Feb 06


{Video} How to Outline and Flood Cookies with Royal Icing

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Outlining and Filling Cookies with Royal Icing {Video Tutorial}

If you can't see the video, click here.

Decorating cookies is often called flooding because you can essentially create a dam, border, wall or outline of royal icing on the edge of your cookie, and then  flood or fill in that dam with icing.

It's one of the first techniques I once struggled to get right… Either my icing was too thick or too runny. When I first began decorating, it definitely wasn't as easy as it is now.

The good news is, is that there are a few key tips, which will help make flooding cookies easy and fun. {And would have helped me had I known about them!}.

I should mention first that this is what works for me – it's what I've figured out I like best – you may prefer a runnier or even thicker icing. It's all personal preference, and after playing around and decorating a bit, you'll figure out what works for you too!

Here's how I flood my cookies with royal icing… (This is the same video as what's at the beginning of the post, which I’ve put it here again in case you missed it. Sometimes the page takes a while to load):


{Video} Outlining and Flooding Cookies with Royal Icing

If you can't see the video, click here.

If you'd like to try the recipes I used in the video, you can find my royal icing here, and the shortbread cookie recipe, here.


Sweet News:

A few more "sweet" things I'd love to share with you:

LIVE Streaming Event this Wednesday, February 8th, 8pm EST

  • I'll be at a live Cookie Decorating Event with Redpath Sugar this coming Wednesday, February 8th, at 8pm EST. Click here to see the details and to find us on Wednesday! It's basically a live video streaming where you can either phone, skype, facebook, twitter or email your questions in, and myself and the Redpath Sugar girls will chat with you on the spot! Come join us for some Valentine Cookie Decorating, to ask questions or just chat. I'd LOVE to 'see' you there and will do my best to answer your cookie decorating questions, if you have any!
  • Redpath is hosting a contest for these prizes as well:

Sweet of the Month

The new Sweet of the Month is up and running… You can vote for your favorite sweets here and enter your own treats in a new contest, soon after Valentine's Day.


It's pretty, it's stress-relieving, it's inspiring, it's addictive, it's Pinterest, and I *heart* it. It took me a little while to get going (I didn't see how I'd have time to try even one more thing), but I'm happy I finally did. I fit it in here and there… even for 10 minutes or so before I go to bed and actually find it relaxing and fun. I'd love to see what you're pinning as well and if you'd like to find me, here I am.


Random but wanted to share with you… I'm loving the Instagram app on my iPhone. It's an instant and fun way of capturing what you're doing through photos and sharing with family and friends and seeing what others are up to as well. A great way to stay in touch!

And last, but not least, I'd like to leave you with some sweet sentiments πŸ˜‰ so thought I'd share some of my favourite Valentine quotes with you.


Favorite Valentine Quotes

The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of.  ~Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 1670

We're all a little weird.  And life is a little weird.  And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness – and call it love – true love.  ~Robert Fulghum, True Love

Grow old with me!  The best is yet to be.  ~Robert Browning

Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly.  ~Rose Franken

For you see, each day I love you more
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
~Rosemonde Gerard

Trip over love, you can get up.  Fall in love and you fall forever.  ~Author Unknown

What I need to live has been given to me by the earth.  Why I need to live has been given to me by you.  ~Author Unknown

A man is not where he lives, but where he loves.  ~Latin Proverb

Without Valentine's Day, February would be… well, January.  ~Jim Gaffigan

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.  ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

We don't believe in rheumatism and true love until after the first attack.  ~Marie Ebner Von Eschenbach, Aphorism

True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights.  If you hear bells, get your ears checked.  ~Erich Segal

Take away love and our earth is a tomb.  ~Robert Browning

Thank you to Terri Guillemets of The Quote Garden, for a snippet of her amazing array of Valentine quotes!


What are you up to for Valentine's? Making sweets for your loved ones? Eating lots of chocolate? Drop me a line and let me know!

Happy Valentine decorating to you!


p.s. If you'd like to never miss a post, and/or receive more tips on cookie decorating, click on this button below to sign up for free:

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  1. Jenny
    February 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    That “telephone cord” border is just darling. I love it.

