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This is the best royal icing for cookies! It is easy to make, has amazing flavor and dries softer than other royal icings. I'm always getting compliments whenever I use this recipe to decorate my sugar cookies! I'm sharing everything I know on how to make royal icing, plus lots of tips!
I have been DYING to get this post up for the longest time! I'm so excited to FINALLY share my "famous" royal icing recipe! This is my go to royal icing to decorate my Perfect Sugar Cookie Cut Outs.
The thing I like about this royal icing recipe the most is...well, there are two things.
- This icing does not become TOO rock hard and crunchy. It has a softer bite but still dries plenty hard enough to decorate as you need.
- The flavor. I always add lemon to my royal icing. Not a lot, but just enough to give the icing a hint of sweetness and some mystery background notes. Paired with my sugar cookies, I always, always, always get compliments on the vanilla & lemon icing combo. The blend of those two flavors is seriously magnificent.
These two recipes are the perfect marriage. My sugar cookies are thick, supremely buttery, soft and delicious. This royal icing is sweet, a bit lemony and beautiful. The whole bite is just soft and lovely.
What is royal icing?
Royal icing is an icing that is mostly used to decorate sugar cookies.
Traditionally, royal icing is made from egg whites, powdered sugar and water. Meringue powder is a common ingredient used in place of the raw egg whites, as it is shelf stable and completely safe to eat without cooking.
Royal icing can be flavored and colored as desired. I prefer to always use a concentrated gel food coloring, like AmeriColor, as it doesn't alter the consistency of the icing. Similarly, I like to use lemon juice powder for my flavoring so that I can intensify the flavor without having to add more liquid. Regular extract can definitely be used but be sure to add less water to account for the extract.
What are the ingredients in royal icing?
- Meringue powder
- Lemon extract or lemon powder
- Powdered sugar
- Light corn syrup
Out of all the ingredients, meringue powder is most important.
It stiffens the icing, helps it dry and is absolutely essential to achieve the desired consistency. I've used plain sugar and water before and it does not dry right.
The other ingredient that I've found to be needed is light corn syrup. Light corn syrup is not as common among other recipes, but this is the secret ingredient to achieve that softer texture I was talking about. All you need is about one tablespoon per batch but it actually really does make a world of difference!!
Is royal icing hard to make?
Nope! I promise. Making royal icing for cookies is very easy!
You basically have to whip up the meringue powder with some warm water until it gets foamy.
Once foamy, add in your powdered sugar, corn syrup and flavoring.
Mix until the icing thickens and has grown in volume a bit. This will take a few minutes mixing at high speed.
And that's pretty much it!
The hard part is....
Getting the right consistency for cookie decorating
I feel like getting used to the proper consistency of royal icing is a never ending quest. I've decorated hundreds of cookies and it's still difficult to gauge.
It's one of those things where you need to experience the look and feel to know how to get it right. The consistency of royal icing will make or break your cookies.
If you're looking to cover the surface of your cookie, you want what is called, flood icing. This consistency is more runny and does not hold it's shape when piped; it melts back into itself completely.
If you're just making royal icing transfers or other details on top of the cookie, make the icing a thick, pipeable consistency. It should hold its shape but still be able to flow through the piping tip. Practice on the side before you start working on your cookies.
More water = thinner icing. Less water/more powdered sugar = thick icing. If you ever go too far with added water or sugar, know that royal icing is very forgivable.
You can always fix the consistency.
If you make the icing too thin, you can add a bit more powdered sugar...too thick, you can easily add a bit of water to thin it out.
This recipe will get you to the point of stiff icing. You'll need to add more water to it in order to achieve flood icing.
Icing consistencies are measured in seconds. The longer the time, the thicker the icing is. The shorter the time, the thinner and more wet the icing is.
For flood icing, I go with a 15-20 second consistency
That means, if you were to pick up your spoon and allow a stream of icing to fall back into the bowl, it would take 15-20 second for the icing to melt back into itself and go back to a smooth layer. I use the stop watch function on my smartphone to check the time.
Many people often use a thicker icing to outline their cookie and then they use a 10 second flood icing to flood the cookie. To be honest, the thought of having two separate icings and bags and piping tips for one color of icing really bothers me. It's a lot of extra work! It means if you wanted to flood cookies using 3 different colors, you'd need 6 bags of icing.
That's why I just go with the 15-20 second consistency. It's thick enough to not run off the sides of the cookie and thin enough to still level out and make a smooth surface. Less work and less waste!
Once I flood my cookies, I give them a gentle shake, side to side to help level out the icing.
Royal Icing Takes Practice
When I first started experimenting with icing and decorated cookies, I hated working with it. Absolutely hated it.
