Cute sugar cookies are a great family project to make for practically any holiday. Most everyone loves cookies and you can customize your cookies to match the season! Make heart cookies for Valentine’s Day, star cookies for Fourth of July and snowflake cookies to celebrate winter. Colorful sugar cookie icing is easy to make with 4 ingredients. I discovered a super efficient method for creating cookie icing designs, without using pastry bags that can be hard to clean.
The Best Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- food coloring
Make the best sugar cookie icing that dries when it cools using these easy stove top instructions. First, melt 1 tbsp. butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, mix in enough powered sugar to make a paste. Add 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Stir in the rest of the powdered sugar until smooth.
This is where you can experiment a bit. If you need to make a larger quantity of sugar cookie icing, you can add several more cups of powered sugar and more spoonfuls of milk until you’ve made enough icing. More powered sugar will make the icing thicker and more milk will make the icing thinner. Once you have enough sugar cooking icing at the right thickness, turn off the heat and stir in the food coloring.
If making several colors, divide the white sugar cookie icing into separate ramekins. Mix a different color of food coloring into each ramekin of icing. If the sugar cookie icing starts getting stiff and you need to make it thinner, you can reheat the icing in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time.
DIY Easy to Use Sugar Cookie Icing Bags
Make your own throw-away icing bags! Use this innovative method for creating intricate icing designs. First, spoon the sugar cookie icing into a sandwich bag and twist the opening closed, allowing extra air out first.
Next, snip off the corner of the bag using scissors, so the icing flows from the bag in a controlled manner. Too small of a hole may cause the bag to rip when you apply pressure. Too large of a hole will make it hard to create precise designs with the sugar cookie icing.
Finally, apply gentle pressure to the twisted-closed icing bag so the icing flows steadily from the corner hole. You can outline and fill in each cookie, create stripes and dots, or make detailed icing designs.
You can easily make several bags of different colored sugar cookie icing. You’ll want to work with each bag of icing quickly so the icing doesn’t cool and become hard to use. You can heat up the sugar cookie icing in the microwave for 5 seconds at at time if it becomes too stiff.
Decorate your cookies by squeezing the icing out of your DIY icing bag to make outlines and designs on each sugar cookie. I like to outline each cookie and make a scribble design, which is faster than perfectly filling in each cookie. I topped each cookie with a mixture of colorful sprinkles and candy pearls.
My kids and I decorated sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day with red and purple icing and colorful sprinkles. These cookies would be cute party favors or surprise treats to give to a friend. Homemade sugar cookies are a fun giftable treat for any holiday!
DIY Sugar Cookie Variations
Chocolate sugar cookies would be a yummy variation to the classic sugar cookie recipe. Just make sure you have plenty of cocoa powder on hand.
Gluten free cookies are another great variation, especially if you are making sugar cookies for a friend or loved one with dietary restrictions. I haven’t tried making gluten free cookies yet but I’d love to find a good gluten free cookie recipe.
Flavored sugar cookie icing would be fun to make. You could mix in any candy flavoring to make flavored icing! I would try making icing flavors such as strawberry, toffee or almond.
If you make these adorable sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day, you can pair each one with a homemade Valentine or collectible character card. The colorful sugar cookie icing and festive sprinkles give these cookies a pop of color that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day!
This project is easy to accomplish with kids in an afternoon. Decorating cookies with sugar cookie icing is a creative edible art project and a fun way to make some colorful treats!
Katie is a writer and influencer based in beautiful Coeur d’Alane, Idaho. She enjoys DIY projects, photography, decorating and going on family adventures. She feels blessed to be a wife, stay-at-home mom to three kids and Pacific Northwest lifestyle blogger.