Jan 08


Royal Icing Recipe {Free Illustrated Recipe}

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Good royal icing recipes are hard to come by, let alone magical ones. Treat your treats to this sublime icing recipe, passed down through generations of mythical fairies.

For a FREE, sharable, printable version: click here.

An alternate version was submitted and accepted on They Draw & Cook, which you can find here.

For instructions on finding icing consistency for cookie decorating, click here.

Thanks to my amazing designer/art director Arthur Kononuk, for creating this adorable illustrated recipe and intro for me! I love it and hope you do too.



p.s. I linked this post up to Tidy Mom’s I’m Lovin’ It.




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  1. Chomel Yang
    December 5, 2012 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian!

    Love your website, got a couple of questions:

    1. I am trying to make the gingerbread house, but the person that I am giving to is not a fan of gingerbread, can I use the normal sugar cookie to replace the gingerbread?

    2. I love your pink colour gingerbread house, can I know what do you use for the roof? What are those round sweets called?

    Thanks for everything!!


  2. Suzanne
    December 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    How many dozen does this recipe cover?

  3. marian
    December 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    About 3 dozen medium sized cookies @ Suzanne. Numbers vary with the size and thickness of cookie.

    Hi @ Chomel Yang:
    1) Yes, you can
    2) Necco wafers

    Have fun decorating!

  4. Chomel Yang
    December 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian

    Thanks!!! (:

  5. Suzanne
    December 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    @ marian:
    Thanks@ Chomel Yang:

  6. Chris Johnson
    December 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi…I did exactly what it said above and it still seemed a little thin and it got little bubbles. Any suggestions??

  7. marian
    December 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Chris Johnson: Usually it’s a little thick after mixing and needs to be thinned out to the right consistency. Maybe check the measurements. You can always add more icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) to thicken it up a bit, and if you’re noticing bubbles, stir them out slowly with a spatula before you put the icing in your piping bag. Hope that helps!

  8. Michelle
    December 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Does this icing get rock hard? I’m going to do cookies for a Polar Express party for small kids. I don’t want anyone to break a tooth ;) Thanks!

  9. marian
    December 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Ha ha@ Michelle: It’s hard but not that hard. ;-)

  10. Lobna
    December 9, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Hi sweetie…
    Thanks alot for that versatile wonderful learning experience you’re offering…
    Just wanted to know what’s the “cream of tartar” & what can be used instead…?!
    also if it happens that no meringue powder can be found… can I replace it with egg white…?! & how much…?!
    Thank you in advance…

  11. marian
    December 9, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Lobna: You can leave out the cream of tartar… it helps stabilize the icing a bit, but it’s not a big deal.
    Here is a post for you about what to use instead of meringue powder;


    and here is a post with royal icing recipe made with egg whites:

  12. Lobna
    December 9, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Thank you… Thank you heaps sweetie for the great help & the prompt reply…

  13. Michelle
    December 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the swift reply!!

  14. Alice
    December 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Hellow, first of all congratlation for your site and your videos they are very helpful…I have a problem with the royal icing, when it finaly dry, my cookies smell like egg..a very disturbing smell…Is this ok ?

  15. marian
    December 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Alice: Are you using the meringue powder?

  16. Alice
    December 11, 2012 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    @ marian:yes

  17. Carla
    December 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    First, I love your site and your cookies are works of art, thank you for sharing them. My question is about the mixer, I only have a hand mixer so no paddle, will this still work?

  18. December 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    @ Alice: Mine don’t smell that way, so I’m wondering if you live in a humid/warm environment? Maybe your ‘room temperature’ is a bit too much on the warm side. If that’s the case, working in a room with A/C and a dehumidifier (i have a small portable of each), should do the trick. Sorry it’s not easier than that! Humidity wreaks havoc on baked goods and eggs.

  19. marian
    December 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Carla: Mixing with a hand mixer is a little more work, can be hard on the motor, and will incorporate more air, but can still be done. Have fun decorating!

  20. Jenny
    December 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian, first of all thank you for the amazing recipe. One question, how long does it keep for? I made it yesterday and stored it in an air tight container at room temp and planing on using it on Thursday. Should it be in the fridge? Thanks!

  21. marian
    December 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink
  22. Jenny
    December 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much :) @ marian:

  23. Panagiota
    December 14, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,
    I need your help please!! Every time that I make royal icing with meringue powder (the Wilton one), it doesn’t dry smooth but instead it looks granular and is brittle to touch. Do you know what goes wrong?
    Ps I do follow the recipe exactly.
    Thank you!

  24. Jeff
    December 17, 2012 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    First, thanks Marian for sharing your knowledge. I find your edible art amazing.

    I made this royal icing and did the 10 second rule. Love how it flows and how you can work with it. However, my wife, the actual baker, I am just the hired artist to help on sugar cookies. She was wondering if there is a way to make this recipe “glossy” as when it dries it is rather dull. I am thinking the only way is with luster dust treatment, but thought I would gamble and see if you had any ideas.

    thanks again.


  25. December 17, 2012 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    I am wondering the same thing about the dull appearance of the icing. I see that some of your cookies on your You Tube videos seem to have the dull appearance on the icing, but others have that glossy appearance. I know Martha Stewart has glycerin in her recipe, but I don’t see that in yours, and I have also heard that if it goes dull that there is too much water in the recipe, but I just don’t have the experience here and know you will have the answer or can direct us to someone that does. Thanks so much for your help!

  26. marian
    December 17, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Jeff and @ Kristen Johnson: Sometimes my photos are taken when the icing is still wet… and here’s a post on shiny royal icing for you:

  27. Jeff
    December 17, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Marian, thanks for that very detail answer. In short my thought of a luster treatment is the best way to get shine. OMG, the decorations on the sugar cookies look great. Not as great as yours but a lot of inspiration from yours are on our cookies now. Thanks again.


