Royal Icing

November/December 1998

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Royal icing hardens when it dries, making it particularly useful when decorating sugar cookies.

Royal Icing

Makes: About 1 cup, enough to decorate at least 3 dozen cookies

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  • 2 teaspoons dried egg whites, such as Just Whites, or 4 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon, or almond extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • Food coloring, (optional)


  1. Combine dried egg whites (or meringue powder), water, cream of tartar and lemon (or almond) extract in a large bowl. Add sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, 6 to 12 minutes.
  2. Add water if needed to adjust icing consistency for piping or spreading. Add food coloring, if desired. Keep a damp cloth or paper towel directly on the icing while you work, to keep it from drying out.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: If not using immediately, cover icing with a damp cloth and plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Beat again before using.


Per teaspoon: 20 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrates; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 1 mg sodium; 4 mg potassium.

Exchanges: Free Food

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