Easy Sugar Cookie Icing

Easy Sugar Cookie Icing – The secret to making the best icing is using 3 different kinds of extract: vanilla extract, butter extract, and almond extract!

This icing is what makes my Grandma’s “infamous sugar cookies.” She uses Pillsbury sugar cookie dough as her cookie base and this icing.

They’re incredible, quick to make and so easy!! Using store bought dough means these don’t leave your kitchen a mess.

What’s in the cookie icing?

Her secret is using 3 kinds of extract: vanilla, almond, and butter. It gives the icing so much flavor. The sugar cookie icing is what makes these cookies.

Does the icing harden?

Yes! The icing will set and harden. The melted butter helps firm up the icing without needing anything fancy like meringue power or light corn syrup.

But it doesn’t harden as much as royal icing. You can touch the icing and it will be dry. But the cookies will stick together if you stack them.

If you need to stack the cookies, put a piece of parchment paper in between each layer of cookies.

Check out this no spread sugar cookie recipe, if you’re looking for a true royal icing or a homemade sugar cookie!

These are great to make with kids!

The store-bought dough leaves only the fun kid-friendly parts: rolling the dough into balls + decorating the sugar cookies!

Recipe modifications

I also put this icing on sugar cookie bars if you want a homemade sugar cookie.

Use clear vanilla extract if you want your icing to be super white!

My Grandma uses warm water in her icing to help it blend together. But you could also use milk if you prefer.

You can color the icing different colors if you want to be festive! I’d recommend gel food coloring over liquid food coloring. Gel food coloring is much more pigmented. So you don’t have to use as much.

Looking for more easy holiday treats?

Make these pretzel M&M hugs! 3 ingredients and made in 15 minutes.

Or try these browned butter rice krispie treats!

Watch the recipe video here:

Easy Sugar Cookie Icing

This icing is firm, flavorful, easy and quick!
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Course: Dessert
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 20 cookies


  • 1 (16.5 oz) roll Pillsbury sugar cookie dough
  • Festive sprinkles
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons hot water


For the cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll sugar cookie dough into gumdrops sized balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. The dough should be still light and puffy (you want to under-bake these!). Let cool and the dough will flatten.

For the icing:

  • Melt the butter in a large bowl. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, butter extract, and salt. Stir together. Add hot water 1 Tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency. Should be the consistency of corn syrup.
  • Use a spoon or cookie scoop to drop the icing onto the cookies. Spread out the icing with the back of a spoon/cookie scoop. Top with sprinkles and let cool until icing firms up.

Storing tips:

  • Place a piece of parchment paper in between each layer of cookies if you need to stack the cookies. They will stick together if you place them on top of each other when storing them.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g