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This mouthwatering 5-minute Sugar Cookie Frosting is smooth, creamy, and perfect for decorating cookies. It’s a top-requested recipe!

This delicious Sugar Cookie Frosting is made with both vanilla and almond extract. It’s perfect for decorating cookies, especially The Best Sugar Cookies and Sugar Cookie Bars.

Four sugar cookies on a white plate with sugar cookie frosting and colorful sprinkles.

A good Sugar Cookie Frosting recipe is a necessity for anyone who likes to decorate cookies. But there’s a problem with most recipes: they don’t taste good! 

Sugar Cookie Frosting is usually bland and often grainy. It will help you make cute cookies, but you won’t enjoy eating them. And where’s the fun in that? 

That’s why I love this recipe so much. It’s a frosting that you’ll actually want to eat. The secret? I add a little almond extract, as well as vanilla extract, to give this frosting a rich and complex flavor. 

You’ll love whipping this up for any occasion or celebration, and it’s perfectly customizable. Color it for holidays, it’s perfect for making a tasty Christmas cookie. It goes perfectly with our favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe! Enjoy!!

A mixing bowl filled with sugar cookie frosting, with a green rubber spatula in it.

How to Make Frosting for Sugar Cookies

This is an exceptionally Sugar Cookie Frosting recipe. It only takes 5 minutes, and then you’ll have a melt-in-your-mouth frosting that is perfect for decorating.

COMBINE. Mix all the ingredients with a hand or stand mixer. Add more milk until it’s the desired consistency. Add food coloring (optional).

DECORATE! Spread on top of cookies with a knife or piping bag. Top it with delicious jimmy sprinkles, and enjoy!!

Sugar Cookie Frosting Variations

This frosting recipe is obviously customizable with food coloring, but here are some additional variations:

  • Flavor. A huge part of what makes this recipe so good is the almond extract in addition to the vanilla extract. Change the flavors depending on the cookie being decorated: mint extract, strawberry extract, orange extract, and lemon extract, are some of my favorites.
  • Consistency. A key part of good frosting is getting the desired consistency. After making the frosting, add more milk to make it thinner, or add more powdered sugar to thicken it up.
  • Make it salted. While I usually use unsalted butter in this recipe, you can use salted butter too. It won’t make the frosting salty, it will just amplify some of the flavors, and reduce the sweetness a little bit.
A bowl of sugar cookie frosting, with a plant of un-frosted, heart-shaped cookies in the background.

Recipe Tips

Here are some tricks and tips for making the best sugar cookie frosting every time.

Softened butter. It’s important to use butter that is properly softened or it won’t mix with the other ingredients. If it’s too soft, it will start to separate, and the frosting will be runny. Use butter that’s soft enough to spread, but not so soft that it loses its shape.

Sift the powdered sugar. Confectioners’ sugar makes for silky frostings, but it can occasionally get clumps, which will ruin the texture. Sift the powdered sugar when adding it to the bowl, to ensure that the frosting is smooth. 

Food coloring. When adding food coloring to this Sugar Cookie Frosting, it’s important to remember that once added, ingredients cannot be subtracted.

Start with a small amount of food coloring, mix up the frosting, and then add more if desired. I recommend gel food coloring as it is less likely to affect the texture than liquid food coloring.

Types of Frosting

In a nutshell, the different types of frosting include: 

  • Royal Icing is made using meringue powder and confectioners sugar. Adjust this icing so that it “floods” or holds a shape. It can be used to create pictures and intricate designs on the top of the cookies. It dries smooth and hard.
  • Sugar Cookie Icing has a confectioners sugar base that is thinned out with liquid, usually milk. It is thinner than frosting and is often simply spread on the cookie using a butter knife. Adjust the thickness of the icing with more powdered sugar to be applied with piping tips. 
  • Cake Frosting uses a creamy base and then adds confectioners sugar to sweeten it up. It is thicker and can hold its shape when using a piping tip or spread on using a butter knife.

Storing Info

STORE leftover Best Sugar Cookie Frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let the frosting come up to room temperature before using it. 

FREEZE the frosting in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw to room temperature before using, and blend with a hand mixer if the consistency isn’t quite right. 

STORE a frosted cookie. Cool cookies and allow time for the frosting to set. Sugar Cookie Frosting doesn’t get hard like royal icing and can get smashed if not stored properly.

  • Line the frosted cookies up on a baking sheet and then place them in the freezer.
  • Once the frosting is solid stack the cookies, separating the layers with a piece of parchment paper, in a freezer-safe container.
  • Freeze for 3-6 months.
  • To thaw the cookies remove the layers and let them come to room temperature in a single layer. 

FREEZE Sugar Cookie dough. Whip up a batch of frosting and a batch of Sugar Cookie Dough and keep them both in the freezer to be baked at a later date.

  • Shape the dough into a log or disk.
  • Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then again with foil or place the wrapped cookie dough in a freezer Ziploc.
  • Thaw in the fridge then roll and shape with cookie cutters before baking.

How to use Sugar Cookie Frosting

It probably goes without saying that I usually make this recipe to decorate Sugar Cookies. Here are some of my favorite recipes to top with this frosting.

A stack of four sugar cookies with sugar cookie icing and colorful sprinkles, with a bite taken out of the top cookie

More Mouth-Watering Frostings:

5 from 565 votes

Sugar Cookie Frosting

By: Lil’ Luna
This mouthwatering 5-minute Sugar Cookie Frosting is smooth, creamy, and perfect for decorating cookies. It's a top-requested recipe!
Servings: 5 cups
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer. Add more milk until it’s the desired consistency. Add food coloring (optional).
  • Spread on top of cookies with a knife or piping bag. Top it with delicious jimmy sprinkles, and enjoy!!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 538kcal, Carbohydrates: 108g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 116mg, Potassium: 16mg, Sugar: 106g, Vitamin A: 398IU, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating




91 Comments

  1. This is my go to sugar cookie frosting every time I do cut out sugar cookies. Best ever and turns out perfect every time! So delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    Finally, an icing recipe without corn syrup! We love this recipe. The icing is light and fluffy. I doubled the recipe to make sure I had enough but I had plenty and ended up freezing half. Thank you. This goes right into my Exceptional folder. You’ve never failed me!! 😉

  3. FYI, readers, in case you are as skeptical as I was about the “Servings: 5 cups” claim–you are correct. This recipe makes NOWHERE near 5 cups. I made it exactly as written, and while it is tasty and beautifully textured and spreadable and will be lovely on sugar cookies, it made almost exactly 2 cups. But that’s it. And although I do love almond extract, next time I’ll try 1 tsp vanilla and only 1/2 tsp almond.

  4. 5 stars
    Our favorite cookie frosting! The almond extract adds great flavor. It goes on cookies well, and is easily colored for more festive cookies! 🙂