Powdered Sugar Icing Recipe (Powdered Sugar Glaze) (2024)

One of the easiest ways to ice a cake or cookies is to whip up some powdered sugar glaze. While some might call it a frosting, it is most certainly more of a glaze.

Powdered Sugar Icing Recipe (Powdered Sugar Glaze) (1)

This quick powdered sugar icing is the best topping for cookies and cakes, especially bundt cake and pound cake. You can even pour a bit on your french toast in the morning.

To make icing with powdered sugar, it takes just a few steps and then – voila! – you have a smooth, creamy icing to spread or drizzle on your baked goods. It’s as perfect for a party as it is for that donation to the school bake sale you found out about at the last minute.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s easy– powdered sugar icing comes together in just minutes with ingredients you likely already have in your refrigerator and pantry. It can be prepared on the fly if a guest pops by and it pairs perfectly with nearly any cake or cookie.
  • It’s fast– with only three ingredients, you can whip this icing up in nearly no time at all making it a go-to for topping baked goods quickly.
  • It’s easy to adapt- there are tons of ways to add various flavors to this simple powdered sugar icing. See our ideas below, or experiment with your own additions.
  • It’s simple, yet elegant- powdered sugar icing looks absolutely beautiful drizzled on a bundt cake or over crunchy cookies.

Easy Icing

Powdered sugar icing is so simple to make and it’s super adaptable, too. If you want to make icing without milk you can use any number of alternative milks on the market.

Since you likely have all of the ingredients on hand at your house, making powdered sugar icing allows you to skip the trip to the store to buy packaged frosting. Plus, a cake with powdered sugar icing spilling down its sides looks so much prettier!

Powdered Sugar Icing Recipe (Powdered Sugar Glaze) (2)

Powdered Sugar Icing Ingredients

Simple ingredients for homemade icing will result in the right consistency and best results. For sugar cookies, swap milk with cream and place into a plastic bag, frosting pag or freezer bag with a corner snipped to drizzle or draw.

  • Powdered sugar– produced by milling granulated sugar, powdered sugar is extremely fine and dissolves well in liquid like the milk in this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract– you can make your own homemade vanilla extract or you can grab it at your local grocery store.
  • Milk– while you can use lower fat milk, whole milk will work best. For a dairy-free or vegan icing, you can substitute oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk.
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How To Make Powdered Sugar Icing

  1. Gather Ingredients. Fill a small bowl with the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Be sure to choose a bowl that allows enough room to mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Combine. Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk until smooth. All of the powdered sugar should be fully dissolved in the mixture. Using a whisk is important so that you can incorporate air into the icing while mixing. A whisk also makes for more efficient mixing.
  3. Frost. Use the icing immediately before it starts to stiffen. It will be easier to spread or drizzle immediately after preparing it.
  4. Thin, If Needed. If the icing does begin to harden, whisk it vigorously to bring it back to its smooth, thin consistency.
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Use this recipe as a base for unlimited customizations for nearly any sweet recipe you can think of.

  • Extracts– instead of pure vanilla extract, use orange, lemon, coconut, almond extract, or even maple for a twist on the original.
  • Juices– a touch of fresh lemon juice or fresh orange juice can add a tang to this simple icing. Other juices like cranberry and apple will work as well. Adjust the powdered sugar to taste after adding the juice.
  • Cinnamon sugar– especially in the fall, cinnamon sugar can be a perfect addition to create a seasonal sugar icing. Sprinkle it into the icing, or on top after drizzling the icing on cakes or cookies. Pumpkin pie spice is another winner.
  • Chocolate- add two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to your icing for a chocolatey version.
  • Berries– puree ¼ cup of strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, then combine with the powdered sugar icing. You may want to add more powdered sugar to taste.
  • Food color– give your powdered sugar icing a kick by adding any food coloring you like.
  • Liqueur– Something like amaretto or Baileys is a fun way to swap out the milk.
  • Syrups– Maple syrup or blond syrup can be another fun swap for the liquid.
  • Heavy Cream– use heavy cream instead of milk for a thicker consistency.
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Ways to Use Icing

This glaze can be used for many purposes.

  • Pouring over sugar cookie cut-outs
  • Drizzling over cinnamon rolls
  • As a quick bread glaze
  • Poured over layer cakes
  • Dip for homemade doughnuts or donut holes
  • Easy cupcake topping

How to Store Leftover Icing

Icing can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It will harden, so microwave it for 10-15 seconds to soften then vigorously rewhisk.

I do not recommend freezing this glaze recipe. It is simple enough with just 3 ingredients to make another batch.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can powdered sugar be used as an icing sugar?

Yes, and in fact many times they are the same thing. Powdered sugar, confectioners sugar, icing sugar and 10X (in reference to the size) are all milled to the same size grain and can be used interchangeably in recipes.

How do you make powdered sugar icing taste better?

Without the use of flavor this icing will merely taste like sugar. Using extracts (vanilla, almond, butter), juices (orange, lemon, lime, cranberry), purees (raspberry or blackberry) and sometimes even alcohol (Amaretto or liqueror) will give it better and more robust flavor.

Are powdered sugar icing and buttercream the same thing?

While the names are commonly interchangeably used, they are different. Most notably, buttercreams and frostings use butter or shortening as a base with icings and glazes do not.

Is powdered sugar icing the same as royal icing?

No, royal icing uses egg whites or meringue powder. In many recipes they can be used the same, but powdered sugar icing will not hold the same structure like royal icing in cookie decoration unless thickened considerably.

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More Frosting Recipes

  • Easy Chocolate Frosting
  • Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
Powdered Sugar Icing Recipe (Powdered Sugar Glaze) (7)

Powdered Sugar Icing Recipe

3.92 from 68 votes

Easy, 3-ingredient icing recipe that can be used for cookies, cakes, tea cakes or cupcakes. Use as a powdered sugar glaze.

