Sugar Cookie Frosting


This sugar cookie frosting recipe made with shortening and confectioners' sugar has a lovely vanilla flavor. It's quick and easy to make and works well on both soft and crisp sugar cookies. It starts out soft and spreadable but firms up nicely for cookie stacking and storage. Divide the frosting into smaller bowls and use food coloring to tint as desired.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins
3 cups

Every baker needs a good sugar cookie frosting in their repertoire. This simple, top-rated sugar cookie frosting recipe will quickly become your new go-to!

Sugar Cookie Frosting Ingredients

You'll need just four basic ingredients to make the best frosting for sugar cookies:

· Shortening: This sugar cookie frosting starts with shortening instead of butter. Why? Shortening creates frosting that firms up nicely and is unlikely to melt, which means it's perfect for stacking cookies.
· Confectioners' sugar: Confectioners' sugar (a.k.a. powdered sugar or icing sugar) is the next ingredient. Don't substitute granulated sugar, as it's not fine enough.
· Milk: A few tablespoons of milk thins the frosting, making it perfectly spreadable.
· Vanilla: A teaspoon of vanilla extract enhances the flavor of the sugar cookie frosting. You can substitute almond extract, if desired.
Food coloring (optional): If you need your frosting to be a specific color, use food coloring to create the perfect hue.

How to Make Frosting For Sugar Cookies

It couldn't be easier to make this sugar cookie frosting. You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect:

1. Beat the shortening until creamy.
2. Gradually beat in the sugar and milk in small amounts, alternating until smooth.
3. Add vanilla and continue beating until the frosting is stiff and glossy.
4. Stir in the food coloring, if desired.

close up view of Christmas tree shaped sugar cookies with green Sugar Cookie Frosting and sprinkles, on an aluminum foil baking sheet

Cookie Recipes for Frosting

Need a new go-to sugar cookie recipe to pair with your favorite new frosting? Try one of these irresistible ideas:

· The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies: This top-rated recipe has almost 10,000 rave reviews from happy home cooks.
· Soft Christmas Cookies: If you're craving soft and tender cutout cookies, this is the recipe for you.
· Easy Sugar Cookies: Spread some of the sugar cookie frosting on these 7-ingredient cookies for a quick, easy, and delicious treat.

How to Use Sugar Cookie Frosting

Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies or pipe it onto them using a piping bag. Allow the frosting to set before stacking and storing

How to Store Frosted Sugar Cookies

Store the cookies in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. If space is an issue, stacking is OK — this sugar cookie frosting is unlikely to transfer if you allow it to harden for a few hours. Add a piece of parchment paper between each layer to be safe.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"This is a wonderful frosting," according to mrsdit. "Soooo perfectly smooth and it makes a lot. I added a tad of almond extract and it was great! Thanks for the keeper!"

"I used this frosting on the chewy sugar cookie recipe," says alyssa78. "Very good! I think this could be a versatile frosting — perhaps on cakes? I definitely see myself frosting and filling chocolate cupcakes with this frosting in the future!"

"This was a delicious, simple frosting recipe and exactly what I was looking for to frost my holiday cookies," raves one Allrecipes community member. "I've already had several people ask me for the recipe."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


  • ½ cup shortening

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 5 tablespoons milk, or more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or more to taste

  • food coloring (Optional)


  1. Gather all ingredients.

    Overhead shot of measured ingredients gathered for sugar cookie frosting

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  2. Beat shortening in a large bowl until creamy. Gradually mix in confectioners' sugar in small amounts, alternating with 5 tablespoons milk, until smooth. Mix in vanilla and continue to beat until frosting is stiff and glossy, about 5 minutes, adding more milk if needed.

    Overhead shot of sugar cookie frosting ingredients being whipped with a mixer in a glass bowl

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  3. Mix in food coloring, separating into smaller bowls if using multiple colors.

    Overhead shot of pink sugar cookie frosting in a bowl with a spoon

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  4. Spread frosting on cookies or fill piping bags and decorate cookies as desired.

    a low angle close up view of a plate full of pastel frosted sugar cookies topped with rainbow colored sprinkles.
    Oana Ennis/Allrecipes

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

59 Calories
2g Fat
10g Carbs
0g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 48
Calories 59
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 0g
Calcium 2mg 0%
Potassium 3mg 0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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