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Royal Icing

A hard-drying icing perfect for sugar cookies.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Author Melissa Hiatt


  • 1 lb of confectioners' sugar "powdered" or "icing" sugar
  • 3 tbsp meringue powder
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla or almond extract
  • 1/2-3/4 cup warm water
  • Food coloring - I lean towards gel pastes for a more intense color


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the meringue powder and confectioners sugar until combined.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of water and beat on medium until stiff and glossy.
  3. Add extract.
  4. Slowly add water approximately 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency (see notes below), scraping the bowl until all the sugar is combined. Remember, it's easier to add more water than take it away, so be careful not to add too much!

Recipe Notes

To check the desired desired consistency, run a knife 1-inch below the icing surface and pull it through the icing. The icing should come together and smooth out within 7-10 seconds for the perfect consistency for piping and flooding. If it takes longer than 10 seconds, add a little more water, one tablespoon at a time.
While in use, keep the icing covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out or place it in a sealed container.