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colored icing in piping bags
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Royal Icing

It’s easier than you might think to make royal icing for bakery-worthy sugar cookies. This version uses meringue powder for a perfect consistency every time. This icing is super smooth and is firm but easy to bite into after it sets.
This makes 4 cups of frosting. (For consistent results, make the full recipe as-written, using a pre-measured bag of powdered sugar. You can freeze leftover frosting if needed.)
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cookie recipe, royal icing
Servings: 50
Calories: 2kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00


  • Stand or Handheld Mixer
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Piping Bags


  • 1 cup Water (room temperature)
  • 6 Tbsp Meringue Powder
  • 1 32 oz bag Powdered Sugar (see note)
  • Gel Icing Colors (be sure to use a gel-based icing colors coloring; water-based food coloring can change the consistency of the icing)


  • Pour water in the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixer (if using a hand mixer). Gently swirl the water around to coat the sides of the bowl (this will help to prevent the dried ingredients from sticking).
  • Add meringue powder and powdered sugar all at once.
  • Start mixing on low, scraping down the bowl as needed, until everything is evenly combined.
  • Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute.
  • Continue mixing on medium-high in 30 second intervals, stopping to check the consistency after each interval. To check the consistency, use a spatula or spoon to scoop and drizzle some icing over the surface. Watch the design you drew as you count to 10. The icing is done when it takes 10 seconds for the surface of the icing to turn completely smooth.
  • Divide icing between bowls and stir in icing colors as desired. Transfer to piping bags. Icing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
  • Make sure that cookies have cooled completely before using the frosting to decorate. Let decorated cookies sit at room temperature until the icing is fully set (this can take 1 to 4 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity of the room).


Powdered Sugar - To remove any guesswork when it comes to the consistency of this frosting, I strongly recommend making it as written and using a 32-oz bag of powdered sugar  so that it is pre-measured in exactly the amount you need. This will make 4 cups of icing. Freeze any extra.
Storing Royal Icing - Royal Icing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days frozen for up to 2 months. Let it come to room temperature before using.


Calories: 2kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 5mg | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg