Lemony Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe

Let's be honest ... there's no such thing as bad icing on a sugar cookie. However, there are definitely sweet, and sometimes citrusy icings that stand out above the rest. Plain vanilla may be good, but it's simple at best. If you're like us, and have a soft spot for all things lemony fresh, then this icing is a must-try. Not only is it simple to make, but the natural lemon juice adds so much fresh flavor to the icing that it's sure to make your tastebuds dance.

Recipe developer Jennine Rye came up with this quick and easy recipe that complements your sugar cookies in the best way. "Sugar cookies are quite delicately flavored, and the light lemony sweetness of this icing just pairs so well with the flavor of the cookies," Rye shares. "It has a freshness, along with that lemony tang that balances out, and emphasizes the delicate sweetness of the sugar cookies well." Rye also shares her favorite part. "I love how totally simple it is, and how quick it is to mix together," Rye raves. "It's such an easy recipe, but the icing has such a delicious lemony sweetness to it; it's much better than vanilla icing, in my humble opinion!"

Keep reading to find out how to make this lemony sugar cookie icing.

Gather the ingredients for this lemony sugar cookie icing

This recipe is as easy as they come, and you will only need 3 ingredients to make it. Just grab some confectioner's sugar, a lemon, and water. One optional ingredient is food coloring, just in case you want to add a pop of color to the icing.

Once you have those items, you can make this lemony sugar cookie icing.

Sift the confectioner's sugar

Place a sieve over the bowl, and sift in the confectioner's sugar. "It's really important to remember to sieve the confectioner's sugar before adding the liquid to it, or else you will end up with lumpy icing," Johnson explains. "It's a small step, but an important one if you want silky smooth iced cookies, and we all want silky smooth iced cookies!"

Mix the ingredients

Squeeze the lemon juice out into a small bowl or cup. Make sure to remove any lemon seeds, as you only want the liquid. Add 1 tablespoon of juice at a time to the confectioner's sugar, and stir until the mixture forms a thick paste. Since lemon sizes may vary, you may need to add a few tablespoons of water to help the icing reach the right consistency.

Add food coloring, and ice the cookies

If you choose to go the extra mile, and add food coloring to the icing, you can squeeze in a few drops, and mix it in with the icing. Believe it or not, that's all you need to do! Now, you can use the icing to decorate sugar cookies. Just spread it on the cookies with a palette knife, or you can use an icing bottle to apply it. 

Rye also shares a few other ways she likes to use this icing. "This is a great all-round icing recipe; I often use it to ice pound cakes, or lemon drizzle cakes. It's also a great glaze for donuts," she says."This icing keeps well covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. Before use, it will need to be brought to room temperature, stirred vigorously, and you may need to add a little more liquid to help it reach the right consistency," Rye shares. 

Lemony Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
This sweet and sour icing recipe, with notes of lemon, is the perfect addition to any cookie, donut, or cake.
Prep Time
Cook Time
lemon sugar icing in bowl
Total time: 5 minutes
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons water
Optional Ingredients
  • food coloring
  1. Sieve the confectioner's sugar into a medium-sized bowl to remove any lumps.
  2. Slice the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice out into a small bowl or cup.
  3. Incorporate the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the confectioner's sugar, until a smooth, thick paste has formed. You may need to add 1 or 2 tablespoons water to reach the correct consistency.
  4. Add any food coloring if desired, and then ice your cookies using a palette knife, or an icing bottle.
Calories per Serving 79
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 20.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Total Sugars 19.7 g
Sodium 0.6 mg
Protein 0.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe