glossy sugar cookie icing recipe

Need the perfect glossy icing for sugar cookies? One that hardens perfectly, but is still sweet and delicious? We’ve got you covered!

Glossy Icing Perfection

There’s nothing quite like the perfect rolled sugar cookie! As much as I loved them as a child, we’d usually only bake them for special occasions, like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Because few things are cuter than a little bunny or duck cookie with the perfect dash of pink or yellow icing!

I wouldn’t care about the food coloring staining my fingers or powdered sugar sprayed all over my face because the end result was so worth it! The scent of vanilla permeating the kitchen was always preparing the way for my dream dessert.

As much as I love a good cookie with rich buttery frosting, sometimes we’re in the mood for something a little lighter. We want a recipe for an icing that lets the buttery cookie take center stage but perfectly complements our delicious treat.

While many love royal icing, this recipe is a little bit lighter and perhaps easier to work with. Plus, since the recipe incorporates light corn syrup as the base, rather than egg whites, so you’re not at the mercy of the mixer.

glossy icing for sugar cookies
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4.86 from 7 votes

The Perfect Glossy Icing

Easy and delicious glossy icing for sugar cookies. Perfect for Christmas or Valentine's Day
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, comfort food, cookie, easy recipe, easy sugar cookie recipe, kid-friendly, valentine's day
Servings: 40
Calories: 30kcal
Cost: $5


  • mixer


Glossy Icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar (AKA confectioners' sugar) sifted
  • 3-4 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • food coloring optional
  • sprinkles or candy of choice optional


Glossy Icing

  • Combine sugar, 2 Tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract (and/or almond extract) in a medium-sized bowl and stir until combined. Add in more milk If frosting is too thick, starting with a teaspoon at a time. You want the icing to be thick enough to put in your frosting bag, but thin enough to spread over cookies. If you accidentally add too much milk, add powdered sugar until desired texture is reached.  Unlike baking where measurement precision matters, you can gradually add things in with this recipe. 
  • If you're coloring the icing, divide into bowls and dye. You can use gel food coloring or more traditional colors. Remember, a drop or two might be all you need!
  • OPTION 1: Transfer icing to a piping bag with a piping tip (like Wilton 5), or place in a Ziploc bag and snip a small piece of the corner off (this strategy works well if you don't have an icing bag). It's not as neat, but it gets the job done!
  • OPTION 2: If you're working with kids, give each one a plate to decorate and decorate with a knife or spreader. 
  • OPTION 3: Dip the cookies into the bowl of icing. It's quick and easy if you have little hands that want to "help", and they can focus on adding sprinkles, etc. instead of decorating them with a knife.
  • Decorate cookies or pastry of choice with candy and sprinkles as desired while icing is still wet.
  • Allow time for icing to dry before eating. This could be several hours, so be patient!
  • Store finished cookies at room temperature in sealed container.


Serving: 1Tbsp | Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Sugar: 8g

unicorn cookies on drying rack

Glossy Icing Recipe Extra Notes

In some icing recipes, you can swap out the milk for cream. You could do that here, but you want the lighter texture of the milk for maximum spreadability.

This icing gets pretty hard once it’s dried, so you probably want to ice the cookies on top of parchment paper. That way, the cleanup up process will be much, much easier!

While this sugar cookie icing is ideal for sugar cookies, you might want to experiment with incorporating it into other sweet treats.

If you want to sub out the vanilla extract with another flavor, go for it! Add some mint extract and drizzle over brownies for a chocolate peppermint patty type of flavor. Almond extract is also a nice and light alternative. I’ll often use vanilla extract and almond together, though a little extract goes a long way!

Favorite Icing of a Favorite Dessert

Have you tried this icing? What did you think? Let us know below in the comments or talk about it with family and friends on FamilyApp!

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Laura KrausAuthor posts

Laura Kraus

Laura was born with many stories to tell and has been writing in one way or another ever since. She's written TV news stories, blogs, children's cartoons, legal briefs, commercials, and everything in between. In addition to working for FamilyApp, she's also architecting the Faithful Beginnings School Readiness Guide for preschoolers. She loves traveling, new adventures, finding a great bargain, and reading to her three children.

1 Comment

  • 5 stars
    I made this for the heart-shaped cookies I brought in for Valentines Day in my son’s class. They turned out so perfectly, people are going to think they’re store-bought!

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