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Royal Icing for Cookies & Cakes

Royal icing is the frosting that top bakers and cake decorators use to make the perfect details on their cakes and cookies. This icing can be used for many things in cake decorating, but the most popular use is for decorating cookies. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Cake Decorating, Frosting, Sugar Cookies
Prep Time 7 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Author Katie


  • 2 whole egg whites pasteurized
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon water (to thin out, if too thick)
  • food coloring optional


  1. In large bowl of stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the egg whites (and vanilla) and beat until frothy.

  2. Add powdered sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and the mixture is shiny.

  3. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This step should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

  4. Add vanilla and food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to a pastry (piping) bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired.

Recipe Notes

  • If using a storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • If you would like a fluid icing for flooding add 1 tablespoon of water at a time while mixing until you achieve the desired consistency.
  • For stiffer icing add 1 tbsp of powder sugar until desired consistency.
  • When filling a piping bag with icing and there's still icing left in mixing bowl, place a damp paper towel directly on top of royal icing so the top won't become crusty and make your icing challenging to work.