It was messy, my cookies always looked so sloppy and the icing never dried right (read on for more hateful experiences). In fact, there's a lot of annoying things about royal icing, which is why most people probably avoid it. That's what I did!
With some practice and lots of research, I've been able to overcome a lot of my icing fears. Thank goodness because these cookies, are worth it!
How to dry royal icing?
Ooof. I have battled this one for a long time. I have searched far and wide for tips, tricks and methods on how to dry royal icing and I'm always left with one answer.
Time is the only thing that will dry royal icing. Refrigerating royal icing does not work and freezing royal icing does not work to make it dry more quickly.
You have to let your cookies sit out on a tray on the counter for at least 12 hours (I just let them hang overnight).
At first, I was not cool with this. I was TERRIFIED that my cookies were going to dry out and taste like pieces of cardboard in the morning. But you know what? They were FINE!
My cookies have so much butter in them that they would actually probably stay perfectly moist for a few days out (not that I recommend that!)
But time is definitely the only way they will dry. I have heard rumors that you can speed up dry time using a dehydrator (still scared my cookies would dry out...) or, leaving the tray of cookies in the oven with the light turned on. Apparently, the light gives off just enough heat to speed up dry time. I haven't tried either of these methods.
BTW Royal Icing hates humidity
Royal icing is finicky. If it is very humid, the icing will have a hard time drying.
There's this thing called "butter bleed" that will absolutely ruin your day. This was something that kept happening to me and I found very little help on the internet.
Butter bleed occurs when the oils warm up in the cookie (from warm days or humidity) and seep up through the tops of the cookies, staining your beautiful icing. Yes, staining it. There's nothing wrong with the cookies per say, they just don't look pretty. And when it happens, I just want to cry.
Here's an example-
Note the yellow hue and discoloration.
How to prevent butter bleed
Luckily, I've found two tricks that seem to work very well against this awful, awful situation.
Here's what you can do to prevent butter bleed:
- Using corn syrup in the icing (the icing dries softer, therefore already retaining moisture, less room for oils to seep into)
- Allowing your cookies to dry on paper towels. They will soak up any excess oils and drag them to the bottom of the cookie, keeping your tops nice and beautiful!
Dealing with Air bubbles
Air bubbles are another sneaky little issue that can pop up when your icing is drying. Tiny, tiny air bubbles find their way into your icing which can wreck the surface of your cookies.
To combat air bubbles, I do a few things.
- After the icing is made, I let it rest for 30 minutes. This allows the icing to relax and helps keeps those pesky air bubbles to a minimum before you scoop it into the piping bag.
- When I go to thin the icing out with water, I only mix it by hand with a spatula. This reduces the creation of new bubbles.
- Once you pipe the icing on the cookie, use a scribe so that you can pop the air bubbles out of the icing before it sets.
Can royal icing be made ahead of time?
Yes! Yes it can. If you're making royal icing early, just be sure to wrap the bowl with plastic wrap tightly. It can be stored at room temp on the counter, royal icing does not need to be refrigerated. I wouldn't keep royal icing out for more than a couple of days because it will start to separate. You can always use a hand mixer to whip it back up.
If you make royal icing transfers (pipe royal icing directly onto parchment, dry completely and it never touches any other food), then you can keep those almost indefinitely. However, if they come into contact with grease, oils or water then they will get ruined.
Cookie Decorating Ideas
First, here are some links to some tools that are a huge help to achieve the look you're going for! At first, I didn't think I needed these things, but TRUST ME! Having the right tools is the first step to getting the hang of it!
- Sugar Needle, or Scribe (needed to get rid of air bubbles and do detail icing work)
- Cookie Turntable (so you don't need to fuss with the cookie)
- Specialty, extra fine piping tips for writing and details
- Piping bags
- Brushes, for painting/watercolor effect
- High Quality Food Coloring
- My favorite cookie cutters
- Tiered cooling rack (this is a huge space saver when you need to dry several trays of cookies overnight!)
Here are some examples of cookies I've done in the past. Hoping to get some decorating tutorials up for you all soon!
Which of these would you like to learn how to make? Leave a comment below!
There's a lot to know when making royal icing for cookies!!
Like I said at the start of this post, I actually really hated royal icing at first. I almost gave it up. But the challenge of conquering royal icing has been a fun adventure! It's just like anything else, you have to educate yourself and practice, practice, practice.
I still look forward to perfecting my skills. It's so fun and nothing brings a smile to someone's face like a decorated cookie!!Print
Famous Royal Icing
- Total Time: 40
- Yield: Floods about 24 cookies
- 2 tbsp meringue powder
- 4 tbsp warm water
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
- 2 tsp lemon extract (lemon juice powder is also a great ingredient to use here!)
