How to Make The Best (and Easiest) Sugar Cookie Icing (Glaze)

Do you want an easy icing for sugar cookies that leaves everybody wanting more?  Yesterday I shared how to make the perfect sugar cookie.  Today I want to share how to make a quick and easy glaze/icing that goes perfect with the sugar cookie recipe.

And the best part — it’s two ingredients!  You know I like to keep it Cleverly Simple!

Let’s start with the ingredients.  (Make sure you have your cookies ready.  You can find the best sugar cookie recipe here.)

Want more sugar cookie inspiration?

To find the Best Sugar Cookie Recipe, head over here.

To find the Best way to Simplify the Sugar Cookie Recipe process, head over here.

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How to Make The Best (and Easiest) Sugar Cookie Icing (Glaze)
Prep time
Total time
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 4 tsp Milk
  1. Mix with fork!
  2. You can customize this recipe by adding powdered sugar to make it thicker. Add more milk to make it a glaze.


You start with the simple ingredients of powdered sugar and milk.  And of course, make sure you have your sugar cookies baked and cooled.

1.  Mix the powdered sugar and milk with a fork until smooth.  The powdered sugar will dissolve.  There’s no need to dirty more dishes than that!  I like the consistency of this recipe but you can make it thinner or thicker by adding more milk or more powdered sugar.

2.  Add the icing to a ziploc sandwich bag.  (If you’re fancy, you can use an icing bag.)  Add food coloring to color.  (Optional)  Mix.

*This is a great step for kids!

3.  Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag.

4.  Pipe the icing onto the cookie and use a knife to spread the icing.

If you like to add a bit of color, just follow the first steps and use a different color of icing.  The glaze does start to dry immediately.   Therefore, add sprinkles right away.

Let the cookies sit until the icing/glaze has time to harden.  You can then stack the cookies.  They freeze really well this way so you can bake weeks ahead of Christmas!

If you’re looking for the best baking tools, I’ve made a great list of them.  These are my favorites!  Plus check out the best sugar cookie recipe!



  1. Serene says

    Hi! I was wondering if I could paint the glaze on before baking the cookies.
    I was at a friend’s house making cookies, and we painted out raw cookies with glaze and added sprinkles and then, baked them.
    If you think that that will be fine, please tell me! Thanks so much!! :)

  2. Mick says

    Will this icing hold up if I ship cookies cross country? They will be stacked with wax paper in between, but will the milk spoil? And will the icing squish?

  3. michelle tucker says

    My sister is a cinnamon sugar cookie fanatic, I’m going to use this recipe this year, but add cinnamon sprinkles to it. I think it’s going to be a hit. I’ll let you know. :)

  4. melissa says

    Hi I have a daughter with food allergies ( wheat gluten dairy eggs soy peanuts tree nuts and shellfish ) so she can’t do the milk. She can have coconut or rice milk though. any thoughts on if this would work well with those milks? they do tend to be thinner than cows milk . Thanks

  5. lisa jones says

    This looks like a great and easy recipe to try out for my jungle animal cookies for my daughter’s baby shower this weekend. Can’t wait to try it!!!

  6. Esha says

    Hi, i’ve just glazed a batch of about 50 cookies using your amazing recipe. I need to use them as party favours for my son’s birthday party about 12 days away. Can I freeze them until then? Once I remove them to thaw, will the icing or colors of the icing bleed into each other or onto the cookie? Or will the cookie get soft from the moisture? Please help! I’m sceptical about leaving them out at room temperature for 12 days. Thanks in advance.

    • says

      Hi Esha, I freeze them all the time! Put wax paper between each layer after the icing has dried. Sometimes the darker colors will be a bit different after freezing for a long time. However, most of the time, you can not tell at all. I keep the lid closed and put them on the counter to thaw for about 10 hours before serving.

      • Esha says

        Great! Thanks so much for replying. And your recipe is awesome by the way. Makes life soooo much easier for amateur bakers like me!

      • Esha says

        Hi, I removed the cookies today from the freezer and the red glaze is now shaded with pink : ( I will have to redo it to get the red again. Can I do a double glaze on my cookies? Will that work? Please reply!

  7. Tami says

    I see from other comments that this icing dries quickly. Could this be used with the edible wafer cutout designs or will they not stick?

  8. Missy says

    This turned out to be the perfect recipe. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice for the holiday season, and it makes sugar cookies absolutely incredible!

  9. Diane says

    I tried your recipe, for a change, using my VERY large ‘number’ cutters!
    They are tricky bec the cutters don’t always ‘release’ the cookie dough, easily.
    Your recipe, made the night ahead and chilled, worked great. I take it out of the fridge in small batches.

