A Sweet Delight: How to Make Icing with Icing Sugar and Water


Icing, also known as frosting, is the crowning glory of many baked treats. Whether you’re decorating a cake, cookies, or pastries, a good icing can turn a simple dessert into a work of art. One of the most straightforward and versatile icings you can make is with just two basic ingredients: icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar) and water. In this article, we’ll explore how to make a simple icing with icing sugar and water, along with some tips and variations to help you achieve the perfect consistency and flavor for your culinary creations.


To get started, you’ll need the following basic ingredients:

Icing Sugar (Confectioners’ Sugar): You can typically find this powdered sugar in your local grocery store. It’s essential for achieving a smooth and sweet icing.

Water: You’ll use water to mix with the icing sugar. It’s the liquid component that, when combined with the sugar, creates the icing.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Now, let’s walk through the simple steps to make icing with icing sugar and water.

Step 1: Measure Your Ingredients

Begin by measuring the ingredients carefully. The ratio of icing sugar to water will determine the consistency of your icing. A standard starting point is 2 cups of icing sugar to 2-3 tablespoons of water. You can adjust this ratio to achieve your desired thickness and sweetness.

Step 2: Sift the Icing Sugar

Sifting the icing sugar is crucial to remove any lumps and ensure a smooth icing. Use a fine-mesh sieve or a sifter to do this. Place the icing sugar in a clean, dry bowl.

Step 3: Add the Water

Gradually add the water to the sifted icing sugar. Start with 2 tablespoons and mix thoroughly. Assess the consistency of the icing. If it’s too thick, add a bit more water, one teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired thickness.

Step 4: Mix Thoroughly

Using a whisk or a spoon, mix the icing sugar and water together until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. You can adjust the amount of water to reach your desired consistency: thicker for cookie icing, or thinner for a glaze.

Step 5: Test the Consistency

To check the consistency, dip a spoon into the icing and allow it to drizzle back into the bowl. If it flows smoothly and forms a ribbon, it’s at the right consistency for glazing. For thicker icing, perfect for decorating cookies and cakes, it should be stiff enough to hold its shape.

Step 6: Use Immediately or Store

Once you achieve your desired consistency, you can use the icing right away. However, if you need to store it for later use, cover it with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap is in direct contact with the icing to prevent it from drying out.

Tips and Variations:

Flavorings: You can enhance the flavor of your icing by adding a few drops of vanilla extract, almond extract, or lemon juice. These additions can complement the sweetness of the icing.

Food Coloring: To add a pop of color, incorporate a few drops of food coloring to achieve the shade you desire. Gel food colors work well with icing as they won’t thin it out.

Texture: Adjust the texture of your icing by adding more or less water. For intricate designs and writing, a thicker icing is preferable, while a thinner consistency is suitable for covering cakes and cookies.

Decorating Tools: Invest in decorating tools like piping bags and tips for more precise and intricate designs. You can use these tools to create beautiful patterns and decorations on your baked goods.

Consistency Troubleshooting: If your icing is too thin, add more icing sugar. If it’s too thick, add a small amount of water, a drop at a time, until you achieve the desired thickness.


Making icing with icing sugar and water is a straightforward and versatile way to enhance the appearance and taste of your baked goods. Whether you’re decorating cookies, cakes, or pastries, this simple icing can be adapted to suit your preferences. With the right ratio of icing sugar to water, you can create anything from a glossy glaze to intricate decorations, all with a homemade touch. So, the next time you’re in the mood for some baking, whip up this easy icing, and let your creativity shine on your sweet creations.