vanilla glaze recipe

Seasonal Sweets

Easy Vanilla Glaze

September 19, 2023

We’re taking it back to basics today with this easy vanilla glaze. I use this simple 2-minute glaze to drizzle, […]

vanilla bean glaze drizzled over top of loaf cake

We’re taking it back to basics today with this easy vanilla glaze. I use this simple 2-minute glaze to drizzle, dip and decorate all of my favorite baked goods. It’s as pretty as it is delicious and it will turn your cakes, cookies, doughnuts, muffins and pastries into instant showstoppers!

drizzling vanilla glaze on top of blueberry streusel muffin

What makes this glaze so good?

Glaze, also called icing, is made by combining powdered sugar with liquid. It’s thinner than frosting and is made without butter. This glaze is the perfect finishing touch to my favorite baked goods and I use it ALL. THE. TIME. Here’s a few reasons why I love this glaze:

Quick + easy to make. Whip up this glaze in just 2 minutes with 3 simple ingredients.

A baking staple for every baker. Drizzle this super easy (and super delicious!) vanilla glaze over your favorite pound cakes, muffins, cookies and more!

Foolproof recipe. Just grab a bowl and a whisk. This recipe is literally impossible to mess up!

Versatile. With so many variations, you can easily customize the recipe to suit your sweet tooth.

cross section of glazed pound cake


This homemade vanilla glaze is made with just 3 simple ingredients. Keep these basic ingredients stocked in your pantry:

  • Powdered sugar – also known as confectioners’ sugar, it’s best to sift it after measuring to remove any lumps and bumps.
  • Heavy cream or milk – if using milk, stick with whole milk or 2%. Milk will produce a slightly thinner consistency than heavy cream. You can also use half and half, or for a citrus punch, substitute the milk with the juice from a lemon or orange.
  • Vanilla – just a splash helps to balance the taste. For the best flavor, use a high quality vanilla extract. Steer clear of anything labeled “artificial”. For a bolder taste, you can swap the vanilla extract for vanilla bean paste or actual seeds scraped from a vanilla bean.
ingredients for vanilla glaze

How to make vanilla glaze from scratch

This glaze comes together in just 3 easy steps with just a bowl and a whisk. It’s so simple! Follow this step-by-step guide and check the recipe card below for ingredients and detailed instructions.

Step 1: Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl.

Step 2: Gradually add 4 to 5 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Next, add the vanilla.

Step 3: Whisk until smooth and pourable. If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more of the reserved heavy cream or milk. Whisk until desired consistency is reached. The thinner you make the glaze, the softer it will be once poured over baked goods. The glaze will not harden like royal icing, but it will firm up nicely as it sits.

how to make vanilla glaze using a bowl and a whisk
closeup of smooth vanilla glaze being whisked in a glass bowl


  • Almond extract – swap the vanilla extract with almond for a bold, distinct flavor.
  • Fruit juice – substitute the heavy cream or milk with freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice. For an extra punch of citrus flavor, add in 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon or orange zest.
  • Vanilla bean paste – for a deeper vanilla flavor, use vanilla bean paste or beans from a real vanilla bean pod.
  • Maple syrup – for a cozy Fall vibe, substitute some of the milk or cream for pure maple syrup.
  • Cinnamon – a sprinkle of cinnamon is delicious with coffee cakes and muffins.
  • Food coloring – to tint the icing, add 1 to 2 drops of gel food coloring. It’s a fun and festive way to brighten up a simple cake!
funfetti pound cake slices with vanilla glaze dripping down sides

Uses for vanilla icing

There are a million and one ways to use this vanilla glaze. Drizzle it over muffins and scones, pour it over pound cakes and cinnamon rolls, and pipe it over cakes and cookies. When I’m not eating it straight from the spoon, here’s a few of my favorite ways to devour this delicious icing:

lemon poppy seed cookies drizzled with vanilla glaze

Drizzle this sweet vanilla glaze over everything that comes out of your oven! If you give this recipe a try, let me know in the comments below and be sure to tag @brownedbutterblondie on Instagram.

Happy baking!

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vanilla glaze recipe

Easy Vanilla Glaze Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 1 from 1 review
  • Author: Heather Mubarak
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup 1x
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Make this easy and delicious vanilla glaze in two minutes with just a bowl and a whisk. Drizzle it over your favorite cakes, cookies, muffins and more!


Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) powdered sugar
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk (may use 2% milk, nut milk or fruit juice but icing will be thinner)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl.
  2. Add 4 to 5 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk and the vanilla.
  3. Whisk to combine well. If the glaze is too thick, add more heavy cream or milk. If too thick, add more powdered sugar. The glaze should be smooth and pourable.
  4. Drizzle or pour over the top of completely cooled pound cake, muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies and more!


Store glaze tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Bring to room temperature before using. Whisk to smooth out the glaze before pouring baked goods.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2024 at 6:50 pm

    Made this glaze today and it’s amazing! I used heavy cream. My family loved it.


  • Reply
    March 7, 2024 at 6:34 am

    Glaze is 100% NOT as pictured. I started with only HALF the recommended whole milk and it was already super thin.. tried to thicken it back up with more powdered sugar. It’s also not pure white like pictured. As soon as the milk hit the sugar it turned off white (no vanilla at this point either). Thought I got this thickened to a consistency similar to whats pictured but once it went on the pound cake it didn’t hold together. So disappointed. Hoping it doesn’t ruin the texture/flavor of the cake.

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      March 8, 2024 at 7:26 pm

      Very sorry to hear that you had trouble with this glaze. It’s very forgiving so easy to make thicker or thinner as you please. I’m not certain what you mean by “didn’t hold together” but if your cake was still warm, the glaze will literally melt and sink into the cake. The color of the glaze can vary depending on the kind of milk used, and of course, the lighting in the room. Let me know if I can help you troubleshoot further.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing your amazing gift with all of us, I sure do love all of your wonderful recipes!
    Wanted to ask, does this glaze harden for packaging?

    • Reply
      May 15, 2024 at 7:38 pm

      Hello! This looks good! If you want to make your glaze harden I would add in about 2 tablespoons of melted butter! You will have to decrease the milk though! However, the butter does make it creamier and makes it harden after a few minutes…not as much as royal icing…but some

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