Quality Crafted Cookie Cutters & Decorating Ideas


Royal Icing Recipe

Written by Mike Tamplin Jan 13, 2012



My royal icing recipe has been updated. You can find the link to that post by clicking here.

Since I last posted about the sugar cookie recipe I use most often, I think I should mention how I make my royal icing.  There’s nothing really unique about this recipe (many royal icing recipes I find online use the same general ingredients with just a few minor tweaks).  Here is the recipe that works for me.


  • ½ cup
    warm water
  • 2 ½ tbsp
    meringue powder
  • ½ tsp
    cream of tartar
  • 1 pound
    powdered sugar


  1. 1

    In a bowl, add water and meringue powder and hand whisk until it’s foamy.

  2. 2

    Add cream of tartar to the bowl mixture and whisk until incorporated.

  3. 3

    Add the bowl mixture and powdered sugar to a mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the batch until stiff peaks form like the picture at the top of the post. (about 10 mins.)

Makes a small batch to decorate a dozen cookies. I usually double this recipe.


This may just be a personal preference, but I like the taste of the Williams-Sonoma brand (the brown labeled canister in the picture) of meringue powder over the Wilton brand, which you can find easily in stores.  It’s a subtle but noticeable difference- kind of like Hershey’s chocolate verses Ghirardelli chocolate.

Optional ingredients:

Light corn syrup- Adding this to the mix makes the icing have a little shine instead of a matte finish.  I’ll add corn syrup if I know I’ll be using the royal icing that same day.  If I make the royal icing ahead of time, I won’t add it to my mix.  I think it makes the icing separate more easily if the icing with corn syrup sits for a few days.

Clear Vanilla extract- You can add a little vanilla (or any other flavoring) extract to the icing for added taste.  Be sure to only add the type labeled, “CLEAR.”  If you add any flavoring that has color it will tint your icing.

Prepping the Royal Icing for Decorating:

The key to decorating cookies with royal icing is consistency.  Getting the right consistency takes some practice, but when it is right it will save you a lot of frustration.


After getting the stiff-peak consistency from the mixer it’s not quite ready for piping.  Add a few 1/2 teaspoons of water at a time  (I like using a spray bottle filled with water instead of measuring spoons- very convenient) until you get the consistency of pudding.  It doesn’t take much water to get there.  If the icing is too stiff the outlines will break on you or the icing won’t flow easily out of the tip.


Flood icing is what you fill space with after you outline a cookie with piping icing.  Add a little bit more water until the consistency is like maple syrup or honey.  Be careful not to make it too watered-down or  it will run and spread out of control on your cookie.


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13 replies on “Royal Icing Recipe

  1. Do you know where I can get the WS brand meringue powder? I searched everywhere but I cannot seem to find it. I would appreciate it if you could help me along!(:

    1. I was able to find it in Williams-Sonoma stores in their baking section. Unfortunately, they don’t always have it in stock. :-/

      1. Michaels and Bulk Barn carry it

    1. Thanks, Jane. I appreciate your feedback.

  2. Help! My frosting isn’t stiffening up! I don’t know what to do

    1. Hey Amanda. It isn’t stiffening up in the mixer after using the paddle attachment? How long has it been mixing? You should see stiff peaks around 10-15 mins if the mixer is set on a high setting (like the 8 setting on a Kitchenaid mixer). Try a higher setting. If that doesn’t work, can you email me a picture of the icing at mike@semisweetdesigns.com ?

  3. Hahahahaha!! Your response almost made me fall off my chair. Hahahaha!! I don’t know if I hope you know Jane or if I hope she’s a stranger. Stranger Danger?

    1. I have no idea who Jane is, but I’m happy anytime someone stops by my blog. :-P

  4. I did not realize that if you put corn syrup in RI and do not plan to use it that day it will separate. Thanks for this huge tip. I will definitely keep this in mind.

  5. Haha, that comment from Jane is so funny! You don’t suck at all, which makes her comment so random. What a weird thing to do on a page that’s so useful and clearly presented. Clearly everyone likes you so it must be a friend that’s playing a joke on you

  6. Thank you for this recipe and the pics to see what the consistency looks like. Mine never seems to turn out the same and the tip of using the speed on the 8 setting. I will give this a try and see if it elps me!

  7. Just today found your site and I’ve already “Pinned” a few things….can’t wait to spend more time here looking at all you have done. Please keep it u p…great toots and your photography is excellent.

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