Royal icing recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Celebration cakes
  • Wedding cake

Perfect for Christmas cakes, as well as special occasion cakes for weddings or christenings.

278 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 2 egg whites
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

MethodPrep:5min ›Extra time:5min › Ready in:10min

  1. Beat egg whites lightly and add enough sugar to make icing that will hold shape. Blend in lemon juice to get desired consistency.

To finish a Christmas cake...

To ice your Christmas cake with royal icing, wait for the marzipan to dry on the cake for at least 24 hours. Then brush the marzipan with a bit of water, and spread with the royal icing. Allow the icing to harden, then decorate as desired.

How to ice a cake video

Watch our How to ice a cake video and see how to ice cakes with ease. You'll be icing perfect birthday and special occasion cakes in no time!

Recently viewed

Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(51)

Reviews in English (39)

Used different ingredients.i used 3 tsp of glyserine instead of eggs-21 Jan 2010

Altered ingredient amounts.when i made this it only took me 2 minutes!-15 Apr 2011

great recipe and so easy-27 Jun 2012

    • Royal Icing
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
    • 1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
    1. The traditional way to make Royal Icing is to beat egg whites and lemon juice together, adding the powdered sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks. With modern concerns about salmonella from raw eggs, you can either use powdered egg whites or heat the egg whites first to kill any bacteria. With the heating method, mix the egg white and lemon juice with a third of the sugar, heat in a microwave until the mixture's temperature is 160°F. Then remove from microwave, and beat in the remaining sugar until stiff peaks form. Using the powdered egg whites method, combine 1 Tbsp egg white powder with 2 Tbsp water. Proceed as you would otherwise. (Raw egg white alternatives from the 2006 Joy of Cooking) If the icing is too runny, add more powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency. Fill a piping bag with the icing to pipe out into different shapes. (Or use a plastic sandwich bag, with the tip of one corner of the bag cut off.) Keep the icing covered while you work with it or it will dry out.

    1. Start by whipping the egg whites until frothy using a stand or hand mixer.
    2. Add in the vanilla and stir in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
    3. Once the powdered sugar has been incorporated, whip on high speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until very thick.

    Use Royal Icing immediately or store in an airtight container with plastic wrap directly on the icing at room temperature.

    Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

    Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

    Yield: 4 dozen medium cookies

    Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

    Total Time: 25 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time


    For the Sugar Cookies:

    2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

    ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

    1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

    For the Royal Icing:

    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or cider vinegar


    1. Make the cookies: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.

    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 4 minutes. Add the egg and mix until combined. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.

    3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture until just combined. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, using the plastic to help shape the dough into a disk. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

    4. While the cookies are chilling, make the icing: In a large bowl, whisk the powdered sugar with the egg whites, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of water, adding more water as needed, until a thin and shiny glaze forms. Cover with plastic wrap, letting the wrap touch the icing, until ready to use. Makes about 2 cups.

    5. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

    6. Lightly flour a kitchen surface, place the dough disk on top and lightly flour the dough. Using a rolling pin, gently pound the dough to a ½-inch thickness, then roll to a generous ⅛-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to punch out shapes and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the scraps into a bowl and roll them out up to 2 times more, chilling if the dough becomes too sticky. Bake until the bottoms and edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes, then remove and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Wait until the cookies are completely cool to frost as desired.


    • 18 ounces organic powdered sugar (4 1/2 cups 510g), divided, plus more if needed (see note)
    • 2 1/2 ounces egg whites (1/4 cup 70g), from 2 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons (10ml) silver rum or water
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7ml) vanilla extract (see note)
    • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
    • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1 1/2 ounces heavy cream (3 tablespoons 40g), plus more if needed (optional for thinning royal icing, if desired)
    • Gel paste food coloring, optional

    Begin by whisking the egg whites until foamy.

    Add the confectioners sugar.

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

    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.

    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.

    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!)

    Tips for Using Royal IcingOn Homemade Dog Treats

    Getting royal icing to stick to dog treats can be a bit tricky. If you spread the dog treat icing on a dog treat with a smooth surface, the icing has a tendency to fall off later. Because of this, dog treats made with royal icing on smooth dog treats, cannot be shipped easily.

