I can’t get enough of royal icing. Nope, I just can’t! I love working with it over any other form of edible decorating. Obviously, I use it on cookies, but I even like to make cake toppers out of royal icing. I feel like I really get to express my creativity when I work with it. I have been using royal icing for a long time… over 10 years! During that time I have tried and used many different recipes. This allowed me to see what worked best for me, and play around with ingredients until I found what I now use and love.
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There are many different methods and recipes out there when it comes to making royal icing. Mine is perfect for me, my climate, and my decorating style. If you don’t love it as much as I do (I hope that’s not the case) feel free to browse the internet. You can find some really great stuff from some knowledgeable royal icing makers! I encourage you to read my post, here, about using royal icing. That is where you can learn from my mistakes and pick up some of my tips for using this icing.
What You’ll Need To Make It
- To make my royal icing, I always use a stand mixer. This is the one I have and love but any will work just fine.
- A clean towel to throw over the mixer. This will keep your workspace clean.
- This is a go-to for me. It gives me the best results.
- Powdered Sugar that can be bought in a bulk (4lb.) size bag. I get mine from BJ’s wholesale, but you can absolutely use two 2lb. bags from the grocery store.
- Corn syrup is a must! I have more flexibility when decorating with royal icing because of the consistency corn syrup gives the icing.
- Vanilla… you can use clear vanilla if you are concerned with the whiteness of your icing, but I prefer the taste of pure vanilla. I have never run into any coloring issues with it either. The lamb cookies above were made with pure vanilla added to the icing and they still looked nice and white.
- Warm water. Warm from the faucet (not scalding hot) is the temperature you want to work with here. It helps everything come together nicely.
- Cream of tartar. Because you will be whipping up the meringue powder, the cream of tartar acts as a stabilizer. It will help the meringue hold it’s shape.
Using This Royal Icing
The recipe below makes quite a bit of icing. I tend to need this much. If you find it to be too much for you, just half the recipe. You can also store extra icing in the fridge for a couple weeks. Just let it come to room temperature and re-whip it before use. This icing does tend to dry on the quicker side so keep this in mind when using wet on wet techniques. Maybe stick to doing one or two cookies at a time. Even though it does dry nicely, I still recommend leaving it out for a long time to dry. About 12 hours or overnight drying time should be good. The beauty of this icing, though, is a hardly craters! This is such a big deal to me… YES! I can’t tell you how many beautiful cookies never had a chance because awful cratering happened while they dried. So sad…
Check out my shape holding sugar cookies for a great place to start off your cookie decorating experience.
I hope you love this icing just as much as I do. May all your cookies turn out beautifully!
Happy decorating! xoxo, Katie
This royal icing is great to work with. It hardly ever results in craters! The consistency is perfect when it's wet and once it's dried. It's all of these wonderful things, and in the end, it tastes awesome too!
- 11 tbsp. meringue powder CK brand
- 9-10 oz. warm water
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 4 lbs. powdered sugar 1 bulk size bag or 2 grocery store sized bags
- 4-6 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
Whisk together your warm water and meringue powder on high until it has doubled in size. Make sure you are using your whisk attachment. Don't over mix. You will know when it is ready when it's thicker and doubled.
Now, add in your vanilla and cream of tartar just until blended in.
Add in about 1/3 of your sugar and mix on low speed until just combined.
Scrape down the bowl and add in another 1/3 of the sugar still on low and mix until just combined.
Add your corn syrup and quickly mix on low just until combined.
Add the remaining sugar and mix on low until just combined.
Scrape down the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
If you need a stiffer icing you can add more sugar 1/2 cup at a time. You can add water (I like to use a spray bottle) to thin your icing out.
Keep the icing in an airtight container. It will start to harden quickly.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few weeks. Although, If you are working with the icing, it is fine to be left out on the counter all day.
Feel free to play around with the amounts of water and powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency. I wouldn't go adding cups of sugar. I also wouldn't add or take away tons of water... but a little flexibility can lead to the fit that's best for you!