Sugar Cookie Frosting (Fluffy & Stackable) + Video Tutorial

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This sugar cookie frosting is light, creamy, and has the perfect amount of sweetness! Make this recipe for your Christmas cookie decorating.

Title text (shown on a plate): Sugar Cookie Frosting (Fluffy & Stackable)

Want to take your holiday desserts to the next level? Spread buttercream cookie frosting onto delicious Christmas Sugar Cookies, which are soft and tender with slightly crisp edges.

It will form a crust once dried, but the texture stays light and fluffy when you bite into it.

Or, make some Candy Cane Buttercream Frosting. You can use it on cake, cookies, or eat it right off the spoon!

If you need a Christmas cookie frosting that hardens, use my Tasty Sugar Cookie Icing instead. It hardens like royal icing but is less brittle, and tastes like marshmallow icing. {{swoon}}

ingredients on wooden table
  • Cream the butter completely. This is the trick to super fluffy frosting! Start with room temperature butter and mix it for a few minutes, until the color changes to pale yellow.
  • Sift the sugar. I recommend sifting your powdered sugar first to prevent any clumps, and to give the frosting a smoother consistency.
  • Keep it covered: If you are using multiple colors of food coloring for your cookies, tightly cover your additional frosting with plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out.
  • Is your frosting too hard? Add a small amount of milk and mix to get the consistency back to the way you like it.
  • Storage: Your frosting will keep for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator, as long as it is kept in an airtight container.
sugar cookie frosting ingredients slightly mixed

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Stand mixer or large mixing bowl with hand mixer for whipping up your frosting
  • Gel Food Coloring – Because it’s more concentrated, you only need a little bit and it won’t affect the consistency.
  • Offset Spatula – This spatula has so many uses and is perfect for smoothing an even layer of buttercream.
  • Piping Bag – Fit with your desired piping tip or use a double-bagging method to easily switch between different colors.
  • Decorator Piping Tips – Use different shapes and sizes depending on the design you want to make.
sugar cookie frosting mixed and in glass bowl with whisk

How To Decorate Cookies With Buttercream Cookie Frosting

There are two different methods you can use. Which one you choose will depend on the shape of the cookie, how much time you have, and whether or not you want a design or a smooth finish.

Spread By Hand

The fastest way to ice cookies is by making a round or square shaped cookie and using an offset spatula to spread the frosting on.

Using an offset spatula instead of a spoon or butter knife gives you better control over the thickness and creates cleaner edges.

sugar cookie icing in bowl with sprinkles in containers

Use a Piping Bag

This method gives you more control and allows you to create different textures and designs with a variety of decorator tips.

Double Bagging Method

If you’ll be using several different colors of frosting, there’s an easy method called “double-bagging” that allows you to use the same piping tip over and over.

Just add each color to a different piping bag, and fit your tip onto a separate, empty bag. Then, snip off the end of the bag of buttercream and drop it into the bag with the tip.

When you’re ready to change colors, pull the inner bag out and drop in a new one.

You might want to squeeze a small amount of frosting out onto a piece of paper towel first; this will push any remaining old color through the tip.

sugar cookie frosting half dyed green

FAQ – Common Recipe Questions


What piping tips did you use?

The round cookies were made using a Wilton 2D piping tip and a 12-inch piping bag.

The Christmas tree cookies were made using a Wilton 21 piping tip with a coupler in a 12-inch piping bag.

icing tree shaped sugar cookie with green frosting

Can I make this cookie frosting recipe ahead of time?

Sure! Store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container and let it come to room temperature before you use it.

You may need to whip it again for a minute or two as well.

icing circle cookie with green icing

Why won’t my sprinkles stay on the Christmas cookies?

The frosting may have hardened a little bit before you put the sprinkles on.

Use your fingertips to gently tap the sprinkles into the cookie frosting. This should allow them to stick without cracking the surface.

close up of iced circle sugar cookie with sprinkles

Enjoy!

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iced circle and tree shaped sugar

To see us make the recipe from start to finish, watch the video at the top of this page.

Sugar Cookie Frosting (Fluffy & Stackable) + Video Tutorial

Donna Elick
This sugar cookie frosting is light, creamy, and has the perfect amount of sweetness! Make this recipe for your Christmas cookie decorating.
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Mixed
Servings 40 – 50

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Gel food coloring

Garnish

  • Sprinkles

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add in 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons milk, and a pinch of salt. Beat to combine.
  • Add in another cup of powdered sugar, the almond extract, and vanilla extract. Beat to combine.
  • Add in an additional cup of powdered sugar. Mix until well combined and smooth. Add additional powdered sugar or milk to get the right consistency.
  • Stir in gel food coloring.
  • Spread or pipe frosting onto your sugar cookies. Top with sprinkles immediately. Allow it to harden before stacking.

Video

Donna’s Notes

If you are using multiple colors of food coloring for your cookies, tightly cover your additional frosting with plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out.
If your bowl of frosting starts to get hard, add a small amount of milk and mix to get the consistency back to the way you like it.
I recommend sifting your powdered sugar to keep your frosting smooth.
The round cookies were made using a Wilton 2D piping tip and a 12 inch piping bag.
The Christmas tree cookies were made using a Wilton 21 piping tip with a coupler in a 12 inch piping bag.
The fastest way to ice the cookies is probably making a round or square shaped cookie, and using an offset spatula to spread the frosting on.
Why won’t my sprinkles stay on? The frosting may have hardened a little bit before you put the sprinkles on. Tap the sprinkles into your cookie frosting, using a flat hand. This should press the sprinkles softly into the frosting.
Store in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 68cal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 12g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
sugar cookie frosting fluffy and stackable

Originally published November 2020

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19 Comments

  1. I made this tonight and used it to pipe frosting onto cookies. I've never done this before, but they turned out adorable!

  2. Came together beautifully as written, but then would not stick at all to our cookies. Just rolled around as we tried to spread it.

  3. Does this dry faster than a Royal icing for example so it can be decorated and eaten a couple of hours later?
    -Kris

  4. Does the cookies need refrigerated after putting on the icing since it's has butter in it?Or are they safe to let out for a few days?

  5. Once the cookies are decorated, do they need to stay refrigerated or how long does this icing keep once frosted at room temperature

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