Royal icing for cookie decorating

I'm not a sweet-tooth gal so I hardly make icing, but sometimes, you just need to make royal icing for the Holidays just for cookie decorating.  I like this icing because it is thick, yet still pretty viscous, making it easy to apply to cookies as well as for gingerbread house construction!  It also dries bright white which gives your cookie a visual "pop."  


This royal icing for cookie decorating is made with egg white which holds up better than using water.  That being said, you are consuming a tiny bit of raw egg white!  If you do not want to use raw egg whites, you can always use meringue powder.

I have also found that the icing seems to lose its integrity if you store it in the refrigerator, even overnight.  So, it is best to use it up once made. Therefore, plan your cookie decorating accordingly.  

If you would like to add some color to your icing, you can add a drop or two of food coloring gel. It is better to use the gel rather than the liquid food coloring in order to keep you icing thick and be able to dry.

Royal icing comparison

3rd and 5th bottom cookies decorated with day old icing. Icing edges are not crisp, almost smudgy, and the color is not as bright. Still tastes great!

Since I hardly make icing, I have not invested in a piping or pastry bag.  See what I use as my piping bag alternative in How to frost cookies without a piping bag.

Have fun with cookie decorating!

Royal icing for cookie decorating

ROYAL ICING for cookie decorating

Michelle Sam
Bright white icing great for cookie decorating that hardens when dry.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cup
Calories 457 kcal


  • 113 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice


  • Beat egg white at medium low speed until they hold soft peaks. I use a hand mixer.
  • Slowly add powdered sugar until well blended.
  • Add lemon juice at the end and beat for another 30 seconds.
  • Place frosting into a parchment paper cone or heavy duty freezer bag. See frosting without a piping bag.
  • Cut the tip of parchment paper cone or corner of freezer bag.
  • Decorate your cookies.


This amount of royal icing will allow you to decorate 48 cookies without completely frosting the surface.  


Serving: 1cupCalories: 457kcalCarbohydrates: 113gProtein: 4gFat: 1gSodium: 57mgPotassium: 54mgSugar: 111g
Keyword cookie decorating frosting, cookie decorating icing, frosting, hard frosing, hard icing, icing, royal frosting, royal icing, white frosting, white icing
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was or if you have any questions or suggestions!
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    1. Glad you liked it. When you try the icing again, whisk egg whites at med-low speed for a very long time until soft peaks form before adding the confectioners sugar. This should help make the icing thicker without having to add more sugar. However, your method works too!

  1. Fantastic recipe and fun New Year's Eve baking project with my daughter. She made the dough a couple days in advance using sourdough starter. We used the royal icing to decorate peace doves, hippos, stars, fire hydrants and numbers 2021! Thank you for this helpful and fun cooking blog, SammyWong!

    1. So glad you enjoyed doing this as a family project. I too did this with Jocelyn and it was very relaxing, decorating and chatting. Time well spent! Glad you enjoyed the cookies. If you have instagram, please follow me @sammywongskitchen.

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