Powdered Sugar Glaze

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Many old-fashioned recipes call for a “Powdered Sugar Glaze or frosting. Here’s a tutorial on what exactly that drizzle recipe is for the tops of cakes, pastries and breads.

how to make powdered sugar icing drizzle

I have a confession. I am a collector of cookbooks. The older and more obscure, the better. I have a stockpile of recipes that my grandmas have cut out of newspapers and magazines for the past 70 years and old church cookbooks from 50 years ago or more.

I often have to make a lot of tweaks to these recipes as I test them. Many times ingredients and the “how-tos” are assumed and it’s not exactly clear what I’m supposed to do. I love trying to understand the instructions. There’s nothing like breathing fresh life into an old recipe!

One thing I’ve had readers ask me about is the elusive “powdered sugar frosting” recipe that many old-fashioned recipes call for. Cookbooks just assume that you know exactly how to make this icing that uses powdered sugar and is often drizzled over cakes, breads and cookies.

Although this recipe is so simple, it’s also very versatile based on what you are wanting to use the glaze for, so hang in there with me as we walk through this!


What Is In Powdered Sugar Glaze?

Powdered sugar glaze has in its very basic form two ingredients: powdered sugar and milk.

Powdered sugar is the only constant in every single variation we’ll talk about today. Milk is what in general thins out the powdered sugar, making it into a sweet drizzle. I like to use heavy cream instead of standard milk, because a little extra richness is always good.

How Do You Make Powdered Sugar Glaze?

The exact amounts will depend on how much drizzle you are needing, but I generally start with 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar. Then to the sugar, I add cream, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is at the consistency I’d like. Obviously if you are wanting to spread it on top of bread, you’d add less cream. If you want a light drizzle over some sweet rolls, you’ll add more cream.

It’s important to note that if you use milk, you’ll need fewer tablespoons than if you use cream. The higher the fat content of the milk you use, the more tablespoons you’ll need because the milk is thicker. Whatever type of milk or cream you choose, the key is to add it one tablespoon at at time until you reach the desired consistency.


How Do I Flavor Powdered Sugar Glaze?

Once you have the basic powdered sugar and cream recipe down, the fun part comes! You can add vanilla, coconut, almond or even butter extract to the glaze to boost its flavor. Add a half teaspoon a time until it tastes just like you love.

What About Adding Melted Butter?

I do like to add a tablespoon of melted butter at times to my powdered sugar glaze. This just completely depends on tastes, but if the recipe is butter-based, I think it complements the baked goods well.

Other additions to Powdered Sugar Icing

If I am making a lemon dessert, I often use lemon juice in place of the cream. You can see how I did this in this bundt cake and on these cookies.

Love cream cheese? Soften it and add it to your glaze for drizzling on carrot cake bread.

What about apple flavor? Use apple cider in place of the cream as we did on these apple butter muffins.

Crazy for peanut butter? Try adding peanut butter and drizzle it over a chocolate cake.


Powdered Sugar Glaze

4.57 from 113 votes
Many old-fashioned recipes call for a "Powdered Sugar Glaze or frosting. Here's a tutorial on what that drizzle recipe is for the tops of cakes and pastries.
Servings 8
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tablespoons heavy cream*
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavored extract


  • Place the powdered sugar in a medium-size bowl.
  • Add the heavy cream a tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you'd like your icing or drizzle to be.
  • Add the flavor extract of your choice.
  • Mix well and immediately drizzle or spread over cookies, cakes or breads.


*Instead of cream you can use milk, half and half or even lemon juice or apple cider. Whatever liquid you choose, just add it slowly to the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the glaze is at the right consistency.


Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 2mg | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Calcium: 4mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 106

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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3 years ago

Hi. I’m making a raspberry cheese crumb cake and it calls for almond extract in the recipe. Would you recommend almond extract in the glaze or stick with good, old fashioned vanilla? Thank yuh in advance!

Laurie G.
3 years ago

5 stars
Thanks for sharing! I must have looked at fifteen recipes for ps glaze this morning, but your tip about melted butter is what put me on the right path – – I browned my butter! Browned butter, powdered sugar, a touch of vanilla and some half and half to smooth it all out. It is delish!

2 years ago

When I make my glaze, I use Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream coffee creamer. Mmmm… deliciousness!

Allison Greene
4 years ago

Why does my glaze always taste like straight powder sugar no matter the flavoring I use. Does it need fat like heavy cream?

5 years ago

Heavy cream makes the flavor for me. Sooo yummy. I’ll never use anything else.

4 years ago

5 stars
How would I go about wrapping a cake with this icing to keep it fresh? If I use plastic wrap the icing sticks to it and comes off when I unwrap it. I would love a way to keep the cake (it has cream cheese filling) fresh without messing up the icing.

10 months ago

5 stars
I made banana bread for the first time during the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. I was so excited to have it for breakfast the next morning….but when I woke up, I realized I forgot the sugar!!! A sad surprise. “How can I fix this?” I thought. I’m new to baking but a veteran in cooking so I do know a thing or two. My mind thought of “sugar glaze” as a jumping off point. I had no idea I would strike white gold with this recipe making my banana nut bread suddenly edible

3 years ago

I love cinnamon in my glaze…not mentioned here…shame…shame….!

Natashia Phelan
3 years ago

5 stars
This is the first time I liked how powdered sugar glaze turned out. I used 1/2 and 1/2…added some vanilla…drizzled it one apple spice cake. Thank you!

4 years ago

5 stars
would this be a good glaze for Apple Bread Pudding or do you have another suggestion?

5 years ago

5 stars
I have never used anything but water before, I guess that’s why I’m Googling how to make a glaze icing. LIL
I am going to make this for my lemon curd crumb cake right now ❣️
Thank you So Much ????

5 years ago

Hi, I have been trying to make glaze but everytime i try it is end up being crunchy. I use powered sugar and even hot milk then i try to mix it with hand mixer it was better but it has a crunch still. What should i do to make smooth glaze? Maybe i should melt the glaze over double boiler maybe it will melt the sugar crystal. In every recipe it seems too easy to make but i have never achieved that. (I think every powder sugar is same since i am in the different country. It doesn’t matter… Read more »

Ines Gamboa
5 years ago

Does cream based glaze need to be refrigerated when it’s on the product?

9 months ago

Will it keep in the refrigerator or freezer?

Judi Tracy
1 year ago

5 stars
Worked perfectly- added melted butter to a little cream and added slowly- was delicious on chocolate cake! So easy…