  2. February 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I am so thankful for your tutorial videos! They help me so much! Thank you πŸ™‚

  3. February 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    love the cookies and Valentines day…EVERY THING IN STORES TURN PINK <3 <3

  4. Mary
    February 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Adorable! Love them!

  5. February 6, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    The way you outline & flood those cute Valentine cookies is MAGIC!
    I don’t see how you and Bridget do it!
    You girls completely amaZe me with your decorating skills!
    I just LOVE following you on Instagram!
    Delighted to be getting to know you!
    Your cookies are MAGIC!
    Hugs from Bainbridge Island!
    & LOVE!

  6. February 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    GREAT video! Thanks so much — I’m doing some deep breathing as I prepare to do my first cookie flooding. I’ve only recently mastered marshmallow fondant, and shortly before that, baking cookies that don’t look like they have undergone a serious nuclear mutation. Keep up the good work!

  7. February 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    awesome video!
    so that’s what I’ve been doing wrong with flooding. I never shake my cookies! thanks for the tip!

  8. February 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    So beautiful. I am ready to try your icing method. Having two different consistencies is getting too time consuming. My only question is do you still separate your flooding and outlining icing into different bags? Or do you just keep switching your tips over and over? Hope that makes sense.

  9. marian
    February 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, ladies!

    @ Amber: You got it – I just change my tips!

  10. February 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink


  11. February 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    @ Christina:
    Ditto! Great video that is short and to the point! THANKS!

  12. Paige
    February 7, 2012 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Brilliant work as usual. Are the cookie cutters you use from Wilton? I especially love the heart shaped cutter with the crinkled edge.

  13. February 7, 2012 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    As you know I am a HUGE fan! I always learn something new each video I watch, and you are the best at giving easy to follow, clear and simple steps to make amazing cookies.

    I love the narrated video and the fast forward portions very slick! Keep up the good work and now that there are many of us out in cyperspace hanging on your every word and new tip.

    Thanks for all the instruction. Tomorrow I am teaching the youth girls from my church how to make Valentine cookies. I am going to show them some of the fancier designs well the ones I can pull off and help them each do a cool design. I am going to show some of your videos as part of my presentation. Should be fun.



  14. Buki
    February 7, 2012 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    I can’t see your video in germany πŸ™ do you have it uploaded on any other channel than youtube?

  15. February 7, 2012 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Beautiful as always! I love seeing what new ideas you have cooking. I have a few,myself, on deck for Valentines!

  16. Rachel
    February 7, 2012 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much, that was very useful, and timely as I am just about to try it for the first time πŸ™‚

  17. Rachel
    February 7, 2012 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Can I ask, do you actually use disposable bags for your piping, or is that just to make the photo’s prettier? I ask because they’re not cheap here, and I was hoping to use re-usable bags, or parchment cones.

  18. Kim - Fiery Tulips Cookies
    February 7, 2012 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    You make it look so easy! I am in the beginner stage of experimenting with different recipes and consistencies of icing, and it doesn’t always work that well for me. πŸ™‚

    You asked for ideas for a video . . . I would love to see how you pipe a frilly line around the edge of your cookies like the light pink one in this post. They are so much harder to do than the straight lines, and I would love any advice you have on how to do that. Thanks!

  19. Maria Helena
    February 7, 2012 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    I really liked the video..great hints…thanks

  20. marian
    February 7, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    @ Paige: They’re a mish-mash of Valentine cutters I’ve collected over the years, and yes, the one with the crinkled edge is from Wilton.

    Hi @ John Snediker: How great is that, you’re teaching the youth girls from you church – wonderful! Judging from the last set of Valentine cookies you did, you’ll be a resounding success!

    @ Buki: That’s too bad! I’m going to look into it… All the photos are my own, and the music is a bought music clip, so I’m not sure why the videos aren’t showing up in Germany.

    @ Rachel: Yes, I do only use the reusable/disposable ones for decorating. The disposable ones are washable, and I buy a box of 100 at Michael’s Craft store with a 40% off coupon. If you’d like here’s a video of all my favorite decorating tools, and why I use them: https://sweetopia.net/2011/05/video-cookie-decorating-tools-how-to-fill-a-piping-bag/

    @ Kim – Fiery Tulips Cookies: I was there once too, trust me. I hope these tips make it easier for you and thank you for the video suggestion… I will do one (eventually LOL, it’s just a matter of time!).

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  21. February 7, 2012 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Good morning, thanks for the video. On the last cookie pictures are all of the colors wet on wet, pink, white stripe then red and pink dots pulled through? I love this look. Thanks.