- 1 tsp white food coloring (optional, but a very nice touch if you plan on using white icing for your designs!)
- desired food coloring
- additional water for thinning out the icing to flood consistency or more powdered sugar for thickening the icing
- In a large bowl (make sure there is no grease or oil residue in the bowl), mix the meringue powder and 4 tablespoon of water using a hand mixer on high speed. Mix until completely dissolved and very frothy.
- Add half of the powdered sugar. Mix on low until incorporated.
- Add the other cup of powdered sugar along with the corn syrup and lemon powder (or extract). Mix on low until combined, and then switch the speed to high and mix for 2 minutes (no less!) Taste the icing and add more lemon flavor if desired.
- The icing should be thick and have a little more volume as well. It should hold a soft peak.
- Once mixed, grab a spatula and mix in the white food coloring or other colors as desired.
- To thin out the icing, add ½ teaspoon of warm water at a time until desired icing consistency is reached (15-20 seconds for flood icing). Mix with the spatula to avoid more air bubbles.
I usually make the entire batch flood consistency and then stiffen it up with more powdered sugar in smaller batches as needed.
- This step is optional but helps with air bubbles, cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. The majority of air bubbles will naturally release as the icing rests, giving you less trouble once your cookies are covered!
- Decorate your cookies and allow to dry uncovered overnight.
Recipe by Owlbbaking.com
*A quick note about adding the lemon flavor- when the lemon etract is first added to the thick icing, the flavor can be intense. Once you add water to create 15-20 second flood icing, the intensity of the lemon will decrease. The flavor of a vanilla cookie pairs very nicely with the flavor from the thinned out flood icing. If you are NOT making flood icing, feel free to adjust the amount and use less lemon.
If you think you might not enjoy lemon, swap out it out for vanilla extract. Be sure to either get clear vanilla extract or white food coloring though because normal vanilla extract will darken your icing.
- Prep Time: 40
- Category: Icing
Keywords: royal icing for cookies, royal icing recipe, how to make royal icing, how to decorate cookies
If I want to just make more of this icing at once and then separate to color can I just double everything?
Yup! I do it all the time! 🙂
Such a tasty and easy recipe to follow. I had never made Royal icing before and it turned out perfect.
THANK YOU!!! I've literally never left a comment on a recipe before, that's how grateful I am. I haven't tasted the frosting on the cookies yet (other than licking the spatula - which was good!), but I had to write just to comment on the instructions. I too have never attempted flooding before and I'm a pretty accomplished baker. I was scared, but you did all the trial and error and wrote so detailed and thoroughly about it that I actually nailed it on the first try! That never happens! And following all your instructions to a T, I wouldn't even call it hard! I've done way more difficult things! Thank you so much!
Hey Crystal!! Thank you SOOO much for the kind words!!! I can't tell you how much that means to me and I'm so glad you loved the recipe! Royal Icing can be so intimidating but it really is easy!! 🙂
Is the original consistency what you would use to write on cookies, or does it need to be thickened up a bit? If so, how much powdered sugar would you add?
Megan harrop says
How do you get your cookies colors not to bleed. I haven’t used this recipe yet but in the past my colors seem to bleed. I live in a humid environment and try to let them dry overnight.
Great question Megan! I typically allow some time in between different colors on the cookie which helps. If you're doing a wet on wet technique I understand allowing time won't work. In that case, I'd say it can help to not oversaturate the icing with too much dye, the less the better. My cookie decorating online course also has techniques that allow you to decorate without the worry of color bleed! 🙂
Just made the cookies and icing and so far all is good. My cookies are iced and will be drying overnight. I plan on freezing them until Saturday, but will be out of town starting tomorrow morning. If I put them on trays in the freezer uncovered will they be fine that way until Friday or will I need to bag them once they are frozen? One post I read said to nag individually but then if I should thaw them uncovered that seems like a bit much to bag individually then unban you thaw them bag again for a bake sale…. Advice?
Hi, I am going to try your sugar cookie recipe and your royal icing recipe. I was wondering if you have ever heat-sealed this recipe and how it turned out? I have to make so many dozen for a wedding and was hoping to start a couple weeks ahead of time and heat seal them. Will the royal icing stay hard if it's heat sealed and does the cookie recipe stay fresh?
Thanks for your time.
Hey Natalie! Great question!! I have not personally stored heat sealed cookies for more than a couple of days, but this website seems to have some more info. They say they can last 4-6 weeks sealed, but I have not tried this. I would imagine it preserves the cookie just as good as fresh 🙂
Whenever I have to make cookies in advance, I freeze them. You can freeze decorated cookies very easily, and it always works great for me (freeze fully dried/decorated, thaw UNCOVERED for 1-2 hours before packaging). However, this does require some freezer space as I avoid stacking them so they don't break.
