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. 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. Be sure to check out my Sugar Cookie Decorating 101 for tips on decorating sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookie Icing
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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. Lemon juice is an acid and will counter the “sweetness” of the confectioner’s sugar and corn syrup. No, the icing will not taste lemony.

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

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.

Can You Stack Cookies with Glaze Icing?

Yes! Absolutely. After the icing dries it will stack beautifully, about 3 cookies high. It takes about 24 hours for the icing to dry depending on how thick your icing is.

Sugar Cookie Icing Being Swirled with Offset Spatula
  • 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.

I will often times store it in piping bags that have been sealed with a rubber band or twist tie. You can also store it in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you are using food coloring, I will often color the icing before storing, as you will see the “true” color after the icing settles.

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!

More Sugar Cookies

5 from 12 votes

Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
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.


  • 1 cup (125 g) 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


  • Sift the confectioners' sugar to remove lumps.
  • To a medium bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Add more milk and/or lemon juice as needed to achieve desired consistency.


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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I made the Sugar Cookie Recipe from this site and used this icing recipe. I doubled the cookie recipe and quadrupled the icing recipe, which made a lot of cookies to decorate. Too many, lol! I have experienced much sugar cookie trauma in my lifetime, (think, making cookies to bring to play group or school functions and you will appreciate the pressure to perform) but I found these two recipes easy to use with a great end result. (My decorating skills need more practice but even so, people were impressed.) What’s great about this recipe:
    1. It is a glaze, not a buttercream frosting, so it hardens a little and has a slight sheen.
    2. It is easy to work with and stays “open” (workable) a long time. If it starts to harden, just stir it until the sugar softens. Add a tiny bit more milk to adjust consistency as needed.
    Definitely sift the sugar to remove lumps! I didn’t use a mixer, but simply whisked ingredients together. For anyone worried about the corn syrup, it is a very small amount and I believe it is necessary for the glaze to harden. I started out using a plastic decorating tip and decorating bags but then just used ziplock bags with the corner cut off, which was fine for my purposes. Toothpicks were all I needed to manipulate the icing.
    I will definitely use this recipe the next time I make sugar cookies.

  2. Has anyone tried freezing cookies that have been decorated with this icing? If so, did they look nice after thawing?

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