Get my recipe for a super-easy royal icing. It’s perfect for cookie decorating!
What Is Royal Icing?
Royal icing is an icing that dries hard and shiny. It’s perfect for decorating sugar cookies or gingerbread houses, especially if you like lots of detail. Traditionally it’s made with egg whites and confectioners sugar (also called powdered or icing sugar). I use a special ingredient though that makes things even easier.
How to Make Royal Icing
First, grab your favorite cookie cutters and bake up a batch (or two!) of my amazing no-spread sugar cookies. Once those have cooled completely, it’s time to get ready to decorate.
My royal icing recipe uses meringue powder (sometimes called egg white powder) instead of raw egg. It’s quick and easy, plus it sets up quickly so your designs don’t drip or smear. You may be able to find it in your store’s baking aisle, but it’s also readily available online.
Other than that special ingredient, the only other required ingredients are powdered sugar and warm water. You could also add a small amount of vanilla extract or another flavoring.
Mix together ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Thin it out as needed with additional water, one teaspoon at a time, to get to the desired consistency.
From there you can divide the icing into smaller batches to color with food coloring. I suggest using gel food coloring which only requires a small amount to tint the icing. Start with using just a drop or two from your tube or a toothpick stuck into a tub of color and mix thoroughly. You can add from there as needed, but many of these are highly pigmented.
Then it’s time for icing to go into your pastry bag and to get decorating! You can use this frosting for outlining, flooding, and adding fine details to your cookies. It will usually harden in a couple hours.
Looking for tips for beginners? Check out my Tips for Decorating Cookies Easily. No expert skills required!
Can You Store Royal Icing?
Yes, you can make this in advance or save the leftover royal icing for a few days in the fridge. Just make sure it’s stored in a tightly sealed container (or seal up those piping bags as best you can) because it hardens when exposed to air. Let it warm up to room temperature before working with it again as it will be stiff when cold.Print
Get my recipe for for super easy royal icing without dealing with fresh egg whites. Perfect for cookie decorating!
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 Tbsp. meringue powder
- 8–9 Tbsp. warm water
- Food coloring (optional)
- In a large bowl stir together powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water until smooth.
- For white icing, thin as needed with additional water, adding 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture is slightly thinner than toothpaste.
- For colored icing, divide mixture into several portions and add a few drops of food coloring to each portion. Stir well to combine. Add water, a few drops at a time, to thin as needed.
- Transfer to piping bags to decorate, store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.