Our go-to Gingerbread Cookie Icing recipe is easy to whip up and requires just three ingredients. Use this icing recipe on all kinds of cookies including our Soft Gingerbread Cookies, Hermit Cookies and more! 

When creating this gingerbread icing recipe, keeping it simple and quick was key for us. You’re already going to the work of making gingerbread cookie dough, chilling it, rolling, cutting it out and baking it!

The last thing you need is a time-intensive icing that requires specialty ingredients. We keep things simple—confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar), corn syrup, extract (which is optional), and a pinch of salt. 

The most important ingredient in this gingerbread cookie icing is the corn syrup. It gives the icing a luscious, shiny texture while still being able to dry out and nearly fully set. 

Test Kitchen Tips for Gingerbread Icing

  • Once the icing is whipped up, we recommend transferring it to a piping bag or zipper-log bag. This will keep the icing from drying out. For longer storage, transfer the icing to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. 
  • The addition of orange extract is optional, though we think it pairs wonderfully with the spices in our Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies. If you don’t have orange extract, you can also use pure vanilla extract, or leave it out altogether. 
  • We recommend starting the mixing process with a fork then switching to a whisk. The fork does a good job of evenly dispersing the ingredients and you avoid the headache of lumpy frosting getting stuck inside the whisk. 
gingerbread cookie cut outs on parchment paper, decorated with icing, sprinkles and red hot candies
  • Use vanilla extract instead of orange extract and drizzle the cookie icing over this Sweet Potato Cake
  • Up the ante on fluffy pancakes with a quick drizzle of this cookie icing. 
  • Drizzle the icing over our classic chewy Hermit Cookies! It would also be delicious on our Cardamom Cookies
  • Add some gel food coloring or liquid food coloring to the icing and use it to decorate your gingerbread cookies! Use red hots or candy canes for even more festive flare.
  • For more spice flavor, add some ground ginger, cinnamon or nutmeg to the icing.
  • If you like the idea of a cream cheese glaze instead, use that to decorate!
Can I use this for gingerbread houses?

This recipe isn’t quite strong enough to glue together gingerbread houses! Use this gingerbread house icing that is made with liquid egg whites.

Is this a royal icing recipe?

Not quite. Royal icing uses meringue powder to stabilize the icing and help it dry. Our recipe is slightly softer because it’s made with just confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup and water.

Can I make this with an electric mixer?

Absolutely. You can use a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer.

Gingerbread Cookie Icing Recipe

4.25 from 32 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Yield 1 ½ cups (enough for 30 cookies)
Category Dessert
Cuisine American


A simple and versatile icing for gingerbread cookies and more!


  • 3 cups (280g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup*
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract or vanilla extract, optional
  • Pinch kosher salt


  • In a medium bowl combine confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, extract and 3 tablespoons water using a fork. Switch to a whisk and mix, adding additional water by teaspoon as needed, until icing is smooth and ribbon-like in consistency. Icing should hold a ribbon shape for a few seconds. Season with salt to taste.
  • Transfer to a piping bag and use as desired.



Store icing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. We do not recommend freezing the icing. 
Play around with different extracts! 


Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 35kcalCarbohydrates: 9gSodium: 12mgSugar: 9g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
gingerbread cookie cut outs on parchment paper, decorated with icing, sprinkles and red hot candies

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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  1. 5 stars
    This icing recipe was perfect for our annual gingerbread man decorating night. We usually use an almond extract but tried the orange extract and loved it so much!