royal icing recipe


Royal Icing Recipe

Written by Mike Tamplin Oct 3, 2013


The perfect royal icing recipe for cookie decorating |

Just like my update to my sugar cookie recipe, I feel my initial royal icing recipe post requires an update as well. When I initially posted the recipe it worked well then, but I realized it is outdated and not what I use today. Over the past two years, I’ve experimented with other royal icing recipe variations and made a few tweaks until I reached the formula I now use consistently each time I make cookies.

Also, my previous post was very lacking in the details. I was new to blogging then and didn’t think to include more information that could have been helpful. Making royal icing can be very finicky and it’s a topic that deserves a more explanatory post. So here’s my updated royal icing recipe post. It has more pictures of the mixing process and some tips I’ve learned along the way.

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  • 5 tbsp
    meringue powder
  • 1 tbsp
    light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp
    CLEAR vanilla extract
  • 1 cup
  • 2 lbs
    powdered sugar


  1. 1

    In a mixer, combine meringue powder, light corn syrup, clear vanilla extract, and water.

    royal icing recipe step one
  2. 2

    Using a hand whisk, mix ingredients until the mixture becomes foamy.

    royal icing recipe step 2
  3. 3

    Add the powdered sugar to the mixture.

    royal icing step 3
  4. 4

    Hand whisk the mixture until the powdered sugar is incorporated and looks soupy. (I do this step so the powdered sugar doesn’t fly everywhere when I start the mixer in the next step.)

    royal icing recipe step 4
  5. 5

    Attach the paddle attachment and beat mixture on medium-high for about 4-6 minutes.

    royal icing recipe step 5
  6. 6

    The mixture should begin to thicken and whiten.

    royal icing recipe step 6
  7. 7

    Mix until the icing forms peaks. (If you remove the paddle and wiggle it, the icing should kind of jiggle but the peaks will remain intact.)

    royal icing recipe step 7

Storing Royal Icing

After the royal icing is done mixing I immediately prep it for storage; royal icing can dry and start to crust over fairly quickly. I like to store my icing in the same mixing bowl. I know others like to transfer the icing to another bowl or into tupperware for storage, which works great too. Below is just my preferred way of doing it.

  1. 1

    Scrape the sides of the bowl and gather the icing with a rubber spatula.

    storing royal icing step 1
  2. 2

    Cover the top with plastic wrap touching the icing surface. Be sure to cover the edges of the icing. Any exposure to air will dry out the icing.

    Storing royal icing step 2
  3. 3

    Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel. This prevents little dry crusties of icing from forming and getting into your icing, which would clog your icing tips when you try to decorate.

    royal icing storage step 3

From this point, I scoop out the amount of icing I need at a time, while recovering the icing with plastic wrap and the damp cloth when it is not in use.

I leave this bowl of icing at room temperature on my kitchen counter. Royal icing will keep for a few weeks, however I tend to finish off the batch before the end of the second week.

What’s Changed from the Original Royal Icing Recipe

  • I used to add light corn syrup whenever I randomly felt like it. Now, I think of it as a requirement. I believe it adds a boost to the taste, creates a nice sheen surface, and adds some favorable elasticity to the icing when it flows out of a piping tip. (meaning: I think it prevents icing lines from breaking mid-squeeze. It’s just a theory though.)

  • I now use Americolor’s meringue powder. It has a great vanilla smell and taste. I purchase 20-oz. tubs of Americolor meringue powder on Amazon, two tubs at a time to qualify for free shipping.

    (When I’m in a pinch, I still use Wilton’s meringue powder because it’s readily available in craft shops and grocery stores. However, the smell of the powder is off-putting. That’s my only complaint.)

  • I’ll add a half teaspoon of cream of tartar, only if I’m expecting humidity that day. I live in Seattle and, surprisingly, I don’t have humidity problems often, but I feel cream of tartar does help with the drying process when humidity does occur.

Royal Icing Tips and Tricks

  • This recipe can be easily doubled or reduced in half. I buy 2-pound bags of powdered sugar most of the time when making royal icing. However, if I know I won’t need much icing for the cookies I have planned, I buy 1-pound bags and prep for half the recipe.

  • Royal Icing will separate in its bowl after a few hours. Just re-mix the icing with your mixer to bring it back to its normal, fluffy state.

  • I love my Kitchenaid Flex Edge paddle attachment. It does a great job scraping the edges of the bowl during mixing, making sure all the powdered sugar is incorporated.

royal icing recipe


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177 replies on “Royal Icing Recipe

  1. Hi Mike,

    Do you have an estimate of how much icing this makes ? Or about how many cookies 3-4 ” cookies could be decorated with one batch ?

    1. I just used this exact recipe, covered 28 4″ cookies and have some leftover.

  2. Mike, I just came across your blog! I have a similar story to finding the love of making royal icing cookies by accident and for a gift. It is extremely therapeutic. I’ve only been making them for 4 months but have made more than 1000 cookies. People keep asking for them! I’m not doing a business as I am a mom of a two year old, but it is fun! I really like your designs and I have to say – I have done a ton of reading on these cookies in the last few months and watching my fair share of how to videos and found your Royal Icing tips on the adding cream of tartar, and also the flex edge beater just pure genius!! I haven’t tried Americolor’s meringue, but look forward to. I can’t seem to find the 20oz on Amazon though. Anyways, just wanted to say THANK YOU! for doing what you are doing!

    1. You’re more than welcome, Amy! Thanks for visiting the blog. :) Just FYI, the Americolor meringue had been discontinued for a few years (this post was written in 2013) but just recently became available again in a smaller size. I use CK meringue powder now.

  3. When you need to use it to flood a cookie, or a stiffer icing for writing, what do you add to this recipe?

    1. Hi Alicia, use a spray bottle full of water to control the small amount of water you add to thin down the icing for flooding. To thicken the icing for final details, just spoon in and stir tablespoons of powdered sugar.

  4. Hello!! I adore your cookies♡ So lovely! To prevent bleeding, do I have to wait until the base (for lack of a better word) is completely dry? Will wrapping them in cellophane treat bags trap moisture and cause bleeding? Or do I have to remain patient and let them COMPLETELY dry before wrapping (1 day? 2 days?) Thank you in advance♡♡

    1. Yes, you got it. Let them dry at least 8 hours before bagging them up. Or, bleeding will definitely take place. Good luck!

  5. Is this type of icing typically what is used for writing on cakes ?

    1. Hi Cindy, I’ve never decorated a cake, but I would probably say cake decorators use buttercream to write on them.

  6. Thank you so much for this!!! Icing is a huge lroblem for me and i often dont finish my decorating because i dont have the right consistency. I love your page! Its so helpful! Cutest cookies everrrrr!!

  7. Hi,
    How much water would you add to make this RI flood consistency?
    I LOVE your web site and all of the helpful information and beautiful cookies!
    I’m in sugar cookie heaven.

    1. Hi Valerie, there’s not a specific measurable amount. Scoop out some icing from the mixer, then spray a tiny amount of water with a spray bottle (because it’s the best way to control how much you add) into the icing to thin it down. If you draw a line in the icing it should disappear in 12-15 seconds. Don’t make it too thin though. Good luck!

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