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Oct 28


Can you use anything besides egg whites or meringue powder in royal icing?

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It’s a question I get quite a bit:

Are there any other substitutes for meringue powder besides egg whites? Can you make royal icing with anything besides raw egg whites or meringue powder?

Having experimented with quite a few royal icing recipes has helped me find my favorite, but all my icing experiments either called for meringue powder or egg whites, so I turned to you on Facebook to ask for advice. Thanks for all of the responses! Here is the link to the answers.

I’ve put together a summary of all the information for you below. I haven’t tried these, so would love to hear your feedback if you have! Please feel free to share more info. in the comment section.

When making royal icing, is there a substitute for meringue powder or egg whites?

1. Create an egg white substitute with gelatin and hot water

Creating an egg substitute by dissolving unflavored gelatin in hot water, letting it set, and then using it in place of egg whites, is one option. This was of the first answers on Facebook by Bakes-A-Lot (Thank you!), who shared a link to Yahoo’s Answers, which in turn linked to Wilton.com’s discussion forum. I was unable to find the actual discussion on Wilton’s site, but the recipe and gelatin egg substitute recipe can be found here. (Thanks as well to Maria!).

2. Substitute meringue powder or eggs with dried/dehydrated egg whites

Instead of meringue powder, use dried egg whites. Thanks to Janice Wong for sharing the link to LilaLoa’s recipe. Thanks as well to Pamela, who shared that they’re called Actiwhite in South Africa. Also important to note, another name for powdered egg whites is egg albumin. (Thank you Estefania and Jeni Cakes).

3. Use pastuerized egg whites

Thanks to Tessa for sharing that she uses pastuerized egg whites in a carton for any meringue she needs. She adds a little cream of tartar or lemon juice to stabilize. Tessa, I’d love to hear more about this option. I have tried it before and found that my icing didn’t whip up as nicely. Would love to hear more feedback!

4. Use “No-Egg” Replacement Powder

Biscuit Bupkis has used “No-Egg” replacement powder for vegan biscuits & icing. Thanks for sharing!

5. Omit the binding/stabilizing agent altogether

Marie has made royal icing with just powdered sugar, flavoring and color (and I’m guessing water?). Thanks, Marie for sharing on Facebook. Looking forward to experimenting! Has anyone else tried this? I’m guessing it would work nicely for flood icing, but maybe not for a gingerbread house icing, which needs to be like a thick, sweet edible glue.


  • If you’re looking for a royal icing recipe with egg whites, here’s the one I use; Royal Icing Made with Egg Whites
  • And with meringue powder; Royal Icing Made with Meringue Powder
  • Depending on where you live, there may be similar products to meringue powder, with different names. For example, thanks to Casey on Facebook, and Belle of Belleissimo Cookies for sharing that they use a product called Pavlova Magic instead of meringue powder. Belle, who is in Australia and unable to find the meringue powder there, says:

I use a product called Pavlova Magic instead of meringue powder. It’s basically meringue powder, as its designed to make meringues (Pavlovas). I use a straight substitution for the same amount as the recipe calls for… It works great for me as I am in a small(ish) country town without any decorating supply stores and this product I can get at my grocery store.

Hope that helps!

Leave me a comment below, on Facebooktwitteryoutube or instagram, and share your findings about substitutes in royal icing – I love to hear what you’ve learned in your decorating journey.

Have fun baking!



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  1. October 22, 2013 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    Hello, just love the gravestone R.I.P Haha, so genial!
    Really funny also the black hat!

  2. Kim Pettenuzzo
    October 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    What brand of meringue powder do you use? And where do you buy it from?

    • marian
      October 27, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      HI Kim,
      I usually use Wilton, and buy it through Amazon or Michael’s Craft store.

    • November 10, 2016 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kim,
      I use Wilton’s Meringue powder as well, but I buy mine in the Wilton’s cake decorating department of Walmart. It’s really good to use, and I find it cheaper there. Good luck!

