This easy Sugar Cookie Frosting is the BEST! It tastes great, sets perfectly on your favorite sugar cookie recipe and takes about 10 minutes to whip up!
Frosting is the make it or break it between a ho hum cookie and a GREAT sugar cookie. And this recipe is a winner.
You’ll love it on your favorite homemade sugar cookie or even on store bought cookie to take them up a notch!
It’s delicious as is but the flavor can be changed too with the season.
You can spread it on or pipe it with your favorite decorating tip too!
Why is this the BEST Sugar Cookie Frosting?
We love this frosting for multiple reasons.
- It has great flavor.
- It’s easy to make.
- It can be piped onto cookies with decorative tips or spread with a knife
- (Our Favorite Thing) Using a combination of butter AND shortening lets the frosting set or develop a crust. This allows the cookies to be stacked without a mess!
- Can be used on homemade sugar cookies, cut out cookies, store bought slice-and-bake cookies or bars too
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
Only 5 ingredients are needed. There is no corn syrup used in this sugar cookie icing!
Unsalted Butter. Unsalted butter has the right amount of salt for perfect flavor in the frosting. The butter should be at room temperature when starting the recipe.
Shortening. Using shortening with the butter allows the frosting to set so it’s not messy after put on the cookies. We used good old Crisco, regular flavor.
Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar. The type of sugar used for making frostings.
Heavy Whipping Cream. Used to control the consistency of the frosting.
How to Make it – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. In a medium bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar (photo 1). NOTE: it will take 3-5 minutes for the mixture to become creamy.
STEP 2. Add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream (photo 2) to the mixing bowl. Mix until well combined (photo 3-4).
How to Adjust the Frosting Consistency
If using piping the frosting, it may need to be thinned slightly. Add 1 tablespoon of heavy cream at a time, mix in and add more if needed.
You can also add more milk instead of heavy cream.
If it needs to be thickened add more powdered sugar 1 to 2 tablespoons as a time.
Coloring the Frosting
When to Add Food Coloring?
Any food coloring should be added when the perfect consistency has been reached before beginning to frost the cookies.
What is the best food coloring for Sugar Cookie frosting?
For the most vibrant color, gel food coloring is our recommended choice. It comes in many colors and is easily available where baking supplies are sold (and online).
A little goes a long way so only a few drops are needed. As seen on the blue frosted cookie, the color is bright and strong.
Liquid food coloring will also work.
Using the Frosting in a Piping Bag
Frost the cookies with desired design (photo 6).
How to easily add frosting to the piping bag
- Once the piping bag is fitted with the tip, place it tip down in a tall drinking glass.
- Fold the top of the bag down over the outside of the glass.
- It’s now stable and easier to scoop the frosting into the bag!
- When filled remove from the glass and use
How to Spread the Frosting on Cookies
After mixing the frosting it can be spread onto the sugar cookies; it doesn’t need to be thinned.
Add a color or keep it off white and spread onto cookies!
Using Sprinkles on the Sugar Cookie Frosting
Because the frosting sets or hardens, if using sprinkles add them after frosting each cookie.
If frosting all the cookies then doing sprinkles the frosting will have set and the sprinkles won’t stick.
Start with softened butter. If the butter has not fully softened it won’t blend smoothly with the shortening. There will be tiny clumps of butter that are impossible to fully blend.
Add sprinkles as soon as the cookie is frosted. If using sprinkles add them after each cookie is frosted, not after the batch is frosting.
For best results use this frosting as soon as it is made. Because it will develop a shell, if stored it is not as easy to frost the cookies.
More Frosting Recipes You’ll Love!
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Strawberry Frosting – with real Strawberries
- Cinnamon Red Hot Frosting
Try these Dessert Recipes too!
Sugar Cookie Frosting
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup shortening
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
- Food coloring optional
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, and powdered sugar. This will take 3-5 minutes for the frosting to become creamy.
- Add in the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream. Mix until well combined.
- If using the frosting in a piping bag: If the consistency of the frosting is too thick to pipe add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency has been reached.
- If adding coloring to the frosting: add the food coloring now after the desired consistency of the frosting has been reached.
- Fill a piping bag or scoop the frosting into a bowl to spread onto the cookies.
- Best if used right away. Add sprinkles directly after frosting as the frosting will begin to harden.