Here is my easy royal icing recipe using meringue powder instead of raw egg whites. It is perfect for icing sugar cookies and gingerbread houses!
You can find my Easy No Chill Sugar Cookie Recipe here.
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What is meringue powder?
Meringue powder is made from pasteurized, dried egg whites. It is a safer option than raw egg whites because it eliminates the risk of harmful bacteria that come from using raw egg whites in a royal icing recipe. It has a long shelf life and is a convenient alternative to traditional icing for many bakers and decorators.
As a baker who follows cottage food laws, I’m not allowed to sell cookies frosted with a classic royal icing recipe that uses raw egg whites. That’s why I love this recipe. It has the right consistency and dries hard with a beautiful glossy finish.
I’ve recently updated this recipe to include corn syrup so that the finished cookies have a “soft-bite” when the icing is fully hardened.
Where to buy meringue powder
You can find meringue powder at craft stores, baking supply stores, or on Amazon. Since it has a long shelf life, I like to stock up and buy the big containers so I always have some when I need it.
What tools do I need to decorate cookies with royal icing?
To make and decorate cookies with royal icing, you’ll need a few essential tools.
- Stand mixer with a whip attachment or a hand mixer
- Piping bag or pastry bag- for outlining the cookies with stiffer consistency icing.
- Squeeze bottles– for flooding cookies with a thinner consistency icing
- Small piping tips for detailed work– I like Wilton #1, #3, and #5
- Damp paper towel- to keep your freshly mixed icing from crusting over.
- Plastic wrap- to make an airtight seal for batches of icing
- Drying rack or parchment paper– for allowing your cookies to set and dry
- Spray bottle with water– for easy clean up and removing dried bits of icing.
How to make royal icing with meringue powder
It’s so simple to make royal icing with meringue powder. Three basic ingredients and a stand mixer or hand mixer are all you need. The trickiest part is getting the right consistency of the icing. I like to start by mixing a thick icing and then add a little water to adjust it as needed.
Best royal icing recipe
This recipe is for a thick consistency like you’ll need for outlining cookies, assembling gingerbread houses, or decorating gingerbread cookies.
- 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 4 tablespoons meringue powder
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 Tbsp. corn syrup
How to make a royal icing recipe with meringue powder
In a large bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of meringue powder and 1/4 cup of water. Mix until it gets frothy and bubbly. Add 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar and 2 Tbsp of corn syrup and mix on low speed until the ingredients are well combined.
Adjust for consistency
To create different consistencies for your icing, you can add a little bit more water for a thinner icing or more powdered sugar for a thicker icing. Make sure to mix well after each adjustment until you achieve the desired consistency. This recipe makes a stiff consistency so that you can adjust as needed.
Use a stiff consistency for outlining
Outlining the edges of your sugar cookies with stiff icing helps create a barrier to contain the flood icing and gives your design a defined shape. You can use different colors for outlining, depending on your design.
Use a thinner icing for flooding the cookies
Switch to a squeeze bottle or a piping bag with a larger round tip (e.g., Wilton #3 or #4) filled with the thinner flood icing. Start by gently squeezing the flood icing within the outlined shape. Allow the flood icing to flow and fill the outlined area. Use a toothpick or a small offset spatula to help spread the icing evenly and into the corners if needed. Be careful not to overfill to avoid spilling over the edges.
How to make royal icing taste good
To make royal icing taste delicious and add a delightful flavor to your cookies, you can use a variety of flavorings, extracts, and emulsions. Here’s how to do it, along with a list of sources and for high-quality flavorings:
Enhancing the Flavor of Royal Icing:
- Vanilla Extract: Adding pure vanilla extract to your royal icing is a classic and simple way to impart a sweet, warm, and inviting flavor. Start with a teaspoon and adjust to taste.
- Almond Extract: Almond extract gives a subtle nutty flavor to your royal icing. Use it sparingly, as it can be quite potent. A few drops are usually enough for a delightful almond twist.
- Flavored Emulsions: Flavored emulsions, such as those from LORANN oils, are concentrated and water-based flavorings that are perfect for royal icing. They come in a wide range of flavors, from fruit to bakery flavors like buttercream and cheesecake. Just a few drops can make a significant difference in taste.
