Sugar Cookie Decorating 101

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This is a tutorial for how I apply my glaze icing to sugar cookies.


To make my special version of royal icing, (glaze icing)  these are the ingredients I use. (click the link for full recipe)

1 cup powder sugar (confectioners sugar)

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 drop lemon juice (can be fresh)

Why do I use Lemon Juice?  The acidity helps create a better tasting glaze!  You dont actually taste the lemon AT ALL… it is purely used to counter all the sweet, sweet sugar!

This will outline and fill approximately one dozen cookies in one color.

(In the tutorial below, I will be making the recipe twice, or enough for two dozen)


And here are the supplies. You can find most of these at your grocery store, however the coupler set and disposable pastry bags can be found at Michaels and Walmart.


Place one cup of powder sugar in sifter. Try not to skip this step! Lumps in icing are hard to fix.


Add one tablespoon milk, one tablespoon corn syrup, and one drop lemon juice.


Mix everything together. This looks pretty dry still, so I am going to add a little more milk, about a teaspoon at a time.



Much better. Still pretty think but perfect for outlining.


Now remember these guys? You want to take the large piece in the coupler set and insert it into the bag. Really get it as far into the tip of the bag as you can without stretching the bag.


Place bag into a tall glass.


Pour icing into bag. When it is filled about half way just give your bag a twist, then put a rubber band on it so no icing can spill out the end.
Now put this bowl in the sink and rinse it out! Dried icing is a PAIN to clean up. :)


Next we are going to cut off the tip of the bag. Just cut straight across.

Place your decorating tip on bag, then place the ring of the coupler set on top of the decorating tip. Tightly screw it on and you are all set!

Before you start icing your cookie, just get a piece of wax paper or use a cookie sheet and practice using your icing bag. Practice making lines… dots… learning the texture and consistency of your icing and how it looks.

Then just start at any corner, apply light pressure to the bag, and begin slowly moving your tip down the side of your cookie.


(sorry about the poor quality of these shots… it was REALLY hard to take a picture while icing!)

Its ok to have a little slack in your line… let the icing flow a bit!


Just make your way around the cookie. If you make a wobbly line or have a ‘break’ in the line just wipe off the cookies and start over. Easy!


Next you are going to want to ‘spill’ or ‘flood’ your cookie. So I made another batch of icing, the same way as before, only this time I added more milk to get a runnier consistency.

Once combined, run your spoon along the bottom of the bowl. You will want to be able to see the bottom of the bowl for at least a few seconds. If ten seconds pass and you can still see the bottom of the bowl you will need to add a little more milk.


Now grab another bag. Since I am just using this icing to flood the cookies, I am not going to use a coupler or decorating tip.


Just fill up the bag, twist it, and wrap a rubber band around the top. Then cut off the tip.


When I flood I generally run a ribbon of icing around the edges then fill in the center a bit. If you flood your cookie completely, as in, have no dry space, there will be too much icing and it will overflow.


Now we will go back in and smooth everything out.


Just grab a toothpick and start moving the icing into the corners. Make sure you cover all the dry cookie!



There will most likely be bubbles. Its a good idea to get rid of them if you can!

Just use your toothpick as a spear an pop them. There! All gone.


And here is the ‘finished’ cookie. I have finished in quotations, because now is when I normally start decorating!

Hope that answers any questions you may have about glaze icing!

Here are some examples of some decorated sugar cookies as well as some essential tips and tricks!

Christmas Cookies (and the best sugar cookie recipe ever)

Sugar Cookie Troubleshooting

How To Package and Ship Cookies

Ugly Sweater Christmas Cookies

Fathers Day Sugar Cookies

Its a Boy! (New Baby Cookies)

Rainbow Bus Cookies (VW Bus Cookies)

Peeking Baby Cookies

Sports Themed Wedding Cookies




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  1. Amy says

    I am going to be using edible images on cookies for my son’s birthday. I have never used the edible images before and had planned to use royal icing. Do you think I could use your recipe and still have success? I want to package each cookie in a cello bag to put in the guests favor bags.
    Thanks for the great tutorial!

  2. says

    You have the patience of a saint. My cookies always turn out a little…messy. I just keep looking at the clock and want to move on. I like the addition of lemon juice in your icing. I’m definitely going to try it!

