Royal Icing

This royal icing is piping consistency… but you may still need to add a little more powdered sugar to thicken, or a few drops of water to make it thinner, depending on the consistency you are going for.  This recipe can also be halved.

1/4 cup  meringue powder (19g)
1/2 cup (120ml) warm water
1 lb. (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted  (453g)
1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla

Add meringue powder to warm water in your mixing bowl. Whisk by hand until meringue powder is dissolved –about 1 minute.  With the paddle attachment on your mixer,  add the confectioners’ sugar and clear vanilla and mix at low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to Medium-High and beat for 7 – 8 minutes until stiff peaks form. The stiff peak stage is ready for piping or you can make it slightly stiffer by add more confectioners’ sugar a small amount at a time — it becomes a matter of preference and you will determine what works best for you.

Stiff Peak stage is when you lift your spoon out of the bowl the icing stands in a straight peak.

Soft Peak stage is when the spoon is lifted the peak is straight with a slight curve at the end;

For Flooding you will need to add water a little at a time until because the consistency will change very quickly.

Category: Miscellaneous, Recipes


  1. michelle elizondo says: #1

    Will this royal icing dry hard like the regular Wilton recipe?

  2. BeBe says: #2

    I haven’t used the Wilton recipe, but yes this recipe does dry hard.


  3. Rulaborelli says: #3

    How long does this recipe keep once it’s made and also once it is decorated with? Should I refrigerate the cookies if I don’t need them for a couple of days?

  4. Aquarius Benoit says: #4

    How long can you keep royal icing stored? What should you store it in ( fridge? plastic container?) Thanks :)

  5. angel says: #5

    im new to using royal icing i was wondering how would you store it and for how long

  6. jules says: #6

    What brand of royal icing do you use?

  7. angel says: #7

    the recipe from above

  8. BeBe says: #8

    I keep the royal icing in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. It can be stored up to 12 days. It does separate when stored so just stir to bring it back together.

  9. Kate McLellan says: #9

    Does this royal icing have to be prepared with oil free tools?

  10. Melissa Diamond says: #10

    Yes, oil on your whisk or the paddle attachment of your mixer could prevent your egg whites from reaching the proper volume.

  11. acerola says: #11

    I’m confused because there is no mention of egg whites in the ingredient list!
    This is the first time I’ll try royal icing and I need it today. It’s 12 noon in GA and I’ll be working all afternoon and night. (Bake Me Joy on FB or email, or reply here would be helpful.) Thanks.

  12. Melissa Diamond says: #12

    Hi Acerola, the meringue powder is powdered egg whites. If you want to use real egg whites here is a link to an Alton Brown recipe that is good . Read the reviews and you will see a comment about using real egg whites if you don’t have access to pasteurized egg whites. link to

  13. Emma Ebeling says: #13

    Hi Melissa,
    I have a cake to make with satin ice (gum paste) ruffles, however it has been raining for over a week and all my gum paste flowers have now wilted and look really sad. The gum paste ruffles I made last night are holding up better (because they just need to look like ruffles, not petals) however they have that wet look. Would I be better to use royal icing or will this also look wet and sticky. Or would I be best to place the cake in the fridge once ruffles are done? Any other suggestions are welcome.

  14. Melissa Diamond says: #14

    Hi Emma–I’m so sorry that you are having issues…it must be REALLY humid for your gum paste to have a wet look. I haven’t experienced that before with Satin Ice gum paste. Are you storing them just at room temp (and not in an airtight container)? —

    Gum paste would be my first choice because royal icing is effected a lot by humidity. You could try it…but I’m afraid they may take a really long time to dry…and will probably be more on the soft side. —

    Some people use multi-tray food dehydrators with their gum paste pieces. Not sure if that is an option for you–maybe in the future? But for now, another trick that people use is to put their gum paste pieces on a parchment lined tray (parchment breathes better than waxed paper) and into the oven with only the oven light on. It couldn’t hurt! (just tape a big sign on the oven so nobody will turn it on ;0) )– When I’m desperate, I’ve even sprinkled a layer of tylose onto my parchment and laid my pieces right into it. Not sure that it helped…but it made me feel better :0) –

    I hope that your gp pieces from last night firm up for you.

    Placing the cake in the fridge does keep things firm…but I think you would be better off with leaving the gum paste ruffles at room temperature–condensation on top of the humidity you already have going on could make them even softer.

    You could also post your question in the message boards–maybe other cakers who live in really humid areas will have more tips— good luck!!

  15. Emma Ebeling says: #15

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. I’ll try anything at this stage. Let you know how things turns out.

  16. Phoneny Verly says: #16

    hi Melissa , do you have any idea how to pasterize the egg white , or the link .I’ll appreciate for that , thank you .

  17. Jules49 says: #17

    going to give the decorating cookie thing and run this coming week, to color our royal icing, can we just use our regular fondant paste dyes?(Wilton Icing Colors) Or does royal icing require the oil candy colorings?

