It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – baking! We’re here to help your pre-holiday planning by providing a handy list of Christmas cookie icing options. A common Christmas cookie question (besides “Are they done yet?”) is “What kind of icing should I use?” The answer is  largely dependent on the kind of cookie, whether you expect that cookie to travel and where you fall on the question: does Santa prefer decorated or undecorated cookies? Very serious stuff. Let’s dive in!

Christmas Cookie Icings & Frostings

1. Homemade Royal Icing

Perhaps the most popular of the cookie icings, royal icing has many advantages: it’s easy to make, lactose-free, has endless decorating possibilities and it dries hard so that you can stack your cookies for transport. This recipe scores big with roll-out cookie lovers, since the sweetness of confectioners’ sugar balances nicely with a less-sweet cookie. It’s also the perfect icing for building and decorating gingerbread houses, a classic Christmas craft.

2. Wilton Cookie Icing

Our ready-to-use option scores big points with bakers on the go. It comes in a variety of colors, dries smoothly and comes in a squeezable, microwaveable bottle. Simply pipe the outline with icing straight from the bottle, then microwave to flood. Unlike royal icing, this icing doesn’t dry hard, so place them in a single layer on a plate or skip the extra cleanup by baking, decorating and serving them on our adorable Bake and Bring snowflake-print cookie sheets! Find our cookie icing here.

3. Homemade Buttercream Frosting

For dimensional decorations like wreaths and roses, or to give your cookies that cupcake mouthful-of-frosting appeal, buttercream is a versatile choice. Our vanilla recipe is a classic flavor that works wonderfully as a filling for sandwich cookies. Too vanilla? Get into the holiday spirit and experiment by using any of our many buttercream recipes to add flavor and bit of festive flair to your favorite cookie recipe.

At the end of the day, whether you want a shiny royal icing finish or a soft, boiled buttercream frosting filling, Christmas cookies are about baking the joy of the season into a yummy little package that delivers smiles to all who eat it. After all, smiling is our favorite.

Explore our favorite Christmas cookie decorating ideas, get inspired by some really and unique Christmas cookies, browse a fun list of really cute Christmas cookies for more cookie ideas, or take a look at any of our other cute Christmas desserts or easy Christmas cake ideas for more baking inspiration.

And if you’re making a slightly more ambitious holiday treat and need to know how to make the perfect gingerbread house icing​, we can help with that too! Just pick out one of our cute gingerbread houses and get going!

Regardless of what you’re making, be sure to share your smile-worthy Christmas cookies treats with us by commenting below or sharing your photos on Instagram and tagging @WiltonCakes. 

Easy Holiday Sugar Cookies

Royal Icing for Christmas Cookies

Get in the holiday spirit with a batch of royal icing Christmas cookies! Made with just 3 ingredients, this recipe is a delicious and easy way to ice your Christmas sugar cookies.
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 3 cups


  • Electric stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Large bowl
  • Spatula


  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar)
  • 5 tablespoons warm water
  • Gel food coloring optional


  • Beat the meringue powder, powdered sugar, and water together until the icing becomes thick, shiny, and smooth. This should take around 5-8 minutes at low speed with a stand mixer or 8-10 minutes on high speed with a hand mixer.


For cookie outlining consistency: add a ⅛ teaspoon water for every ½ cup of stiff base icing. Stir slowly in a figure 8 motion using a flat utensil until the icing reaches soft or medium peaks. Use a piping bag to outline your cookies.
For cookie flooding consistency: add a ½ teaspoon of water for every ½ cup of stiff base icing. Stir slowly in a figure 8 motion using a flat utensil until the icing reaches soft or medium peaks. Use a piping bag to flood the inside of your pre-outlined cookies.
To color: Add food coloring using a toothpick. Add the coloring before diluting the consistency, because the color may contribute to watering it down.
To flavor: Add additional liquid flavoring a ¼ teaspoon at a time before thinning your icing. Vanilla extract and almond extract are great choices for flavorings.