Sugar Cookie Decorating 101

filed under: Sugar Cookies on February 11, 2010

This is a tutorial for how I apply my glaze icing to sugar cookies. Looking for the best Cutout Sugar Cookie Recipe? I’ve got you covered!


Sugar Cookie Glaze Icing

To make my special version of royal icing (glaze icing)  these are the ingredients I use. (recipe below as well)

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 don’t 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.


And here are the supplies.




measuring cups

pastry bags

tips & coupler set

rubber band


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.


How to Make Glaze Icing

Much better. Still pretty thick 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 the 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 the 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!)

It’s 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. Pop those suckers!

Just use your toothpick. 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!

I often quadruple this recipe and then divide up the mixture and add food color. When I am outlining and filling cookies I will make a lot of one color with the “thicker” version of the icing, then add more milk to thin the icing down for filling.

4.67 from 3 votes
christmas sugar cookies
Glaze Icing
Prep Time
5 mins

Easier to work with than royal icing and so much tastier!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: glaze icing
Servings: 12 cookies
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 drop lemon juice can be fresh
  1. Place one cup of powder sugar in a sifter. Try not to skip this step! Lumps in icing are hard to fix.
  2. Add one tablespoon milk, one tablespoon corn syrup, and one drop lemon juice.
  3. Mix everything together. If it looks too dry, can add more milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Be sure to mix well after each addition as you don't need much.

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

Christmas Cookies

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

My recipe tastes better and hardens beautifully. You can stack these cookies but will never break a tooth!

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  • Shirley says:

    Amanda, you are very thorough with each step and how to. seeing the actual detailed process is amazing. It makes me feel like I have my own personal teacher right beside me!👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  • Courtney A Havrilla says:

    Does food coloring effect the consistency? If I am aiming to make a forest green, should I add food coloring first before the milk so my outline icing isn’t too watery?

  • Melinda says:

    How long does it take for the icing to dry well enough to start decorating the cookies?

  • Francie Hazen says:

    How do you get it to be bright white? Mine came out more of an off-white.

  • Sheila says:

    Can you substitute agave nectar for the corn syrup? Thanks!

  • Rochelle says:

    Used this for my Christmas cookies and they are the prettiest we’ve ever made!

  • Kelley Goodall says:

    Hi! I just dropped ino yourit! You are accomplished, talented and I love your orderliness to baking and writing! Haven’t tried anything yet, but I will give something a rolle soon.

    Just wanted to highlight a little typo I found that I am sure you will want to know about – It’s in the Cookie Decorating presentation. About halfway down you wrote: Much better. Still pretty think but perfect for outlining.

    think s/b thick; don’tcha think? 🙂

    I do a lot of editing so figured you would like to know to correct.

    Appreciate your style Amanda! I’m saving your site to my favorites – so far, you’re the only one there!

    Take care!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you! Feel free to edit to your heart’s content!! lol It’s not my gift.

  • Anne says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe. I do not like the taste of royal icing, even just a bit for borders. Your icing is perfect and tastes wonderful! I have always used a similar recipe for the flooding but used vanilla extract. Love omitting it and using the lemon juice! Thanks again for sharing!!

  • Rebecca says:

    Is there a way to flavor this glaze, for example by subbing liqueur or lemon juice for the milk? (I assume the corn syrup is necessary for the right consistency so I shouldn’t sub that out.)

  • Anne says:

    Does it harden more than if you just use milk without the corn syrup? I’m trying to get my glaze to harden and I can’t figure it out.

    P.S. I love your recipes 💗

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes, it will still harden. 🙂

  • Michelle Bauer says:

    Hi . I love your recipe and tutorial for icing but I wonder..,
    Doesn’t the milk spoil if the cookies are not refrigerated?
    Thank you

  • Debbie says:

    The recipe I have for royal icing calls for meringue powder.
    I notice yours does not. Does the Caro syrup in yours is equivalent to meringue powder? Thanks

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      This isn’t royal icing, it is a glaze icing. The frosting will harden enough to stack in about 24 hours.

  • tamico g. says:

    With setting the bag, outlning, getting a diff. Bagged icing for filling then smoothing w/ toothpick sounds like u spend at least 5 min
    On ea. Cookie, im in trouble, i have to make 125 dec. B4 the 15th

  • Linda says:

    When adding color, will the icing bleed into other colors?

  • Mallory says:

    Can you pipe with a ziplock bag if you don’t have pastry bags or tips? And do you know how to make substitutes for piping tips?

  • Shamiela Majiet says:

    Awesome recipes, tx

  • Co says:

    Can’t find anywhere that says whether you can make glaze in advance. Thank you

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      The glaze will harden so unless you keep it in a pastry bag or in an airtight container it is best to make it right before using.

  • Trisia Callaway says:

    I made the sugar cookie and glaze icing.

    Absolutely amazing. They turned out so well.

    Thank you for your directions and insight as why we take the steps needed in these two recipes.

    Well Done

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.