  3. October 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Gelatin is even less vegan than egg whites! It is made from animal by products that require animals to be killed to extract it. If a person is vegan for ethical purposes this isn’t a good answer.
    I’m wondering if adding powdered sugar would do the trick. I’m attempting to make sugar skulls for my class.

    • Jen
      November 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      You can find vegetable gelatin, It is not really gelatin but the brand i used called it that( cant remember the name now). The ingredient in it was Agar Agar. I think whole foods carries it if you are near one.

    • Laura
      December 12, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      If you have a life-threatening egg allergy like my daughter (and more than 600,000 other Americans) then using gelatin could be a great option. I’m excited to try some of these substitutes so we can bake & decorate her first gingerbread cookies together this weekend!

    • Becky M.
      December 26, 2013 at 4:02 am | Permalink

      Powdered sugar is not vegan either. Many refined sugars have bone char used in the whitening process. So good luck with that, too.

  4. December 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I use this recipe and it hardens perfectly and is shiny and yummy!
    1 C. Confectioners Sugar
    2 teaspoons milk
    2 teaspoons corn syrup
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    food coloring
    If it’s too thick, add corn syrup.

    • Cassy
      December 9, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      Do you just mix them together or do you have an order that you mix them together in?

    • Jocelyn SIlverman
      February 5, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Hi Annette,

      Just wondering about adding milk to the vegan royal icing– how long will that stay fresh?

      Thank you.

  5. Phoebe
    February 13, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the above advice. I’m from Australia and was wondering what meringue powder was, great to know i can use pavlova magic as a substitute 🙂

  6. Sandy
    March 20, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink


    I have never been good at frosting cookies with royal icing and yours are beautiful. It’s the one thing I avoid because I’m terrible at it, which I think is strange because I’m pretty crafty/artsy. How did you learn this skill and do you have any tips?

  7. Shelley
    April 25, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Hi, I live in NZ and could not find powdered egg white. However we do have a product called gum paste used in cake making. when I looked at the ingredients in it it states powdered egg white, corn starch, corn syrup. I have experimented with it tonight for the first time adding icing sugar to it. Fingers crossed it works at it is the first time I have tried cookie decorating.

  8. Heather
    May 10, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Your cookies are brilliant and I’m inspired to start putting a little more effort into my baking!

  9. August 3, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Becky – There are several powdered sugars that are vegan. We use Wholesome Sweeteners, which is one of them.

    I love the gelatin idea…I may try that. I used meringue powder for my first try and wasn’t overly impressed with it.

  10. June 13, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I have tried making meringue with the liquid drained off a can of chickpeas/white beans. The proteins are meant to be the same amino acids found in egg white so it is often used in vegan meringue recipes. As such, I imagine it may be a worthwhile substitute for egg whites in royal icing (and a bit less dangerous for salmonella poisoning. I am not going to try it though. I am going to try find pavlova magic to make royal icing for a cake here in Australia.

  11. Allison
    January 9, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    My grandma would always have us grandkids over around Christmas do make cookies, and she would make her own icing. Just use Powdered Sugar, Milk, and whatever food coloring you need. We never wrote down measurements, just used our judgement, but in order to get it thick enough to not just run off the cookie, you need a lot of powdered sugar, and not so much milk and the food coloring will also make it runny.

    • marian
      January 13, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Thanks Allison!

  12. Grace T Pushkin
    December 9, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I have never seen cookies as beautifully decorated as yours! You are incredibly talented. I came across your website searching for an answer I still have not found, perhaps you could help me. Is egg white PROTEIN powder a good substitute for egg white powder? It seems to be much easier to find.

    Thank you and have a great holiday.

  13. Heather
    February 19, 2017 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    I’m making cookies for someone with a corn allergy. I can replace powdered sugar for organic which uses tapioca starch, and omit the baking powder from the cookie recipe, but I’m still not sure what to use for the meringue powder. I suggested dried egg whites and they seem to be more comfortable using a vegan option. But the one listed here says it has “vegetable gum” but there’s no information on what vegetables that is derived from. Any ideas?

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