This is the only Royal Icing Recipe and Easy Sugar Cookies Recipe you’ll ever need!
What is Royal Icing?
Royal Icing, also known as sugar cookie 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!
How to make Royal Icing
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the powdered sugar, salt and meringue powder on low speed to combine.
- In a measuring cup, mix the water, glycerin and vanilla extract.
- Slowly pour the mixture into the bowl and continue to mix on low until the wet and dry ingredients start to come together.
- Increase the speed to medium and let beat for 3-5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary to make sure they are not stuck to the bowl.
- You’ll know when the icing is ready as it will be white and fluffy.
- Store in glass containers either in the fridge or at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
What are different Royal Icing Consistencies?
Stiff consistency royal icing 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 royal icing 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 royal icing 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 royal icing 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.
How to make different royal icing consistencies.
By adding small amounts of water to the stiff royal icing, you can get many different royal icing consistencies to use for cookie decorating. A spray bottle filled with fresh water comes in handy when you need to add small amounts at a time to get the consistency just right!
Place some of the stiff consistency icing in a separate bowl and use a spray bottle to add a small amount of water to the bowl. Use a spatula to mix the water into the icing and check to see if it is the correct thickness or thinness. Spray more water if you need to thin it down. If you end up with too much water and the icing is too thin, simply add some stiff consistency into the icing to thicken it.
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.
How to store 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 3 weeks. This is only if you are using meringue powder to make your royal icing, NOT raw egg whites. Stir the icing before using if there is separation of the ingredients.
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!
Make sure you check out my Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe!
Learn how to Outline and Flood Sugar Cookies with this tutorial!
Royal Icing Recipe
- 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 3 to 5 minutes. The mixture should be thick and bright white.
- Transfer the royal icing to an airtight container, preferably a glass container. 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.
Examples of sugar cookies I’ve decorated with this royal icing recipe.