Powdered Sugar Icing

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This easy, 3-ingredient Powdered Sugar Icing is perfect for bundt cakes, pound cakes, angel food cakes, cookies, and quick breads. A little glaze makes everything look (and taste) even better.

Lemon bundt cake slices on plates.


 

Recipe ingredients

Powdered sugar icing ingredients.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Confectioner’s sugar: Using powdered sugar is important because it dissolves without heat. To make your own, pour granulated sugar into a blender or food processor, then blend the sugar until it is a fine, fluffy powdered sugar.
  • Milk: Or water or half-and-half. Add enough for your desired glaze consistency.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, add powdered sugar and vanilla.
Powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk in a bowl.
  1. Add enough milk to reach your desired consistency for drizzling. The glaze will harden in 20 to 30 minutes.
A bowl of powdered sugar icing.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about ¾ cup icing (12 tablespoons) depending on how much liquid you add to thin it.
  • Lemon icing: Substitute ¼ cup lemon juice for the milk or water and omit the vanilla extract. Add 1 teaspoon lemon zest if desired.
  • Lime icing: Substitute ¼ cup lime juice for the milk or water and omit the vanilla extract. Add 1 teaspoon lime zest if desired.
  • Orange icing: Substitute ¼ cup orange juice for the milk or water and omit the vanilla extract. Add 1 teaspoon orange zest if desired.
  • Almond icing: Substitute ½ teaspoon almond extra for the vanilla extract.
  • Light icing: Mix 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon low-fat milk and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
  • Does powdered sugar icing need to be refrigerated? No, even if you use milk in your icing. The small amount of milk is stabilized by the large amount of sugar and is considered safe at room temperature for two to three days. Always refrigerate any cake with a frosting that contains eggs or egg whites, or one that has whipped-cream frosting or any type of filling.
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1 hour 15 minutes
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Desserts to glaze

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Lemon bundt cake slices on plates.

Powdered Sugar Icing

This easy, 3-ingredient Powdered Sugar Icing is perfect for bundt cakes, pound cakes, angel food cakes, cookies, and quick breads. A little glaze makes everything look (and taste) even better.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 12 servings (1 tbsp each)
Course Dessert, Pantry
Cuisine American
Calories 81
4.99 from 194 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl, stir together powdered sugar and vanilla. Add water or milk until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over cooled baked goods or dessert. The glaze will harden in 20 to 30 minutes.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Powdered sugar: Using powdered sugar is important because it dissolves without heat. To make your own, pour granulated sugar into a blender or food processor, then blend the sugar until it is a fine, fluffy powdered sugar.
  2. Milk: Or water or half-and-half. Add enough for your desired glaze consistency.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes about ¾ cup icing (12 tablespoons) depending on how much liquid you add to thin it.
  4. Lemon icing: Substitute ¼ cup lemon juice for the milk or water and omit the vanilla extract. Add 1 teaspoon lemon zest if desired.
  5. Lime icing: Substitute ¼ cup lime juice for the milk or water and omit the vanilla extract. Add 1 teaspoon lime zest if desired.
  6. Orange icing: Substitute ¼ cup orange juice for the milk or water and omit the vanilla extract. Add 1 teaspoon orange zest if desired.
  7. Almond icing: Substitute ½ teaspoon almond extra for the vanilla extract.
  8. Light icing: Mix 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon low-fat milk and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
  9. Does powdered sugar icing need to be refrigerated? No, even if you use milk in your icing. The small amount of milk is stabilized by the large amount of sugar and is considered safe at room temperature for two to three days. Always refrigerate any cake with a frosting that contains eggs or egg whites, or one that has whipped-cream frosting or any type of filling.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tbspCalories: 81kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 2mgPotassium: 6mgSugar: 20gVitamin A: 6IUCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

    1. Hi Cheryl, yes! ! I would add 2-3 tablespoons of softened cream cheese to the icing ingredients, and add water or milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Make sure to taste as you go to adjust the flavor to your liking. – Meggan

  1. I made icing for Christmas cookies using powder sugar, vanilla extract & I didn’t have milk, but I did have a carton of heavy whipping cream, which I used. The taste was AMAZING! It didn’t taste like powder sugar which is a win, win for me. I made too much.
    Can it be refrigerated for later use in about a week? I hate to toss it out. Thanks.

    1. Hi Terri! Yes, you can refrigerate it for up to a week. I would store it in an airtight container, and place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the icing to prevent a skin from forming. Make sure to check it for freshness, and give it a good stir to restore the smooth consistency of the icing before using. Take care! – Meggan

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