Basic Royal Icing Recipe

This post first appeared on my other blog in 2013, but since I no longer maintain that one, I'm reposting some of my favorites here!

You can’t talk cookies without royal icing!

This is my go-to royal icing recipe.

And here’s a rundown of my work station during a cookie project.

I always decorate on wire racks.  I can easily move the cookies around as necessary, stack racks if I need to, and move all of the cookies quickly away from sticky little fingers!

Royal icing itself isn’t difficult, but there is a bit of a learning curve.  Click here for some of my earliest royal icing work.

From my experience, I can definitely tell you to invest in some good bottles and practice, practice, practice!

And trust me, if you have any “uglies”, there is usually someone around to eat it no matter how it looks!

Recipe Notes:
*You will usually find meringue powder at craft stores, such as Michael’s, or in the craft section at Walmart.
*Make sure that all bowls, decorating tips, bottles, and spoons are completely free from grease (Crisco, butter, oil, etc), otherwise the royal icing will not harden and set.
*Be aware that some flavor extract (such as orange) contain oils that will compromise the royal icing.
*Be sure to tint the royal icing before thinning it.

Royal Icing
Recipe from Wilton

3 tbsp meringue powder
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp almond or vanilla flavoring (optional)
4-6 tbsp water
Gel food coloring

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the meringue power, powdered sugar, and 4 tablespoons water in the bowl of an electric mixer. 

Add the additional 2 tablespoons of water as necessary to make a nice, stiff icing (not runny).  

Beat for 7-10 minutes on low or until the icing forms peaks.  Note: If using a hand mixer, set it to high and beat for 10-12 minutes.

Separate the royal icing into bowls and tint to desired colors.  Be sure to tightly cover any royal icing that is not in use.

To pipe words, do cake detailing, or make gingerbread houses:

Leave the icing stiff or thin to a medium stiffness.  Load with icing into a decorating bag fitted with the desired tip and decorate.

To flood cookies:

Once all of the icing is tinted, add small amount of water, no more than ½ teaspoon at a time, to the icing.  Keep adding water and stirring until the royal icing runs off the back of a spoon and disappears into icing in the bowl within 10-15 seconds.  Cover the icing and set aside for 10 minutes.

Very gently stir the icing to pop any bubbles and pour the icing into decorating bottles, fitted with a small decorating tip (I typically use a 2 or 3), if applicable.  Keep bottles inverted in a glass while not in use to streamline decorating.  Decorate as desired.