How to Make Glaze From Granulated Sugar

Most traditional glazes served over baked goods are prepared using confectioners' sugar, also known as powdered sugar. It creates a nice opaque appearance. However, it is easy to make a simple glaze from granulated white sugar as well! It can be prepared simply using sugar and water, though optional flavorings can be added such as zest, herbs and whole spices.

(Image: Jennifer Farley)

Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Medium saucepan with lid
  • Optional: zest from 1 lemon or 1 orange

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Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Tools

For enough glaze to coat approximately 1 loaf cake or 1 large batch of cookies, you'll want to start with 1 cup granulated white sugar and 1/4 cup water. A medium saucepan with a fitted lid is also required. If optional flavorings will be added, have a washed lemon or orange handy as well as a vegetable peeler or zester.

(Image: Jennifer Farley -


  • Though lemons and oranges are used in this tutorial, any citrus fruit will work. For example, you can use limes, tangerines, clementines, or grapefruit. Other flavoring options include dried herbs such as thyme or rosemary, or whole spices such as cinnamon sticks, cloves or allspice.

Step 2: Place Sugar and Water in a Saucepan

Place the sugar in a clean, medium-sized saucepan and pour the water on top. Do not stir. Cover with the lid and place on a stovetop over medium-high heat. Once steam begins to develop inside the saucepan, the lid can be removed and set aside.

(Image: Jennifer Farley -


  • Covering with a tight fitting lid and allowing steam to form will help prevent sugar crystallization. Sugar crystals cause a grainy texture, which is undesirable in a glaze.

(Image: Jennifer Farley -

Step 3: Cook the Glaze

After removing the lid, turn the heat down to medium and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Again, no need to stir. Once the sugar is dissolved, simmer for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the glaze has thickened slightly. Keep in mind that it will continue to thicken as it cools. Remove from the heat and add any additional flavorings, if using. Allow to cool to room temperature.

(Image: Jennifer Farley -

Step 4: Remove the Zest or Other Flavorings (If Used) and Glaze Your Baked Goods

Use either a strainer or tongs to remove any optional ingredients. Drizzle over baked goods and use a spatula to spread evenly.

(Image: Jennifer Farley -

Step 5: Refrigerate Any Unused Glaze.

Store any leftover glaze in the refrigerator in a container with a tight fitting lid.

(Image: Jennifer Farley -
(Image: Jennifer Farley -
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