Prep Time: 5 minutes mins

Cook Time: 0 minutes mins

Total Time: 5 minutes mins

Servings: 2 cups

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  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk until smooth.

  • Use immediately before the icing starts to stiffen. To thin, whisk vigorously.

  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.



If icing hardens, whisk well, heat for 10-15 seconds in the microwave or add a small dab of milk to loosen.

For vegan and dairy-free alternatives, useoat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk.


Calories: 479 kcal, Carbohydrates: 121 g, Protein: 1 g, Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium: 8 mg, Potassium: 26 mg, Sugar: 118 g, Vitamin A: 24 IU, Calcium: 20 mg, Iron: 1 mg

Calories: 479

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: 3-ingredient icing, powdered sugar glaze recipe, powdered sugar icing recipe

Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!

Powdered Sugar Icing Recipe (Powdered Sugar Glaze) (2024)


What is glaze icing made of? ›

A basic glaze contains powdered' sugar and a liquid such as water or milk. More liquid is added for a thinner glaze. Flavor can be added with melted chocolate, extracts, jams, or fruit juice.

What is the difference between frosting icing and glazing? ›

Icing is a little thinner than frosting and is often poured or piped over coffee cakes, pound cakes, doughnuts and cookies—and it usually hardens when it dries. Glaze is the thinnest and most fluid of the three, and it will set but won't harden as much as icing.

Why does my powdered sugar glaze taste weird? ›

A chalky taste usually has to do with the type of powdered sugar used. Some brands might add cornstarch to achieve a smoother product and avoid clumpiness. It keeps the sugar softer. Check the ingredients on the label before buying.

How do you keep powdered sugar glaze from melting? ›

Cornstarch is a widely used ingredient in cooking and baking, and it can be particularly helpful when it comes to keeping powdered sugar from melting.

What are the 3 basic ingredients in glaze? ›

A BASE GLAZE is a mixture of these three basic groups: SILICA, FLUX AND ALUMINA.

What are the three basic ingredients in a glaze What does each ingredient do? ›

Glazes need a balance of the 3 main ingredients: Silica, Alumina and Flux. Too much flux causes a glaze to run, and tends to create variable texture on the surface. The texture may vary from shiny, where the glass is balanced, to matte where the excessive flux oxides may form visible, possibly lumpy, crystals.

Can you turn frosting into a glaze? ›

Sure! Simply transfer your frosting to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high to 20 to 30 seconds. Stir well, then pour over your cake (or use it for donut glaze).

What is a glaze icing? ›

Purpose: Typically a thin, shiny coating for pastries, cakes, and doughnuts. Texture and Ingredients: Thin and runny, made from powdered sugar and a liquid like water, milk, or fruit juice. Thin enough to be poured - about the consistency of a thin corn syrup.

Does glace icing harden? ›

"This recipe comes from the book Creative Cookies by Toba Garrett. It is a delicious icing that dries shiny and semi-hard.

Does powdered sugar glaze need to be refrigerated? ›

For best results, store the frosting with powdered sugar in the fridge. It will last for up to one week. Be sure to keep the frosting in a labeled airtight container so it doesn't absorb odors from the fridge. You can also freeze leftover frosting for up to three months.

Why is my powdered sugar glaze runny? ›

If your frosting is too runny, it might just be humid and hot outside, so your ingredients are melting. Or, maybe you accidentally added too many liquid ingredients. Whatever the case is, don't fret! Liquid frosting can be saved and made into a thick, creamy mixture to use on your baked goods.

How long does powdered sugar glaze last? ›

Glaze icing will last about a week in an airtight container the fridge or for several months in the freezer. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using. Use icing glaze on baked goods that have completely cool for the best results. Otherwise, the icing will sink into the bake or other hot dessert.

How do you thicken powdered sugar glaze? ›

Heavy Cream

Try thickening it with a bit of heavy whipping cream. You can add up to ¼ cup of heavy cream, depending on how much you need to thicken it. Then whip the frosting until it fluffs up. Heavy cream also works if the recipe instructs you to heat the frosting.

Why do you add cornstarch to powdered sugar? ›

Like powdered sugar, confectioners' sugar is made of finely ground granulated sugar. However, the key difference is the addition of cornstarch. Adding cornstarch to powdered sugar serves to prevent the sugar from caking up and getting clumpy over time. It protects the integrity of the sugar's powdered form.

How do you make sugar glaze thicker? ›

Use powdered sugar to thicken sweet glazes prepared at room temperature. When you're putting together a quick glaze for a cake or similar confection and it turns out a little too thin, the simplest way to rectify the situation is to stir in a little more sugar.

What are the 4 main ingredients in glaze? ›

A basic understanding of glaze application and firing yields consistent and desirable results, as the key components of different glazes each have their own function.
  • 01 of 04. Silica: The Glass-Former. ...
  • 02 of 04. Alumina: The Refractory. ...
  • 03 of 04. Flux: The Melting Agent. ...
  • 04 of 04. Colorant: The Beautifier.
Nov 13, 2019

How is glaze ice made? ›

Glaze ice, on the other hand, is formed by the freezing of the supercooled liquid water which penetrates the air gaps between the ice particles before it freezes, and this formation usually begins when the temperature is relatively high (e.g., just below the freezing point) [20,21, 24, 25].

How is a glaze made? ›

A glaze is made up of three parts. A flux/melter that lowers the melting point, a refractory/stabilizer that bonds the glaze to the clay, and a glass former like silica. This creates the base and then a stain is added to give the glaze its color. It's a bit like mixing paint and a bit more like a chemistry experiment.

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