Royal Icing 101 Cookie Frosting Recipe

Royal Icing is an icing for decorating cookies that dries hard and opaque. Cookies can be stacked and the icing stays pretty when cookies are packaged. It’s easy, too…it only takes 3 ingredients: meringue powder, water and sugar (flavoring is optional).

Royal Icing
(this will cover approximately 3 dozen, 3 inch cookies in 2-3 colors)

1 pound powdered sugar
5 TBSP meringue powder
scant 1/2 c. water
a few drops of extract (optional)

Combine the meringue powder and water with a whisk attachment using an electric mixer.

Beat until peaks begin to form.

Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.)

If using an extract, add it then beat for a few more seconds to incorporate.

Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.

As is, this “stiff” icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming.

To fill in the outlines, add water to the icing a little at a time until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called “flooding.”

Happy cookie decorating!

Photo Credits: Bake at 350

What do you think?



  1. 5

    Thank you for this post. I have always wanted to frost cookies like yours. Got the ingredients, baked some sugar cookies and now they are drying for my son’s Christmas party.

  2. 6

    How do you get that deep, dark brown? Just made this and although the frosting was yummy, couldn’t get a good brown. Could you email me your ratio for getting brown?
    Thanks so much! This is all new to me!

    • 7

      Hey Janet!

      That brown is AmeriColor Chocolate Brown gel paste food coloring. Brown is a tough one to get…just keep adding more. It will deepen as it dries.


  3. 8
    Avatar Attilla the Mum says

    How easy! My son and I will be making Halloween themed sugar cookies and this is just the frosting I wanted to use! I’d been poring over my grandmother’s cookbooks for the past week–and HERE is exactly what I needed. You are a lifesaver. Thank you!

  4. 9

    Neat. I’ve bookmarked this for ‘someday’. 😀