  22. February 7, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this video Marian! I just watched it THREE times! I struggle with my icing consistency. Your 10-second icing here looks like my 20-second. My 10-second icing is so runny. It doesn’t hold up like that. No need to shake it.

    Such a shame that I just need to keep practicing and experimenting, huh? πŸ™‚

  23. Katia
    February 7, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I love all of your tutorials!! Now I just need to find the courage to try πŸ™‚
    Just one question: are merengue powder and albumin powder the same? I live in South America, and I’m not sure which to get for the royal icing (not too keen on using real egg whites).
    Thank you, Marian!!

  24. Nicole
    February 7, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love your work. My friend and I are always in awe when we watch your tutorials. Thanks for sharing all the great tips! πŸ™‚
    I’m sure you have been asked this question before…how do you make red icing?

  25. Maria
    February 7, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I love your video again, great job! Thank you for giving away all your knowledge and talents.
    Happy Valentines!

  26. February 7, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    thanks for all the great info, I love your cookies, and drool every time I see them:) I have nothing planned, hubby will be working so it will be me and my son, so maybe a chocolate fondue would be fun!

  27. February 7, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I love your site! Here are some questions I have on sugar cookies:
    How long do you have to wait for cookie dough to chill in the freezer/fridge?
    How think do you roll out the dough?
    How much dough do you use when you are rolling it out?

  28. February 7, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Ahhhh…I like that you use the same consistency for outlining and flooding. I decorated with royal icing for the first time last week and kept it to 3 colors because of all the mixing and bags and squeeze bottles. Thanks for the tips.

  29. Marsha
    February 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I’ve learned so much from your blog. Two questions: what size tip(s) do you use for outlining and flooding and what size tip(s) for details? And what consistency of frosting do you use for piping details? (Your 10-second rule for outlining/flooding changed my life.) Thank you.

  30. February 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    All the cookies look so beautiful!

  31. February 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Very helpful video! I noticed in the video you said that you now use the same consistency icing for piping and flooding and is that the 10 second icing that you use for both and then just use different tips with the same consistency? Thanks!

  32. marian
    February 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    You got it @ Sheila! There’s a video on it (marbling) but the video shows stripes, not dots, like this cookie. It’s such a fun decorating techinque- probably my favourite!

    @ Dotty:It does help to practice, but you will get a feel for what you like best and then there’s no looking back! πŸ˜‰ Did you see the video on my 10 second rule? Maybe we count differently (faster/slower).

    You CAN do it @ Katia!! I hope you try, and be nice to yourself! xo
    I’m sorry I’m not sure about the albumen powder… All I know is that this is what meringue powder is made of (from my glossary): “A mixture made with sugar, pasteurized dried egg whites, cornstarch, gum arabic, stabilizers, and usually includes vanilla flavouring. It is used to add volume, stiffness and is often preferred over real egg whites due to food safety concerns. ” And egg albumen is just the egg white powder. It’s very similar, it seems, minus the flavouring etc.
    I say, worth a try, if you don’t mind experimenting!

    Thanks @ Nicole! Sounds like I need to do a video or post! For now, know that I use lots of gel color!

    @ Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more: That does sound fun!

    @ cookiegirl11: I’ll do a video on that too!

    @ Marsha: Depends on the size of the cookie (I have my favorites listed in a pop-up box in the video). Same consistency, same icing for details. It’s all about time saving for me!

  33. February 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    @ marian:
    But of course I’ve watched your video on the 10-second rule Marian. Quite a few times. Ha! I’ve learned so much from you.

    My 10-second icing looks like that in the bowl. I think it looks runnier when piping than yours does here. Then again I think I’ve only used 10-second flooding with piping consistency outlines. I’ve probably only used 20-second icing for outlining and flooding together (with no piping consistency).

    Looks like I’ll be trying 10-second alone this weekend. I’ll also watch your 10-sec video once (or twice) more.

    Thank you so much for all you do for us. It’s super sweet of you to respond to our comments too!

  34. February 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I am just starting out on my adventures in making cookies, so your tutorial is just what I need. Thanks so much for sharing. I love, love, love the photo of the last cookie – it’s stunning!

  35. February 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Fell in love with these cookies when you posted them on Instagram! SO cute!

  36. February 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the video! I think I am finally getting up the courage to try decorating with royal icing. Beautiful cookies!

