Whether you’re baking for a warm weather gathering, for friends or neighbors or simply baking just because, this Easy Lemon Icing is a simple, go-to recipe to make balanced sweet and tart icing for any cookies! Perfect for cookies or drizzling on cakes. Makes enough to ice 60 cookies.
I didn’t always like lemon-flavored things.
In all honesty, my discovery of lemon came about in my mid-20s, as did most of my food revelations… and I think it had to do with the fact that I discovered real lemons.
While I’m sure we juiced them for lemonade when I was a kid, I only remember the faux-lemon lemonade that came in a can. (Sorry, Mom.)
And I’m sure I’d used them in other dishes, too, but I never really put two and two together for sweet things until I was older.
Now, I’m a huge lemon fan, so long as it doesn’t taste like floor cleaner smells. 😉
Cookie recipes that pair beautifully with this lemony frosting: Lemon Tea Cakes / Greek Yogurt Cut Out Sugar Cookies / Lemon Sugar Cookies / Orange Pound Cake / All-Butter Tea Cake Cookies / Soft & Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies
Need a dessert, but don’t know what you want? Check out my desserts landing page.
What you’ll need to make this Lemon Sugar Cookie Icing
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- Large glass bowl
- Sifter or a Fine Mesh Strainer to ensure there are no lumps in the sugar
- Liquid measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Ramekins to separate the icing for coloring
- Gel food coloring (I like this better than the drop kind because it’s a little less messy)
- Offset spatula or butter knives
- Wire cooling rack
- Parchment paper to cover the counter beneath the wire cooling rack so cookies can drip onto this instead of your countertop
How to make Lemon Icing
In a large glass bowl, combine the ingredients for the icing. Whisk until smooth. You can also use a hand mixer if you don’t want to mix this by hand and to get it smoother faster.
Separate the icing into different containers if you’re planning on coloring it. Personally, I pour ¼ cup of icing into 5 different containers to evenly distribute the icing.
Color the icing using food coloring, if you’d like. I used the Adams Extracts All-Natural Colors, which get their colors from fruits and veggies,. They were perfect and colorful for this recipe.
Sadly, I can’t find a link to them anywhere online so you can purchase your own. 🙁
Spread this icing onto cooled cookies using an offset spatula or a butter knife. Then add sprinkles!
FAQs about Easy Lemon Frosting
How long does this icing last?
Stored in the fridge in a jar, it’ll last for more than a week.
But do you really want it to last that long? Probably not. (You want to eat it. #duh)
Does this frosting recipe harden?
Yes, this Lemon Icing hardens! In fact, it’s based off my Easy Sugar Cookie Icing recipe that’s wildly popular and that also hardens.
However, this takes a little time. About 4-6 hours total.
Personally, I like for mine to sit overnight to ensure the icing is no longer wet in any places, especially the drips.
To make the hardening process faster, let the cookies dry on a wire cooling rack so that no icing pools around the edges. You can also place them in the refrigerator uncovered for a little while to speed up the process, too.
I don’t drink milk. Is there a vegan substitute for this in this recipe?
Yes. I’m sensitive to milk when I’m not pregnant or nursing, so I’ve replaced the milk in this recipe with both non-dairy milk and water. It still works. You’re welcome, Internet. 😉
My favorite non-dairy milks to use in this cookie icing recipe are unsweetened cashew milk or unsweetened almond milk, which you would find in the refrigerated section of your grocery.
The only non-dairy milk I would not use for this recipe is coconut cream (from a can), as it would make the frosting entirely too thick.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Frosting
- Make it in advance! Whip up this goodness, and store it covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until it’s go time.
- Color it! I made mine look springy since I used it to ice my Lemon Tea Cake Cookies, but you can color yours whatever combination of colors you’d like. This would be great for decorating patriotic cookies in the summertime or even icing Christmas cookies for a lemony zip!
- Don’t worry if it’s a little runny. The icing is a thin icing, but it sets up nicely once on the cookies. If you’re concerned that it’s too runny, add a little more powdered sugar, but don’t add too much because that will make it too sweet. And I, personally, like the tartness this icing brings to the table.
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pure Lemon Extract
- ½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/3 cup milk (non-dairy milk OK)
- Food Coloring
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, salt, lemon extract, vanilla extract, lemon juice and milk to create the icing.
- Whisk until smooth, then separate out into individual bowls for coloring.
- Once colored, set aside until time to ice the cookies.
Make it in advance! Whip up this icing, and store it in the fridge, covered, until it’s go time.
Color it! I made mine look springy since I used it to ice my Lemon Tea Cake Cookies, but you can color yours whatever combination of colors you’d like. This would be great for decorating patriotic cookies in the summertime or even icing Christmas cookies for a lemony zip!
Don’t worry if it’s a little runny. The icing is a thin icing, but it sets up nicely once on the cookies. If you’re concerned that it’s too runny, add a little more powdered sugar, but don’t add too much because that will make it too sweet. And I, personally, like the tartness this icing brings to the table.
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 24 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 1mg Sodium: 13mg Carbohydrates: 6g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 5g Protein: 0g