Simple Solutions: How to Make a Quick Sugar Icing

updated Jan 21, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This is one of those cook’s tricks we keep in our back pocket. A simple sugar icing will fancy up some scones for company or add the perfect touch to a batch of cookies. It’s so easy, you don’t even need measuring spoons!

All we do is pour a big scoop of confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar in a bowl. Then we add some milk just a little at a time, stirring all the while, until the sugar melts into a thick sauce. Add a splash of vanilla or almond extract, and you’re ready to go!

The more milk you add, the thinner and more glaze-like your frosting will be. Less milk, and your frosting will make a hard, glossy shell. You can also use a different liquid – orange juice, lemon juice, apple juice are all good choices and will impart a little of their flavor to the glaze.

Make sure you use either confectioner’s or powdered sugar, though. Granulated sugar will stay crystallized and won’t melt into a glaze. If you only have granulated sugar, check out our post on making sugar substitutes.

For those who’d like more firm guidelines, here’s a basic recipe to follow until it feels familiar!

Quick Sugar Icing
Makes about 1 cup of frosting

1 cup confectioner’s or powdered sugar
2-6 tablespoons milk or other liquid
½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Measure the sugar into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and the extract. Stir until it forms a thick, creamy paste. If desired, thin the frosting into a glaze with additional tablespoons of milk.

Frosting will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for up to a week. Allow to come to room temperature and stir gently before using.

(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)