Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe

filed under: Decorating · Food + Drink on October 28, 2009

Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe is a sweet homemade frosting that is made with just four ingredients and can be adapted to your favorite flavor and color. Be sure to check out my Sugar Cookie Decorating 101 for tips on decorating sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe

I love sugar cookies year-round, but they are especially popular around the holidays. It’s such a fun cookie to play around with. They are the perfect cookie for making into your favorite shapes and, of course, decorating! This icing recipe is an easy recipe to make and be as colorful and flavorful as you want it to be.

Sugar Cookie Icing

Icing Ingredients

Confectioners’ sugar: Be sure to sift the confectioners’ sugar (also known as icing sugar) before adding the other ingredients. This will remove any lumps that may be in the sugar.

Milk: Whole milk will give you the best consistency in the frosting. Amounts of milk may vary depending on seasonality.

Corn syrup: Light corn syrup is in the frosting recipe gives the frosting a glossy finish and adds a little more moisture to it.

Lemon juice: As with the milk, the amount of lemon juice added to the recipe will be determined by the temperature of your kitchen and the overall climate.

Adding corn syrup and milk to confectioners sugar for Sugar Cookie Icing

How to Make Sugar Cookie Icing

First, to make this sugar cookie icing, sift the confectioners’ sugar to remove any lumps. Next, add all the ingredients to a bowl, starting with the minimum amounts of milk and lemon juice. Use a spatula to combine the ingredients together. If you need a thicker frosting, say for outlining your cookies, add LESS milk, just a drop at a time.

What is the 10-Second Rule?

If you have already outlined your cookies and need to fill in or ‘spill’ your cookies, you can add more milk (as much as you would need) to make your frosting very runny. A great way to check the consistency of your frosting if you need to fill a cookie is to use the ‘ten-second rule’.

For this ten-second rule, run your spoon along the bottom of the bowl of frosting. 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.

Sugar Cookie Icing Being Swirled with Offset Spatula

Variations to Sugar Cookie Icing

  • If you are using food coloring, be sure to use LESS milk. Most food colorings are liquid and can make your frosting runnier. If you are using gel food coloring, your milk quantity can remain the same.
  • To add different flavors, you can add drops of vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon, etc. to flavor your frosting.
  • If you want more shine, use more corn syrup and less milk.

The ORIGINAL Ugly Sweater Christmas Cookie!I used this icing to make my Original Ugly Sweater Cookies. You can see how beautifully it sets and is firm enough to gently stack!

Looking for More Sugar Cookie Recipes?

Sugar Cookie Bars

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Recipe {Copycat Swig Cookie}

Amish Sugar Cookies

5 from 2 votes
Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins

Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe is a sweet homemade icing that is made with just four ingredients and can be adapted to your favorite flavor and color.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Amanda
  • 1 cup (125g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk, as needed depending on seasonality and desired consistency
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 -3 drops lemon juice, as needed depending on seasonality and desired consistency
  1. Sift the confectioners' sugar to remove lumps.

  2. To a medium bowl, add all the ingredients and mix with a spatula until combined.

  3. Add more milk and/or lemon juice as needed to achieve desired consistency.


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  • mandy evans says:

    Please add twice as much corn syrup and milk, a little at a time. With the regular amount it is just powdery. After you do all that, it has a nice flow and sheen. Beautiful!

  • Kerrie says:

    I’ve never iced a sugar cookie. Will the icing be hard or will it be softer because you say its a glaze? Would the icing smush if the cookies were touched?

  • Luci says:


    I am in awe with your decorated sugar cookies. Please tell me your secret in your printing on the cookies. Just amazing! Do you use a store bought gel icing when you write on the cookies? Can you add food coloring to your glaze? I wanted to make button sugar cookies for my daughter’s graduation party. I need help with the printing… any hints for me?


  • Stacy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am scared to use raw eggs and always run out to buy powdered meringue (which I never have on hand) to make royal icing. This is much easier and the ingredients are always stocked. 🙂

  • compare meds says:

    awesome recipe tips , i will try at home ,thanks….

  • nonya says:

    i sorta liked it

  • shirley pease says:

    please help if you can, i tried making powdered sugar frosting and when i add the liquid it turns the sugar beige, i was trying for white frosting, i am using organic powdered sugar
    thank you

  • Talia says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe!

  • Michelle says:

    Does this “royal icing” harden so I can package or stack without the design getting messed up? Thank you!

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, in about 24 hours.

  • mabel says:

    Hola soy de argentina,el jarabe de maiz es la glucosa? Gracias

  • Donna says:

    Do you have a cookbook? I’ve seen a lot of your recipes on Facebook and would love to have them on hand. Your treats always look amazing. I’m still trying to figure out how you get your cookies to look like roses, I don’t think I’m piping them right and I haven’t been able to find a video to show how. If you can help me that would be great! Thank you for sharing your recipes!!❤️

  • Michele says:

    Looks delicious!

  • Lynn Kryger says:

    Cant wait to try your icing..might have to start my holiday baking early

  • Vieva J. Becker says:

    I will use the cookie icing recipe.I really needed this- thank you…

  • Pamela says:

    Great recipe. Love it.

  • Nancy Barker says:

    My grand children will have fun with this recipe

  • Louise says:

    Could you use this cookie frosting recipe be use on home made cinnamon rolls

  • Danny brown says:

    Looks good I’m going to try it!!!!

  • Mary Lou says:

    I agree, this is the best frosting. I leave out the milk and use all lemon juice. (Then it doesn’t dry shiny, but that’s the only problem.) Not everyone likes the lemon flavoring, but I love it. (Sometimes I have to leave it out and use strawberry or almond flavoring, depending on who requested the cookies.) It takes overnight to dry completely, but it is still soft enough to eat without any crunch at all, although they do stack nicely.

  • nona clark says:

    This is a beautiful recipe I bake a lot o biscuit and now am getting batches done more quickly than ever before.Love the way it sets smooth thank you.

  • Carol Haney says:

    Your recipes are amazing. Thank you for sharing them with us!

  • Barb says:

    Loved it!

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.