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How to Make Royal Icing Like a Pro


If you want to learn how to decorate beautiful, professional-looking cookies, a great royal icing recipe is key. We’ve put together a handy guide to royal icing, giving you all the tips and tricks you need for cookie decorating like a pro.

What is Royal Icing?

Traditional royal icing is made using confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, egg whites, water, and optional flavorings (such as vanilla extract). Many cookie decorators opt to make royal icing with meringue powder, which is a dry, powdered form of egg whites combined with stabilizers.

Royal icing is specifically used for cookie decorating because it dries firm, unlike other frosting options. This makes it incredibly versatile because different colors and consistencies of royal icing can be used to create detailed cookie decorations. You can adjust the thickness of royal icing and use it for outlines as well as “flooding,” which is a technique that allows you to cover large areas of the cookie with a specific icing color.

The Best Royal Icing Recipe for Decorating Sugar Cookies

Royal icing for sugar cookies should be both easy to work with and delicious, resulting in a final product that tastes just as great as it looks. If you search for recipes for royal icing, you’ll come across many different variations. Our go-to recipe gives you ample time to decorate with the icing before it dries but still makes the flavor a top priority.

Recipe for Royal Icing

  • 4 cups (480 grams) of confectioners’ sugar
  • Three tablespoons of meringue powder
  • 9-10 tablespoons of room temperature water
  • Optional: gel food coloring
  1. First, put the sugar, meringue powder, optional flavoring, and nine tablespoons of water into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Using a stand mixer (with a whisk attachment) or hand mixer, beat the ingredients for about 2 minutes.
  3. Carefully lift the whisk out of the icing to check its consistency. Ideally, the icing should drizzle off of the whisk, smoothing itself out within 10 seconds or so.
  4. If the consistency is too thick, add more water one tablespoon at a time. If the consistency is too thin, beat it for another minute or two longer.
  5. Add in food coloring if desired. Note: using gel food coloring is typically the best choice because, unlike liquid food coloring, it won’t alter the consistency of your icing.

Royal Icing Consistencies

There are generally three different consistencies for royal icing, each one serving a specific purpose in the decorating process:

  • Stiff consistency royal icing: Used for details such as borders, flowers, basketweave texture, and other elements that must hold their shape.
  • Medium consistency royal icing: Used for lettering, filigree, and royal icing transfers.
  • Flood consistency royal icing: Used for flooding, wet-on-wet icing technique, and small details.

You’ll rely on varying amounts of water to perfect the consistency of your royal icing. In many cases, you may want to divide your royal icing into smaller batches so that you can play around with thickness and color.

Make sure to set aside at least 6 hours to allow your completed cookies to fully dry before handling.

Get Creative with Your Cookies – No Prep Work Required!

Now that you’re prepared with some helpful royal icing tips, we’re going to give you our very best tip of all: Color My Cookie is the easiest way to create fabulously decorated cookies and have a fantastic time while doing it.

Each Color My Cookie collection includes our signature pre-iced sugar cookies, icing, sprinkles, edible watercolors, and online video tutorials to get you started. Save yourself the time and hassle of shopping for ingredients, baking cookies, and preparing various icings, and instead, fast-forward to decorating. Our videos feature Color My Cookie decorating experts who walk you through a variety of cookie decorating techniques . So, you can see exactly how to turn your cookie canvas into an edible work of art.

Try a Cookie Decorating Kit from Color My Cookie Today

With enough practice and time, you can learn how to make royal icing cookies that look like they came from a bakery. Or you could skip straight to the fun with Color My Cookie!

We’ve crafted a delightful variety of Color My Cookie collection, with adorable options to suit every occasion. Perfect for birthdays, at-home date nights, holidays, or even just a weekend activity, Color My Cookie lets you focus on the cookie decorating fun without worrying about the set-up.

Check out all our current collections to find your favorites – and remember, we’re always adding more! Order your first Color My Cookie collection to start making sweet memories today.