What is Royal Icing?

What is Royal Icing?

Royal Icing is a frosting favorite. It’s the easiest and most versatile frosting, most often used to top cut-out cookies, ice cakes and decorate gingerbread houses. It holds up well and is great for desserts that will be served outdoors for family picnics, birthday parties, and bake sales.

The traditional Royal Icing is a mixture of confectioners’ sugar, water, and egg whites or meringue powder (an egg substitute such as powdered meringue eggs is the safest to use). It can be tinted (with food coloring) and enhanced with flavor (with extracts). Royal Icing becomes harder as it dries, and so is best used for decorative purposes.

Add more or less water to reach the consistency desired. The simplest Royal Icing can be made with confectioners’ sugar and liquid such as milk, water, or fruit juice.


Royal Icing (with meringue powder), Royal Icing (with egg whites), Orange Icing

Try our Double Orange Cupcakes with Orange Icing


  • Royal Icing is best used on cookies and gingerbread houses. Use a knife, spoon, or pastry bag to apply. To use on a cake, thin icing with water to reach a glaze consistency. Drizzle on cake; if you are frosting an entire cake, use two coats. Wait for first coat to dry before adding second.
  • Since Royal Icing tends to harden quickly, re-mix it frequently. When you’re not working with it, keep it covered with plastic wrap.
  • When using Royal Icing with decorations, add decorations immediately after frosting, before the frosting “sets,” so decorations can adhere to icing.