The Simple Way To Thicken Up Runny Donut Glaze

Whether you swear by Krispy Kreme or tried-and-true Dunkin' Donuts, most donut lovers can agree: The key to any glazed donut is, of course, its glaze. An ideal glaze comes perfectly sweet and is thick enough to settle and harden around your favorite fried pastry. If you're making your own glazed donuts, however, that well-balanced consistency is not always a guarantee. Sometimes, a homemade glaze winds up far too thin and runny for your donut. To combat this texture, all you have to do is incorporate a little bit more of one-star ingredient. Namely, powdered sugar is the key to thickening any donut glaze.

The reason powdered sugar works wonders on a glaze's texture is that most glazes predominantly consist of that sugar to begin with. Different glazes may utilize different measurements, but the powdered sweetener sits at the center of most recipes. Powdered sugar works especially well in glazes because it doesn't require any heat to dissolve. It's therefore easy to incorporate into a smooth coating without any lingering graininess.

So, to revive your next glaze and get its texture back on track, add more powdered sugar as you go. Even if you've already whisked together your glaze, you can still alter its thickness. Just remember: A little sugar goes a long way. 

A spoonful of (powdered) sugar helps the glaze go down

A glaze can make or break a donut, but — luckily for home bakers — making that glaze is as simple as combining powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Those three ingredients are all you need for the most basic of toppings, so it's easy to adapt your glaze at the 11th hour. After all, the beauty of the donut variation is in its simplicity; if the texture isn't to your liking, simply revive it with sugar in gradual increments. Don't heap in the sweetener all once but whisk in spoonful after spoonful — until your glaze is thick enough to dip. 

As for exact measurements, you'll want to combine roughly 2 cups of powdered sugar with about a quarter cup of milk and just a teaspoon of vanilla. Some recipes alter these numbers or even incorporate other ingredients. For example, lemon zest adds a burst of acidity that brightens a denser glaze. You can also swap out milk for cream or half and half. 

Once you've mixed your glaze to your desired thickness, you can then dip your donuts in the topping. Just make sure to give the glaze enough time to harden before you take a bite. Thank you, powdered sugar.