Best Royal Icing

5 from 4 votes

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This is the best Royal Icing Recipe (without meringue powder) and is your ticket to icing success! If you are making gingerbread cookies or sugar cookie cut-outs for Christmas this year or just need a really sturdy icing, this Royal Icing recipe is it! It’s only three ingredients whipped together until fluffy and stiff. It’s very sweet and really reliable, even for your gingerbread houses!

royal icing in bowl

Why You’ll Love This Icing Recipe

Christmas time is just about the only time I use this easy royal icing recipe, but it can be used for gingerbread house construction, icing gingerbread cookies or even fancier decorations on a cake that you want to harden and keep its shape. 

How Do You Make Royal Icing Without Meringue Powder?

Raw egg whites! In this particular Royal Icing recipe, I use pasteurized organic egg whites, instead of meringue powder. Pasteurized egg whites are completely fine to consume raw. Meringue Powder is an egg white substitute used for baking and cake decorating. It is made up of dehydrated egg whites, stabilizers, sweeteners and/or flavorings, depending on the brand. I prefer to use egg whites instead.

royal icing in piping bag

Ingredients Needed

Just 3 simple ingredients are needed to make this Royal Icing Recipe!

  • Pasteurized Egg Whites– used instead of meringue powder. Provides structure to the icing.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar– aka powdered sugar, provides sweet flavoring, structure and texture.
  • Vanilla Extract– for flavoring. You can also make this icing with other extracts like almond or peppermint, or a combination of a couple.

How to Make the Best Royal Icing

This recipe will make 2 cups of icing. Depending on how you’re wanting to use it, you may want to double this recipe. For full recipe details, including ingredients and measurements, see the printable recipe card down below. Here is step by step what you can expect when making this icing recipe:

Whip Egg Whites

In the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk attachment, start by whipping the egg whites until frothy and soft peaks have formed. A hand mixer will also work fine.

Add Vanilla + Powdered Sugar

Add in the vanilla extract and stir in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, on medium-low speed.

Once the powdered sugar has been incorporated, whip on high speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until very stiff peaks form. At this point you can use it as is or you can divide it up and make each portion a different color using food coloring (gel food coloring or liquid food coloring) if you want different colors of icing.

Storage Directions

Use Royal Icing immediately or store leftover icing in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the icing at room temperature for up to 2 hours. If you don’t plan to use it within 2 hours, store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Allow to icing to come to room temperature before using and trying to spread.

Freezing– You can also freeze royal icing for up to 3 months! Make sure to store in an airtight, freezer safe container. Allow icing to thaw overnight before stirring and using.

royal icing on whisk

FAQ About Royal Icing (Without Meringue Powder)

Is it safe to eat royal icing since it has raw eggs?

In this particular Royal Icing recipe, I use pasteurized organic egg whites, which is completely fine to consume raw, mainly because they have been pasteurized.

Can I just use the whites from fresh eggs?

Technically yes you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it because they aren’t pasteurized. Just like it isn’t recommended for anyone to eat raw cookie dough because of the eggs, the same rules apply.

Can I substitute meringue powder for egg whites?

Yes, you absolutely can. Depending on where you live, meringue powder can be harder to find in grocery stores than egg whites. If you happen to have meringue powder or would like to purchase some for its longer shelf life, you would stir together 3 1/2 tablespoons of meringue powder into 1/3 cup cold water and make the recipe as listed.

My icing seems too runny to use…how can I thicken it?

Start by adding more powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time) to the icing and gently stir until you reach the perfect consistency you’re needing. You’ll need to be cautious of over mixing.

My icing is too thick! What do I do?

If you have a thick icing, but want it a thinner consistency, add a little water (just a few drops!) and gently stir. The consistency of the icing should change and be perfect for what you’re wanting. Thicker icing is perfect for using it to “glue” a gingerbread house together.

How long does it take for royal icing to dry?

After about an hour in the drying process, you’ll notice the top of the icing to start to have more of a matte finish. For royal icing to fully harden you’ll want to leave it alone for a good 6-8 hours. You can speed up the process by placing your project in front of a fan.

royal icing in bowl with spoon laying next to it

Love Royal Icing? Try These:


I hope you enjoy this simple royal icing recipe this Christmas season by decorating beautiful sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies with loved ones. The printable recipe card is below. Happy decorating, friends! 🙂

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

royal icing in bowl
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5 from 4 votes

Royal Icing

If you are making gingerbread cookies or need a really sturdy icing, this royal icing is your ticket. It’s only three ingredients whipped together until fluffy and stiff. Very sweet, but really reliable.
servings 2 cups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes



  • Start by whipping the egg whites until frothy using a stand or hand mixer.
  • Add in the vanilla extract and stir in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
  • Once the powdered sugar has been incorporated, whip on high speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until very thick.
  • Store at room temperature in an airtight container with plastic wrap directly on the royal icing to prevent drying out.


Nutritional information is for 1 cup of icing. This recipe makes two total cups.


Calories: 960kcal | Carbohydrates: 240g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 66mg | Sugar: 235g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas Cookies, cookie decorating, royal icing, royal icing recipe
5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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7 Responses
    1. Lauren

      If you are making the recipe with pasteurized egg whites, you’ll need to store it in the fridge. Good for up to a week. If you are using meringue powder, you can store it at room temperature for up to a month. The longer it sits the more it will separate, so you’ll want to beat it well before using if made ahead.