How to Hack Royal Icing, the Easy Way
For our ‘Grammable Holiday Cookie Guide, we’ve teamed up with cookie artist Ashley McNeal to help you create some of the prettiest cookies on the block! Get ready for serious inspiration, whether you’re a total cookie newbie or a next-level baker.
Royal icing recipes usually call for raw egg whites, but if you’re looking for a less-messy (and safer) shortcut, make our version, which relies on packaged meringue powder instead. Powdered sugar, meringue powder, and a little bit of corn syrup whip up into a fluffy marshmallow-tasting icing that hardens when it dries. This creates a delightful snap with every bite and also means your beautifully decorated cookies won’t smudge if you touch or transport them (unlike buttercream frosting). We like to use this recipe for almost all of our holiday cookies. Get inspired and grab a piping bag!
Royal Icing Recipe
(Makes ~5 cups of icing)
- 1 pound sifted powdered sugar, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons meringue powder, plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup warm water, plus more as needed
1. Sift all ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add water and mix with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed. If it’s still too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Mix on high for 3-5 minutes or until fluffy and white. The icing should have a shiny, bright white look to it. If you are piping the frosting, you may need to add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons meringue powder to form a stiffer icing. If you are flooding the cookies (AKA filling large areas of the cookie), you’ll want a runnier royal icing. In that case, add more warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time until a very loose icing forms.
4. If adding color, divide into various mixing bowls. Drop in gel food dyes of your choice, stirring with a spoon until no streaks remain.
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(Recipe via Ashley McNeal/Brit + Co; photos via Brittany Griffin/Brit + Co)
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