How Do I Choose the Best Sugar Cookie Frosting?

Nicole Long
Nicole Long
Many sugar cookie frostings can easily be made from scratch at home.
Many sugar cookie frostings can easily be made from scratch at home.

Choosing the best sugar cookie frosting for your needs usually begins with identifying the various types of icings available for sugar cookies. Once you are armed with this knowledge, you can identify and choose the one that provides the right consistency for your decorating needs. Other things to consider include any needs related to flavoring or coloring the icing, and the tastes and preferences of the cookie recipients.

Royal icing is very adaptable, and can be colored and flavored in different ways.
Royal icing is very adaptable, and can be colored and flavored in different ways.

There are many sugar cookie frosting options available for both the novice and professional cookie designer. Among the most popular are those that can be easily made from scratch at home, such as royal and buttercream icings. Ingredients commonly found in the pantry and refrigerator, such as confectioners’ sugar and milk, make these simple and quick to prepare. Other options include store-bought, packaged frosting in tubs and piping bags. Even frosting typically reserved for cakes and cupcakes can be used to frost your cookie creations.

When choosing the best sugar cookie frosting, you need to take into account the decorating plans you have for your cookies. For instance, a simple glaze may work best if you want a quick and simple decoration. In contrast, a thicker frosting is generally necessary if you plan to create a design and pipe on different detailed elements, such as facial features on a character cookie.

Consistency is important when evaluating the various sugar cookie frosting options. Royal icing, a traditional cookie frosting, when made from scratch can easily be adapted to various consistencies, making it appropriate for a wide range of decorating needs. On the other hand, store-bought frosting may be difficult to alter and should be purchased and used as is for best results.

Beyond consistency, you need to take into account the other properties of the icing you choose. For instance, some frosting is easily adaptable by adding coloring and flavoring to achieve the desired results. This is true of royal icing and buttercream frosting, since you can easily add food coloring and flavoring extracts to either to create beautiful and delicious sugar cookies.

The tastes and preferences of the cookie recipients should also be taken into account when choosing a sugar cookie frosting. With so many flavoring options available, such as vanilla and almond, catering to your recipient should be simple. In addition, the younger set may prefer a colorful, sugary concoction, while older adults may prefer simple and elegant designs and frosting options.

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Discussion Comments


I use a thick truffle center mix as a frosting. I like to make sandwich cookies with this stuff.

For the truffle frosting, I pour hot heavy whipping cream over a bowl of half semi-sweet, half milk chocolate chips. I let it stand one minute, and then I whisk it until the chips have melted.

I refrigerate the mix for 45 minutes, and then I beat it with an electric mixer until it lightens and forms stiff peaks like an egg white. Then, I spread it between two cookies.

I never waste this type of frosting. If there is any left over, I simply roll it into truffle-sized balls and eat them as candy. One of my kids actually prefers to eat the frosting this way, and I must say that it is the only type of frosting I find enjoyable on its own.


When I make cookies, I like to get creative with the frosting. I pipe it out of a bag through a decorative tip, and I like to line the edges of cookies with squirts of frosting that resembles the design on a birthday cake.

Thick frosting like this tastes great on chocolate chip cookies. I make the same buttercream frosting that I use to ice cakes, and I add some almond extract. To me, almond extract tastes like cherries, so this is an interesting flavor when combined with the cookies.

Instead of birthday cakes, my daughters get birthday cookies. I make one giant chocolate chip cookie and decorate it with the icing. I even squeeze out the words 'Happy Birthday' onto the cookie.


@wavy58 – I use a similar recipe for my cookie icing, but it is more like a glaze. I put enough milk in it to make it thinner than most icings, and then I drizzle it over the cookies.

I love the taste of cinnamon rolls with glaze, so I attempted to recreate that with my cinnamon cookies. I made a frosting that was mostly confectioner's sugar and milk with a little bit of butter, and I made it almost the consistency of gravy.

Like your frosting, my glaze hardens over time. I actually like eating it while it is still runny, though. Warm glaze and cookies just tastes better than room temperature glaze.


I used to love making heart-shaped cookies every Valentine's Day. Of course, they would not have been complete without pink frosting.

I used a recipe from one of my mother's old cookbooks for the frosting. It called for confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla, milk, and a pinch of salt.

After I creamed the sugar and butter together, I would use an electric mixer to whip in the milk and some red food coloring. I put in just enough to turn the frosting pink. Once it reached the consistency of cake frosting, I knew it was ready.

The cool thing about this frosting is that after a couple of hours, it would harden. This made it easier to eat the cookies, because you could hold them without gooey frosting getting on your fingers.

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    • Many sugar cookie frostings can easily be made from scratch at home.
      By: cobraphoto
      Many sugar cookie frostings can easily be made from scratch at home.
    • Royal icing is very adaptable, and can be colored and flavored in different ways.
      By: Globalphotogroup
      Royal icing is very adaptable, and can be colored and flavored in different ways.