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Easy Christmas Cookie Icing (that Hardens)

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There’s nothing like a batch of freshly baked Christmas cookies, adorned with colorful icing and sprinkles. If you’re looking for an easy sugar cookie icing recipe that hardens, you’ve come to the right place. This type of icing is perfect for keeping your cookies looking neat, and it’s also great for creating detailed designs, no meringue powder or raw egg whites required! The icing will harden within minutes, giving you a beautiful and delicious end result.

Four sugar cookies decorated for Christmas with icing that hardens and sprinkles.

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Below you will find tips, tricks and helpful hints for making this recipe including step by step instructions with pictures. If you would like to go directly to the recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

You’ll love having a delicious tasting Christmas cookie icing that hardens because your cookie decorating skills will go up a notch! Gone are the days of messy, although tasty, sugar cookies with buttercream frosting that isn’t smooth.

Now you can easily use this icing, allow it to dry, and stack the cookies on top of each other with no damage to your design!

A Christmas cookie with icing that hardens and sprinkles.

Easy Homemade Icing for Sugar Cookies

This recipe for Christmas cookie icing that hardens is so easy to make, you’ll be decorating your cookies like a pro in no time! All you need is a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

In just a few minutes, you’ll have a delicious and beautiful icing that will take your sugar cookies to the next level. Be sure to try out my easy sugar cookie recipe here.

Red sugar cookie icing in a bowl.

Ingredients You’ll Need

*Ingredient amounts are located in the recipe card at the end of this post.

Powdered Sugar: Also known as confectioners sugar or icing sugar.

Milk: Any type of milk will work, including whole milk, 2%, skim, etc.

Ingredients to make Christmas Cookie icing that hardens.

Light Corn Syrup: This is a key ingredient in getting the icing to harden.

Vanilla Extract: I like to use pure vanilla extract that I get at Costco, but imitation vanilla extract will also work. If you are making white frosting, I recommend using clear vanilla extract, almond extract, or coconut extract.

Food Coloring: Gel food coloring works the best, as it doesn’t affect the thickness of the icing, but liquid food coloring should work just as well.

What Can I Use Instead of Corn Syrup?

If you don’t have corn syrup, you can substitute it with honey or agave nectar. Keep in mind that these substitutes will change the flavor of your icing slightly.

How to Make Sugar Cookie Icing that Hardens

[1] Mix together the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk, adding more milk later to achieve the correct consistency.

Milk and powdered sugar to make icing.

[2] Add in the vanilla and corn syrup and mix well.

Milk and powdered sugar in a food processor.

[3] The outline icing should be the consistency of toothpaste.

[4] To make the flood/fill icing, add more tablespoons of milk, one at a time until the icing is the consistency of syrup adding additional milk if necessary.

Sugar cookie icing in a bowl with a spatula.

[5] Color your icing with gel food coloring in your desired different colors.

Red food coloring and two bowls of Christmas cookie icing.

How to Decorate Christmas Sugar Cookies with Icing

[1] For intricate designs, outline the cookie with the outline icing using a piping bag or a small zip-top bag with the corner snipped off or use a piping tip.

Sugar cookie icing piped onto a cookie.

[2] Fill in the cookie with the flood/fill icing, using a piping bag or small zip-top bag with the corner snipped off or a squeeze bottle.

A cookie being iced with icing that hardens.

[3] Another method is to dip the top of the cookie in the icing and allow the the excess to run off.

A sugar cookie dipped in icing.

[4] Use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles then top with sprinkles if desired, before the icing dries.

Christmas sprinkles for sugar cookies.

Storage Instructions

This icing will harden at room temperature, so it’s best to store the cookies in an airtight container. If you’re not planning on eating the cookies right away, they can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy your beautifully perfectly iced sugar cookies!

Helpful Kitchen Tools

A Mickey Mouse shaped sugar cookie with icing that hardens decorated for Christmas.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does it take for the icing to harden?

The icing will start to harden within minutes, but it’s best to allow it to dry completely before stacking or storing the cookies.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the icing ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Just be sure to give it a good stir before using it.

Eight Christmas sugar cookies with smooth icing and sprinkles.

Can I use this recipe for other holidays?

Yes, absolutely! This recipe is perfect for any holiday cookies or special occasion. Simply change up the food coloring and you’re all set!

How many cookies does this recipe yield?

This recipe makes enough icing to decorate 24-36 small cookies, or 12-18 large cookies.

Sugar Cookie Recipes to Try:

Four sugar cookies decorated for Christmas with icing that hardens and sprinkles.

Christmas Cookie Icing (that Hardens)

Yield: 2 Cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

There's nothing like a batch of freshly baked Christmas cookies, adorned with colorful icing and sprinkles. If you're looking for a recipe for icing that hardens, you've come to the right place. This type of icing is perfect for keeping your cookies looking neat, and it's also great for creating detailed designs. The icing will harden within minutes, giving you a beautiful and delicious end result.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Food Coloring

Instructions

  1. Mix together the powdered sugar and 1/4 cup milk.
  2. Add in the vanilla and corn syrup and mix well.
  3. The outline icing should be the consistency of toothpaste.
  4. To make the flood/fill icing, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time until the icing is the consistency of syrup. 
  5. Color your icing with gel food coloring in your desired colors.

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Sugar Cookie Icing that Hardens!

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