Royal Icing for Cookies

December 15, 2018
Cookie decorating is an interesting thing to do to celebrate any special event. Beautifully decorated cut-out cookies for any celebration and holiday are totally attainable at home with this easy royal icing recipe for sugar cookies. Royal icing is a sweet, hard icing that's made from egg whites and confectioners' sugar. It's the perfect icing for decorating cookies. It is often made of egg whites or meringue powder with powdered sugar along with many other ingredients to make it stabilized. 

In order to decorate Sugar cookies, you have to learn the three types of icing consistencies that is used to decorate cookies. They are;
  1. Stiff piping consistency : This icing is good for brush embroidery work, tiny roses or piped pearl or shell borders, basket weaves, ruffles etc. This icing has a very stiff peak when lifted. It is spreadable but able to hold a peak. 
  2. Soft/medium consistency icing : This icing is used for writing or drawing quilts/mehendi designs or outline around the cookies and transfer royal icing figures. When you pipe this icing, it loses its shape of what you piped. To make this icing you have to add few drops of water in order to get the right consistency. 
  3. Flooding consistency icing: This consistency is a very runny consistency that is used to fill the cookies. To get this consistency, add 1 tsp of water at a time to achieve the right consistency. To check the consistency, drop a little icing on to the bowl and see whether it falls within 15 seconds. If yes, the flooding consistency is right. If you have added too much water, don't add powdered sugar to make it right. Add stiff icing to adjust it. 

There are two ways of making Royal Icing. You can make royal icing with egg whites or meringue powder. You may make royal icing using egg whites if your going to consume it within the next two or three days. But I advise to make the Royal icing using meringue powder if you want to store it for a longer period of time or you want to make sugar cookies to sell them. Using meringue powder will be little safer and can be kept longer. 

Royal Icing using Egg whites 

2 egg whites
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar (to stabilize the icing)
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Sift the icing sugar at least twice. (This is very important when it comes to hassle free piping.) 
  2. In a clean stainless steel bowl with not a single drop of water in it, beat the ingredients together in a low speed to combine everything. 
  3. Once everything is combined, increase the speed and beat for 2 minutes. Lift the beater hands and see for the consistency. If it has stiff peaks, then the consistency is right. Even if you flip the bowl, the icing should not fall. If it is not, then add 1 tbsp icing sugar. 
  4. You have to start off with this stiffer, thick consistency icing because it's easy from there to thin the icing out to a flood consistency. 
  5. Transfer the icing in to bowl and cover with plastic wrap all the time as it will dry quickly. 

Royal Icing using Meringue powder

2 1/2 tbsp Meringue Powder
6 tbsp water
4 1/2 cups of Icing sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Sift icing sugar and put it in to a clean stainless steel mixing bowl. (make sure that the mixing bowl is very dry and has no water in it)
  2. In a small cup, combine water,cream of tartar, meringue powder and vanilla extract. Mix well and add this to the icing sugar. 
  3. Beat in a low speed to combine everything together. Once it is mixed, beat in a high speed for about 2 minutes. 
  4. Transfer the icing into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.


  1. Place a plastic wrap directly on the surface of the royal icing if you wish to refrigerate the icing to be used later. Let it come to room temperature before you start frosting. 
  2. Adjust your icing consistency by adding water (a drop at a time) to make it thinner and adding icing sugar (1 tsp at a time) to make it thicker. 
  3. Use gel food colors to tint the icing. Liquid icing will ruin the consistency. Always whip the icing using a small spoon before transferring the icing in to the piping bags. 
  4. Use a piping tip to pipe icing on cookies. I used Wilton tip No.1 and 2 for piping. 
  5. Decorate cookies as desired and let it dry in room temperature for 6-8 hours. Leave the cookies undisturbed for at least for 24 hours to let it dry completely. 
  6. If you are living in a high humid area (hot climate) or when it is raining, there is a possibility of icing to melt and not set.  So all your hard work will be in vain if the climate is very hot. It is advisable to make sure the environment you make cookies and decorate should not be very hot. I always decorate my cookies at night during summer and refrigerate them layered with parchment paper in an airtight container as soon as they dry. It's tricky when decorating sugar cookies in a high humid atmosphere. Try the recipe first in small batch and see how it works for you.
  7. Cookie decorating needs a lot of practice. So don't get frustrated if it isn't perfect in the first try. Keep trying. It is mastered with lot of practice. Trial and error is the best way to learn cookie decorating. 

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.