  18. Melissa Diamond says: #18

    Hi Jules–just the regular coloring that you use with fondant or buttercream is fine!

  19. Jules49 says: #19

    thank you! Kinda what I thought, but truly don’t have time for too many mistakes this week, lol Thanks again and as always, your site is amazing and membership worth it’s weight in gold!!:)

  20. Jules49 says: #20

    Geez, leave it to me to begin with a ridiculous color like RED! Any tips on getting royal icing a true red? I’m on my second bottle of paste coloring and it’s still not really red. I know letting it sit may help to deepen the color, anything else I should do? THANKS!!

  21. Melissa Diamond says: #21

    Hi Jules, I’m sorry you are having trouble! Has the red intensified for you? It really should deepen a good amount. We’ve had the best luck with Americolor Super Red because it is more concentrated than Wilton and some of the other brands.

  22. kvaldi89 says: #22

    Hi! I wanted to know what consistency should I leave the royal icing , I wanted to cover a fondant cake with the damask stencil. Any help would be great! Thanks

  23. apple jean osorio says: #23

    Hi me too, same question above me,, i want to know the consistency of the royal as i will be covering fondant with damask stencil, and how can i achieve jet black royal icing? Should i leave it overnight to intesify the color? Does it dries well on fondant if i leave it out room temperature? Will be my first time making royal thats why, thank you so much melissa!

  24. Melissa Diamond says: #24

    Hi–sorry I missed the above question! This royal recipe should give you a good medium consistency for applying to a stencil. You don’t want your royal to be runny, as you won’t be able to apply it neatly. I really recommend doing a trial run on parchment, paper towel, etc. with the stencil before applying to your cake so that you can get a feel for it. If the royal seems to runny, just add a little more powdered sugar. It should be soft enough that spreading a thin layer across the stencil comes easily.

    As for achieving black royal icing, I have good luck with Americolor Super Black. Yes, you will want to add the black to within a couple of shades of the desired color…it will intensify over the course of several hours. Yes, it will set up so that it is dry to the touch at room temperature. Good luck!

  25. Terri Tate says: #25

    Hi melissa, I will be using royal icing for a wedding cake this upcoming weekend. The cake will be all white. One 10″ tier and one 8″ tier. I plan to put two large red flowers on front. The design that will be on the front of the cake will be long black stroked lines with soft curves or loops. Lines will be stroked at least 6-8 inches on the tiers. Very loose. Not tight. Not like cornelli or the swirley loop design. Each long stroke will only have one loop or one slight bend at end. Kinda like a beautiful Japanese design. Can you visualize? I apologize if im not doing the best job of explaining. Im being so descriptive so that you will be able to visualize and let me know if these lines look more sharp with royal as opposed to buttercream. If so, will the royal be difficult for cake cutting? Thanks melissa!

  26. Terri Tate says: #26

    Hi again melissa, one thing I wasnt too clear on…only the lines will be in royal. The cake will be iced in buttercream. Im sorry!

  27. Melissa Diamond says: #27

    Hi Terri— Your cake design sounds beautiful! Since your cake will be frosted in buttercream, you’ll want to use tinted black buttercream rather than royal for your piping. This is just the safest bet, as sometimes royal icing and buttercream do not play nicely together and I would be afraid that the fats in the buttercream would cause the royal to break down a bit and leave you at a little higher risk for bleeding. — This is the reason why I also always apply dried royal decorations to the cake as close to the event as possible. I hope this helps!

  28. Terri Tate says: #28

    Hi again Melissa, what if i cover the cake in white fondant…would using black royal icing for the lines work best? I want to have nice, clear strokes. For lines, thinner thick should the royal icing be? For the lines, I will be using a tip 4 or 5 and a tip 10. Thanks Melissa!

  29. Terri Tate says: #29

    Im so sorry ladies, the above should have said “how thick or thin should the royal icing be?” Sometimes my cell phone types words it “thinks” you meant to say and I dont know how to turn the feature off! *lol! But thats a totally different class! Thanks so much!

  30. Melissa Diamond says: #30

    Hi Terri–I think that royal on the fondant will work great. I would just go with a medium consistency frosting that will hold it’s shape nicely but still flow easily from the piping tip. So, if using our royal icing recipe from the recipes section…it should be the right consistency for piping…but if it seems a little thin, just add a bit of powdered sugar. I would do a few practice lines on parchment or waxed paper before working on the cake. —

    Let us know if you have any more questions! I’m sure it will be beautiful!

  31. deb kroger says: #31

    which do you prefer royal icing or frozen buttercream transfers?

  32. Melissa Diamond says: #32

    Hi Deb– I think that both are great options. I use frozen buttercream transfers and chocolate (candy coating) transfers most often because they can be done much more quickly. Also, I don’t refrigerate royal icing decorations because they sometimes soften when chilled (or even when applied to a non-crusting frosting)… so if you’d prefer to decorate in advance, buttercream or chocolate transfers may be your best bet.

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