A bowl with royal icing frosting recipe, sugar cookies, Wilton gel color, and piping bags

Royal Icing Frosting Recipe

Decorating cookies is such a happy and enjoyable experience for me. Using this Royal Icing Frosting Recipe is definitely one secret weapon for success!

It’s yummy, plus it has a smooth and beautiful texture. It’s very flexible and forgiving. You can use it to edge your cookies, flood them and decorate them too.

Keep reading, and I will walk you through the royal icing process.

Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe HERE
Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe HERE

Ingredients for Royal Icing

Confectioners’ Sugar
Meringue Powder
Gel color optional
Flavor extracts optional

Cookies Flooded Properly

Equipment & Tools for Royal Icing Frosting Recipe

Beyond the ingredients for making the icing, below are the supplies that will make it easy to decorate. Affiliate links in blue.

Cookies obviously 😉
A batch of Royal Icing
Gel Food Coloring AmeriColor HERE
Small spoons or Spatulas
Small Bowls
Disposable Pastry Bags & Tips set HERE
Icing Squeeze Bottles HERE optional
or an Icing Knife HERE optional

Flood Icing Not Thinned Enough

Decorating Cookies FAQ

Below are some common questions about decorating for royal icing.

What kind of food coloring do you use for royal icing or frosting?

The best food coloring for royal icing or frosting is gel paste. Gel food coloring will not change the consistency of your icing.

Professionals love gel coloring because they are highly pigmented and have a multitude of hues. A little bit goes a long way and gives you rich deep colors.

I am using Wilton brand gels today. They work fine, but I am excited to try Americolor brand gels. HERE Affiliate link

How do you flood royal icing?

See instructions below, but the short answer is to first, thin the icing with water. Thin it enough so that when poured from a spoon to a bowl, the icing flows down easily. The icing should blend in with the icing in the bowl in approximately 15 seconds.

Before you flood coat the cookie, pipe an outline around the cookie edge. This gives the thinner flood icing a ridge to stay within.

Can I make cookies in advance?

These decorated sugar cookies keep very well if you store them in an airtight container at room temperature. We actually still enjoyed our Christmas cookies for a month after Christmas.

Do I need to cover the cookies to let them dry and set overnight?

No, you do not need to cover the cookies. The cookies will not dry out overnight.

Can decorated cookies be refrigerated or frozen?

After you have decorated the cookies with royal icing they should not be refrigerated or frozen. The colors can bleed together due to condensation.


Coloring your Royal Icing

1 First, prepare your icing according to the recipe. Divide and transfer your icing base to various small bowls if you intend to create multiple colors.

You can leave the icing white (as pictured) or use gel food coloring HERE to tint the icing. (Affiliate link) Add the coloring a very little bit at a time. It colors quickly! Stir gently to avoid air bubbles.

I am using Wilton gels here, but I cannot wait to try Americolor brand gels. I’ve read that these are highly rated by the professionals. They prefer Americolor because they have more colors, are more concentrated, and saturated. HERE Affiliate link

Pipe, Edge, or Outline your Cookies First

2 You are ready to begin when the icing has reached a piping consistency. Remember to cover any icing that is not being used so that it does not start to dry out.

Assemble your pastry bags according to the package directions.

If you are new to piping with royal icing, you may need to do a test piping first. Start by filling one with just a small amount of icing.

If you are having trouble piping, it is probably too thick. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of water at a time. Stir gently and try again. Too runny? Add a tiny bit of powdered sugar. It’s incredibly easy to tweak either way!

You will quickly learn what consistency works best. And it’s okay to not be perfect, these are handmade art forms. ☺️

When a bag of icing is not in use, stand it upright with the tip down, in a glass with a small amount of water. You can also cover the tip with a warm, damp towel. This prevents the icing in the tip of the bag from hardening and clogging.

Pipe a border around the edge of each cookie. The Wilton small round tip, #2 is perfect for edging. Start by outlining your cookie.

Place the outline about 1/8 – 1/4 of an inch away from the edge of the cookie.

