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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:

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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 

Save This Recipe!
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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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5 from 565 votes (527 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




91 Comments

  1. Genevieve says:

    4 stars
    Easy but super sweet. An extra 1/2 tsp of milk makes it much easier to spread. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wanda Lynch says:

    5 stars
    Recipe my mother-in-law taught me. We don’t use almond though. Sometimes peppermint. But I love it plain! Making it today actually with my grandson

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Ooh I bet the peppermint is yummy too! So glad you enjoy the frosting recipe.

  3. Stacye Johnson says:

    The ads in the bottom corner are so annoying, distracting & get in the way. No way to x them out. I mistakenly touched them more than once taking me to amazon & away from the recipe. I get you gotta have the ads but hate there’s no way to close them.

  4. temiah says:

    5 stars
    How long can this frosting stay good for?

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      You can store the buttercream frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to bring the frosting to room temperature before using it to spread. Also, you can revive the texture a bit by whipping it up with a hand mixer. Once you have frosted the cookies you can store them, covered, at room temperature for 2-3 days.

  5. No sorry says:

    5 stars
    OMG IMA MAKE SOME YUMMY COOKIES😁😁

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Yay! Hope you enjoy the frosting and the cookies!

      1. Kirsten says:

        How much merengue to add for creative designs? I’m making gingerbread men and Christmas trees.

  6. Jayden says:

    5 stars
    I halved this recipe and added a little bit more of everything but the milk and it turned out AMAZING!!! I’ve never had frosting taste this good and I think it’s all thanks to the almond extract. But this recipe is sooooo good and thank you so much for sharing!!!

    1. LilLunaTeam says:

      You are so welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      1. Michelle says:

        Do u need to use the almond extract or can i double the vanilla

      2. Lil'Luna Team says:

        You certainly don’t have to use the almond. You can use whatever flavoring you prefer — vanilla, lemon, etc.

      3. Robin says:

        4 stars
        You definitely need more than 1/4 c milk fir 4.5 c of powdered sugar.
        Otherwise simply yummy. Best powder sugar frosting I’ve ever made.

  7. Niranka says:

    5 stars
    Best cookie frosting, delicious

    1. LilLunaTeam says:

      Awe, thank you! So glad you like it as much as we do!

  8. Britt says:

    You need to fix your ads. The save and shop sits right on top of the email sign up x-out button, making it impossible to read your site.

    1. LilLunaTeam says:

      Thanks so much for letting me know! I really appreciate it! 🙂

  9. Shelley says:

    Can you use any kind of milk? I plan on using this recipe tomorrow for valentines cookies,

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      I think any would work 🙂

  10. Colleen Thiel Ogburn says:

    5 stars
    This frosting is AMAZING

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      It’s my favorite! Glad you like it! Thank you!

      1. Mora Luke says:

        Does the frosting ‘set up?’