  28. Ericka
    December 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    How long can you keep the icing in a piping bag? I’m thinking of doing the flood one night then fine details the next night. Do I have to make a new batch of icing or can I use what’s left in my bags? I’m planning on making xmas tree cookies and icing with red, green, and white.

  29. December 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing your royal icing recipe! It worked great for the Rice Krispie houses I made with my young daughters!

  30. marian
    December 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Would love to see pics, @ Jeff, if you’d like to share them on my Facebook page!

    Hi @ Ericka: Here is a post for you; http://sweetopia.net/2011/01/how-do-you-store-royal-icing-and-how-long-can-you-keep-it/

    What a fantastic idea, @ Jen! I love it!

  31. Anawithlove...
    December 20, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian! :)
    I’m going to make some cookies this weekend and I would like to try your Royal Icing. :) :) :) But I have one problem… I can’t find meringue powder in any store :( (I’m from Slovenia) and I would like to know if I can replace it with something else? Can I buy meringue cookies and pulverize them? :)
    Thank you so much for your help and advices!

    ***Ps: I adore everything you make! Thanks for sharing!

    Best regards from Europe! ;)

  32. December 21, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    This is so cute and come in handy many times. Thanks!!

  33. December 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    @ Anawithlove…: Here is a post for you; http://sweetopia.net/2012/10/can-you-use-anything-besides-egg-whites-or-meringue-powder-in-royal-icing/

    Thanks, @ Amy @ Living Locurto!

  34. Anawithlove...
    December 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much! :) @ Marian (Sweetopia):

  35. Lindsey
    December 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure what the heck happened but I’ve had to add waaaay more water and actually had to quit because it filled up my mixer almost to the point of over flowing and it’s still not ‘self healing’. I’m in Alberta and its -18 C right now; does that have anything to do with it? I’ll definitely have enough icing that’s for sure!!

  36. lesdelicesdepatricia
    January 1, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Thank you tutorial

    Sorry. I don’t speak englis


  37. Janet
    January 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    Your work is so beautiful, thank you for sharing your knowledge! Just wondering, do you ever sift your icing sugar before adding it to the recipe?

  38. January 9, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Hi Marion, I saw your sparkly mardi gras masks and wondered how to you get the sparkles in the royal icing?? Love your stuff and your site!!

  39. Sandy Bangle
    January 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I am new to decorating and live in the USA. What is the purpose of the cream of tatar? I have learned so much from your website & made some very pretty marbled cookies for birthday gifts! Thanks for sharing.

  40. marian
    January 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Lindsey: Yes I’m sure that has something to do with it.(humidity or lack thereof, contributing to the consistency issues). I’ve never heard of having to add so much water that the mixer was full though. Either you have a small mixer (which I’ve also never heard of, as the sizes are pretty standard), or something was mis-measured. Did you use a scale to measure the icing sugar?
    I like how you used the term ‘self-healing’ by the way!

    De rien @ lesdelicesdepatricia!

    Most of the time I don’t, @ Janet, as I like the fine texture of the Redpath sugar I usually use. Good quality. If you buy it in bulk or in industrial size though, I would sift for possible lumps or even if something else was mixed in there (at bulk store). I should also say that if I am doing really, really fine piping, I sometimes make the effort to sift. Here’s another extension of that:

    Hi @ michelle: That’s disco dust…. here’s where i buy mine;


    and here’s the mask post in case you didn’t see it;

    @ Sandy Bangle: It helps stabilize the icing (dry/set). You can omit it if you can’t find it… I find the icing still works for decorating.

  41. Jes
    January 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marion, Long time follower, first time question. :) What brand meringue powder do you use/prefer?

  42. marian
    January 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Jes: I use Wilton meringue powder most of the time, and am happy with it.

  43. Connie Beal
    January 12, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Hello Marian, I also use Wilton meringue powder and wonder why you add cream of tartar, since Wilton’s has cream of tartar as an ingredient?

  44. marian
    January 12, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Connie Beal: Cream of tartar helps stabilize the icing and helps it set/dry, so it doesn’t hurt to add more, and to be honest I’ve used it with and without in this recipe (using Wilton) and both work great.

  45. Michelle De Jesus
    January 14, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    What brand of powered icing sugar do you use? Thank you.

  46. Connie Beal
    January 15, 2013 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Yes I have done the same. I think to make icing that is think for transfers and 25 second icing it is best to add cream of tartar.@ marian:

  47. Terri Miller
    January 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Hello, I have admired your cookies and decorating for sometime. You are a great inspiration to me.
    I was asked to decorate super hero cookies for a birthday party. I got the designs ans decorated the cookies and they all turned out with a matte finish..this is the first time this has happened to me..I have decorated alot of cookies…can you help me?
    I used Ameco meringue powder, powdered sugar, warm water,
    and vanilla extract..let the frosting beat at least 5-8 minutes..

  48. marian
    January 19, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Michelle De Jesus: I use Redpath Icing Sugar.

    Thanks @ Connie Beal!

    Hi @ Terri Miller: Was the environment you were working in any different? i.e. Heat, humidity etc.?

  49. Sarah Scharnick
    January 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been having the same problem as Terry…the icing doesn’t come out as pretty as it usually does. And very much a matte finish. Almost grainy. It hasn’t really been too humid here just cold. Maybe dried out from the heater?

    Love your stuff :)

  50. January 27, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Hai Marian..
    I really love your website and your recipe works so well for me..
    but i don’t know why my royal icing is not shiny like yours..
    how to make it shiny like yours?
    thank you so much.. :)

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