Royal icing is a perfect way to decorate your sugar cookies, but getting the recipe correct takes some practice. Here’s my go-to for the perfect royal icing recipe. Use this to decorate your Halloween cookies, Christmas cookies or cookies for a gift. It’s also perfect for piping details onto cakes such as monograms, or for using to hold your Christmas gingerbread house together.
Easy Royal Icing Recipe
To make the perfect royal icing, you’ll need:
- 450 grams icing sugar
- 3 pasteurised egg whites (or egg white powder, see below)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Sieve your icing sugar into a bowl of an electric mixer, then add the egg whites and lemon juice. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, mix on a low speed until the sugar is incorporated (if you go fast at this stage, you’ll make a right mess!).
- When the sugar is all mixed in, increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Check for stiff peaks in your icing.
- If the peaks aren’t quite stiff enough, increase the speed on your mixer to medium-high and beat the icing for another minute, checking again. Once stiff peaks are formed, transfer the icing to bowls and cover with cling film, pressing the wrap down onto the icing to prevent it forming a crust.
- If you want to colour your icing, you can do so using gel paste food colouring. Start by adding a tiny bit at a time for pastel colours and gradually increase for stronger colours. The icing can also be thinned with water to fill in piped outlines and create runout icing.
A note about egg whites: You can use pasteurised egg whites, or use an egg white powder such as Dr Oetker dried egg whites. Make this according to the pack instructions and use in place of egg whites.
Royal Icing Recipe with Meringue Powder
An alternative royal icing recipe using meringue powder in place of egg whites is as follows:
- 320 grams icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons of meringue powder
- 5-6 tablespoons of water at room temperature
- The method is pretty much the same as above. Add the icing sugar to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and add the meringue powder. Add the water and mix slowly.
- Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes. Check the consistency of your royal icing – if it’s too stiff, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. If the icing is too thin, add a little more icing sugar, a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.
- Bear in mind that the longer you beat the icing, the firmer it will become.