  3. says

    Hello there! I wanted to tell you that I found your icing recipe on Pinterest and I used it to make cookie favors for my sisters Mustaches and Bowties Baby Shower. I am doing a post on these cookies and I’m linking back to this post. Your detailed tutorial was so incredibly helpful and the pictures were an important part of that. Having done a few tutorials on my own blog, I know how time consuming they can be and I can tell how much went into this one. I wanted to be sure and truly thank you for taking the time to do this. I very much appreciate it and so did my sister. I will definitely be checking out more on your blog! Please feel free to drop by my site tomorrow and see how I created with your amazing advice and recipe.

  4. Staci Desmond says

    I wanted to make these for my daughters birthday and let the kids decorate them. Can you use those decorator markers on the icing?

  5. Staci Desmond says

    I wanted to make cookies and let the kids decorate them. Can you use the decorator markers on them or is it to soft.

    • Wendy Allred says

      The decorator markers work fine after the glaze gardens. I let mine set overnight, but they were dry to the touch after about an hour.

  6. Grammy says

    Hi! I love this idea! I am wondering if it would work to make a batch of cookies, ice them like you show here, let the icing dry/harden then freeze them until I can get the kids together. Then, let the kids paint the iced cookies with milk paint. Would the wet milk paint mess up the dried/hardened icing? I just thought milk paint would be easier for the kids to add color. What do you think? Thanks!

  7. diana says

    I was wondering how long it takes for it to completely dry. I am planning to place the cookies in individual bags for a cookie swap.
    Thank you. ♡

  8. Wendy Allred says

    Thank you for the amazing cookie glaze recipe. I have always used traditional royal icing, which as we all know, isn’t much for yummy flavor. Your glaze tastes great and even more importantly (for the decorator inside of me) it is great to decorate with. It flows so smooth and holds its shape beautifully. It dries perfectly, too. My lovely angel, Christmas tree, and snowman cookies thank you. I can’t wait to give them to my friends and family.

  9. says

    Hi! I followed this tutorial to a T today and the cookies came out wonderful! I am doing white butterflies with orange accents for my daughter’s first birthday – this was my first time decorating a sugar cookie and thanks to you it went well! I do have a few questions if you can help!

    1. How long does a glazed cookie take to dry?
    2. Where should I store glazed cookies to dry – out on sheets? on racks? In airtight containers?
    3. Once they’re dry, can they be stacked (e.g., stacked on top of each other in favor bags/sleeves)? Or will this smooth the detail?

    THANK YOU so much!

    • says

      Hi! So glad it worked! A cookie takes a couple hours to dry to the touch and a couple days to get hard. I would store them on a flat dry surface (not stacked) until they are hard. Once hard then you can stack with a parchment layer between. Hope that helps! :)

  10. Jenny says

    Thank you for this tutorial! I am wondering if you let it dry and then decorate with royal icing or decorate with different colors of the same glaze. Or, do you do different colored decorations while still wet. Please help! Thanks!

  11. Jenn says

    This icing did not turn out at all. I even put it in the freezer overnight. It never dried. I worked with this icing for 2 days and made 10 different batches if it trying to get it right. It remained sticky and did not dry. I spent a total of three days — first day I baked sugar cookies — and this icing was a total disappointment. It tasted great, but the cookies were not useable for the event I needed it for. Four dozen cookies went into the trash.

  12. Nada says

    Will the icing harden when left to dry? Can you stack the cookies in a jar or wrap them as a gift in clear paper later on?

  13. Patty says

    I have been icing Christmas cookies for as long as I can remember and I am 58. I can’t imagine going through that much trouble when it works just as well using a knife. I was quite shocked to find that people actually do this. If a person was trying to create a specific design that needed stick straight edges I can see using this method but for everyday Christmas cookies? I have to ask, why do you go through all the hassle of the bag and make an outline first rather than just using a knife and spread it on? My edges look nice and even. I am thinking maybe this particular recipe is too thin and needs the outline maybe. I never knew there were “recipes” for icing. I was raised just using powdered sugar and water and either food coloring or unsweetened chocolate. I am seriously curious to know, I am not just being negative. Thank much!

  14. Tenielle S says

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. We love this on our sugar cookies and will be trying it on our waffle cookies today.

  15. Becky says

    I tried your recipe for the glaze but mine was hardening too quick to be able to smooth with a toothpick and then it was lumpy and not smooth looking. What did I do wrong or need to do?


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