    However, it isn’t too difficult to solve this problem. Simply use a recipe that gives you a rough surface when the dog treats have been baked. One way to do this is to add corn meal or bran to your recipe. Simply substitute ½ cup of the coarser ingredient for ½ cup of flour.

    Another way to get the icing to stick on the dog cookie is to prick the dog treats with a sharp object like a fork or ice pick—to make little holes that will help hold the royal icing in place.

    Using dog treat icing is a fun and easy way to really "dress up" your homemade dog treats! And, because of its hardening and keeping qualities, royal icing can be a great choice for decorating homemade dog treats.

    While any home made royal icing recipe is mostly sugar, you can now buy a royal icing mix that contains no sugar and no fat--it was created just for dog treats. I have to admit that using the royal icing mix for dog treats is sooo much easier than making your own!

    Royal Icing Recipe

    This simple icing is all you need to decorate cut-out cookies made from U-bake Vanilla Shortbread dough. Apply the icing with the back of a spoon and add a dusting of colored sugar. For more detailed designs, pipe on icing with a decorating kit, plastic bottle or a zip-top bag.

    Makes 3 1/2 cups icing

    2 large egg whites, plus extra for thinning icing
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
    Liquid or gel food coloring (find gels at kitchen or decorating shops)

    In a medium mixing bowl or electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, lightly whisk the egg whites and lemon juice. Add 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar and beat well until smooth and glossy. It should pause slightly before it streams off the tip of the beater. Add more egg white or lemon juice if too thick, more sugar if too thin.

    Make-ahead note: Icing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Whisk before pouring into small bowls to add color.

    Add color, fill pastry bags.
    Divide icing among small bowls and stir in food coloring a few drops at a time until desired color is reached.

    “Flooding” is a technique used to cover a cookie completely with royal icing. Here’s how to do it:

    Transfer about 1/2 cup of royal icing to a resealable plastic bag and snip a small corner (or use a pastry sleeve fitted with No. 4 tip). Use this icing to pipe a thin border around the edge of each cookie. Thin additional icing (same color) and transfer to bags. Snip a corner and pipe a generous amount inside the border of each cookie. Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the icing to cover the cookie.

    For a sparkling effect, apply colored sugar to wet icing then tip the cookie to remove excess sugar. You can use coarser decorating sugar as well apply and let the cookies sit for about 15 minutes before removing excess sugar. Let dry before adding piped borders, stripes or other decorations with additional royal icing.

    For a marbleized look, flood cookie surface. Add stripes or dots in a second color, then drag a toothpick through.

    How to test icing: Before you fill a pastry bag, test icing with a spoon for detail work, it should pause slightly before it streams off the tip of a spoon. For covering the whole cookie, you’ll want it slightly thinner, which will cause it to stream off the spoon immediately.

    Royal Icing

    This icing recipe uses coconut butter and coconut milk to make spreadable dairy-free icing.

    Coconut butter and coconut oil are two different ingredients. Coconut oil is the oil that’s been extracted from the coconut solids, and coconut butter is the coconut solids that has been ground into a paste. In general, coconut butter is a bit firmer as a solid at room temperature, while coconut oil is a softer solid at room temperature. I use this brand of coconut butter. Just make sure that the coconut butter you buy has only one ingredient, coconut.

    I also separated out some of the frosting to create red and green (blue + yellow) icing. I use this set of plant-based food colors made from concentrated vegetable colorants. You can also just use the actual food juices to color the icing. For red, use beet juice or beet powder. For green, use Matcha tea powder, and for yellow, use turmeric.

    While fresh royal icing is best to use for cookies, you can store egg white icing for up to a week in the refrigerator. But it must be covered with a damp towel to avoid drying out and hardening. Meringue powder royal icing can last up to a month if kept refrigerated.

    If it’s not the right consistency for your liking, add a tiny bit of water, a LITTLE at a time (you can always add more but you can’t take it away). I like using a little condiment bottle to drip the water in slowly. You may even want to use a spray bottle to make sure you don’t add too much water too quickly.