Tutorial: Cookie Decorating with Glace Icing

I consider myself to be a pretty good artist.  My education and former profession is in the design field and I’m pretty good at craft stuff.  I also think I’m a decent cook, so I figured with those two things going for me, decorating fancy sugar cookies would be right up my alley.  Imagine my surprise (not to mention shattered ego and broken self-confidence) when I attempted to play around with royal icing for the first time and my little masterpieces looked more like something in a 1st grader’s art pile.  So I gave up on ever decorating fancy-schmancy cookies again.

That was until I met THIS style of icing. Now my confidence is back in tact because even my very first batch turned out beautifully! It’s super forgiving, easy to use, and it actually tastes good!

The benefit of using an icing like this is that it dries to a solid sheen, making the cookies stackable and packable- perfect for giving or displaying on a platter. With a soft, fluffy buttercream, there’s just no easy way to give them away so you have to eat them all yourself (which may be the plan, right??)

Best Sugar Cookie Icing

All you need for this icing is powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and extract of your choice (I use almond, but vanilla is great, too.)  And we all know that corn syrup is not the same thing as high-fructose corn syrup, right??  Like, we don’t have to have this conversation again?  Okie-dokie then.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing ingredients

Whisk up those few ingredients and you’ll have a nice glaze-y consistency. You’re going to use the same recipe for both glazing and piping. The way it is right now is the consistency you want for glazing. It’s smooth and thin and it easily runs off the whisk in a pretty thin drizzle.

icing on a whisk

You can simply spoon this icing onto your cookies and gently spread out with a spoon and be done!  One of the easiest ways is also to just quickly spread and let it go completely off the edges like this:

Best Sugar Cookie Icing on heart shaped cookies

While the icing is wet, you can mix colors and create all kinds of fun things.  Try glazing in one color and then adding other colors from a piping bag with a very small, plain opening, and drag the designs with a toothpick to create gorgeous works of art.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing mixed on sugar cookie

Best Sugar Cookie Icing designs

You honestly can’t make an ugly cookie here.

Best sugar cookie icing dripped on cookie

Another method is to pipe an edge around your cookie, and then wait for a few minutes for it to firm up.  When you’re piping, you’ll want to add a bit more powdered sugar to thicken up the icing just a bit.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing outline Once hardened a a little, go back in with your glaze and fill in the space.  That outline will work as a dam and give you nice clean lines.

icing outline filled in

Wet-on-wet icing will marble and swirl together.  I actually did this whole batch this way because I didn’t have time to let mine dry very much.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing four heart cookies

If you want to pipe designs on top of your cookies, you’ll want to wait until your first glazing layer is dry to the touch, which can take a couple of hours.  You’ll want to leave them out un-covered to dry.    You can see a great example of this method in this post, where I made darling little Owl Cookies.

pink and blue iced cookieowl iced cookiesI also used that method when making these Valentine Cookie Pops.

Either way, you’ll want to let these cookies dry all the way before stacking or handling too much.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing heart cookies

They develop a sheen and are dry to the touch after a couple hours, but they’ll need to really dry for most of the day, or overnight to be completely dry.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing valentine cookies

Whenever I update ancient posts like this one, I always feel like I’m erasing a bit of history when I delete old, outdated photos, so I’m going to leave a few of the originals here- just because. snowflake cookies
star and flower cookies

cookies with iced letters on them

happy birthday kate iced cookies
Note: Make-Ahead Storage: Thanks so much to a reader who reported back with these notes! Made the glace icing 4-5 days ahead of time, stored it in the fridge, airtight, either wrapped in a pastry bag or in a plastic container with wax paper on the surface. It worked perfectly, did not even need to be re-whisked and barely even had to come to room temperature. Definitely can be made ahead and refrigerated, loved it!” So there you have it – thanks to Kim.

Related Recipes:
Sugar Cookies
Valentine Sugar Cookie Pops
Spider Web Cookies


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These sugar cookies are as delicious as they are beautiful! Such a fun way to decorate sugar cookies!


  • 1 pound powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon extract (I use almond because I use almond in my sugar cookies, but other flavors like vanilla, lemon, and peppermint are also delicious)


  1. With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth (no lumps!) Then stir in corn syrup and extract.
  2. You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. Thickened, you can pipe outlines, and as you thin it, you can use it for “flooding” cookies. Make sure to let them dry overnight to fully harden for stacking.


  1. Happy happy birthday Kate!!

    Those cookies are so fun! I’ve tried a glaze in the past and didn’t have great success with it either – this gives me new hope. Also, I can’t wait for the sugar cookie recipe because I always seem to have them come out poofy and losing the original shape. Yours are nice and crisply shaped.

  2. Awesome! Sugar cookies are my absolute favorite!! Now that you have shared your icing how about your sugar cookie recipe that is still soft on day 3? Please do share. Oh happy birthday Kate

  3. Oh, thanks, Sara! You’re so sweet! And those cookies are GORGEOUS! You’ve inspired me to make some; I’m usually hesitant because sugar cookies can be tedious, but those look amazing.

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