Sources for Flavorings:
- LorAnn Oils: I’ve been using LorAnn as my trusted source for high-quality flavorings for years. They offer a wide variety of flavors to choose from, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect match for your cookies. You can explore their selection on their website:LorAnn
- Local Grocery Stores: Many local grocery stores carry a selection of extracts and flavorings, making it convenient to pick up essentials like vanilla and almond extract.
- Online Retailers: Websites like Amazon and specialty baking supply stores online also offer a wide range of flavoring options, including unique and gourmet flavors.
By adding flavorings to your royal icing, you can transform it from simple to delicious! ( Remember to start with a small amount of flavoring and adjust to your taste preferences.)
My favorite choices for coloring royal icing
To achieve those vibrant colors for your sugar cookies and gingerbread houses, add gel food coloring in small amounts. Remember, a little goes a long way. Mix until you get the right color intensity.
My top choices for gel food coloring brands are Wilton and Americolor. These brands offer a wide range of colors that are highly concentrated, providing vivid and consistent results. Adding a few drops of these high-quality gel colors to your royal icing will help you achieve the perfect shades for your cookie designs. Check out the variety packs of colors here: Wilton Gel Food Colors on Amazon and Americolor Gel Food Colors
Coloring your royal icing is a fun and creative part of cookie decorating, and it allows you to bring your sweet creations to life with vibrant hues.
How to get a glossy finish on frosted sugar cookies
Achieving a glossy finish on dried frosted sugar cookies can elevate the overall appearance and make your creations look even more enticing. Here are some tips to help you achieve that desirable glossy finish:
Use a Consistent Royal Icing Recipe:
Start with a well-balanced royal icing recipe like this one that provides a smooth and glossy texture when it dries. Make sure your icing has the right consistency, not too thin or too thick, to ensure a glossy finish.
Flood Icing Smoothly
When applying flood icing, make sure it’s spread evenly within the outlined areas. This helps create a uniform surface that dries to a glossy sheen. Use a toothpick or small offset spatula to assist in spreading and removing any air bubbles.
Be careful not to overmix your royal icing, as this can introduce air bubbles that may cause a matte finish. Mix your icing until it reaches the desired consistency but avoid excessive beating.
Allow your decorated cookies to dry in a clean, dry, and dust-free environment. Avoid drying them in humid conditions, as high humidity can cause the icing to take longer to set and may affect the glossy finish.
Give your decorated cookies ample time to dry completely. Depending on the thickness of the icing and humidity levels, this may take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours or more. Patience is key for achieving a glossy finish.
Use a Fan
If you want to speed up the drying process and enhance the glossiness, you can place your cookies in front of a fan. The gentle airflow helps the icing set faster and can result in a shinier surface.
Polish with Light Corn Syrup
If your cookies have dried with a matte finish, you can lightly brush them with a mixture of clear light corn syrup and a small amount of water. This will give them a shiny appearance without altering the flavor significantly.
By following these tips and allowing your decorated cookies to dry properly in an ideal environment, you can achieve a glossy finish that makes your sugar cookies look as wonderful as they taste.
The Best Royal Icing Recipe with Meringue Powder
- 4 cups Confectioners Sugar
- 4 Tbsp Meringue Powder
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1 tsp Clear Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp Corn Syrup
- In a large bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of meringue powder and 1/4 cup of water. Mix until it gets frothy and bubbly.
- Add 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar, and 2 Tbsp. corn syrup and mix on low speed until the ingredients are well combined.
- To create different consistencies for your icing, you can add a little bit more water for a thinner icing or more powdered sugar for a thicker icing. Make sure to mix well after each adjustment until you achieve the desired consistency.
- Leftover icing can be stored in an airtight container for a long time. Just make sure to cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. If you plan to use it again, a quick spray of water and a good mix will bring it back to life.
Easy Royal Icing Recipe Using Meringue Powder
With this easy royal icing recipe using meringue powder, you’ll be able to create stunning sugar cookies and gingerbread houses with the right consistency of icing. Now, you can enjoy cookie decorating without the worry of raw eggs or struggling with the perfect icing.
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