How to Make Sugar Glaze

Three Methods:Sticking to Basic Glazes for Baked GoodsAdding Variations to Your GlazeGlazing Ham and Veggies

Sugar glaze is chiefly used to add flavor and decoration to baked goods. It’s a cinch to make, especially if you use powdered sugar (also known as confectioner sugar). Granulated or brown sugar takes a little more effort, but not that much! In addition to making glazes for baked goods, you can also use brown sugar glazes with baked hams or to make boring old veggies more enticing.


For baked goods:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk, water, or dairy-free alternative
  • Vanilla extract (optional)
  • Butter or margarine (optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, or other flavoring (optional)
  • Water (optional)
  • Dairy-free milk or margarine (optional)
  • Granulated sugar (optional)
  • Brown sugar (optional)

For ham:

  • Brown sugar (for ham)
  • Pineapple juice (for ham)

For beets:

  • Dark brown sugar
  • Orange juice
  • Unsalted butter or margarine
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For carrots:

  • Olive oil
  • Molasses
  • Light brown sugar
  • Unsalted butter or margarine
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method 1
Sticking to Basic Glazes for Baked Goods

  1. 1
    Keep it simple. Whip up a half cup of glaze (120 grams) with only two ingredients: powdered sugar and milk. Pour 1.25 cups of powdered sugar into a mixing bowl (160 grams). Stir in 3 tablespoons of milk until the mixture turns smooth.[1]
  2. 2
    Add a touch of vanilla. Give your glaze a little more flavor. First, stir 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract into your milk. Then pour the mixture into your sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon, stirring to mix as you do so.[2]
  3. 3
    Make it creamier. Use butter or margarine for extra flavor and texture. Let it soften on the counter long enough so that it mixes more easily. This could take about 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, you could stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds to speed things up. Add 1 tablespoon for each cup of sugar.[3]
  4. 4
    Use your glaze as icing on treats. Use these recipes to dress up baked goods. Ice or drizzle doughnuts, cakes, cinnamon buns, pastries, or whatever your munchies crave.[4]
    • For a light drizzle, use a spoon to pour small, thin amounts at a time.[5]
    • For a heavier drizzle, use a liquid measuring cup or any other container with a pouring spout.
    • For a more artful drizzle or icing, pour the glaze into a squeezable icing bag.[6]

Method 2
Adding Variations to Your Glaze

  1. 1
    Color your glaze. Make your treat pop off the plate and catch the eye. For every cup of sugar used, add ten drops of food coloring to your mix. Note that if you don’t use the whole batch right away, you will need to stir the glaze up again, because the food coloring may redistribute unevenly as the glaze sits.[7]
  2. 2
    Tinker with the amounts. Don’t feel beholden to precise measurements. Add more milk or sugar as you please. For a thinner glaze, use more liquid. For a thicker glaze, use less.[8]
  3. 3
    Add other flavors. Add a ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon for every cup of sugar. Or try a ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg instead.[9] Experiment with orange, lemon, and/or lime zest, or your favorite fresh herbs.
  4. 4
    Make it dairy-free. Make the lactose-intolerant and vegan people in your life happy, too! Substitute water for milk.[10] Or, use dairy-free alternatives like soy, almond, or cashew milk and margarine. If using a nut-based milk, make sure no one has allergies before serving!
  5. 5
    Try granulated sugar. If you don’t have any powdered sugar, don’t worry. Just expect granulated sugar glaze to be a little more see-through and less eye-catching. Stir together equal parts sugar and water in a pot on the stove. Then simply set the heat to high and stir to dissolve the sugar.
    • To thicken your glaze, keep the heat on so the mixed liquid reduces to your desired consistency.
  6. 6
    Use brown sugar instead. If you love the rich taste of brown sugar, use that as the base to your glaze! For each cup of sugar, mix it in a saucepan on the stove with 6 tablespoons of butter or margarine, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Turn the heat on to medium. Keep stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Once the mixture begins to boil, give it another three minutes before switching the heat off and removing from the stove.

Method 3
Glazing Ham and Veggies

  1. 1
    Make a pineapple glaze for your ham. In a glass bowl, combine one cup of brown sugar and 12 ounces of pineapple juice. Heat it in a microwave. Keep it an eye on it and remove the glaze once it begins to boil and grow thicker.[11]
    • Start glazing your ham in the last hour of its bake in the oven.
    • Slowly drizzle half of your glaze over the ham.
    • Be careful to distribute it evenly, so the ham has a more or less uniform glaze.
    • Let it bake for another half-hour, then add the rest of your glaze.
  2. 2
    Make your beets sweeter. In a large nonstick skillet on the stovetop, stir together the following: 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar; 2 tablespoons orange juice; 1 tablespoon unsalted butter; ¼ teaspoon salt; ¼ teaspoon pepper. To glaze your beets:[12]
    • Turn the heat on to medium. Wait for the butter to melt and the sugar to dissolve.
    • Then add 3 cups of steamed beets, cut into cubes, about a half-inch to a full inch in size. Stir those in and cook for six to eight minutes.[13]
  3. 3
    Glaze your carrots. First, peel one pound (454 grams) of whole carrots, then cut each one in half lengthwise. Coat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Preheat the skillet over medium heat, then arrange the carrots in the pan, sprinkling them with salt and pepper to taste and then stirring them so they are covered in oil. To make your glaze:[14]
    • Cook the carrots as is for three minutes.
    • Then pour in 1 tablespoon of molasses and 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar.
    • Stir until the carrots are evenly coated.
    • Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
    • Stir in 1.5 tablespoons of unsalted butter and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
    • Once the butter melts, pluck out the rosemary sprig and serve your carrots.

Things You'll Need

For baked goods:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Stove (optional)
  • Pot or saucepan (optional)

For ham:

  • Glass bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Microwave
  • Stove

For beets and carrots:

  • Large nonstick skillet
  • Stove
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon

Article Info

Categories: Basic Cooking Skills