Written by John Nevill


Posted on March 16 2014

Classic royal icing is a smooth hard drying icing used for decorating cookies, creating your own edible decorations, and "glueing" decorations together. Flavoring your royal icing with vanilla is nice, but a few drops of flavoring oil takes it to a whole new level. Lemon, peppermint, and butterscotch are my favorites but they are all delicious.

Whip the meringue powder and water on high speed for a long time, several minutes, until it's fluffy and peaks form (use an electric hand beater or the wire whisk attachment on your standing mixer). Gradually add the rest of the ingredients to desired consistency. Store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to a month.

Making royal icing is all about consistency. A good way to test the consistency is to lift your spoon up from the bowl and see how it falls off the spoon.

If you're using your icing to pipe fine details on cookies or create your own icing decorations you want your icing to fall very slowly off the spoon. Once the plop of icing lands the bowl you want it to pretty much keep its shape and not flow back into the rest of the icing. Keep in mind that too stiff royal icing can be hard to squeeze out of a decorating bag.

When making a batch of royal icing for flooding and decorating cookies the icing should cling to the spoon and slowly fall into the bowl. I watch how the icing flows back into itself when dropped from a spoon, as in the photo below. If that curl of icing flows back into itself nicely I know that the icing on my cookies will look nice and smooth without stiff bumps.

Just remember, practice makes perfect!




  • Comment author

    How many cups does this recipe make?
    BTW- I love your perfect cutout sugar cookie recipe! I’ve made them several times!

    Posted by Gracie | September 07, 2015
  • Comment author

    Hi Julie! I always add flavoring oil to royal icing and have never had a problem. I also often make a “just a little soft royal icing” by adding a Tablespoon of shortening and that works well for me too.

    Thanks for reading!

    Posted by Greta | April 16, 2014
  • Comment author

    Doesn’t the flavor oil csuse the royal icing to curdle or clump? I’ve always been told no oil when making royal because it’ll ruin the icing.

    By the way – LOVE your colored sanding sugars.

    San Antonio

    Posted by Julie | April 05, 2014
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