    I asked a leading Gro store ab hard icing.
    They said powdered sugar w WHITE vanilla.
    I make it in small batches, add a teensy bit of lemon juice, smear it on the cooled cookies with my finger, then use colored sprinkles: smear…sprinkle…next!… the icing hardens fast…you get in a groove and it goes quickly.

    I roll and cut small batches of the dough on a Tupperware cookie mat I’ve had forever!
    Years of experience and I’m still perfecting my process! Thanks for new recipe, it was a hit bec of the softness…really need to not over bake!

  10. VICKY says

    Hi Lynette,

    Are you able to add colored sugar (crystals) to icing before it dries so it can have that glittery look to it?

    • says

      Hi Vicky, I’ve used the crystals and they worked well. They work the best when the icing is a little thicker. Test it out on one cookie to get the desired results. :)

  11. naisha says

    At the end of it all the kids don’t care how pretty it looks, just that it’s sweet. So bravo for making it easIER for me

  12. Victoria says

    Could the cookies be baked on say a Friday night then decorated the next morning? I was wanting to make some for a church Easter event with our kids!!

    • says

      Hi Victoria, absolutely! In fact I typically bake the cookies and store them in the freezer a week ahead and then frost them the day of an event. Make sure you store the sugar cookies in an airtight container with wax paper between each layer.

      • Maya says

        Hello Lynette
        I tried it but it is not getting hard on the cookie i left it for more then one hour
        can you please inform me what to do? maybe this recipe does not get hard?

  13. ra says

    Thanks for this super easy recipe ( I’m so glad I thought I had store bought icing, but didn’t, and eliminated about 20 ingredients…)
    I added some rum to the icing and they are awesome !!

  14. Amanda says

    I’m not sure if you’ve had this question yet… does it have to be whole milk? I think I have 1 or 2% in the fridge. Thanks!

  15. Candace Daly says

    I make this glaze for cut-out cookies but use water instead of milk. I consistently have a “cloudy” effect after they dry.
    Would using milk instead of water prevent this from happening?

  16. says

    Made this icing tonight! Added a smidge less milk and a smidge of vanilla and then used gel food coloring. They turned out super cute, and SO much easier than dealing with royal icing. I shared the picture on my FB Blog page. They taste amazing! Thanks for this!

    • angie says

      help my cookies have been sitting out for 4 and half hours there still not hardening enough to stack I try fridge of 15 mins didn’t work I am trying freezer now

  17. Chris says

    I use this icing all the time. Couple of questions though. When i just use the icing w/o sprinkles or sugars, it dries and gets discolored areas almost like a sugar bloom on chocolate. Is there a way to prevent this? What is the shelf life of cookies using this icing- want to ship some but worried about the milk component. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Chris, I’ve not has this problem. I’m wondering if the cookies get too cold before they are completely dry? I know I’ve had this problem, when I put them in the refrigerator or freezer before they have completely dried.

  18. Barb says

    This is very similar to my family’s recipe but my mom and grandma used egg whites. I’ve been uncomfortable using the raw egg white so went to using the pasteurized egg whites. Now I’m wondering if I even need them. Our icing is very hard. Does yours harden without denting?

    • says

      It will harden but it’s still a bit soft. It really depends on how thick you make the icing. If you’re wanting something that is very hard, I would make it more of a glaze and let it fully dry. As the sugar cooking icing recipe is, it will harden but still be soft enough, that it’s not crunchy. I hope that makes sense. :)

  19. says

    Do the cookies need to be refrigerated after frosting them because it contains milk? Will the frosting curdle on the cookie if it’s not consumed immediately or working a certain time frame? I’ve always used water and meringue powder with the powdered sugar. But I’m willing to try a new way!

  20. Vanessa says

    Hi, Silly questions? Do you ice the cookie before you bake them or after? I cant tell from the pictures? Sorry again for such a dumb questions lol

  21. Jennifer says

    We are going to decorate cookies at someone else’s house for a party, is there any way to keep this icing good for an hour or so without it hardening? We will be icing 70+ cookies so I can’t really make it there

    • says

      Hi Jennifer. The best way to keep it for a bit would be to put saran wrap over the icing so that it’s touching the icing. Does that make sense? Almost like the saran wrap is the top layer. If you let any air on top it will start to harden at the top, but then you could skim it and stir but you would risk chunkiness. The recipe is so easy, you might want to do a test run. :)

  22. lindsay says

    Thanks so much for this recipe, I made sugar cookies with my grandmother for over 20 years, she is since gone but I am making them this year with a niece and nephew. She left me the cookie recipe but not the icing recipe…this is the exact way she made it, SO helpful, thank you!!!

    • says

      HI Lisa, The icing does harden so my thought is that the bottle may not work. I’ve never tried it though. I typically whip this cookie icing up right before I use it. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

      • tara says

        we have a son with multiple food allergies and use this same recipe but use coconut milk and it turns out beautiful everytime.

