Cookies / Frosting

Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe

hand mixer in frosting

Perfect for decorating sugar cookies for any occasion, whip up this simple Sugar Cookie Frosting recipe! Flavor it and color it for your needs then enjoy it!

Made with just four ingredients you’re going to want this Sugar Cookie Frosting recipe on hand! Sweet and so versatile, it’s the best recipe for decorating sugar cookies. Whether it’s a holiday, a birthday or a baby shower!

sugar cookie frosting

Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe

You’re just four basic ingredients away from decorating your sugar cookies! Gather these up to get started:

  • Butter – this is used for flavor and for structure. Make sure that your butter is soft before mixing. Do this by leaving it out a couple of hours beforehand or by microwaving it in short bursts.
  • Vanilla Extract – for the best flavor you can get, try to use real vanilla extract. If all you have is imitation, that’ll do.
  • Milk – milk helps to bind ingredients together but also to loosen things up.
  • Powdered Sugar – mainly to sweeten and to give structure. You cannot sub this out for regular granulated sugar!

Add Flavor to your Frosting

One great thing about sugar cookies and this frosting recipe alike is that you can customize the flavors to suite your liking! Here is how to add flavor to this sugar cookie frosting recipe:

Extracts. Replace the vanilla extract called for in the recipe and replace it with a different flavored extract. Peppermint, coconut, lemon and even almond extract would be tasty options.

Fruit. To flavor more naturally, consider flavoring with fruit! Zest and juice some citrus, puree berries or use freezer dried fruit (in dust form)!

Chocolate. Simply add cocoa powder to the frosting or melted chocolate. YUM! Who doesn’t love chocolate?

Syrups. Make simple syrups, caramel sauce, or buy it all store-bought! Another great way to flavor frosting.

cookie frosting ingredients

How to Color Frosting

Another way to customize this sugar cookie frosting recipe is to color the frosting! Note that some flavoring options will also dye your frosting but if you want to use food coloring, I’ve got you covered there too.

Simply make the sugar cookie frosting recipe as directed. Then add in small amounts of food coloring until you reach the desired color.

In order to maintain the thickness of the frosting, I recommend using gel food dye. The color is concentrated so a little goes a long way. You can find this kind of dye on Amazon or in specialty baking stores.

Tips and Tricks

  • Softened Butter: I cannot stress enough how important this is to make this sugar cookie frosting recipe. Softened butter makes or breaks this recipe. If you forgot to, don’t worry, microwave the butter for 5 seconds flipping it on each of its sides between the 5-second intervals until softened.
  • Piping Bags: If you don’t have piping bags, consider using disposable piping bags or Ziploc bags. This makes for easy cleanup and you can still use your favorite piping tips!
  • Common Utensils: Don’t underestimate the back of a spoon or a butter knife when it comes to decorating your frosted sugar cookies.

How to Make Sugar Cookie Frosting

Making this sugar cookie frosting couldn’t be easier with these simple steps. For more information see the recipe card down below.

  1. In a stand mixer measure out the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Start to combine.
  2. While the mixer is on, stream in a tablespoon of milk at a time until it starts to come together and look creamy.
  3. Scrape the sides and mix again, if it still isn’t coming together add another tablespoon of milk. You’ll know it’s ready when it’s thick enough to hold its shape but light enough that a rubber spatula can run through it easily.
  4. Use as desired!

How many cookies will this recipe frost?

Depending on how you frost, this sugar cookie frosting recipe will cover:

  • 12 cookies (piped through a piping bag)


  • 24 cookies (spreading with a butter knife)

Storing Instructions

This Sugar Cookie Frosting recipe is best used at room temperature, when it is most spreadable. However if you want to make this recipe ahead of time you can do that too!

Store the frosting in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days. When ready to use, bring it to room temperature. If it’s still too stiff, give it a quick mix.

hand mixer in frosting

More Frosting Recipes to Try!

sugar cookie frosting

Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe

Perfect for decorating sugar cookies for any occasion, whip up this simple Sugar Cookie Frosting recipe! Flavor it and color it for your needs then enjoy it!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 157 kcal


  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or more as needed


  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, measure out the butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Start to stir to combine.
  • With the mixer on, stream in one tablespoon of milk at a time until the frosting starts to come together and it looks creamy.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again, if it still hasn’t come together by now, continue to add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. The frosting should be thick enough to hold its shape but light enough that you can move a rubber spatula through it with ease.
  • Use as desired!


Calories: 157kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 12mgPotassium: 17mgSugar: 38gVitamin A: 17IUCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
Keyword frosted sugar cookies, how to make frosting for sugar cookies, sugar cookie frosting
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