Homemade Royal Icing


  • Prep Time10 mins
  • Total Time10 mins
Homemade Royal Icing

Photo: iStock/Prostock-Studio

With just three ingredients, this royal icing is easy to whip up and even easier to decorate with. Use it for your sugar cookies, gingerbread houses and more.


  • 3 egg whites

  • 1/4 tsp white vinegar

  • 5 cups icing sugar, sifted


  • Beat egg whites and vinegar in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium, until foamy. Gradually beat in icing sugar on low until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until icing is dense and thick but still foamy, 3 to 7 min.

  • Beat in 2 to 4 tbsp cold water to thin icing out to desired consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a very small plain tip to decorate cool cookies.

Icing tips

  • Cookies should be cooled completely before any royal icing is applied.
  • Add sprinkles or other decorations while icing is still wet.
  • To outline a cookie, use icing that is toothpaste-like in consistency: stiff, but still easy to pipe.
  • To “flood” your cookie (that is, fill the inside of the outlined cookie with more royal icing), thin out your icing with a touch of water until it drips easily off a spoon. The consistency should be similar to honey: thick, but still thin enough to spread to the edges. Top should be smooth.
  • Use a toothpick to pop any small air bubbles.
  • Let cookies sit at room temperature until royal icing hardens completely, preferably overnight.

Originally published in the Today’s Parent November/December 2021 issue.

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