The Best Royal Icing Recipe

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This royal icing recipe works every time! It’s made with meringue powder, confectioners sugar, and water. The perfect icing for decorating sugar cookies!

Small heart shaped cookies with green royal icing.

Royal icing is a frosting that is used to decorate sugar cookies. It has a special texture to it that allows the frosting to blend together to create a smooth finish. It also hardens on the cookie, keeping the shape so you can make cute designs.

Bunny cookies with white royal icing recipe and little bunny tails.

This recipe only uses 3 ingredients and you can color the icing any color you want! To color the royal icing we use gel food coloring.

Meringue Powder in a contianer and in a bowl.

Meringue Powder Royal Icing

The best royal icing is made with meringue powder. This is an ingredient you can buy in the baking section at craft stores or online. It will last a long time, so always keep some on hand.

Meringue powder is a baking substitute for raw egg whites. It’s dried egg whites in a powder form and gives the icing a perfect texture without having to use raw, fresh eggs.

I buy it online and store it away with my baking supplies. It last me a good amount of time.

Powdered sugar, meringue powder and water in small glass bowls.

Royal Icing Ingredients

  • Confectioners Sugar – Also known as powdered sugar.
  • Meringue Powder
  • Water
  • Food Coloring (optional)

Getting the Right Consistency

The icing will be able to hold an outline on a cookie also melt together as you flood the design.

Getting perfect consistency can take a few tries. I always suggest adding a few tablespoons less water and gradually add more until you reach the right texture. It will be a glue-like consistency. Sometimes more or less water is needed.

How to Use Royal Icing for Cookies

Once the icing is finished, divide it up into separate bowls to make individual colors. Then add each color of icing into piping bags fitted with tips.

Here are some supplies you’ll need:

  • Piping Bags – A must for cookie decorating.
  • Couplers – To switch out tips on each bag.
  • Tips – These are crucial for creating designs on cookies.
  • Gel Food Coloring – We use gel food coloring to color our royal icing.
Pink, orange and yellow royal icing in piping bags.

Frosting Sugar Cookies

This is our go-to sugar cookie recipe! It’s buttery, crispy on the edges and holds their shape.

This royal icing recipe can be used to outline the cookies and then to fill them in. Using a small round piping tip, outline the design cutout of the sugar cookie and then fill in the center.

Bunny Sugar Cookies being frosted with Royal Icing

You’ll know it you have the right consistency when the icing starts to melt together creating a smooth finish.

Mini heart shaped cookies in all different colors

Does royal icing taste good?

Royal icing is very sweet and taste like sugar. It does taste good when combined with a buttery sugar cookie.

Does royal icing dry shiny?

When it’s wet it’s very shiny and glossy, but it dries with more of a matte finish.

Snowflake sugar cookies with royal icing.

Can I Freeze Royal Icing?

It can be frozen for up to one month. Store it in freezer-safe containers and then let it thaw room temperature. Once the icing is moveable, transfer it to piping bags fitted with tips.

Star shaped sugar cookies with blue royal icing.

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Royal Icing Recipe

This royal icing is made using 3 ingredients. It's thick enough to outline and to flood the cookie design. Add food coloring to make different colors.
4.56 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 548kcal
Author: Eden


  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar , also known as powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp meringue powder
  • 13 tbsp warm water, more or less


  • Using an electric mixer, place the powdered sugar and meringue powder in the bowl.
  • Add one tablespoon warm water at a time, whisking until the consistency is smooth.
  • The goal of this frosting is to get a consistency that won’t spread when creating an outline, but blends perfectly for filling in the center of the cookie… sounds easy right? If it’s too thick add a little more water (like 1 teaspoon at a time and if it’s too thin add more powdered sugar.
  • Once the icing is mixed, divide it into bowls and add your desired food coloring. Stir well.
  • Then add the royal icing into the prepared piping bag. The frosting dries quickly, so do not leave it out uncovered. Place it in the piping bag as soon as you can.


When making royal icing, you’ll need to adjust the amount of warm water you add to the recipe until you get the consistency of Elmer’s glue. That is the ultimate goal. I have made this recipe where 10 tbsp of water work and then I’ve made it where it needed 15 tbsp water. The reason for this can be a different brand of powdered sugar or meringue powder, different water temperatures, mixing speed, or even the location or temperature in your own home. 
So, the ultimate goal for this recipe is to get a glue consistency. Once you make it a few times, you’ll know the exact consistency. 


Calories: 548kcal | Carbohydrates: 141g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 3mg | Sugar: 138g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
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