Making and Decorating with Royal Icing

January 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Royal icing is a bit more complicated than making sugar cookies, even though it seems the most simple thing. Sugar, water, and some kind of egg product are all you need. I use merengue powder because I don’t trust my odds against catching salmonella, but you can also use egg whites, pasteurized eggs (Did you know this existed? I did not.), or egg powder.

The keys to a good royal icing are A) the proportion of these basic ingredients, B) their quality (for merengue powder I recommend Ateco), and C) whipping.

For a great tutorial with lost of pictures, see Bake at 350‘s post.


  • 1/4 cup merengue powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • Dash of Almond extract


  1. Combine merengue powder and nearly all of the water
  2. Beat until peaks begin to form
  3. Add powdered sugar. You are going to a whipping for a long time if you are not fortunate enough to have a stand mixer. At first it will look like sludge, but keep going. Then it will look like honey, keep going. Then it will lighten and begin to look like frosting, but keep going because you are still not done. You are done when you remove the beater and the frosting does not budge an inch as you move it around!
  4. Add extract and beat a bit more.


I use such still icing because I use liquid food coloring. If you use gel food coloring it isn’t such an issue since it wont water the icing down, but the all-natural coloring I use only comes in liquid form. Be careful with these because they can make your icing too liquid-y and runny to work with. In order to avoid this, add the coloring a drop at a time. Your spatula should always be able to stand up on its own in your icing.


You can store the icing for immediate use in a container with a damp kitchen cloth covering it with a lid on top. For longer periods, store in the fridge in Tupperware with damp napkins inside. To keep the tips of piping bags from going hard while working, place the bags in cups with damp paper towels at the bottom.

Happy icing!



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