Creamy, fluffy sugar cookie frosting that’s perfect for spreading in a thick layer on piping. Perfect for cut-out cookies, gingerbread, Lofthouse-style cookies or eating with a spoon!
With sugar cookies – there’s typically 2 styles of icing or frosting:
- Royal icing
- Or a buttercream frosting.
Royal icing is the hard, shiny icing that’s perfect for making detailed designs. It’s very, very sweet and creates a hard coating on the cookies. But if you want to decorate your cookies with fluffy, creamy frosting in a thick layer – then this sugar cookie frosting is for you.
Ingredients for Sugar Cookie Frosting
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter
- 2 oz brick-style cream cheese
- 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional – but recommended)
- and optional food coloring for dyeing the color
The cream cheese is key because it helps cut the sweetness. But don’t worry – this is definitely not a cream cheese frosting recipe where you taste the tanginess of the cream cheese. Then vanilla extract and almond extract add so much flavor to the frosting.
The more sugar you add, the thicker and sweeter the frosting will be. You can also add in a little milk if you feel the icing is too thick – but I usually don’t find I need it.
Note that this frosting is a little thinner than the vanilla buttercream you’d put on cupcakes because there isn’t the need to pile it high.
Tips for Making Frosting
- The butter and cream cheese should be softened but definitely not warm or melty. If the butter is too soft, the frosting will be too thin and won’t crust (aka harden)
- Only beat the frosting until the powdered sugar is combined. Do not continue mixing – otherwise, the frosting can start to separate.
- Sift the powdered sugar first to remove any lumps.
- Gel food coloring packs a bigger punch. Therefore you can dye the frosting without adding in as much liquid.
- If you want frosting that’s bright, white in color – leave out the vanilla extract. You can also substitute the cream cheese for vegetable shortening for an even brighter white color.
I love this sugar cookie frosting because it’s creamy, hardens perfectly, and can be piped or spread in a thick layer. Make sure to try it on:
Sugar Cookie Frosting
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft.
- Beat in the cream cheese.
- Add in the vanilla extract and almond extract.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in 2 cups powdered sugar. Continue to mix in the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time until the desired sweetness is reached.
- Mix in the optional food coloring.
- Decorated cooled sugar cookies, either by spreading the frosting on each cookie or using a piping bag. Note - this frosting is not designed for piping intricate designs.