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.

4.5 from 2 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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  • Nicole says:

    Love your recipes! Love your ideas! Have you tried chocolate glaze frosting? Any suggestions?

  • chana says:

    I would like to use this recipe with my grandchildren at our Chanukah party. The glaze needs to dry quickly.
    1. so that they can write on it.
    2. or if they want to add decorations when the glaze is wet, how long will it take to dry with added decorations?

    so that the cookies can be taken home after the party.

  • Connie says:

    If you are doing more decorating does your base icing need to dry?

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, it will need to harden a bit if you are doing more decoration.

  • Marcia Gill says:

    Briana Adams, I love your response!! This is the first time I have been to this Blog via Pinterest and honestly I am shocked by Serena Acuzar!! I can now say I have no desire to go to New Zealand!! HaHa!! Serena why would you come onto this blog to comment with such a tone of and badger and try to humiliate Cassandra Leiw??? This is just so very wrong!! Blogs like this are not meant to be intimidating but welcoming. Shame on you Serena Acuzar!!!
    Cassandra, I am not sure if you received an answer?? There a few things that could cause your icing to become more on the transparent looking. 1) Did you use Non Fat Milk? I use whole or 1/2and1/2 or whole. The White White from Wilton is great too.. It also could be from sifting or the quality. of the powdered sugar. However regardless of the last suggestion, change only one thing at a time and document each change . It will all come together!!! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!!!

  • Mary L. Hernandez-Munoz says:

    Briana Adams, my hat off to you dear. Not deer..lolol Ppl can be so self righteous to make themselves feel better. Or just dippy. First time being on this site. I read the comment from Serena(????)lol Wow…any who…You gave me the giggles n made my day. You remind me of my youngest daughter. Just a spit fire, in a Good way!!!???? Thank you…

  • Wendy says:

    Can someone tell me if these can be put in the freezer and for how long? I am getting married in May and want to make personalized cookies for my guests but need to get a jump start! Thanks so much!

  • Chun says:

    Hi, I want to ask.. Will the icing harden so that I can stack the cookies or pack them in plastic packaging? Thanks!

  • Michelle says:

    I noticed that the commenter correcting the terminology is from New Zealand. I have a feeling they just call it something different there. Here in the US, this really is a sifter. A sieve is much larger and usually has a different mesh design for draining liquid.

    • B says:

      I used my fine mesh sieve to sift the powdered sugar. We bakers tend to just use a sieve. A sifter is a uni-tasker! LOL

    • Ann says:

      Yes, here in USA we call them sifters….

  • Brandy zanetti says:

    Oh the shame Serena Acuzar,, inferiority complex much,,,

  • Abby Burke says:

    Hi! Thanks for sharing this recipe. It tastes great! But was just wondering why when I colored it that white spots showed up in the icing after it dried? I sifted the powdered sugar and I popped all of the air bubbles! Didn’t know if this has happened to anyone else or if there was a solution to it?

  • B says:

    Last night I used your flood icing recipe to decorate cookies with the moms and daughters at my church. The icing flooded perfectly, everyone’s cookies looked great for first timers and it was a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing your fab icing recipe. And the icing sets up really well, too, BTW.

    • Amanda says:

      Love that!!!

  • Deborah Kay says:

    as I come into this way after the fact I cannot help but wonder what would posess someone to just feel they have to criticize other people … just not very nice

    and Serena ( noting you are from New Zealand) … I am from USA … and we call it a SIFTER …

    Hope you have a wonderful day …. and that you don’t wake up every day with that attitude ????
    and THANK YOU Amanda for sharing your wonderful recipes and tips

  • Debo says:

    Thank you for sharing I appreciate your time and effort I plan to use it and report back, thanks again.

  • Mushka says:

    Can decorated cookies be frozen with this icing? If yes, what’s the best way to freeze?
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Sharon Sanders says:

    I’ve used glaze icing for years. One hint I would like to add is to add White coloring as part of your liquid measure. The white ensures a white color instead of an opaque white. It also gives your colored icing great clear definitive tones.

  • Jaya says:

    HI! What is the purpose of the corn syrup? Is there an alternative that can be used? Thanks!

    • Ali says:

      We don’t eat corn syrup so I use raw honey, it’s delicious and works just as well! This is my favorite icing recipe.

      • Amanda says:

        Love that substitution!

  • Yvonne says:

    Can you freezer the cookies with this icing on them?

  • Courtney says:

    When using lemon in your icing, is the cookie still a regular flavor sugar cookie or is there another recipe of sugar cookie for lemon icing?

    • Amanda says:

      The lemon flavor is not noticeable.

  • Annie says:

    Can I still add almond or vanilla extract in addition to the lemon juice?

  • Pam says:

    I love this icing!

  • Lyne says:

    I just tried your icing and it was perfect! Easy and fast to make. Thank you very much for this recipe. It’s @ keeper.

  • Maria Pignone says:

    Dear Amanda,
    How long can you keep the icing, and does it have to be refrigerated?
    Thanking you in advance for your speedy reply,

  • Renee says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Does this icing dry like royal icing? Otherwise you can’t bag them.

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, it will harden. 🙂

  • Jane Palmer says:

    Great information. Easy to follow.

  • Becky says:

    Can’t wait to try these!