Classic Royal Icing Recipe

Royal icing is a pipeable icing that dries firm and tastes like crunchy sweetness. It's usually used to outline decorated cookies or to pipe decorations that will later be added to a cake. Follow this recipe for stiffer icing, or follow the directions below for softer, colorflow icing which is used to fill in the tops of cookies, like the picture above. For more tips on how to decorate cookies, see How To Decorate Cookies With Royal Icing.

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Makes 3 Cups: Enough to cover 12 large cookies or 20 small

4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. meringue powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
5 tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. lemon or vanilla extract

Beat all the ingredients on low until thoroughly combined. Switch mixer to medium and beat until peaks form, approximately 5 minutes.


Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of water at a time to the desired portion of royal icing you'd like to thin. Continue until a scoop full of icing dropped back into the main mixture takes 10 full seconds to disappear.


- Do not use bowls or piping bags that have any greasy residue. Grease will keep the royal icing from mixing and drying properly.

- To store, transfer royal icing to a grease free container and press plastic wrap onto the surface of the icing. Refrigerate.

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