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Simple Vanilla Icing with Variations

Simple Vanilla Icing with VariationsA great basic vanilla-flavored icing, with variations, perfect for drizzling atop sweet quick breads, yeast breads, muffins, cakes, bars, cookies and more.
A Family-Favorites Recipe.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 to 4 tablespoons milk*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients with enough milk or water to the desired consistency, less liquid for a thicker consistency, more for thinner.

Makes about 2 cups; 10 to 12 servings.

*Start with the least amount and add more until desired consistency is reached.


  • This is a very forgiving recipe, if it becomes too thin add more powdered sugar and too thick add more liquid until you're happy with it.
  • Need less icing? Recipe can be successfully reduced by half.


  • Butter-Rum Icing: Omit the vanilla and add 1 teaspoon rum flavoring.
  • Chocolate Icing: Stir in 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and use hot water, increasing water to 5 or 6 tablespoons.
  • Lemon Icing: Stir in 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel and replace milk or water with lemon juice.
  • Orange Icing: Stir in 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel and replace milk or water with orange juice.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1/12 of recipe): Calories 38.07; Cholesterol 10.43mg; Sodium 1.56mg; Potassium 5.24mg; Total Carbohydrates 0.58g; Fiber 0g; Sugar 0.59g ; Protein 0.12g.

Recipe and photograph by Hope Pryor; copyright © 1999; property of See Terms of Use.