Royal Icing for Cookie Decorating

December 12, 2013
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Makes about 3 cups
Author Notes

This is a standard royal icing recipe. You will find many different variations online but I find this one works best for me. —Rachel K Cleary

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/4 cup warm water, or up to 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder until combined.
  2. Add the water and beat on medium speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form (5 to 7 minutes).
  3. If necessary spritz more water on the icing till correct consistency is achieved.
  4. To cover or 'flood' the entire surface of the cookie with icing, the proper consistency is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.
  5. The icing needs to be used immediately or covered with a wet towel. If you are not going to use right away transfer it to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lynn
  • barb48
  • Cindy
  • Blythe Hoerr
    Blythe Hoerr
As the resident pastry chef at Food52, Rachel hails all the way from Northern California, where she was born and raised off fresh produce from the local farmers market. After graduating from Occidental College, she headed to New York to start her career in publishing. After five years in the magazine biz -- Martha Stewart and Architectural Digest included -- she decided it was time to start living the dream and enrolled in the pastry program at the French Culinary Institute. These days she can be found whipping up edible creations for the Provisions product pages or tracking down the new and unique for the next collection. She currently lives in Westchester with her husband and her dog Samantha.

6 Reviews

lynn December 17, 2015
I just used this recipe to make the "glue" for some small gingerbread houses. Used 1/3 cup of water. Worked great.
barb48 December 11, 2015
don't most royal icing recipes use egg ehites, amd why is meringues used here?
Blythe H. December 11, 2015
A lot do, yes. Using meringue powder just ensures a safer icing for those worried about eating raw egg. Meringue powder is simply cooked egg whites, crushed into a fine powder. It does the same thing as raw egg whites, I assume. I have only made royal icing with meringue powder, due to a somewhat large can of it in my pantry that I feel the need to use up :). Never had any problems!
Cindy December 9, 2015
Is this recipe missing an ingredient?
Blythe H. December 9, 2015
Doesn't seem to be. It came out wonderfully for me when I used it last year :).
Blythe H. December 12, 2014
how many cookies will this recipe ice (approximately)?