      • Kelly Williams-Hobbs says

        I made a batch (or 2) this afternoon using almond milk. It worked beautifully! I used a touch of vanilla in one batch and a bit of almond flavoring in another. I was doing different colors, to the darkness of the vanilla didn’t hurt it at all. Delicious and so very easy! Thanks!

  23. kanika sehgal says

    I want to know that since icing has sugar in it , so should I put less sugar in the cookie that is the base

  24. Kelly says

    I used this recipe with Halloween ghosts and cats. It worked perfectly! It didn’t run when I combined colors and was super easy to make! Thank you.

    • says

      Hi Fannie. The icing drying time depends on if you make it more of a glaze versus a thicker icing. If you make the sugar cookie icing exactly like the directions state, then it should take no more than 20 minutes – but then it depends on the humidity. Sorry, that’s a tough question! :)

  25. SashA says

    Umm hi Lynette I’m eleven yrs.old and I’m making snicker doodle cookies and there small what kind of frosting would I use? Thanks

      • Sasha says

        Hi Lynette it’s SASHA the cookies turned out great I used the icing and I used blue and orange and they were good! thanks

  26. Gaynell says

    Hey Lynette I ‘m in the process of making Sugar Cookies for my nephew’s Birthday Party and I ‘d like to put a Camouflage coating on them (black,brown,green) would this work for me. Thanks

  27. Ana says

    May I know if I were to make these ahead like 3 weeks in advance, should I be keeping it in the refrigerator or freezer (the weather is humid here so I doubt it’d be a good idea to keep it in room temp since it contain milk)?

    I tried another similar icing before which has an additional ingredient (corn syrup) but it didn’t refrigerate well. After taking out a couple of days later, the icing kinda melted and I had to air dry it again and also there’s a cloudy effect. Wonder if you encounter that?

    • says

      Hi Ana,

      I freeze these regularly! In fact, I typically make these a few weeks in advance when the holidays are near so that I don’t have to worry about them. I pack them with wax paper between each layer once they are dry. I then use a container that has a good snap lid. Let them thaw for a few hours without opening the lid.

      Let me know how it goes!

  28. Angel B. says

    Hello Lynette,

    I’ll be making sugar cookies for a birthday party with an Alice in Wonderland theme this weekend. They wanted to have “Eat Me” cookies. What I’m a bit worried about is you mentioned on a post that it doesn’t get as hard as the Royal Icing.But I prefer to use this recipe as it doesn’t have to use raw eggs. How long will it take to dry and how do you suggest to pack it? Wouldn’t the designs get ruined? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Angel. The icing does get hard enough to hold the shape and color as long as you make it thick enough. If you make it more of a glaze, the colors will run together like you see in the Christmas Tree picture on this post. However, I make it thicker when I want to use multiple colors on one cookie that need to show detail. I typically play around with one cookie, let it dry and then see if I get the results I want.

      In terms of drying time, it again depends on how wet you make it. I never feel like it’s more than 30 minutes. I lay them out on the kitchen table. Once they are dry, I stack them with a piece of wax paper between each layer. I’ve never had the designs get ruined as the cookie was fully dry. Again, just like royal icing, it depends on how thick you make the icing and how thick you put it onto the cookie.

      Good Luck and let me know how it turns out!

    • says

      Hi. It is similar to Royal icing but doesn’t get as “hard” if that makes sense. It does give a shell to the icing and it’s controllable if you make it thick enough with a bit of a runnyness to it which makes it like a glaze. Does that make sense? :)

  29. Karina says

    My boys and I made our first cookies ever using your sugar cookie and icing recipes and they’re perfect! I’ve never baked anything and my previous attempts at sugar cookies were total disasters. Thank you!

  30. Melinda says

    I don’t know what I did wrong. This icing was moderately thick and yet it just soaked into the sugar cookie and didn’t leave it looking “iced.” It just looked soggy. :(

    • says

      Hmmn… were your cookies cooled when you added the icing? I’ve never had that happen before. If you find after one cookie, it’s looking more like a glaze, add more powdered suger to thicken it up. How did they taste? 😉

  31. Eva says

    I’ve also used this icing recipe for years and was wondering if you’ve ever tried painting on it with food coloring gel once it was dry.

    • says

      Hi Eva. I have not. I typically incorporate different colors of icing by adding the food coloring to the icing directly. If you try it, let me know how it goes! :)

      • Eva says

        I will. Thank you, Lynette. I just ordered some new brushes to try it out. So, I guess I’ll know in a couple weeks.

      • Eva says

        It worked out good. I took one drop of food color and one drop of water then painted on both the cookie and the simple icing. And as long as you don’t get it too wet on the icing it’s fine. If it’s too wet, you’ll end up with a dip from melted icing. But it works great! :)


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