  37. marian
    February 7, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi again @ Dotty: Well of course I respond to you – you’re the reason I’m here! I love blogging and interacting with other people who have similar interests and if you’re new to it, I love helping if I can! Have fun practicing and playing around! =)
    Yay @ Ashley! Have fun with it!!

    @ Maria and @ Sarah (Canterbury Cakes) for dropping by!

  38. Novi
    February 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    I love your website, I found your website few months ago. I have read most of your tutorial.. if not all of them. πŸ™‚ You gave me the inspiration for my son’s birthday cake, which was cupcakes birthday cake with pokemon cookies (the cookies looked like pokeball) on top each cupcake. It turned out quite good.. considering it was my first time ever I make anything like that.. (icing the cupcake and icing the cookies).
    Your Valentines cookies are adorable.
    Thank you so much for your generous tutorial!!

  39. Buki
    February 8, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your answer Marian. Yes its the music that causes the problem. Too bad. What a pity. I really, really love your work, your kindness and your inspiring site. Be blessed.

  40. February 8, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Are beautiful cookies and tutorials! So cute!!

    Have a good Valentine’s day!

  41. marian
    February 8, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Buki: I put it on Vimeo here so hopefully you can see it now: http://vimeo.com/36408137

  42. Julianne
    February 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Your site is a brilliant source of inspiration and I’m slowly getting better at decorating my cookies, but I have two questions for you:

    I am vegan, so I’ve been using an egg-free icing (www.grouprecipes.com/31155/vegan-royal-icing.html – but with more water). I don’t suppose you happen to know if your 10-second rule would also apply? My icing seems way thicker than yours if I count 10 seconds.

    Also, how do you manage to start your lines so smoothly? No matter how careful I try to be, I always get a blob at the start and (mostly) at the end of my lines, plus although I use a 1.5 tip, the lines look fatter than yours, so am I just pressing too hard? I touch the icing on the cookie, then lift to outline, but I’m obviously not doing something right because those blobs keep coming!

    Many thanks πŸ™‚

  43. Lisette
    February 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    I have a question; how do you switch the tips of your piping bags?

    Thanks for all the video’s! They are really helpful!

  44. February 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial. You make it look so easy. I have some great cookie cutters that I’m dying to try but I’m still nervous about trying this technique. I guess the only way to master it is to try it and practice!

  45. February 9, 2012 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    All the cookies are just beautiful! I especially love the heart ones!

  46. Genevieve
    February 9, 2012 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    hi Marian! πŸ™‚ I just baked a batch of sugar cookies using your recipe and they taste awesome! Thankss so much for sharing it =) I’m going to decorate them tonight using your royal icing recipe but I’ve a question for you though.. I read from somewhere that should the cookies become a lil soft (or soggy), I should stick them into the oven starting at 50 degrees for a few seconds to make them crispy again. but will that affect the royal icing that is already on them? will the royal icing melt? =\

    Thankss so much!


  47. marian
    February 9, 2012 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Julianne: Just add more water until you’re happy with the consistency (until the 10 second rule happens). No matter what kind of icing you use, if the consistency is good, then decorating will be easier. For the icing ‘blobs’, I know what you mean and I have the same issue. Check out my videos for the one entitled, ‘Piping Lines with Royal Icing’ and I answer that question there. Have tons of fun decorating!

    Hi @ Lisette: I use a coupler to be able to switch them easier. Check out my videos for the one which talks about cookie decorating tools, to see how I do it.

    @ FestivePartyGirl: That’s right! Have fun with it!

    Thanks @ Karen @ Sugartown Sweets!

    Hi @ Genevieve: Your answers are in my video, “How to Dry Cookies Decorated with Royal Icing”. Pay particular attention to the humidity point… where do you live? Please watch the video and let me know if you have any more questions. xo

  48. Ana
    February 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Que hermosas galletas y que buenos videos. Mil gracias Marian tu pΓ‘gina es muy educativa.

  49. Buki
    February 10, 2012 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Marian, thanks sooo much. Vimeo works. Have a lovely weekend. Be blessed!

  50. Sol
    February 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    I’ve started to bake cookies and decorate cookies only 3 weeks ago. The decoration is still a disaster! Do you recommend to take a course? Or, just practice and practice and more practice? I decided to improve first the baking…can you post a video of your sugar cookies recipes? I’ve made these cookies, they are delicious but I’m sure that I can still improve! BTW, I’m from Argentina but I live in Toronto.Thanks Marian! You are really an inspiration πŸ™‚


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