped cookie cutters, festive sprinkles and different types of cookie icing. So fun!

This easy sugar cookie icing is probably my favorite for decorating sugar cookies. It’s simple, hardens quickly, has a glossy look and tastes delicious. Plus it works for all types of cookies too, such as butter cookies, shortbread cookies and gingerbread man cookies.

Sometimes frosting your own cookies with homemade cookie icing can be intimidating, but trust me, this recipe couldn’t be any easier! It’s perfect to make for a holiday cookie exchange and will leave your friends and family raving over how cute your cookies turned out!

Frosting sugar cookies with icing.

4 Simple Ingredients

This recipe requires only 4 simple ingredients. These ingredients are staples for me around the holidays, so I already had everything I needed to get started.

  • Powdered sugar: This is how the icing gets it’s sweet flavor. I don’t usually sift my powdered sugar, but you can if yours is super lumpy.
  • Light corn syrup: This gives it a nice gloss and keeps the icing from losing it’s shine after it dries.
  • Milk: You don’t need a lot…just enough for it to thin out the consistency a little.
  • Vanilla extract: I love adding in vanilla for a boost of extra flavor. You could always switch up the flavoring and use almond or lemon extract.

How to Make Icing for Cookies

Before getting started, use my favorite sugar cookie recipe to bake your cookies. Then let them cool completely before adding the icing.

  1. Combine. Stir together ingredients in a bowl until smooth and glossy.
  2. Color. If desired, tint with gel food coloring of choice.
  3. Frost. Spread on cookies using a knife, spoon or frosting bag or bottle.

PIPING TIP: If you are piping around the edges of your cookies, the icing should be thick (like toothpaste). Then when filling the center, add 1/2 teaspoon more milk at a time to reach the right consistency.

Sugar cookie icing in piping bags.
  • Consistency. For the outer edge, the consistency should be thicker, like toothpaste. The center should be the consistency of honey.
  • Icing method. You can dip the cookies into the icing or use a frosting bag or bottle. You could also use a knife or spoon. Whichever method you prefer.
  • Extra decorations. If adding sprinkles, make sure to add them immediately after you frost your cookies. The sugar cookie icing dries quickly!
  • Keep them shiny. It helps to dry the cookies in front of a heater fan to keep the icing shiny.
  • Freezing. The icing sets up really nicely once dried and you can easily stack or freeze them.

Storing Cookies with Icing

The best thing about using cookie icing that hardens is that you can easily stack and store your cookies. Once it dries completely (usually takes around 30 to 60 minutes), add a piece of parchment in between each cookie and then store in a covered container for up to 3 days. The cookies will also stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Make Ahead Instructions

You can easily make this icing ahead of time to frost your cookies later. Simply prepare as directed, then store in the fridge in an airtight container with no air leaking in. I recommend filling the container completely, sealing with plastic wrap and then the lid.

Let it come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes). You may also need to add a little more milk and corn syrup if it has thickened too much.

5 star review

“Best icing recipe I’ve ever used. It was perfect and colorful and shiny. Thank you for sharing it.”

– Claudia
Decorated Christmas sugar cookies.

More Ways to Decorate Cookies

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icing recipe

Sugar Cookie Icing

4.85 from 19 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This sugar cookie icing is made with only 4 ingredients and comes together in just 5 minutes! Great for beginners and tastes amazing. You'll have perfectly decorated sugar cookies in no time!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 24

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons milk (more as needed)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (can also use almond extract)

Optional: food coloring

    Instructions

    • Whisk together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, milk and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. It should be thick if you are using it as a piping. Add a 1/2 teaspoon more milk at a time to make the filling consistency. Tint the icing with food color, if desired. 
    • Spread onto the cookies using a knife, spoon or frosting bag or bottle. 
    • Decorate cookies as desired. Allow icing to harden before storing.

    Notes

    Make Ahead: You can easily make this icing ahead of time to frost your cookies later. Simply prepare as directed, then store in the fridge in an airtight container or zip top bag with no air leaking in. Set out about 30 minutes before using. 
    Drying tip: It helps to dry the cookies in front of a heater fan to keep the icing shiny.
    Storage: Once the icing has hardened the cookies can be stacked. I like to put a piece of parchment paper in between. Store in a covered container for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 43kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 10g | Calcium: 1mg

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

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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