Easy Powdered Sugar Icing

Need a quick recipe to frost your sugar cookies? This simple powdered sugar icing is perfect for cutout cookies and even cupcakes. With only a few ingredients than you probably already have on hand, you can mix up this glaze in seconds for beautifully decorated treats!

confectioners sugar icing made pink on frosted cut out cookies

Nothing beats a good sugar cookie recipe. Except maybe a sugar cookie with a perfectly sweet icing on top! I don’t do fancy royal icing and I’m not a huge fan of buttercream on cookies, so this simple glaze is the go-to in my house when it comes to cut-out cookies.

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Ingredients for Powdered Sugar Icing for Cookies

It’s so simple that it’s impossible to mess up. My kids love making it and adding food coloring to make it fun.

Frosted cut out sugar cookies

I mix mine up with a mixture of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla but you can change the vanilla for almond extract and even make it dairy free by using a milk substitute or even water!

How to Make Powdered Sugar Icing for Cookies

Step 1: In a medium sized bowl, add powdered sugar, milk, and some vanilla.

Step 2: Mix until smooth.

Step 3: Adjust the consistency. You want the icing thick enough that it won’t run off the cookie but thin enough that when you drizzle it back into the bowl, it “melts” back into itself. Add more sugar to thicken or some more milk/water to thin it out (just a drizzle at a time).

Step 4: Once the correct consistency has been reached, add food coloring and mix to incorporate.

Step 5: Ice the cookies! I like to place a dollop in the center of the cookie and then spread it around using the back of a teaspoon. Feeling fancy? Use a piping bag to outline the shape, then fill it in with icing.

Step 6: Allow to set up for an hour or so. The icing won’t completely harden but will dry to a nice sheen. Don’t stack the cookies or you’ll risk squishing the icing!

The iced cookies will store happily at room temperature (covered) for several days. But they may not last that long!

Powdered sugar icing for cookies
simple powdered sugar frosting recipe

Powdered Sugar Icing For Sugar Cookies

Jenna Shaughnessy
This simple powdered sugar icing is perfect for cutout cookies and even cupcakes. With only a few ingredients than you probably already have on hand, you'll be able to quickly mix up this sweet glaze!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 20 cookies worth
Calories 43 kcal


  • cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring


  • In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract.
  • Stir mixture until smooth.
  • The consistency should be thick enough that it won’t run off cookies, but thin enough that the icing “melts” back in on itself when you drizzle a spoonful over the bowl.
  • Tip: If your icing looks too dry, add 1 teaspoon of milk until it looks like the consistency in the video. If it is too thin, add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar until it looks like the consistency in the video.
  • Once you reach the correct consistency, add food coloring. If you are using powdered food coloring, you only need the tiniest bit. If you're using gel, put it on a plate and use a toothpick to swipe it through the icing. This helps to control the color.
  • To ice the cookies, use a piping bag or simply use the back of a spoon to spread the icing over the cookie.
  • Immediately after piping on the icing, use a toothpick to spread out the icing and fill in any holes. Top with sprinkles, if desired.
  • Allow icing to dry on the cooling rack for 2-3 hours until the icing starts to firm up. Note that this powdered sugar icing will not completely harden, meaning that you don’t want to stack these cookies after they are iced.


Calories: 43kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 1mgPotassium: 3mgSugar: 10gVitamin A: 4IUCalcium: 3mg
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