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Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe


A Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe that hardens forming a perfect sweet crust for your cookie. This is one of the best sugar cookie icings I’ve ever tasted. Use it on Cut Out Sugar Cookies or any of your favorite roll out cookie recipes! 

Sugar Cookie Frosting 

When the holiday season arrives, I go a little nuts with the cookie baking. To be fair, I go a little nuts with the cookie baking all year long anyway, but Christmas time gives me the perfect excuse. 

With all the holiday parties, cookie exchanges and family visits, having fresh homemade cookies around is a necessity. 

If I have to pick a cookie recipe to bake and share, I’ll often go with sugar cookies for one reason–frosting. 

What’s a Christmas sugar cookie without a thick layer of rich creamy frosting on top? This sugar cookie buttercream frosting pairs perfectly with Cut Out Sugar Cookies, a delicious recipe from my friend In Katrina’s Kitchen, as well as my Easy Soft Sugar Cookies

Best Tasting Sugar Cookie Icing

This frosting recipe hardens slightly as it sets on the cookies. Not only do I love the texture of biting into a big soft sugar cookie with a sugary frosting crust, the hardened icing also stays in place better than other kinds. 

That means, you can stack and transport your frosted sugar cookies without worrying about the icing smearing. Not as hard as royal icing, this easy sugar cookie frosting stays in place while keeping the cookie soft and chewy.

Sugar Cookie Buttercream Frosting

It’s undeniable that using butter gives frosting recipes a great flavor. I often use real butter, or a combination of butter and shortening in my Buttercream Frosting for cakes and cupcakes.

For this icing recipe I use all shortening instead, for a couple of reasons. 

  1. Shortening stays stable at higher temperatures than butter so there’s less risk of your frosting getting melty. 
  2. Shortening hardens at room temperature giving the cookies the “crust” I want. 

The result will be similar to the frosted sugar cookies you get in the bakery section of the grocery store but with a richer, creamier taste. It’s impossible not to smile when you bite into a cooke decorated with this perfect buttercream frosting! 

How to make frosting for sugar cookies 

Making a great tasting sugar cookie frosting that hardens is super simple. I’ve made this recipe both with and without food coloring added and it looks and tastes great both ways. 

Sugar Cookie Frosting Ingredients

Ingredients at a glance, complete printable recipe below.

  • Crisco* or other shortening (there’s a reason for Crisco!)
  • vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar
  • salt
  • milk
  • Food coloring, if desired

To make the frosting:

1. With an electric mixer, beat shortening until light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes.

2. Add two cups of powdered sugar to the shortening and mix until well combined. Add vanilla and salt and mix until combined.

3.Add additional powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing until well combined. When mixture starts to get too thick, start adding milk, a little at a time.

4. Continue to add powdered sugar and milk until completely combined. If you would like your frosting to be thicker, add additional powdered sugar, 1⁄4 cup at a time. If you would like your frosting to be thinner, add additional milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

5. If desired, add food coloring.

6. Pipe or spread onto cookies

Decorating Cookies

 If you’d like to make your frosting different colors, simply divide the icing into separate bowls before adding your desired food coloring. A few drops of red food coloring with green sprinkles and your sugar cookies are ready for Christmas. Try white frosting with pink and red sprinkles for a fun Valentine’s Day sugar cookie. 

Frosted Sugar Cookies make any occasion better! 

For more great sugar cookie baking and decorating ideas, check out my Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe as well as my Gingerbread Man Cookies. Bar cookies your thing? I’ve got you! Try my Sugar Cookie Bars. Sugar Cookie Chex Mix is a fun spin on the delicious flavors of sugar cookies. Need some decorating ideas? My Christmas Cookie Decorating Tips are perfect for you!

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Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe

Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe

Author Christi Johnstone
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
A delicious and easy to make stackable sugar cookie frosting recipe.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 18 cookies


  • 1/2 cup Crisco or other shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Food Coloring


  • In a large bowl, but shortening with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes. Add one cup of powdered sugar to the shortening and beat until well combined. Add vanilla and salt and mix until well combined.
  • Add in another cup of powdered sugar, and beat until well combined. Add in a small amount of the milk, and mix until combined. Repeat this process with powdered sugar and milk. If a thicker frosting is desired add additional powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after adding additional powdered sugar. If a thinner frosting is desired, add additional milk, 1-2 teaspoons at a time.
  • If desired, add food coloring and mix well.
  • Immediately pipe or spread onto cookies.



Recipe easily can be doubled or even tripled. 


Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 35mg | Potassium: 4mg | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

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