The Easiest Powdered Sugar Icing Recipe You'll Ever Try


Use this powdered sugar icing on Christmas cookie recipes, to drizzle over your favorite cakes, and any other sweet treat you desire.

Prep Time:
1 mins
Total Time:
10 mins
1/2 cup

When you don't want or need heavy-duty buttercream, keep a bag of icing sugar around. This powdered sugar frosting adds just the right amount of sweetness without going too far. Whip up the easy powdered sugar icing to go over cakes, cinnamon rolls, sugar cookies, and more. Chocolate fan? Find our delicious chocolate powdered sugar icing variation below.

How to Make Icing with Powdered Sugar

You'll need just three ingredients to make this frosting with powdered sugar. It's as easy as mixing powdered sugar with vanilla and your liquid of choice but there are a few things to keep in mind when making your own.

  • Powdered Sugar: It may seem like extra work but it's important to sift the sugar before mixing up your frosting. That small step ensures the finished icing is velvety smooth.
  • Vanilla: Traditional powdered sugar icing uses vanilla extract but you can easily swap in other flavors like almond, coconut, cake batter, or even peppermint.
  • Liquid: If you want the flavor of the vanilla to shine, choose milk to make your powdered sugar icing. To add subtle citrus flavor to the frosting, use orange or lemon juice instead.

How to Use Powdered Sugar Frosting

This frosting recipe is versatile enough for a wide range of desserts. Add slightly less liquid and keep it thick to frost cookies and bars. It's great for classic sugar cookies. Or, thin it out with a bit more milk or juice and drizzle it on quick breads or cakes. It's also great for rimming a dessert martini glass or drizzling on fresh fruit.

How to Store Powdered Sugar Icing

For best results, store the frosting with powdered sugar in the fridge. It will last for up to one week. Be sure to keep the frosting in a labeled airtight container so it doesn't absorb odors from the fridge. You can also freeze leftover frosting for up to three months. Store it in an airtight, freezer-safe bag that's labeled with the contents and the date.


  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 tablespoon milk or orange juice


  1. In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Stir in additional milk or juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches drizzling consistency. Makes 1/2 cup (enough to drizzle over one 10-inch tube cake).

    powdered sugar icing in bowl and drizzled on bundt cake

    BHG / Sonia Bozzo

Chocolate Powdered Sugar Icing Variation

To make chocolate icing with powdered sugar, prepare as above, except add 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder to the powdered sugar. Do not use the orange juice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is powdered icing sugar the same thing as powdered sugar?

    Yes! You may see powdered sugar labeled as confectioners sugar or powdered icing sugar. They are the same thing with the same consistency.

  • Is powdered sugar icing the same thing as royal icing?

    There are a few differences between powdered sugar icing and royal icing. To make royal icing, egg whites are included. This helps the icing harden as it dries. It is often piped to create intricate cookie decorations. Powdered sugar icing won't dry as hard as royal icing and is used more often as a drizzle or spread.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

55 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
0g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 54.8
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0.2mg 0%
Sodium 1.2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 13.8g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 13.6g
Protein 0.1g 0%
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 2.4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 3.1mg 0%
Fatty acids, total trans 0g
Vitamin D 0.9IU
Alanine 0g
Arginine 0g
Ash 0g
Aspartic acid 0g
Caffeine 0mg
Carotene, alpha 0mcg
Choline, total 0.3mg
Copper, Cu 0mg
Cystine 0g
Energy 229.3kJ
Fluoride, F 0.1mcg
Folate, total 0.1mcg
Glutamic acid 0g
Glycine 0g
Histidine 0g
Isoleucine 0g
Leucine 0g
Lysine 0g
Methionine 0g
Magnesium, Mg 0.2mg
Manganese, Mn 0mg
Niacin 0mg
Phosphorus, P 1.8mg
Pantothenic acid 0mg
Phenylalanine 0g
Proline 0g
Retinol 1mcg
Selenium, Se 0.1mcg
Serine 0g
Starch 0.2g
Theobromine 0mg
Threonine 0g
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0mg
Tryptophan 0g
Tyrosine 0g
Valine 0g
Vitamin A, IU 3.6IU
Vitamin A, RAE 1mcg
Vitamin B-12 0mcg
Vitamin B-6 0mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 0mcg
Water 1.8g
Zinc, Zn 0mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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