Deliciously Easy Royal Icing Recipe

August 16, 2018 |

  • Desserts
  • Frostings

When I first began my "cookie" journey, I had never made, much less tried, Royal Icing. Over time these past few years, I dabbled with a few different recipe versions. I'm happy to say, I found and settled on one that tasted pretty good and then after a little tweaking, became my perfect "go-to" pick. Today, I'm sharing this Easy Royal Icing Recipe with y'all.

A while back, I was struggling because my RI was drying rock hard and was leaving me bummed out. I had heard of a glaze icing but had also never tried it so, I decided to give it a go. The result? Well, the bite was much softer when compared to my cookies with the RI! But…yes, there's a but…I couldn't pipe any noticeable designs (ruffles, ribbons, flowers, etc) that would stay put. The glaze always settled, leaving my cookies flat and me disappointed 😕 That just wasn't gonna work for me, so back to the royal icing drawing board I went and while some prefer to use glaze on their cookies, I'm now a full fledged royal icing ONLY kinda girl…to an extent.

It is important, though, to keep in mind that there are a few Cookiers out there that use glaze and KILL IT with their decorating skills! They consistently create works of art that blow me away, so if you haven't tried it, make sure you do to make an honest comparison and stick with what works for YOU!

Aside from glaze and royal icing, there are a few other cookie decorating mediums that work as well. Fondant and Buttercream, for example, also work nicely for decorated cookies but I suggest that if you decide to decorate with Buttercream, you use one that crusts. And those options are just as delicious!

Making Royal Icing

When making royal icing, start with a clean mixing bowl. After measuring out all ingredients, place meringue powder in mixing bowl. This is one of my favorite Meringue Powder brands to use. Add water and whisk until dissolved and frothy, about 20-30 seconds. Then add cream of tartar and again, whisk until dissolved, about another 20-30 seconds. Next, add vanilla and stir well. This is how it should look after these steps.

Royal Icing

The next thing you want to do is quickly and carefully add all of the powdered sugar into the bowl. I move the sugar around to get all of the meringue froth covered as much as possible. Then, using the paddle attachment, begin mixing on the lowest setting.

Royal Icing

When the mixing begins, the meringue will absorb the sugar and the mixer will slow down and seem to struggle. THIS IS NORMAL and is the cue for the next step. Once this starts happening, slowly begin drizzling the syrup into the icing. The mixer will resume a normal, stress free sound once the syrup starts to incorporate. When the syrup is all in, let it whip and do it's thang. Keep the mixer on low during the entire mixing process, which will take approximately 6-7 minutes. The icing will be thick, creamy and delicious!

Royal Icing

Once it's done, immediately transfer it over to a container. Royal Icing will begin to crust and harden when exposed to air so to help prevent it from doing that, place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of it…just like when making lemon curd. Mmmm, lemoooon curd

Royal Icing

Cover the container with a lid. Now here's a Blast From the Past!! I bought this Tupperware Mix-N-Store container so long ago (when my kids were little) for juices and kool-aid. We eventually outgrew our need for this little pitcher but never got rid of it. Now I specifically use it to store my Royal Icing and it's great because it doesn't take up a lot of space!

Royal Icing

Here's a snippet of just how easy the actual process is when making royal icing. When viewing this video, notice how the icing thickens up. It starts off sort of thin and gooey-ish, doubles … then triples in volume! After it's done whipping, it is not only delicious but thick AND creamy! Now, it just needs to be tinted (colored) and thinned out to desired consistency. I've noticed that keeping it in this thick state helps it last longer before it begins to break down, which gives me more time to work with it as needed for my cookie projects. I make my icing at night then let the colors develop overnight so they're ready to go when I start decorating cookies in the morning, so … pardon the bad lighting.

Royal Icing Decorated Cookies

Floral Baby Shower Cookies Graduation Mini Cookies Peter Rabbit Cookies Outdoor Cookies Tool Cookies


Royal Icing that tastes great and is easy to make. This recipe yields a thick, stiff icing that can be tinted any color and thinned out to any consistency.

  • 6 tbsp Meringue Powder
  • 1/2 cup Warm Water
  • 1 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 lbs Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Corn Syrup


  1. In a clean mixing bowl, add meringue powder and warm water. Whisk until dissolved, about 20 seconds.
  2. Add cream of tartar and whisk another 20 seconds until dissolved. Add vanilla and stir well.
  3. Add all of the powdered sugar and with paddle attachment, begin mixing on low. Slowly drizzle in corn syrup. Keep mixer on low and let it whip approximately 6-7 minutes and thickened.
  4. Transfer to a container, place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of icing. Cover with lid. Tint and thin as needed.

My Royal Icing is an adaptation from both Sweetopia and Ali Bee's recipes

Royal Icing Tips

While some refuse to use royal icing because it tends to harden too much for their taste, using corn syrup will help cut that down somewhat so cookies end up with a softer bite. Also, DO NOT OVER BAKE your cookies! Cookies get harder faster when they've been over baked so avoid it if at all possible. It's also important to keep the finished decorated cookies in an airtight container until needed to help minimize hardened icing.

Please keep in mind, though, that if cookies are left out without being stored correctly for a longer than necessary period of time, they WILL get rock hard. My suggestion is to leave them out only while you're decorating them (obviously) as well as while the icing sets up and dries to a stackable state, which for me (in my home environment) is about 4-6 hours give or take depending on the humidity (cookie hater) in my home. Once stored, the icing continues to set. After that, I just take them out of storage when they're ready to be packaged (bagged and sealed).

Don't shy away from making royal icing for fear of it's bad rep. Find what works for you and use it! It is truly a wonderful medium to use for cookie decorating along with other baked goods. Give it a try and let me know what you think and if you have experience with royal icing, share it with me 😉

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Cori - xoxo