Once the cookie has a border, we are going to fill it in with royal icing, called “flooding”. There are a few methods to choose from, keep reading.

Flooding your Piped Cookies

3 When the cookies have been edged, it’s time to flood coat them with icing. Use the matching remaining icing to flood or fill the cookie.

You can outline the cookie and fill it at the same time or let the outline set before you flood coat it. See what method you like best!

To get a flood consistency, thin the icing with a tiny bit of water at a time. Stir it gently to avoid creating air bubbles.

Thin it enough so that when poured from a spoon to a bowl, the icing flows down easily. The icing should blend in with the icing in the bowl in approximately 5 seconds.

If the icing gets too thin and runny, stir in a tiny bit more powdered sugar to thicken.

Next, you will flood and fill inside the bordered cookies with icing. There are different tools and techniques for flooding. See below.

Try them all and see what you prefer:

Use a larger piping tip, #4 or 5 HERE or
No tip at all or
Icing Squeeze Bottles HERE
Icing Knife HERE

Affiliate links in blue.

If the icing stops short of the edging, use a toothpick to help move it along. If any bubbles appear, you can also pop them with a toothpick. 

Adding Sprinkles, Writing or Decor

4 If you are using decorating sugars or sprinkles you can add those to the top of cookies now. You do need to let the cookies dry a tiny bit first or the sprinkles will sink into the icing. Test one and you will quickly get the hang of it.

If you are decorating more or writing on the cookies, let your cookies set a minimum of a few hours to overnight. You can leave them uncovered.

Let the final decorated cookies dry at least 1 hour before packaging up or gift-giving. Enjoy!

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heart shape cookies with royal icing frosting recipe

Royal Icing Frosting Recipe

  • Author: Cindy Munson
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x


This recipe is so fun to use for decorating! It’s flexible and forgiving. When you start the decorating process, just add a little water at a time to get the right consistency for your little masterpieces. Enjoy!



For the Icing

4 cups confectioners’ sugar
23 tablespoons Meringue Powder
68 tablespoons warm water, for thinning
Gel color, optional HERE
Flavor extracts, optional

Equipment and Tools

Electric Mixer with a paddle attachment
Gel Food Coloring, optional
Small spoons or Spatulas
Disposable Pastry Bags and Tips
Icing Spatula Knife or
Icing Squeeze Bottles


In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, mix sugar, meringue powder, and water together. If adding a flavor extract, add that now too. If the extract has pigment, be aware it will change the color of your icing.

Beat on low speed for approximately 6-8 minutes until the icing becomes smooth, matte in appearance, and forms gentle peaks. The icing base may still be too stiff for piping, but you can adjust the consistency with water later.

Divide the icing into smaller amounts. Transfer to shallow bowls to color. As you start working with one bowl, cover any icing that is not being used so that it does not start to dry out.

To adjust the consistency of the icing, stir in just a tiny bit of water at a time, in 1/4 teaspoon increments to make the icing more fluid. A little water goes a long way. If it becomes too runny, just add in more powdered sugar.

Add in your desired gel colorings. Always stir gently to avoid creating air bubbles. If necessary, let the icing rest for 5-10 minutes to give the bubbles time to dissipate. You are ready to decorate!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Royal Icing, Icing, Frosting, Piping, Flooding, Cookie Decorating

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes


This Royal Icing Frosting Recipe is classic. Keep it in your back pocket for all your holiday cookies.

If there are any cookie professionals out there with advice and pointers, please feel free to share your expertise in the comments below.🙏🏼😄

Enjoy the decorating process! Please tag me if you try it @bebraveandbloom or #bebraveandbloominspiration


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2 comments on “Royal Icing Frosting Recipe

  1. Thank you for this recipe. I have always wanted to make Royal Icing for my decorated cookies. With Regis frosting you can’t stack them on top of each other. I can’t wait to make these.

    1. Hi Brenda, that’s awesome! Yes, I love that part of it too. It hardens nicely and has a beautiful finish. Let me know how it goes!☺️

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