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This simple cookie icing recipe is one that I always turn to whenever we are decorating cookies around our house. It has been in my family for as long as I can remember and isn’t going away anytime soon!

Cookie Icing Recipe | ©

It works great for spreading or piping onto cookies, whichever you prefer. You can also easily make the cookie icing thinner or thicker based on your preferences. You’ll add a little bit more sugar for it to be thicker and a little more milk for it to be thinner. Totally up to you to get the cookie icing to the consistency you prefer.

Cookie Icing Recipe | ©

Here’s my family’s cookie icing recipe perfect for using with our sugar cookie recipe that I’ll share tomorrow. You definitely don’t want to miss it!

5 from 4 votes

Cookie Icing Recipe

Dessert 10 mins

Prep Time 10 mins
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
Cookie icing recipe perfect for using for decorating or icing sugar cookies or other types of cookies. Get this simple, family heirloom cookie icing recipe you are sure to love.


  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla clear preferred


  • Stir all ingredients together to make sure well-combined and smooth.

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Frosting / Icing Recipes

Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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Recipe Review


  1. THank you for this, Robyn!! I have been looking for a good icing recipe for days and this is it! Yes!! Looks perfect!

  2. Does this harden up after drying so the cookies can be boxed up/stacked without ruining them? I usually use royal icing to decorate but I’d prefer a meringue free option if it will harden.

    1. It does dry and harden really well. The thicker you apply the icing will require longer to harden. Hope you enjoy it!

    1. It really will depend on your particular environment and how thick you add the icing. The dryer your weather, the faster it will dry, but for me in the humid south, it takes longer on those really humid or rainy days. I hope that makes sense.

  3. Hi, I just found your blog and love the recipes! Is it okay to make this ahead or will it harden overnight? I’m hosting a holiday party at my daughter’s kindergarten and wonder if I could make this the night before since we’re setting up during class. Thanks!

  4. Wanted to use this icing for our upcoming cookie decorating party for the kiddies. How would you recommend storing and dispensing of this icing? Is it liquidy enough that it can be in squirt bottles? Or should it be in a bowl with plastic knives for applying? The kids are ages 3-5yrs, and while I suspect they will be eaten before leaving our house, I don’t want the icing to be super runny Thanks!

    1. It works great in squirt bottles. That’s how we generally use it for decorating cookies when my son was smaller or when we use when making gingerbread houses, etc. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Hi Robyn, Can I add food colouring to this icing recipe? I want to make pink icing (Im making your biscuits in a heart shape) for my daughters first birthday 🙂

  6. Super easy and delicious recipe! Thanks for sharing!
    We used Wilton gel color to make orange icing for pumpkin cooked. Then candy markets to decorate. Worked really well 🙂

  7. I’m sorry but I have a dumb question, I do love to bake but I have never made sugar cookies from scratch. I have noticed all the recipes for sugar cookies I have been looking at, never state what type of butter to use. Salted or unsalted, if the recipes just state softened butter. What’s the rule of thumb to go by?

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Most professional bakers will recommend that you use unsalted butter in baking. I will tell you though that I use salted butter. Salted butter keeps longer in the refrigerator and is what I keep on hand. So, I would say go with what you have and enjoy! 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Thank you – perfect for valentines cookies! I left the cookies out overnight to allow the icing to harden (shortbread, no cookies were harmed!). I halved the recipe and went ahead with coloured vanilla because I added red food colouring.

  9. Hi I was wondering what you think the break down would be for icing for a single cookie? I am doing cookie party with students but i want them to mix there ingredients independently. Thank you

  10. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing your recipes with us. I enjoyed your chewy sugar cookies and your family cookie icing recipe. However, I added two tablespoons of melted unsalted butter to the recipe. Years ago (several!) I had a Land of Lakes pamphlet and they had a cookie icing recipe like yours but it included the melted butter. I also periodically add almond or orange extract to the icing recipe too.

  11. Dear  Robyn,
    It is my first time making royal icing for sugar cookies.  I have 15 medium size olaf cookies to decorate for grandson’s birthday.  How long will the icing last if made ahead of time.  I was making it with milk.   And is it necessary to keep in refrigerator.  I would perfer not. Thank you . Carolyn

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      I just want to make sure you know that my Cookie Icing is not quite the same as a royal icing. My icing has more of a glaze consistency than the royal icing.
      You should not have to refrigerate my icing. It should stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a week.
      As with any special event, when making a recipe for the first time, I always suggest giving it a test run before the big day. I hope this helps!
      I hope your grandson has a happy birthday! Thanks! xo

  12. Hi Robyn,

    Just a question, can I make this with anything other than cows milk?
    Would nut milks work? Or even water in a pinch?
    I’m making cookies with a group of work colleagues so just want to provide alternatives if possible.