This is the only Royal Icing Recipe you’ll ever need!
Also known as Sugar Cookie Icing. Learn how to make royal icing for cookies with this video tutorial!
What is Royal Icing?
Royal Icing is a type of icing that is used to decorate sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, cakes and other desserts. Royal icing can be made many ways using either raw egg whites or meringue powder combined with powdered sugar and few other ingredients. I used meringue powder in my royal icing recipe along with powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, glycerin and water. You’ll find a printable recipe sheet at the bottom of this page with everything you need to make a batch of royal icing!
Royal Icing Consistencies – Stiff, Piping, Flood and 15 Second
By adding small amounts of water to the icing, you can get many different royal icing consistencies to use for cookie decorating.
Stiff consistency is the consistency that the icing is when you mix the initial batch. This is the thickest consistency of royal icing. It is used to glue gingerbread house pieces together, pipe roses, borders and other things that require the icing to hold a very stiff shape.
Piping consistency is thinner than stiff consistency but is still able to hold its shape when piped. Think of the consistency of Greek yogurt when you stir it. When you pull your spoon out of the icing you should see a soft peak. You’ll be able to use this for piping outlines on larger surfaces that you want to flood, piping letters and borders, and royal icing transfers.
Flood consistency is the thinnest consistency of royal icing. It can be anywhere from 5-20 second consistency royal icing that is used to fill in the larger areas of a cookie.
15 Second consistency is what I use the majority of the time to outline and flood sugar cookies. If you drag a knife through the icing, you should be able to count to 15 before the line disappears and the surface is smooth.
TIP: If you want more working time the with royal icing, you can double the amount of meringue powder to 10 tablespoons in the recipe. This will avoid it from crusting over for a longer period of time so that you can move the icing around before it sets up. Meringue powder can get expensive so once I was comfortable, I backed it down to 5 tablespoons in my recipe.
Storing Royal Icing
Store your royal icing in an airtight container either in the refrigerator or on a counter-top at room temperature for up to three weeks. This is only if you are using meringue powder to make your royal icing, NOT raw egg whites.
I use glass containers to store royal icing because they can be wiped out with distilled vinegar to remove any traces of grease from previously stored foods. If you use plastic containers, I would suggest dedicating a couple of them specifically for your icing so that you don’t have to worry about it becoming ruined from grease residue. Grease or oils will break down your royal icing so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
You’ll love this royal icing recipe for sugar cookies. It’s easy to make, easy to work with and taste great with my sugar cookie recipe! (P.S. Get my recipe FREE by signing up for my newsletter. I don’t send out weekly newsletters. Only when there’s real news or something exciting I think you would like to know about in the cookie world!) I post new tutorials weekly so come back and check them out!
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- 2 lbs confectioners sugar (this is sold in 2 lb bags)
- 5 tablespoons meringue powder
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup room temperature water
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (you can also use regular vanilla extract)
- 1 teaspoon glycerin (optional)
- Wipe down the bowl of a stand mixer, the paddle attachment and any spatulas you will be using with white vinegar. This is to remove any grease from the surfaces of the utensils that will come into contact with the royal icing.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the powdered sugar, salt and meringue powder on low speed to fully combine.
- In a measuring cup, stir together the water, glycerin and extract.
- Pour the mixture into the mixing bowl and beat on low speed until the wet and dry ingredients start to come together.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium speed for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- The mixture should be thick and bright white.
- Transfer the royal icing to airtight containers, preferably glass containers. If you use plastic containers make sure they have not been used to store anything else previously. The grease residue from foods will break the icing down.
- Store them in the refrigerator or on the counter at room temperature.
- Royal icing will stay good for a couple of weeks. If separation occurs, stirring will help to bring it back together.
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