Updated Royal Icing Recipe

Just like my update to my sugar cookie recipe, I feel my initial royal icing recipe post requires an update as well. When I initially posted the recipe it worked well then, but I realized it is outdated and not what I use today. Over the past two years, I’ve experimented with other royal icing recipe variations and made a few tweaks until I reached the formula I now use consistently each time I make cookies.

Also, my previous post was very lacking in the details. I was new to blogging then and didn’t think to include more information that could have been helpful. Making royal icing can be very finicky and it’s a topic that deserves a more explanatory post. So here’s my updated royal icing recipe post. It has more pictures of the mixing process and some tips I’ve learned along the way.

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp
    meringue powder
  • 1 tbsp
    light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp
    CLEAR vanilla extract
  • 1 cup
    water
  • 2 lbs
    powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. 1

    In a mixer, combine meringue powder, light corn syrup, clear vanilla extract, and water.

    royal icing recipe step one
  2. 2

    Using a hand whisk, mix ingredients until the mixture becomes foamy.

    royal icing recipe step 2
  3. 3

    Add the powdered sugar to the mixture.

    royal icing step 3
  4. 4

    Hand whisk the mixture until the powdered sugar is incorporated and looks soupy. (I do this step so the powdered sugar doesn’t fly everywhere when I start the mixer in the next step.)

    royal icing recipe step 4
  5. 5

    Attach the paddle attachment and beat mixture on medium-high for about 10 minutes.

    royal icing recipe step 5
  6. 6

    The mixture should begin to thicken and whiten.

    royal icing recipe step 6
  7. 7

    Mix until the icing forms peaks. (If you remove the paddle and wiggle it, the icing should kind of jiggle but the peaks will remain intact.)

    royal icing recipe step 7

Storing Royal Icing

After the royal icing is done mixing I immediately prep it for storage; royal icing can dry and start to crust over fairly quickly. I like to store my icing in the same mixing bowl. I know others like to transfer the icing to another bowl or into tupperware for storage, which works great too. Below is just my preferred way of doing it.

  1. 1

    Scrape the sides of the bowl and gather the icing with a rubber spatula.

    storing royal icing step 1
  2. 2

    Cover the top with plastic wrap touching the icing surface. Be sure to cover the edges of the icing. Any exposure to air will dry out the icing.

    Storing royal icing step 2
  3. 3

    Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel. This prevents little dry crusties of icing from forming and getting into your icing, which would clog your icing tips when you try to decorate.

    royal icing storage step 3

From this point, I scoop out the amount of icing I need at a time, while recovering the icing with plastic wrap and the damp cloth when it is not in use.

I leave this bowl of icing at room temperature on my kitchen counter. Royal icing will keep for a few weeks, however I tend to finish off the batch before the end of the second week.

What’s Changed from the Original Royal Icing Recipe

  • I used to add light corn syrup whenever I randomly felt like it. Now, I think of it as a requirement. I believe it adds a boost to the taste, creates a nice sheen surface, and adds some favorable elasticity to the icing when it flows out of a piping tip. (meaning: I think it prevents icing lines from breaking mid-squeeze. It’s just a theory though.)

  • I now use Americolor’s meringue powder. It has a great vanilla smell and taste. I purchase 20-oz. tubs of Americolor meringue powder on Amazon, two tubs at a time to qualify for free shipping.

    (When I’m in a pinch, I still use Wilton’s meringue powder because it’s readily available in craft shops and grocery stores. However, the smell of the powder is off-putting. That’s my only complaint.)

  • I’ll add a half teaspoon of cream of tartar, only if I’m expecting humidity that day. I live in Seattle and, surprisingly, I don’t have humidity problems often, but I feel cream of tartar does help with the drying process when humidity does occur.

Royal Icing Tips and Tricks

  • This recipe can be easily doubled or reduced in half. I buy 2-pound bags of powdered sugar most of the time when making royal icing. However, if I know I won’t need much icing for the cookies I have planned, I buy 1-pound bags and prep for half the recipe.

  • Royal Icing will separate in its bowl after a few hours. Just re-mix the icing with your mixer to bring it back to its normal, fluffy state.

  • I love my Kitchenaid Flex Edge paddle attachment. It does a great job scraping the edges of the bowl during mixing, making sure all the powdered sugar is incorporated.

royal icing recipe

Tags:

Filed under:

66 replies on “Updated Royal Icing Recipe

  1. Hi Mike! I love love LOVE your work! :) I live near Olympia, so we’re kind of neighbors! I happen to have a friend who owns a restaurant, and they were able to find me 20 pound bags of meringue powder from their supplier for $40! I was going through it like mad! I use the same recipe I always had, instead of the per bag instructions! I think that would fill a bathtub! haha :) Thanks for sharing all that you do, youre amazing!

  2. nice and happy to learn new tricks. thanks

  3. Hi Mike,

    I absolutely looooove your blog and everything you make!

    I have a question about your Royal icing. When i made it the first time it was perfect. It dried perfectly and the cookies were beautiful and the icing was hard and smooth. I was so happy.

    But now a made again, a copple of times and it won’t dry hard.
    It is more like sand on my cookie and I don’t know what i’m doing wrong… :-(

    I even let them dry in a room were I have a woodburner so it would be dry and warm.

    Do you have any idea what I could be doing differently…?

    Thanks!

    Christel from Belgium

    1. Hi Christel. I think overmixing could be the culprit. Lilaloa mentioned it in her presentation at CookieCon last month. She posted about it here on her blog. Next time, what if you only mixed the icing until it reaches a soft peak, instead of a stiff peak. I hope that will solve all your issues!

  4. I tend to have a lot of bubbles or air in the icing. What am I doing wrong??

  5. I love so much your recipe,if theirs no meringue powder can i substitute it to gelatin powder?

    1. Hi there, Marty. Royal icing is really finicky and the meringue powder is an important ingredient. I wouldn’t advise substituting it out of the recipe.

  6. When Flooding, I want to cover the area with a minimal layer of icing. Should I just use a thinner consistency ? Any suggestions. I am just learning so I need lots of help :)

  7. Hi Mike! I just went to walmart to purchase the ingredients for your “updated sugar cookie recipe” and your “updated royal icing recipe” and I bought every thing except the meringue powder. The only meringue powder they sell is the Wilton 8 oz Can ($5.50) & the bigger 16 oz can ($14). I just dont want to spend $5 for a tiny can just because its name brand Wilton. I plan on baking sugar cookies and using royal icing on them quite often so i dont want to be spending an arm and a leg everytime I want to bake a batch of cookies. Any ideas of where I can buy cheap meringue powder (doesnt have to be Wilton). Which online cookie decorating websites do you purchase your supplies from, and what brand of meringue powder do you use? Thanks!! I would really appreciate any suggestions!

    1. Hi Kayla! Yes, unfortunately meringue powder is super expensive, but there is no real substitution for it. I usually get the Americolor brand on Amazon. However, if I’m in a pinch I go to Michaels or Joann Fabrics to get the Wilton can with a 40% coupon. I hope this helps! Good luck!

      1. Thank You Mike! I really appreciate you taking the time to reply! Ill definitely have to check the Americolor Meringue Powder out and start using some coupons when buying at hobby lobby, michaels, etc. Thanks Again!
        Kayla

  8. How do you get your black royal icing so nice and black?
    Shannon

    1. I used Americolor Super Black coloring and I give the color time to develop… like 2 hours ahead of time.

      1. Thank you very much, I will try that.
        Shan :-)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *