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Royal Icing

5 stars based on 3 votes

royal-icing

Royal icing is a hard white icing made from softly beaten egg whites and confectioners sugar that dries to a smooth, hard, matte finish. It’s ideal for decorating cookies, creating intricate designs, or making letters or flower decorations.

snowflakes

The egg whites are what allows the icing to dry hard. However, if you’d like to avoid using raw eggs, feel free to use meringue powder, which is sold in the baking aisle of most large supermarkets or craft stores.

ingredients

Begin by whisking the egg whites until foamy.

foamy-egg-whites

Add the confectioners sugar.

adding-sugar

And mix on medium-low speed until thick and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes.

thick-and-shiny-icing

Divide the icing up into bowls depending on how many colors you plan to use. Use food coloring to tint the icing and then add water, little by little, to get the right consistency.

flooding-consistency

For decorating cookies with a smooth layer of icing like the ones pictured here, you’ll need to thin the icing with water to a “flood” consistency, which means the icing should hold a ribbonlike trail on the surface of the mixture for about 15 seconds until smoothing out on its own.

gingerbread-man

Go slowly — you don’t want the icing to be so thin that it runs off the edge of the cookies. (If you’ve added too much water, you can add a spoonful of stiff icing to thicken it back up. Always reserve a little white stiff icing just in case!)

polka-dot-heart

Happy decorating!

Royal Icing

Servings: About 3 cups
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 pasteurized egg whites or 3 oz (6 tablespoons) pasteurized egg whites from a carton (see note)
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • Food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or beaters. Beat on medium speed until frothy.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat until the mixture is thick and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Divide the icing into bowls depending on how many colors you plan to use. Use food coloring to tint the icing and then add water, little by little, to get the right consistency. Use a thicker icing for details and outlines and a thinner icing for "flooding," or fully covering the surface of the cookies. Place a damp paper towel directly on top of the icing to keep a skin from forming on top. If not using within 2 hours, cover the bowls tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. (Icing may also be kept in airtight squeeze bottles.)
  3. Note: If you're concerned about using raw eggs, feel free to use meringue powder, which can be found in the baking aisle of most large supermarkets or craft stores. Reconstitute the powdered egg whites according to the package instructions, making sure the powder is completely dissolved, and proceed with the recipe.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    This recipe is so easy to make and gives so much control over the icing. I used it for sugar cookie snowflakes for Christmas, and I just did a batch of hearts and flowers for Valentine’s Day. The trick is to add milk/cream to get the right texture for filling or outlining.

    - Nicole Rodriguez on February 14, 2017 Reply
  • Happy Christmas.for your family members

    - fathima mimshifa on December 8, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. Your cookies look incredible! Professional! How do you get red icing? We always seem to end up with pink when we add red dye. Even when we add tons of it. Is there a special brand that you like?

    - Amy on December 8, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Amy, I buy the red color from Wilton – you can get it at craft stores. Remember, it gets darker as it dries.

      - Jenn on December 8, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for best quality food coloring. Maybe I have a sensitive palette. I seems I get I chemical taste especially with the red coloring.
    Thank you in advance.

    - Peg Jordan on December 8, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Peg, I can taste it too – I use Wilton “no taste” red. You can get it at most craft stores. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 8, 2016 Reply
  • Just a question – I have made royal icing with the whites of pasteurized eggs and powder meringue. What I find that when the icing dries it no longer has a shine, and is quite matte. Does this recipe have a little shine when it has dried on the cookies?

    - Cindy Seim on December 8, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Cindy, Not really – royal icing has a matte finish. Sorry!

      - Jenn on December 8, 2016 Reply

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