Sweet and so easy, this 4-ingredient powdered sugar frosting is my favorite! A go-to recipe for frosting soft sugar cookies, graham crackers, or cake.
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I’ve used this frosting for years.
My grandma would always buy a big ol’ bag of powdered sugar.
Then, I’d ask how we were going to make the frosting and she’d flip the powdered sugar bag right over and show me the recipe on the back of the bag.
She used that recipe for as long as I can remember.
We’d mix up a couple of colors. Usually green, blue, yellow, and a pink’ish red.
We’d frost our soft sugar cookies first. Then use whatever was left to slather onto some graham crackers.
Easy Powdered Sugar Frosting Recipe
4-Ingredient Powdered Sugar Frosting
Sweet and so easy, this 4-ingredient powdered sugar frosting is my favorite! A go-to recipe for frosting soft sugar cookies, graham crackers, or cakes.
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- Food coloring (optional)
- Combine powdered sugar and softened butter with an electric mixer.
- Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.
- Gradually add additional milk, if needed, until you reach a smooth, easy to spread frosting.
- Once prepared, add food coloring, if desired, stirring the coloring in by spoon.
*If too runny, add additional powdered sugar to thicken your frosting.
Original Recipe from: Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting
maria @closetohome says
This looks perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. I have not made sugar cookies in a while, thanks for the inspiration.
This looks like an easy recipe. Will have to show it to my daughter, she has really gotten into cooking and baking and wants to try making fancy cookies.
I used to make Christmas cookies with this frosting with my mom. Great memories
I love how simple and easy this is to make! I can’t wait to make frosted cookies with my kid!
OMG THIS IS AMAZING! IT WORKS DO WELL AND OMGGG I LOVE THIS!
This is by far the easiest frosting to make! I love that you have this 4 ingredient powdered Sugar frosting in green, perfect for St Patrick’s Day!
It really is so easy. Once you try it this way you’ll never buy the stuff in a can again!
Try almond extract instead of vanilla. My grandmothers recipe. I have been making it that way for over 50 years.
Yum! We use almond extract in a glaze recipe and it’s delicious. Great idea!
You can use any Flavor extract you like.
Hi! I’m looking forward to making your frosting! Does it keep overnight if refrigerated? I’m going to have a cookie decorating party & wanted to know if I could make the frosting the night before? Thank you for your help!
Yup! You can store it in the fridge overnight. Just give it a couple of good stirs before you go to use it and it should be good to go. Be sure to store it in a sealed container so it stays fresh.
Assuming this needs to be refrigerated if made in advance; to soften, should I just bring it to room temp? Having cookie decorating for kids at my Christmas party & would love to have several color options for the icing!
You can make in advance and store in the fridge. Just give it a couple of stirs with a spoon when you take it out of the fridge and it should be good to go. It will spread easier when it reaches room temperature, but it will do just fine straight from the fridge as well.
Does the frosting harden up after you put it on that cookies? Because you use milk would you have to keep the cookies in the fridge after?
We’ve never stored the cookies in the fridge and they stay just fine. You’ll want to mix it up close to the consistency that you’re aiming for. It will thicken up a little, but will stay pretty close to the consistency you mix it up as.
This is so good!!! Thank you for sharing!
Cara Schmenk says
Will the costing turn out ok if you don’t have a electric mixer?
Yup, you can hand mix if needed.
Virginia Johnson-Sears says
I use Almond extract, less sweet
Love to bake says
Super easy but way way too sweet. Next time I’ll only use 1.5 cups of powdered sugar and adjust the butter quantity accordingly.
I have used this recipe for 50 years- We have always frozen the cookies, but they seem to discolor after thawing- any advice? we use gel food coloring .
This is the exact recipe mundo mom used to use when we made cut-outs. I was looking for the recipe over the holidays, but I found one similar. I’ve bookmarked this one already so I will have it for this year. Oh, and I knew it wasn’t meant to be because I have the same bell shaped cookie cutter!
Meant to say *my* Mom, not mundo lol
Wow look at all those typos. Also meant to say WAS meant to be. Not wasn’t. I got too excited lol
The bells are one of my favorites, lol!! They frost easily and fit in my cookie tupperware the best.
Thank you, Janel for this quick and easy recipe, it’s source and the memories you have of making it. I have part of an unfrosted cake left over. We had been topping it with whipped cream, but ran out of it. I will make your frosting for my cake and the rest of the frosting will be for crackers and cookies!
Is this a joke?? I am dyinnnnnng over this frosting!!! I cannot believe I made something that tastes like this!! I did everything you said, and added a tiny splash of almond extract. I’m not sure if that made any difference, but omg… thank you so much!!! My first time making frosting was the easiest success! I can’t wait to experiment with colors!
Oh good, lol. When I started reading this comment I thought you were not loving it. Hooray for easy frosting, right! Enjoy!!
Romonia F Calpin says
can I substitute water instead of milk?
Does this frosting harden after spreading it on the cookies to allow stacking them?
Yes, it does harden some. We stack our sugar cookies frosted with a powdered sugar frosting with a layer of parchment paper between just to prevent any frosting sticking. You do need to wait until it’s dried some, before stacking though.
I just made this for a lemon poppyseed cake. I only used 1 tbsp of milk and substituted lemon juice for the rest. It turned out fabulous! Thank you for the recipe!
It was really really sweet, but that’s how I like my frosting 🙂
That sounds yummy! I love lemon everything!
Can I use unsalted butter?
Yup! You can use unsalted butter.
Makes absoulty the perfect frosting!
I make this with powered milk..turn out great..just wondering if I can make it ahead of time and leave it out on the counter covered and frost a few house later
Candace Fata says
Thanks for the recipe! Could you substitute almond milk for regular milk?
I think that would work great!!
CINDY PAGE says
I’ve used this recipe for 50+ yrs. I ice up a bunch, put in fridge to harden, then they stack great. Always get rave reviews..
About how much frosting does this make cups wise?
I actually freeze some of my extra frosted Christmas cookies and when I’m ready for a few more, I take them out of the freezer to thaw and eat that day. I have a sweet tooth. So the sugar cookies really help that. This is the same frosting I use for my sugar cookies. =o) Thanks for posting it!
Roxane Jude says
How can I make it chocolate ?
Can I stick a jam in this icing
Is this recipe gluten free?
These turned out perfect! I added a fourth the flour – plus a little bit more just in case per the other comments. They are delicious and look just like regular cutout cookies
So easy and sooo good! Very nice and creamy. I have used this on a couple of cookie recipes this year. Everyone loved it!
I am having difficulty, the powdered sugar is not dissolving, lots of tiny powdered sugar beads . Tastes great.
How can I correct this?
Hi – Try running your powered sugar through a sifter or a fine sieve to get rid of the hard bits.
Josie Heflin says
I’m wanting to use a few colors. How much frosting would you say this makes! I’m wondering if I should double it or not. I’m super excited to use this recipe!! ☺️