Royal Icing Recipe
Recipe type: Dessert
Visit for full instructions, step-by-step photos, tips & tricks.
  • 2 pound (908 g) of powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 5 large egg whites (if using pasteurized egg whites, follow conversion on box)*
  • Flavoring (to taste) - this can be almond, lemon, orange, vanilla, etc.
  • Coloring - gels and pastes work the best. Little Wilton pots are sold readily at Michaels and Walmart. I personally prefer Americolor for colouring icing. Wilton colours however, are my favourite for painting cookies (we’ll look at that later).
  • *Egg whites - as the egg whites are not cooked in this recipe, it is safer to use pasteurized egg whites (the cartons in grocery stores), but not necessary. I’d mostly recommend it for the young and the elderly, and anyone who has a compromised immune system. My personal preference is dehydrated egg whites - but I haven’t found a supplier in Canada so I bring mine in from the USA.
  • Meringue Powder is another option as well and comes with instructions on how to make Royal Icing. There is nothing wrong with using meringue powder. I personally find it can taste funny, and the list of ingredients longer than it should be. If you do use meringue powder, make sure it is dissolved/rehydrated before adding it or the icing will be lumpy.
  1. Place powdered sugar and cream of tartar in an electric mixer.
  2. Stir in the egg whites by hand to moisten the sugar (all the sugar should be moist, but the mixture shouldn’t be thin. Adjustments may be made at this point. If it is too dry, add another egg white - but be aware that you may have to add a bit more icing sugar.
  3. Place whip attachment onto beater (I personally find a Beaterblade that scrapes the sides of my bowl tends to insure a perfectly smooth icing).
  4. Beat on low speed until the egg whites are mixed throughout.
  5. Turn the mixture on high speed (yes - it will create quite the racket) for three minutes. The icing should be silky and very white at the end. If using a whip attachment - just whip until light and silky (~2 minutes). You do not want to add too much air, as it can create air bubbles later. With my Beaterblade, I find this isn’t a problem.
  6. Now add flavouring and colouring. Royal icing can have a chalky flavour, so flavour it to taste. Keep in mind that flavours like Vanilla are delicious, but will mildly colour the icing as well. The clearer the colour of the flavouring the more white your icing will be.
  7. Scoop out what you need at this point into individual containers (one at a time). When not actively using the icing in the mixing bowl, cover with a damp towel or paper towel to prevent it from drying out. Mix the colours needed individually and mix them to the necessary consistency. Place them in icing bags and then make the next colour.
Recipe by Moms & Munchkins at