This is the best recipe for Sugar Cookie Frosting! It is easy to make, hardens perfectly, and most importantly, it tastes delicious! This sugar cookie icing is made with cream cheese to keep this frosting just sweet enough without being overly sweet! Cream cheese cookie frosting is the way to go for the best flavor!
Use this Sugar Cookie Frosting to ice Cut Out Sugar Cookies for the best Frosted Sugar Cookie you have ever eaten!
Sugar Cookie Frosting
I am known for my Cut Out Sugar Cookies. People beg me for the recipe and my kids refuse to eat any other sugar cookie–yes, they really are that good!
But for years, people have been asking me for my sugar cookie icing recipe. And while I am happy to give it to them, I realized it was well past time to share it here with all of you!
This is the cookie frosting recipe to beat all recipes! It is creamy, tangy, hardens, and is finger licking good!
The cream cheese gives this frosting a bit of tangy and balances out the sweetness. It also makes the frosting super creamy. You guys this frosting is down right dreamy!
This sugar cookie frosting only requires 6 ingredients. And there is NO corn syrup or raw egg in this frosting! I hear you rejoicing with me!
- Cream Cheese: Full fat cream is a MUST for this recipe. Using fat free or low fat cream cheese may cause your icing to separate and not be as thick and creamy. And come on, we are talking cookies here–it is not the time to cut back on fat! It is also super important to let your cream cheese come to room temperature. If it cold, it will not cream easily and could cause for a lumpy frosting.
- Butter: Unsalted butter is best and just like the cream cheese, you want the butter to be at room temperature to cream easily.
- Powdered Sugar: Otherwise known as confectioner’s sugar, powdered sugar is a must for any good frosting recipe.
- Salt: I know salt sounds weird, but we are using just a tiny, tiny pinch! Trust me on this one, salt helps bring out the flavors in this frosting.
- Vanilla Extract: A touch of pure vanilla extract helps to add dimension to the frosting.
- Milk: Use any type of milk or cream you like. We need just a few tablespoons to bring the frosting together.
How to Make Sugar Cookie Frosting
The process for making sugar cookie frosting is quite simple, but there are a few key things to remember that will help you achieve perfectly creamy and smooth frosting.
The first step is to cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. It only takes a couple minutes to beat together until well combined. Just remember that your cream cheese and butter MUST be at room temperature! Then add in the vanilla extract and salt and beat to combine.
Next you want to sift your powdered sugar before adding to your butter mixture. Is this step really necessary? YES! If you want super creamy, lump free sugar cookie frosting, then this is one step you don’t want to skip!
Once the powdered sugar is sifted, slowly beat into the cream cheese mixture. Add in one tablespoon of milk at a time, until a the frosting comes together. You want the frosting to be thick, but not stiff. It should drip in a thick ribbon from the beaters when the right consistency is reached.
If it is too thin, add 1/4 cup more powdered sugar, if it is too thick, add another 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of milk at at time.
At this point the frosting is ready to be used. This is my go to frosting for sugar cookies, but I often use this on my homemade cinnamon rolls as well. And this cream cheese frosting is delicious on cakes an cupcakes as well. In fact, I love this frosting on my pumpkin muffins! You may want to add up to 1/2 cup more powdered sugar to help thicken the frosting though!
How to Ice Sugar Cookies
There are a lot of ways you can ice sugar cookies. I am going to share with you my two favorite ways to use this Sugar Cookie Frosting.
First, if you want to color your frosting, divide your frosting into as many bowls as colors you want. Then add in a couple drops of dye and mix well, adding more dye as needed to achieve the color you desire. I love using Natural Food Dyes, but any dye works well. Just keep in mind that it typically only takes a couple drops of coloring!
At my house, icing sugar cookies is usually a family affair at our house around the holidays, so we keep it super simple! This frosting spreads beautifully onto cookies with just a butter knife, or tiny offset knife or spatula. Once the cookies are topped with a layer of icing, we add sprinkles and let the cookies set up on parchment paper or wax paper.
If we are looking for more detailed or precise icing, we pull out piping bags or condiment bottles. I love using condiment bottles because for me they are easier to clean than piping bags and the opening is the perfect size for this frosting to pass through and ice cookies.
Simply transfer the icing to the bottles or piping bag fitted with a tiny tip. Then outline the cookie the with the frosting. Then pipe the frosting inside the outline to fill the cookie. This technique gives the frosting some distinction and looks more professional. It is also great when you want to add multiple colors on cookies–like say you were icing candy canes or flowers. I am going to be honest–I rarely have the patience for that!! HA!
Regardless of how you ice your cookies, you will want them to set out for 12-24 hours to harden. This cream cheese frosting will not become rock hard, but does harden enough to be stackable without smudging the frosting.
Storing Iced Cookies
Once the icing has hardened to the touch, stack the cookies in an airtight container, separated by layers of parchment or wax paper.
Iced Cookies are safe to be kept at room temperature for 24 hours. A lot of people have testified to me that they have used this icing and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days, but I ere on the side of caution because this frosting has cream cheese, and store in the refrigerator after 24 hours and then store for up to 5 days. I do recommend removing cookies from the refrigerator for an hour or so before eating, as the flavor is best at room temperature.
Iced cookies can also be frozen for up to one month. To freeze iced cookies, let the icing harden fully. Then place cookies on baking sheet and place in freezer and freeze for one hour, or until frozen solid. Then transfer to a freezer safe container. Stack cookies between layers of parchment paper or wax paper. And remember, use a freezer safe container not a bag–your cookies are fragile and could break easily if stored in a bag. To serve, let cookies defrost in fridge for 12 hours or leave at room temperature for a few hours before enjoying.
Sugar Cookie Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- In a large bowl using a handheld mixer, or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy.
- Add in vanilla and salt and mix to combine.
- Add in 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until just combined. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time and beat on low to medium speed until the right consistency is reached. You want the frosting to be thick, but not stiff. It should drip in a thick ribbon from the beaters when the right consistency is reached.
- If you want the frosting a little thicker, add 1/4 cup more powdered sugar at at time. I typically find that 2 cups is perfect for frosting cookies and 2 ½ cups is best for cakes and cupcakes.
- At this point ice cookies, cakes, cinnamon rolls, etc as desired.
To Ice Cookies
- Add sprinkles if desired, while frosting is still wet.
- Let cookies harden for 12-24 hours at room temperature. Once the icing has hardened to the touch, stack the cookies in an airtight container, separated by layers of parchment or wax paper.
- Store iced cookies in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
- Be sure to use full fat cream cheese and unsalted butter in this recipe.
- Do not forget to sift your powdered sugar for a creamy frosting!
- You can store frosting frosting for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat again to make frosting creamy.
- To freeze iced cookies, let the icing harden fully. Then place cookies on baking sheet and place in freezer and freeze for one hour, or until frozen solid. Then transfer to a freezer safe container. Stack cookies between layers of parchment paper or wax paper and seal container. Freeze for up to 1 month. Let defrost in the fridge or at room temperature.
- This recipe will ice about 3 dozen cookies.