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Easy Royal Icing Recipe

Updated: May 28

This is a delicious, simple, and completely foolproof royal icing recipe perfect for decorating cookies, making homemade sprinkles, and more.

Royal icing is an icing with a base of either meringue powder or egg whites. Meringue powder being more expensive, though already contains the necessary ingredients within it such as dried egg whites, flavor, cream of tartar, and more.

I find a meringue powder based royal icing is easier to make and work with, and tends to set up a lot easier, at least for me personally. Which is why I now only resort to this recipe for my cookies!

Tools You'll Need

Here are some kitchen tools I like to suggest for making my sugar cookies. These are the exact products I use every time:

  • Electric Mixer with a whisk attachment

  • Clear Vanilla for a whiter icing base

  • White food coloring to help prevent color bleed

Recipe Questions

My royal icing is too thick?

You may simply add a spritz of water at a time to thin it down. A spritz as in a spray bottle or a 1/4 teaspoon. A small amount goes a long way!

I added too much water, can I thicken it back up?

Yes, but not too much. You may add powdered sugar in small amounts back in to thicken it, however avoid adding more than a 1/4 cup or so to the batch as the recipe will be altered too much. Doing so can affect the drying and royal icing hardness.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Servings: Decorates about 2 -3 dozen cookies


  • 2 lbs powdered sugar

  • 3/4 cup warm water

  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder

  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup (see notes for substitutions)

  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional - see notes)

  • white food coloring (optional - see notes)


1. Using a Whisk attachment, whisk together your meringue powder and warm water until it resembles a frothy foam on speed 4.

2. Once foamed/bubbly and your cream of tartar and vanilla until combined.

3. Slowly add in your powdered sugar a cup at a time until all your powdered sugar is added. Start on low and then slowly increase your mixer speed to medium high or speed 6 for a few minutes. The strength of your mixer will ultimately depend on how long you reach the stiff peaks.

4. While your mixer is on, add in the corn syrup and white food coloring and mix for another minute.

5. Once finished mixing, your results should be a thick and fluffy royal icing. It should not have any flow to it, aka. stiff peaks.

6. You may split the icing into bowls for coloring or change of consistencies. See my Royal Icing Consistencies blog to see how I achieve each consistency with water.

Recipe Notes

Corn Syrup Substitutions

If you are unable to locate or do not have corn syrup in your location, substituting corn syrup with a homemade Glucose Syrup or

try using Brown Rice Syrup or Tapioca Syrup

Why White Food Coloring?

White food coloring helps with future color bleeding when your royal icing is drying/when you have more than one color touching each other.

Cream of Tartar

While most if not all meringue powders have cream of tartar included. I tend to prefer a “fluffier” icing with additional added in. I say optional as it isn’t important to have on hand or to get if you prefer not to. Different meringue powders may have more or less of cream of tartar as well - the consistency is ultimately up to your preference.

Have you tried this recipe? Tag me on Social Media!

Use #sweeteatsbyrachel and mention @sweeteatsbyrachel on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

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