I hope that helps!! I know making cookies for an event like a wedding can be a lot of pressure but you got this!!
Hi, I love almond extract. Would that work as a substitute?
Yup! That would work great!!
I am having trouble with my frosted cookies drying even. Some dry good and others get wrinkly and look like they got to dry. I was using a similar recipe to yours. Do you think I was over mixing my frosting I mixed it until it formed a hard peak. I am definitely going to try your recipe and see if my cookies dry more even. I also have a problem with my frosting separating and getting liquidity after only 1 or 2 hrs of making it. I am a home baker and new to all of this. Any ideas you have will be greatly appreciated thank you
Hi Tana! Thank you for reaching out. Its possible that could be the cause of the issue you were having. I can say that I have not had any issues like that with my recipe; I think the addition of the corn syrup definitely helps. Since you mentioned you were new to this, I recommend watching the video in this blog post to nail down the process. I've had lots of folks comment how they had great success on their first try! 🙂 Keep me posted on your journey!
I find a low setting heater fan helps fully dry the icing to avoid this. I keep one on my cookies while I work. The little bit if heat dies alot.
I am trying to make sugar cookies with hardened icing and decorations for a baby shower...but I live in Hawaii and it is very humid here and I don't have an air conditioner. The cookies are hard to make as it is so hot...maybe I should make them at midnight or something. But do you think I can put them in the fridge and it may harden the icing in 24 hours? I can't even leave them out because the ants will get at them! haha - it definitely sounds like I should try something else! Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
So I’m wanting to try royal icing for your sugar cookie recipe (which I ABSOLUTELY love and will never use anything else btw) but I’m thinking of freezing everything once I’m done decorating. I’m making 300 sugar cookies for a friends wedding, and I’m also due to have a baby 3 weeks before their wedding, leaving me with limited but scheduled time to bake and decorate the cookies. I’ve posted on Facebook about options and someone recommended I try decorating with royal icing (I typically just quickly ice with candy melts) and then freezing until I need them. I’ve read through comments on here and have also done research and everything has recommended against freezing the actual icing, but I’m not sure if it would make a difference on the actual cookie or in a bag. Any recommendations on possibly making everything now-ish and freezing them until a day or two before the wedding just so its already done? *The wedding is April 1st*
Hi Faith! Thank you so much for reaching out, and I'm so glad you love the sugar cookie recipe!!! This is a great question. Freezing cookies decorated with royal icing can be controversial. I've personally never had an issue with it - I do it all the time! Just a few things to consider. First, only freeze the cookies once the icing is completely dry. Second, dried royal can never touch water or else it will get ruined. That said, when you remove the finished cookies from the freezer, you have to let them thaw *uncovered*. If the cookies were to thaw in a bag or covered, condensation would form and drip back down on the cookie. The other thing to keep in mind is, it's best to avoid stacking the cookies if you're doing any kind of raised details. So for example, if you flood the cookie with icing and were to use an edible marker to write on it or decorate with luster dust, I wouldn't expect there to be any issues to stack them. If you decorate the flooded layer of royal icing with more icing details, it's really best to store them flat in the freezer. With 300 cookies, this can take up a lot of room, so something to consider!
And one more thing I like to do is, freeze the cookies unstacked and uncovered on a cookie sheet, then once they're frozen, you can carefully bag them up into ziploc bags.
If you decide to use royal icing for this project, I definitely recommend doing a test batch before committing to the full 300. Go through the whole process as you would; make the cookies, freeze them, thaw them...just so you're comfortable with the process and if you have any issues, you can figure out a workaround. 🙂
I hope that helps!!! Please feel free to email me if you have any other questions.
Am I able to double or triple the royal icing recipe for a larger batch?
Yes, definitely! 🙂
Dani Guida says
Would this icing work well to put in squeeze bottles for a kids cookie decorating party? Trying to find the best idea…if not I can do buttercream. Clearly if it’s not perfect or dry the kids don’t care lol. But any ideas for an icing that would work for them?
Yup! It definitely will work, but you may want to make it on the thicker side so it's not as runny. Buttercream will likely be less messy and might be easier to work with. I do have a cookie decorating course where you create royal icing transfers to create cookie designs, which can be done ahead of time. It's great because the kids can work with dry pieces and leave the party with fully dried cookies. Feel free to check it out here.
I have used your sugar cookie cut out recipe and this royal icing twice and they are a match made in heaven! The cookies are absolutely delicious and have the best texture. I have struggled with getting the icing to fully harden. They are very close, but still leave an indention when I hold them or gently press on them. Is this how it should be or am I doing something wrong? Probably the later. Also, the icing dries very matte. Is there a way to make it have more of a sheen?
