Royal Icing Recipe

Royal Icing

Makes 4 1/2 cups, 72 (1-Tbsp) servings

This is the icing to use when you want a smooth, hard finish on your cookies. The consistency of the icing will depend on how it’s used; the stiffest icing is for outlining, icing for flooding will be thinner. Judge the consistency of the icing by the number of seconds the icing takes to flow back into itself when a line is drizzled over the surface. Before piping directly onto cookies, test icing consistency on a sheet of parchment paper.


  • 2 lb confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (helps create a bright white)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp pasteurized egg white
  • Assorted gel-based food colors


  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the confectioners’ sugar and cream of tartar. With the mixer on low, slowly add egg whites, scraping down the sides once or twice until whites are incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and whisk until the icing is stiff, white, and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Divide icing into as many bowls as colors you plan on using. Stir in gel colors to each bowl or leave white.
  3. Add enough water (quantities below) to thin icing to the consistency needed, depending on use. If the icing becomes too thin, sift in enough confectioners’ sugar until the desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Transfer icing to disposable piping bags fitted with a 1/8-inch tip. If not using right away, cover tips with damp paper towels to prevent the tips from developing a crust.
  5. Water quantities needed for thinning 1 cup of icing:
  6. • Outlining: 1/2 to 3/4 tsp water; icing will flow back into itself after 20 seconds
  7. • Piped decorations: 1 1/2 to 2 tsp water; icing will flow back into itself after 15 seconds
  8. • Flooding: 2 to 3 tsp water, icing will flow back into itself after 10 seconds


Amount Per Serving (based on 72 servings)
Calories: 50
Fat: 0 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 13 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sugar: 12 g
Protein: 0 g
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