This may seem hard to believe, but I have counted all of the royal icing recipes on the internet, and there are in fact a million and one. Don’t believe me? Check for yourself.
Even though there are a number of royal icing recipes floating around, I am often asked which is the recipe I use. And then I blush and run away because I get scared when strangers talk to me. But enough about my issues. I have been using the same royal icing recipe for at least a few years now, and have decorated a more cookies than I can remember. It must be in the thousands by now. No joke.
Here is the royal icing recipe I use for all of my decorated cookies. Yes, just three ingredients! And one is water, so that hardly counts.
Royal Icing Recipe
2 pounds powdered sugar
5 tablespoons meringue powder
3/4 cup water
Stir the powdered sugar and meringue powder together in a standing mixer or large mixing bowl. With your electric mixer on low, slowly add in the 3/4 cup of water. Once the water is and sugar is incorporated, be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl so no powdered sugar is stuck to the bowl. (The icing at this point will appear overly watery and pretty lumpy looking, but that goes away.) Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue mixing for approximately 3-4 minutes, or until your desired consistency is achieved.
This recipe is enough for approximately 24 fully decorated cookies. I tend to double this recipe for my needs.
One thing you might notice in the photos is that I use a whisk attachment to mix my royal icing. Just about every other baker I follow uses a paddle attachment, so I would recommend trying both and see which works best for you. There are a couple of reasons I use the whisk. The first reason is because I always have and it works well, so I keep on keeping on. The second reason is that I usually make cookies and royal icing, one right after the other. So I use my paddle attachment for my cookie dough, which, badda bing badda boom, leaves me with a nice, clean whisk attachment for the royal icing.
I usually mix to a thick icing consistency that is great for outlining cookies, which I get to after about 3 minutes of medium-high mixing. That is, thick enough to hold its shape and not run, but not so thick I will break a spatula trying to mix it. Yes, I have broken a spatula trying to mix icing before. I now try and avoid going to such extremes since royal icing with that level of stiffness is rarely of any use to me or any my cookie decorating.
Royal icing is one of those things that takes time to master. It just takes practice to find what icing consistency works best for you and your edible art masterpieces.
Next up: The different royal icing consistencies for cookie decorating. Until then, happy baking and cookie eating!
Fun Fact: Google actually returns over 1.8 million search results when you search for “royal icing recipe.” So my million and one exaggeration “joke” is actually way fewer than reality.
I can’t wait to try your recipe! Thanks for sharing it.
Great recipe, thanks for sharing. Everything you post looks amazing!
Do I need to refrigerate any leftovers? I have in the past but I don’t know why…
Thank you! I usually go through it fairly quickly, so I leave it sealed at room temp most of the time. If I know I won’t be using it for several days, I’ll pop it in the fridge. I don’t know if it *really* makes any difference, but I always mentally feel better about it. And it keeps my counters more clear that way 🙂
Hi! I tried this recipe out but I only have an electrical hand whisk, so maybe that affected it. The icing was not the correct consistency even for flooding and it would spill over the cookie. I have a few questions because I want to try this again:
1. Do you use different consistencies for outlining and flooding, or do you use the same consistency for both? If you do, what kind of consistency do you aim to reach to stop the icing from bleeding?
2. If you use different consistencies, how do you determine when you have reached the correct one for 1.outlining 2.flooding
3. Also, if I want to thicken this recipe for outlining, should I just add more icing sugar? Thanks!
Hi Rim – a hand mixer is much smaller in whisk size and doesn’t provide the same power or speed that a stand mixer will, so the results won’t be the same. You may find it helpful to make half as much and/or mix much longer. The icing should be in the consistency at the top of this photo. If it was running over then it just wasn’t mixed enough.
1. It varies… sometimes it’s all the same medium consistency and sometimes I use a stiffer outline (like the photo above) with a much thinner consistency for filling.
2. This is a tough question and the only true answer is practice to see what works for you. Generally, the outline I use is more the consistency of toothpaste while the filling is more the consistency that’s something more along the lines of pancake batter.
3. You can, but that may change how the icing sets up. I would recommend mixing for longer or making half what the recipe calls for so it’s less which a hand mixer may be able to handle.
Is there a specific brand of meringue powder to use? I’m looking online and there’s about 10-15 different brands with a wide range of prices to choose from lol Thanks!
These days, I’m actually just using regular ol’ Wilton brand that I get from Michaels. I’ve also used Americolor brand and have been really pleased with that. I used to get big bags of CK brand powder (but the last time I got CK it was terrible and had little crystals in it that didn’t dissolve and clogged my piping tips). So Wilton it is 🙂
Do you ever add any flavoring to your icing? You’re work is simply beautiful ❤
Thanks so much! I never add any flavoring to my icing. I don’t really think it needs it (my cookies usually have vanilla and almond already), but some people do use flavorings like vanilla or lemon and I could totally get on board with that.