I just baked your sugar cookie recipe and its delicious! The icing dried but I found it not hard enough. I let it dry for 12/13hrs. I found if i held it, the icing was left with a thumb print. Not sure what I can do to make it dry a bit harder?
Hi Jess! I'm so sorry you had a bit of trouble with the icing! Sometimes the humidity/weather can impact dry time, it sounds like that may have been the case here.
How long can I store icing on the counter? And will it freeze well?
If I left it in frosting bag and took out when needed would that work? How long are your cookies good for In The freezer?
This can stay on the counter for a few days, although it will begin to separate after 1 day (you may have to readjust the consistency with more sugar the longer it sits). It does freeze but only after its fully dried on the cookies. I usually store my cookies for no more than 2 months. I hope that helps!
I’m having a hard time with your royal icing recipe. They are not drying with a shine to them. They have a dull finish. I let the frosting sit for 45 minutes. I dried in Front on the fan, as I read that would help. I am getting lots of air bubbles. How long do you whip the powder
Meringue? I am very careful not to over mix. I absolutely love your cookie dough recipe but having trouble with the frosting.
Hi Holly! Thanks for reaching out! Hmm, that is a mystery for sure. Usually to achieve some shine, the fan trick works. I'll have to do more research on this. I whip the meringue powder with the water for a good minute or so. I stop once the mixture gets VERY foamy and creates a lot of volume. Check out the recipe video to see it in action, that might help! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTIwpPz16Uk
Kelly Essman says
Do you have to use the corn syrup? What purpose does it serve?
I would prefer not to use it will it hinder the icing in anyway.
I am super excited to get started on your Cookie Transfermation!
Hi Kelly! Great questions! The corn syrup can be skipped if desired. The corn syrup has a few functions. It gives the icing a bit more elasticity, adds a slight sheen to icing when fully dried, and I find that it slightly softens the bite of the icing. It still dries completely hard, but IMO is more pleasant to eat. 🙂
Yayy! I'm looking forward to seeing your creations!! Feel free to keep me posted in case of any other questions!
Hi, thanks for sharing all these useful tips with us. I'd like to try your recipe of royal icing but there is no meringue powder nor syrup in my country can I replace them with egg white and honey?
Hi! Yes, that would work great! I haven't tried this recipe not using meringue powder, but based on my research 2 egg whites should be sufficient. You can use honey, but be mindful that it will alter the color of the icing. If you plan on making white icing, I'm not sure the honey would work (although, you can experiment with white food coloring). The honey could be skipped if needed.
I used both your sugar cookie recipe and this icing and they are the perfect combination! Like match made in heaven. I have used this twice and the taste is amazing. I'm just starting out in decorated cookies so I have lots to learn. Both times I have made the icing they dried matte. I love that look, but would also like to be able to have a sheen when needed. Any tips on how to do that? I've also had difficulties getting it to dry completely hard. When holding a dried cookie or gently pressing on the icing it will leave an indention.
Hi Bridget! Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment and for the kind words! Hmm, I've always found achieving a sheen- look is kind of tough. Generally royal icing dries with a matte finish. You could try playing around with pearl luster dust to add some visual interest! Regarding the drying, how long do you let them dry for? If the ambient air has high humidity, it can impact dry time. You can also dry setting a small fan in front of the cookies to help them dry out (watch out for dust blowing around though!) I hope that helps! I review even more tips in my decorated cookie course, which is great for bakers just starting out! 🙂
Thank you so much! I have since tried this again and it worked perfectly. Who knows what I was doing wrong before. I've also experimented with adding some fall flavors to both the cookies and the icing and they still turned out amazing! I'm convinced these are fool proof! I definitely need to check out the cookie course. Thanks again.
Yayy!! So glad to hear it!! 🙂
Chelsea M says
Was wondering if I used the lemon powder instead of the extract, is the measurement the same?
Hey Chelsea! Great question. Lemon Powder is a bit more potent, so I would start out with using less and adjust to taste. 🙂
Help! I’ve gone through two batches and cannot get the Royal icing to get thick. I’ve read some of the other replies to see what I’m doing wrong. The first batch was probably not frothy enough when I added other ingredients. The 2nd batch was definitely a frothy meringue, I whipped it for almost 10 minutes. The icing still doesn’t get thick. It doesn’t help that I’m new to cookie decorating. 😉
Hi Maria! Oh no! To confirm, you whipped it for almost 10 minutes after all of the powdered sugar was added? That's so strange that it didn't thicken up at that point. Are you using a stand mixer by any chance? Sometimes the stand mixers have trouble properly mixing the icing because the whisk beater can't reach it well enough.
Hi there - I just made your sugar cookie recipe today and it is fabulous. Next up: trying out this royal icing recipe! I am new to using royal icing and wondered if toppers made from other ingredients can be added to an iced & completely dry base? For example, shapes made of melted & hardened chocolate/candy melts. I worry that the oils in the chocolate will somehow impact the iced base or cause it to break down...thoughts on this? Thanks!
That's a really good question!! Never thought about that before! Hmmm, I suppose chocolate or candy melts could work. I've seen royal icing transfers used on cakes and cupcakes before (on top of buttercream). Please keep me posted on how it works out for you if you give it a try!
Okay, update: I made spiders with chocolate candy melts, and once they had hardened, I transferred them to cookies iced with your royal icing. Worked out great! No bleed or breakdown at all. It was a good way to create identical shapes using a template and not rely on my shaky piping hand! 😉 Thanks again for the excellent cookie & icing recipes!
I'm so glad to hear that!! Yay! 🙂 I hope you check out my course, Cookie Transfermation, which uses templates to decorate cookies! That's exactly why I created it, templates are just way easier to use!
Laurel Butmankiewicz says
Hey Liz! I’m going to try this recipe out and make some for Eloise’s birthday! Question.. I only have a kitchen aid. Do I need a hand mixer? Secondly - once I let the icing dry overnight - do I go back and add Other decorations over the base color or all at the same time. Example on the video all the cookies had white or blue bases. Do you go back the following day and add extra decorations and detail or can you do it before the base layer is completely dry? Will be purchasing all the stuff via your links lol
Hey Laurel! oh YAY! I'm so excited! The tricky thing with making this with a KitchenAid is that the volume of the meringue powder/water is low so it can be hard for the mixer to whip it up if that makes sense. If that happens, you could try giving it a head start in a large bowl and whisking by hand to get it going, then transfer it to the mixer. Yup, you're correct! Let the base icing dry overnight. It will dry completely hard. Then you can add the decoration on top of that. Let me know how it goes or if you have any other questions pop up!! You know where to find me!! 🙂
Laurel Butmankiewicz says
I went ahead and bought a cheapo hey mahbe if I love it I’ll make them often. I got the needles and some cutters. I’m excited. If they turn out good I’ll tag you. If they don’t .... I’ll wait until they do hahah. You’re website is spectacular
Oh good! It'll be helpful! haha I'm sure they're going to come out great!! You're the sweetest, thank you! Sending love - and Happy Birthday to Eloise!
Super easy and tasty! I have a question: since this icing does not get very hard, would it still work with transfers? I want to make some mini flowers, but I don't know if it being soft will make the flowers crumble when I try to get them off the parchment paper to transfer them to the cookie. Thanks!
Thanks so much for the comment, Bea!! Great question! The icing should dry completely hard actually! Is that not happening for you? I've had fantastic success using this recipe for transfers and making flower transfers as well. Let me know if you're having any issue with the icing and I'll try to help best I can!
Thanks for the quick reply! I have only tried it on cookies but I plan on making flowers next time. The bite was so nice and soft compared to others that it made me wonder if it would work well with the mini flowers. Very excited to try it for my Easter cookies 🙂
Got it!! Yes, it will make great flowers! The icing dries even more when it is a thicker consistency so you should be good! Happy Baking! 🙂
Kelly Franklin says
Hi there! Some recipes for royal icing say you can freeze it. I've never tried it, but since your alter your recipe by adding corn syrup, would your icing recipe freeze well?
Hi Kelly! Great question! I've only frozen dried, decorated cookies and never had an issue with this recipe. I have not tried freezing it any other way. If you freeze decorated cookies, just be sure to let them defrost uncovered as condensation will ruin the icing. Hope that helps!
How do you freeze them? I’m a new time baker. The cookies turned out great using both your sugar cookie recipe and royal icing.
Cookies are for Easter so I wanted to freeze til then. Can you share how you freeze them?
Can you store leftover icing? If so, tips on this?
Hi Kristen! Sure! Great question. Leftover icing can be stored at room temp in a sealed container for a few days. I've found that after one day, the icing begins to separate. It's totally fine and normal, but you'll need to mix it back up to use it. If you have leftover icing in piping bags, then the icing would need to be removed from the bag and re-mixed in order to use it again. Hope that helps!
Does this recipe double well?
Hi Enid! Yes, it does! I've had no issues with doubling this recipe. 🙂
Thanks for the speedy reply! I'm going to have to work on my arm muscles then for that blender time. Phew! My husband laughs when I use it on high because it sounds like an airplane taking off. *face palm* Although if I double or triple it, would stand mixer work since there is more content the bowl? Hmm... I saw he earlier threads so hence my inquiry there.
