Look no further for the best homemade Sugar Cookie Frosting – this is it! Creamy frosting that hardens too, so you can stack those sugar cookies. Made in minutes to spread or pipe and it tastes amazing!
This sugar cookie frosting recipe along with our easy sugar cookie recipe are the absolute perfect pair!
Frosting vs Icing
We adore this sugar cookie frosting recipe as much as our sugar cookie icing. They are both awesome, but shouldn’t be confused with one another. They are very different in taste, texture, and honestly, purpose.
Typically speaking, frosting is thick and fluffy, great piped or swirled onto cookies or cakes with a star tip. Icing, on the other hand, is thinner, smooth, and glossy – perfect used as a simple glaze or for decorating. I use both depending on the occasion.
Best Sugar Cookie Frosting
Sugar cookies are wonderful, but frosted sugar cookies are even better! This recipe has been my go-to ever since my kids were very little. Here’s why we love it:
- Quick and Easy: Only a few common pantry ingredients, a bowl, blender, and 2 minutes are needed.
- Perfect Texture: Perfectly creamy, but also develops a “crust”, giving you a sugar cookie frosting that hardens enough so cookies can be stacked without sticking to each other. WOOT.
- Best Taste: Neither of those things would matter if it didn’t taste good, right? But this frosting tastes fantastic. With a little bit of vanilla and also almond extract, it tastes like cherry! (Don’t like cherry flavored desserts? No worries, you can make it with just the vanilla.)
How to Make Frosting for Sugar Cookies
If you prefer to skip the helpful information and recipe tips, feel free to scroll below to the complete printable recipe card.
This is truly the easiest sugar cookie frosting recipe ever. It includes the following:
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter can be used, depending on your flavor preference. It needs to be softened to room temperature.
- Vegetable shortening: This is what allows a “crust” to form so you can stack your frosted sugar cookies without them sticking to each other. If that doesn’t matter to you, simply replace it with an equal amount of butter for a true buttercream frosting.
- Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar (also known as confectioners’ sugar and icing sugar) is what you need for this recipe. Do not use granulated white sugar.
- Whole milk: Milk is used to thin the frosting. I recommend whole milk or 2%. Skim milk is ok, but will produce a thinner result and you might end up needing to add more powdered sugar.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor and always gives baked goods that extra something.
- Almond extract: This gives the frosting an unexpected wow factor, adding a subtle cherry flavor. To me, it’s what makes this frosting recipe over the moon. But you can leave it out without ruining the integrity of the frosting.
- Food coloring, optional: If you want your frosting to have color, blend in a few dots of food dye. Fun for baby showers, sporting events, holidays, and parties.
To make the frosting, you simply dump all your ingredients into a bowl and blend with an electric mixer until combined and smooth, adding a touch more milk, if needed, to get the desired consistency. The frosting can be colored with food dye or left white. Then use as desired.
How to Frost Sugar Cookies
This frosting can be spread in a thin layer onto a sugar cookie with a dull butter knife, or transferred to a piping bag with a frosting tip and piped or swirled onto cookies. Leave the frosting plain or jazz it up with some sprinkles!
Sugar Cookie Frosting That Hardens
This recipe includes butter and shortening, which stabilizes the frosting and allows it to form a “crust.” It won’t harden 100% like our sugar cookie icing, but it hardens enough so cookies can be stacked. You can use all butter for a true buttercream frosting, if you prefer, but know that it will not be as sturdy for stacking or keep its shape for piping.
Make ahead: This frosting literally comes together in minutes, but if you do want to make it ahead of time, you can. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Bring it to room temperature before using it, otherwise it will be too hard to spread or pipe. You can also fluff it back up by whipping it again with an electric mixer.
How to store frosted cookies: Once you’ve frosted your cookies, you can store any that weren’t eaten at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days.
Homemade Sugar Cookie Frosting Video
Some of our Favorite Easy Cookie Recipes
- Sugar Cookies (only 3 ingredients!)
- Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies
- No Bake Cookies
- DoubleTree Cookies (Famous Recipe)
Sugar Cookie Frosting
- 3 tablespoons butter , softened
- 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Food gel coloring , optional
- Sprinkles , optional
- Plain cooled sugar cookies , for decorating
- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients with an electric hand mixer. Add a bit more milk, if needed, until it’s the desired consistency – it should be thick, but spreadable.
- If coloring the frosting with different colors, divide into bowls and color as desired at this point.
- Spread on top of cookies with a dull knife or transfer to a piping bag.
- Top with sprinkles , if desired (they need to be added right away before the frosting sets.)
- NOTE: This frosting sets fairly quickly. It won't become 100% hardened like royal icing, but it does form a "crust" so you can stack your cookies.
- NOTE: This recipe makes enough to decorate 40, 3-inch cookies. Calories calculated are for the frosting only and do not include cookies.