5 from 1 vote
Pin Recipe Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy

Want more regal-looking sugar cookies? This royal icing recipe will help you take your sugar cookie icing to the next level. It’s great for any holiday baking any time of year from Christmas to Valentine’s Day to St. Patrick’s Day and beyond. My kids love when I make royal icing cookies because that means they can help me decorate with Christmas cookie frosting!

Best Royal Icing Recipe

If you want to impress your guests with beautifully-decorated sugar cookies for any occasion, this is the best royal icing recipe. It’s so simple that even if you’re a beginner, you’ll have no trouble at all. Everyone will ask what your secret is to super-glossy, gorgeously decorated cookies!

Easy Royal Icing Recipe

Royal icing looks so picture-perfect and glossy, so I know you’ll have a hard time believing me when I say that those 5 simple ingredients above only take 7 minutes total to make this easy icing recipe. Seriously. Try it if you don’t believe me. This simple icing recipe is one that the kids love to help with!

What is royal icing made of?

  • Powdered sugar – The basis for this icing’s sweetness.
  • Meringue powder – This is used instead of eggs to achieve that glossy sheen while being safe from salmonella. A staple for making royal icing with meringue powder.
  • Water – To help get the consistency just right.
  • Vanilla extract – For that signature flavor.
  • Gel food coloring – If you want to create more than white royal icing, you’ll need this to create the colors you want. When making cookie decorating icing you can use all of your favorite colors!

How do you Make Royal Icing from Scratch?

To make this sugar cookie icing recipe, simply combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hand mixer to beat it all together on high for 2 to 2 ½ minutes. Lift the whisk above the bowl and if it drizzles down within 8 to 10 seconds and smooths into the rest of the icing below, it’s ready. You can then color it with gel food coloring if desired to get different colors and go on to decorate your sugar cookies.

I decorate cookies…whats your superpower.

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe

  • Choose your consistency. Royal icing can be made to have different types of consistency. Medium-stiff is best for piping detailing on while flood is thinner, ideal for filling the base.
  • Add the water slowly when thinning. After you beat the ingredients of your sugar cookie frosting recipe together, you can adjust the consistency as needed by slowly adding in more water.
  • Always let flood icing dry first. If you’re using it as a base, it will smear and become messy if you don’t let it set before you add your details.
  • Decorate as you wish! When making royal icing for sugar cookies, you don’t need to perfectly pipe intricate details on if you’re a beginner. Start with a flood base and sprinkles and work your way up. It takes practice to make them like a bakery does!
  • No corn syrup. I always prefer to make sugar cookie icing without corn syrup.

Is cookie icing the same as royal icing?

While you can use both for similar applications, royal icing dries hard and shiny, making it more beautiful to decorate with.

What makes royal icing royal?

Accordingly, royal icing earned royal status when it was used for decorating a wedding cake for Queen Victoria in 1840.

What’s the difference between royal icing and decorating icing?

Primarily texture and taste. Royal icing is more about making things beautiful. It does have a nice taste, but decorating icing is made with other ingredients to give it a richer, more flavorful taste.

What’s the difference between royal icing and frosting?

Royal icing dries with a glossy candy-coating-like texture while frosting is thick, rich and soft.

I decorate cookies…whats your superpower.

What Can Royal Icing be Used for?

You can decorate cakes for holidays or weddings, make gingerbread houses, and decorate all kinds of cookies and sweets for any occasion using royal icing. It makes everything beautiful!

How long does it take to make Royal Icing?

It takes all of 7 minutes to make your royal icing. Then you can add food coloring and put it in piping bags.

How can I make royal icing taste better?

Don’t forget the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract. Both of these things give the icing sweetness that pairs deliciously with anything you bake.

Is it safe to make icing with egg white?

The risk is minimal when using egg whites, though some people may be more at risk such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly. You can make it safe by using pasteurized egg whites, or simply following this recipe to use meringue powder which is completely safe.

How long does royal icing with egg white last?

It will keep for one week in the fridge if you make it with egg whites.

Does meringue powder thicken frosting?

Yes, it adds a sturdy component to the frosting but that can also be adjusted to give it a runnier texture by adding water.

How long does royal icing with meringue powder last?

A royal icing recipe with meringue powder will last at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. If you will need it longer than that, you can freeze it.

What can I substitute for meringue powder in royal icing?

Egg white powder or dried egg whites also works quite well if you cannot find meringue powder to help you make your royal icing.

What is the best icing tool for cookies?

Piping bags with an assortment of tips and a scribe tool should give you everything you need for icing your cookies like a pro!

How to Store Royal Icing?

You can keep leftover royal icing at room temperature, as long as it is made like this recipe with meringue powder.

How Long Does Royal Icing Last?

Royal icing will last at room temperature on up to 2 weeks.

Can You Freeze Royal Icing?

That’s the best part…you can totally freeze it. It works best when you freeze it without food coloring though. However, don’t let that stop you though plan on color correction when you are going to use it.

How to Thaw Royal Icing?

Simply take it out and let it come to room temperature. You can beat it with your hand mixer on low to get it to a smooth and shiny look again.

Watch How To Make Royal Icing (Video)

Homemade Royal Icing Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 7 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 20 servings
Calories 106
After numerous requests, here is my easy classic royal icing recipe! This royal icing is perfect because its simple to make, sets fast and does not dry too hard. It has the perfect texture and is not overly sweet so it makes a great icing for decorating your favorite cookies!


  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp meringue powder
  • 10-12 tbsp water (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • gel food coloring (optional)


  • Place all of the icing ingredients into a large bowl. Then, using a hand mixer, beat the ingredients on high speed for 2-2 1/2 minutes. To test the consistency of the icing, lift the whisk up above the bowl. The icing should drizzle down within 8-10 seconds and then smooth out with the remaining icing in the bowl. Use optional gel food coloring to get desired color and use to decorate sugar cookies.
Calories: 106kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American


Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 26g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

More royal icing recipes:

Never Miss A Recipe!

Join thousands of HowToCook.recipes subscribers and get our best recipes delivered each week!

Yes! Send me the newest recipes by email

You can unsubscribe anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of emails you receive.

Author Megan Miller

I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

Write A Comment

Recipe Rating