Hahah I love that! Mine makes the same sound! Yes, I would definitely use the stand mixer for a double or triple batch! It would work great! 🙂
Hi Liz. I have a couple of requests if you have time.. I want to use this recipe for marbling some Valentine’s cookies..do you have any tips..?.also do you have a Linzer cookie recipe..?..thanks.. I am so excited to try your cookie recipe with this icing..
I have no idea what I’m doing wrong (perhaps it has something to do with my cheap hand mixer??) but I have tried to make this recipe twice and each time the consistency is so runny and it does not thicken hardly at all after I add the powdered sugar. I tried adding a bit more sugar but then it was much too sweet. I had not added any more water, and it was still so runny that it ran off my cookies. The cookie recipe was absolutely perfect so I’m sure I’m doing something wrong with the icing but for the life of me I can’t figure it out.
Hi Erica, That is quite strange, that definitely shouldn't happen! I find that the key to achieving the consistency is set at the first stage, when mixing the water and meringue powder together. The two ingredients need to become foamy before adding any powdered sugar. Were there any issues with meringue powder?
Thank you for your reply. I just realized something pretty vital especially as it pertains to such a key ingredient... as I was looking at my meringue powder I noticed for the first time that I accidentally purchased “vegan” meringue powder. I’m sure there are recipes for that but since I absolutely want to make this recipe I am going to get the real deal meringue powder and give it a try!
OOoh yes, that's probably the culprit here! 🙂 Keep me posted on how things go once you try it with the regular meringue powder!
I forgot to update- using real meringue powder this recipe was and is amazing! Thank you for sharing 🙂 Coupled with your amazing cutouts it has been a huge hit. My friends and family have all loved these perfect cookies. Made some cookies for my boyfriend’s birthday and his family was literally shocked that well decorated cookies could taste so delicious. They expressed surprise because as they stated “normally” they do not like the taste of “those type of cookies” but couldn’t believe the cookies had great texture and flavor, and that the icing paired so well. Next project will be trying to replicate your gluten-free recipe for my boyfriend’s sister’s birthday who has celiac disease. Thank you, thank you.
Thank you so much for sharing the kind words! Wooo!! I'm so glad you and your family loved the recipe! I figured the real meringue powder would do the trick! I think you'll like the GF version too. The key with those ones is the bake time 😉
Lindsay P. says
Hello! I've made the cookies several times and completely enjoy them. I cannot find meringue powder anywhere this time of year. I know egg whites can be substituted. Have you tried that? If so, what's the substitution ratio?
Oh no! I have not tried using fresh egg white before but it can certainly be used! Here is a recipe I would recommend: https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/royal-icing.html It calls for pasturized egg whites - here's how to pasteurize eggs at home: https://sugargeekshow.com/recipe/how-to-pasteurize-eggs/
Let me know how it goes! 🙂
Thank you so much for this. My husband was craving sugar cookies from his childhood. Nailed it! It's delicious and easy to work with!
Thank you, Sarah!! 🙂
Hi! Thank you for your notes and tips! I want to make this - curious, can I use my standing mixer (with whisk attachment)? And what tip are you using? Thanks again - I am excited to try these!!
Hi Chris! You could use a stand mixer 🙂 - however I found that stand mixer had trouble whisking the meringue powder and water since there wasn't enough volume in the bowl for the whisk to reach it, if that makes sense. Yours may be different, but that was my experience. In this post, I use a Wilton #3 tip for flooding. for any detailed piping (i.e. writing), I like to use PME tips (#1.5 or #2). Here's a link if you want to take a look! https://amzn.to/3lQVBNS
Hello, I made this recipe and it was fabulous!!! Thank a lot for sharing the recipe, tips and notes... just, I have a question... what other extract flavors (no powder) I can add to the royal icing and can match well to your sugar cookies recipe?
Hi Julieta! I'm so glad you love the recipe! Since the sugar cookies are vanilla, I'd say you can pair mostly anything. Almond (the mix of almond and vanilla would taste like cake batter!), raspberry, orange, peppermint, lime, coconut, banana, rum, hazelnut, I think any of those would go well!
I have never made or used royal icing homemade or store bought. Does the icing need to be thicker to do the outline? Do I need to let the outline set before continuing to do the flooding?
Also, I am going to use your cut out sugar recipe which is another first. I have made sugar cookies many times just not rolled. My issue with my other sugar cookies is the cookies are so soft the cookies fall apart! Just simply caring them in a container to whereever I am going the cookies break apart in pieces. Will these be this soft or what am I doing wrong? Sorry for the long long post/question.
Hi Rebecca! No worries, happy to share anything else I can to help! 🙂 So, I make my royal icing to a 15-20 second consistency (which means it takes that amount of time for the icing to melt back into itself when you drizzle it in the bowl when you're making it!). 15-20 second consistency is thick enough where you can outline and flood. No need to let the outline set before flooding. If you want to decorate details on top, make your icing a bit thicker by adding more powdered sugar. For the cookies - they are soft (not hard & crunchy) but they will definitely NOT fall apart on you! 🙂 I would say be sure to smoosh the dough together well before rolling. That way, you won't have any breaks in the dough which could lead to cracking. Hope that all makes sense!! Let me know how things go!
thank you for the reply! I'll use the royal icing regardless and see if I need another form of adhesive like the video showed.
Hello! I am looking forward to making your sugar cookies with this royal icing! I am making these cookies with edible printed cookie toppers (with a company logo) and I am wondering if this royal icing recipe would be the appropriate recipe to use to adhere the toppers to the cookie?
Hi Erin! Hmmm, I've never worked with edible printed toppers before. I'm not sure how the icing will affect the printout. I found this YouTube video that might be helpful! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZb08rZUE7Q
Thanks for your info on making Royal icing and all off your great advice. You touched on humidity and that making icing in humid weather can be tough. I’m wondering what level of humidity is considered too high to make my icing.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this
Hi Corrine! I find that if the humidity is around 80% and above it can impact it. This is just my experience. It's not like it won't work at all, but it does increase dry time and the risk for butter bleed to occur.
Hello! I'm always looking at different recipes and seeing what other people do and I believe every word that you say about your cookies being addictive and raved about because people say the same about mine and our cookie and royal icing recipes are VERY similar. I just use almond instead of lemon. There's just something special about those little oddities from other recipes like the extra egg yolk in the cookies and corn syrup in the icing. Your cookies are beautiful!
Thanks so much Kelly!!
Allison Rhodes says
I LOVE your recipe and have a newfound Covid (I am stuck at home hobby!) My niece wants me to make cookies for her birthday and I am needing to make the cookies a little over a week before and was wanting to freeze the cookies already made and decorated. Have you frozen them like this and how did the icing hold up? I just don't want the icing to bleed when they thaw. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!
Thank you so much for the kind words Allison!! You made my day!! Yes, I have frozen decorated cookies before and it works just fine! This is what has always worked best for me. After the cookies are decorated and FULLY dried, lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with a paper towel (if you not done so already). Wrap the tray with a few layers of plastic wrap. Since you're only freezing them for a short time, you can skip using aluminum foil. Place the entire tray into the freezer and freeze. They will need a couple hours to defrost, so be sure to plan accordingly. When you take them out of the freezer, IMMEDIATELY remove the plastic wrap and let them thaw completely uncovered. If they start to thaw while covered, condensation builds, the water droplets drip on the cookies and they'll get ruined. The paper towel on the bottom also helps to absorb any moisture. I hope that helps - what a special treat for your niece's birthday! 🙂
I’m attempting royal icing for the first time. Do I use a different type of icing for the detail work? How long after flooding the cookie with icing do I wait to add details?Thanks!
Hey Heather! Great questions. When I make royal icing, the end result after all the mixing should be 15-20 second consistency. That's what I usually flood with. Once the cookies are flooded, I let them dry overnight. I just find that's always been best! Once you're ready to do the detail work after they're dry, I thicken up the icing I made using a bit more powdered sugar. The thicker icing should NOT be hard to stir, it should still be soft but hold its shape when you scoop it up.
I hope that makes sense! Can't wait to see what you create!
Hello! Excited to try your icing paired with your sugar cookies. Since your icing is softer, does this mean I shouldn't stack them for transport?
Hey Kathy!! The icing will definitely dry just as hard as traditional royal icing. I tend to not stack my decorated cookies anyway in fear of breakage, but yes, they can technically be stacked. 🙂
Linda Johnston says
This is going to be my first try at decorating sugar cookies. How do you apply the royal icing to the cookie. I need any and all help please
Hi Linda! You'll need piping bags to apply the royal icing to the cookies. If you don't have those on hand, you can make one of out of parchment paper, or if you're really in a bind you can use a zip lock bag with a small tip cut off (although, I always have issues with these bursting).
If you have any piping tips to use that is also great! But you can easily flood (cover the whole cookie) in icing without piping tips.
All of my other tips are in my blog post and I hope they are helpful!! Let me know how everything goes and I'm here for you if you have any more questions!
Kathy Anderson Broadwater says
How many cookies will this recipe flood?
Hi Kathy! It's a bit hard to judge, but I'd say one batch could flood about 25-30, 3-inch cookies. I usually make a batch and divvy it up for flood and detail work at the same time. 🙂
Kathy Anderson Broadwater says