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Famous Royal Icing

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5 from 15 reviews

This is the best royal icing for sugar 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!

  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: Floods about 24 cookies 1x


Units Scale
  • 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


  1. In a large bowl (make sure there is no grease or oil residue in the bowl), mix the meringue powder and 4 tbsp of water using a hand mixer on high speed. Mix until completely dissolved and very frothy.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar. Mix on low until incorporated.
  3. 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.
  4. The icing should be thick and have a little more volume as well. It should hold a soft peak.
  5. Once mixed, grab a spatula and mix in the white food coloring or other colors as desired.
  6. To thin out the icing, add ½ tsp 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.
  7. 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!
  8. Decorate your cookies and allow to dry uncovered overnight.


Recipe by

*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.