Royal Icing for Cookie Decorating

Royal Icing Recipe
Tara Fisher © 2015
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Customize your icing using your favorite food coloring.


2cups confectioners' sugar
1large egg white, lightly beaten
1/2teaspoon lemon juice
1teaspoon water


  1. Sift the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the beaten egg white and lemon juice.
  2. Whisk on low speed, so you do not incorporate too much air into the icing, for 2 to 3 minutes until you have a smooth, but not wet, stiff peak consistency. It should be dense and spreadable but hold a stiff peak. If it looks dry and crumbly, add a little water. If it looks slightly runny and glossy, add a little extra confectioners’ sugar.
  3. You now have stiff peak icing for sticking houses together and placing decorations onto icing. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out. The icing can be prepared ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

You can adjust this icing to make soft peak and flood icing:

Soft peak – Add a drop of water at a time until you have icing that holds a soft peak but does not spread on its own. Use for piping lines, borders, and decorations.

Flood icing – Add a teaspoon of water at a time until you have a thick but runny icing that smooths out on its own within 15 seconds but not so runny that it runs off the edge of your cookie. Use for filling in outlined areas of cookies. Each recipe will give directions on which type of icing you will need.


  1. If you have no piping bags, make your own by twisting a tight cone out of parchment paper, or use a small plastic food bag and cut one corner off.
  2. If you do not have piping nozzles, you can just cut the end of the piping bag off. Note that a nozzle will give you better results as you have more control.
  3. Only half fill the piping bag with icing so it does not ooze out of the top when you squeeze.
    To make chocolate icing, substitute 3/4 cup of cocoa powder in place of an equal amount of confectioners’ sugar.
  4. Don’t miss Mima Sinclair’s classic light gingerbread and dark gingerbread dough recipes!

This recipe was republished with permission from Gingerbread Wonderland by Mima Sinclair (Kyle Books, 2016).