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Royal Icing with Meringue Powder

Unlock the world of intricate cookie decorating with this easy-to-make Royal Icing using only three essential ingredients. Ideal for outlining and flooding sugar cookies, creating elaborate designs, or adding the finishing touch to gingerbread houses, this royal icing guarantees a smear-proof finish that keeps your fingers icing-free.

royal icing in bags while making royal icing

Royal Icing with Meringue Powder

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: Approximately 3 cups of icing
Skill Level: Beginner


  • 4 cups (about 1 lb.) powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
  • 5 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder

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  • Electric mixer
  • Large bowl
  • Spatula
  • Small spoon

Pouring royal icing into the piping bag

How to Make Royal Icing with Meringue Powder

  1. Beat all ingredients together until the icing forms peaks, approximately 7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer or 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer.
  2. Check the icing consistency. If it is too stiff, add water (1 teaspoon at a time) until the desired consistency is achieved. If it is too thin, add powdered sugar gradually until the desired thickness is reached.
  3. For stiff consistency, use one tablespoon less water. Stiff icing is suitable for 3-D decorations; consider using larger piping tips to relieve pressure.
  4. For medium consistency (ideal for outlining), add 1/8 teaspoon of water for every cup of stiff icing. Mix gently in a figure-8 motion using a flat utensil.
  5. For thin consistency (flooding), add one teaspoon of water per cup of icing. Gradually add more if needed. Stir slowly with a grease-free utensil until proper consistency is reached.
  6. Perform a 10-second test: Drop some icing on a spatula; if it sinks after a full count of 10, the consistency is suitable for flooding.
  7. Allow the icing to sit for 15 minutes to an hour to let air bubbles rise naturally, or tap the bowl on the table to force bubbles up. Gently stir the top surface to release air.

Unicorn sugar cookies decorated with royal icing

Expert Tips:

  • Keep tools and bowls grease-free for proper icing consistency.
  • Use Meringue Powder; do not substitute with raw egg whites or dried egg whites.
  • Avoid overbeating to prevent the incorporation of excess air and bubbles.
  • Cover decorating tips with a warm, damp towel to prevent drying when not in use.
  • Speed up drying by placing iced treats in front of a fan.


Store royal icing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. Before reusing, re-whip using a paddle attachment on low speed until it returns to the correct consistency. Never freeze royal icing decorations; instead, store them in an airtight container in a dry, dark place for up to 6 months.

making royal icing


Q1: How long does it take for royal icing to dry?

A1: Royal icing can take up to 2 hours to dry. To speed up the drying process, place iced treats in front of a fan.

Q2: Can I substitute Meringue Powder with raw egg whites?

A2: No, Meringue Powder is crucial for this recipe. Substituting with raw egg whites may pose food safety risks and won’t yield the same results.

Q3: Can I store royal icing in the freezer?

A3: Avoid freezing royal icing decorations. Instead, store them in an airtight container in a dry, dark place to prevent fading for up to 6 months.

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