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square image of three snowman face cookies topped with royal icing

Royal Icing

This homemade royal icing recipe is the perfect way to top those holiday sugar cookies.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 24 Cookies
Calories: 162kcal
Author: Wendy


  • 1/3 cup meringue powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoons glycerin
  • 2 teaspoons clear extract such as butter vanilla, almond
  • 1 teaspoon food coloring gel use the color of your choice


  • Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.
  • Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about  5 minutes or so, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form.
  • Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl a couple of times during the 5 minutes. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.
  • Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings. This "stiff" icing is perfect for outlining, monogramming, and piping details. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called  "flooding."


  • Thick icing will hold a “soft peak.” The tip will slowly fall back down but the rest of the peak remains. This is considered an 18-20 second icing. 
  • A medium consistency or “flood” consistency icing has a peak that falls over right away And folds back into itself. This may leave a small mound that you can shake out. This is a 15-second icing. 
  • A thin icing doesn’t have peaks. It falls back down as soon as it’s lifted. This is anything under a 10-second icing. If you are a newbie stay away from this. 
  • To apply the “seconds” or counting test 
  • When you make the Royal icing and begin to add water to thin it out, stir it in full, and then run your spoon down the center of the bowl. Count how long it takes for the icing to fully come together. 
  • A 12-15 second icing is great for experienced cookie decorators. 
  • For new cookie decorators, I recommend 15-20 seconds.
Need a delicious sugar cookie recipe to top with this royal icing? Check out my cream cheese sugar cookies, you will be so glad that you did. 
Royal Icing can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. 


Serving: 1Cookie | Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 38mg | Sugar: 38g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg