Royal Icing Recipe
Frosting and Icing Recipes 2 comments

Royal Icing Recipe: What is it and How to Make it {Perfect for sugar cookies}

Cooks in 15 Difficulty Easy

ROYAL ICING RECIPE: Hellllllo holiday season! Nothing really compliments holiday cooking like holiday / Christmas cookies. To make sugar cookies beautiful, you gotta have royal icing. This is an easy 3- ingredient recipe. Yup, royal icing is pure white. It can easily be colored to your liking: Christmas tree green! Cherry red! There is no real recipe to color, simply add 1-3 drops of your favorite food coloring.

Royal icing = powdered sugar (AKA confectioner’s sugar) + water + meringue powder or egg whites.

Pro tips on Decorating Cookies with Royal Icing

Before you start decorating, filling all your piping bags or mixing bowls with icing first. Place a damp paper towel over the icing over the bowl or piping bag tips to prevent ’em from drying out.

Royal icing, versus say buttercream for American frosting, is different because it dries hard. When you mix it, it looks soft. Next, you pipe it onto your cookie and let it dry, then icing becomes hard. To make sure it is hardened, let the cookie dry at room temp for 5-12 hours.

Some bakers use meringue powder = dried egg whites (which is what I love!) Some use egg whites from a carton. Honestly, the meringue powder = longer self-life and pasteurized. Easier and, well, safer than using pure egg whites. Wilton’s meringue powder is my favorite!

Decorating Cookies with Royal Icing:

It breaks down to 3 parts after you made the royal icing recipe

Part 1: Outline the cookie with royal icing in a medium tip. I like Wilton #4

Royal Icing Recipe
Outline sugar cookies with royal icing

Part 2: Filling the inside of the outline with royal icing. You may need to add a bit of water to royal icing when doing this step. This is called flooding.

Then let it dry, on your kitchen counter, for at least 3 hours. Better 5 -12 hours. You want it completely dry and hard before making ’em pretty.

Flooding: filling cookies with royal icing after being outlined

Step 3: Decorate with royal icing. Color your icing and fill it with pastry bags. Don’t have pastry bags? That is ok! Use a spoon, offset spatula, or table knife. Don’t forget the sprinkles!

Royal Icing Recipe cookie
Christmas Bell Cookie, decorated with royal icing
Royal Icing Recipe
Christmas cookies with royal icing

Need a perfect sugar cookie recipe? Make my cream cheese sugar cookies

Royal Icing Recipe: What is it and How to Make it {Perfect for sugar cookies}

Recipe by Kimm Moore Course: Holiday Winter BakingCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time




  • 4 cups powdered sugar (AKA confectioner’s sugar)

  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder

  • 6 -8 tablespoons water, room temperature


  • In a standing kitchen mixer bowl, sift 4 cups powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons meringue powder into it. Place bowl on mixer with paddle attachment and start on low speed.
  • While the mixer going, slowly add the water, 1 tbsp at a time.
  • Mix for 5 minutes on speed.
  • The consistency to be thick and slightly stiff when outling. This will take about 6 tbsp water.
  • For flooding, you want it to slightly looser. Add 1-2 tbsp more water to this step


  • The trick is consistency, you don’t want it too thick or thin. If it looks too stiff, add a touch more water. If its too loose, add more powdered sugar


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