Last Updated on December 21, 2015 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD
Royal icing is classic for decorating gingerbread men and sugar cookies. It is super easy, contains no butter (so doesn’t melt on cookies that aren’t 100% cool), freezes perfectly, and once dry, is virtually indestructible, making it perfect for stacking cookies or packing for travel.
I do not claim to be an expert cookie decorator by any stretch of the imagination, but I sure do have fun and this icing is really easy to work with.
It only needs two ingredients – egg whites and confectioners’ sugar. I use pasteurized egg whites in a carton just to be safe. You can add food colouring if you like, but I usually avoid it – I quite like the look of all white designs. If you do want pretty colours, gel food colouring will create a much bolder hue than liquid.
If you want to “flood” your cookie, which means make a background, first outline your cookie (this creates a dam), then fill it in and tap it on the counter to level it out. You may add a tablespoon or two of water to the icing to achieve a thinner consistency. Let it dry completely (a couple of hours) before going back in and adding detail on top.
The icing dries hard, so be sure to cover any icing not in use. To store royal icing, refrigerate right in icing squeeze bottles or else tightly covered in storage containers.
Easy Royal Icing
- ¼ cup pasteurized egg whites or 2 large egg whites
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- water as needed
- food colouring as desired
- Using the whisk attachment on standing mixer, beat the egg whites and confectioners' sugar until smooth. If you want to flood (completely cover) your cookies rather than make detailed patterns, beat in about a tablespoon of water.