Easy Royal Icing Recipe With Meringue Powder

You can make Royal Icing a few different ways, but the basic ingredients are powdered sugar, water, and egg whites or meringue powder.

This recipe uses meringue powder, so it’s convenient because you can keep a container in your baking pantry to use as needed.

easy royal icing recipe with meringue powder

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Royal Icing Recipe

Make sure to go to the next section for tips on making this icing!

royal icing on a mixing bowl beater

Royal Icing with Meringue Powder

Royal icing for cookie and cake decorating
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert


  • 1 stand mixer and paddle attachment
  • 1 rubber spatula
  • plastic wrap
  • paper towels


  • 1 pound confectioner's sugar
  • 4 Tbsp meringue powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • extra water if needed


  • Put the sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of the stand mixer.
    royal icing dry ingredients in the mixing bowl
  • Add almost all of the water to the mixer as it runs on low speed.
    royal icing without enough water in it in the mixing bowl
  • Increase the speed of the mixer and add a tiny bit of water at a time to get to a fully mixed consistency.
    royal icing on a mixing bowl beater
  • When the sugar is mixed well, turn the speed up and beat the icing until it fluffs up and is a good consistency for piping. It should be fairly stiff but not too dry, or it won't stick to the cookies well.
    royal icing on a spatula
  • Store in a container with a lid that seals well after pressing a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the icing.
  • To keep it from drying out while you're working with it, press plastic wrap on the icing in the mixing bowl, then cover the bowl with a wet paper towel.
    wet paper towel over the royal icing mixing bowl

Tips about making royal icing.

Making royal icing is pretty straightforward, but the most common mistake is adding too much water.

Because of that, start out by adding about 2/3 of the water, then adding a tiny bit (like 1/2 tsp) at a time until it gets to a smooth-ish texture.

If you used egg whites instead of meringue powder you won’t need as much water, but it will be a minimal change.

You can add flavorings to the icing if they don’t include any fat or oil, but people usually don’t add flavoring to royal icing.

royal icing dry ingredients in the mixing bowl

The icing will start out looking really lumpy, but don’t let that fool you.

royal icing without enough water in it in the mixing bowl

When you beat it a little, the water will incorporate into the sugar and will probably make a stiff lump at first, but as you add water bit by bit, it will smooth out.

The amount of water you’ll need is going to be affected by the humidity where you are, too.

If it’s really humid you won’t need as much water. Sugar is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs water from the air.

Since this icing is basically all sugar, it can absorb moisture from humid air and you won’t need to add as much water yourself.

royal icing on a mixing bowl beater

Something else to keep in mind is that since royal icing is based on a meringue, you don’t want to have any grease or fat in it.

Make sure that the stand mixer bowl and beaters are clean and grease-free, or the icing might not get stiff enough to pipe and harden correctly.

A little bit of fat is probably fine, but too much and you’ll basically have a version of a soft icing that doesn’t harden up.

Sometimes people put glycerin into royal icing to keep it from hardening completely, but for decorating cookies you might want it to harden so that the icing doesn’t get smashed when you stack the cookies after they dry.

royal icing on a mixing bowl beater

Icing will look like regular icing when it’s beaten enough, but if it’s too stiff it can be really hard to pipe with a piping bag.

It also might not stick to cookies if it’s too stiff because it will be too dry.

You have to experiment with royal icing and water a little to find the right consistency that works to pipe and hold its shape, but also sticks to the cookies or cake.

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royal icing on a spatula

When the icing is ready for piping it will be pretty stiff and won’t be runny at all.

Icing that you want to use for floodwork needs to be watered down so that it fills in piped areas, but it isn’t too watery or it won’t dry correctly.

wet paper towel over the royal icing mixing bowl

When you’re working with the icing, keep it from drying out by covering the mixing bowl with a wet paper towel.

If the air is really dry, or if you want to stop working with the icing and come back later, you can press some plastic wrap onto the surface of the icing and then put a wet paper towel over it.

If you’re storing it for longer than a few hours, put it in a container with a lid, press plastic wrap onto the surface, and refrigerate the icing.

Meringue powder is usually pasteurized, but if you reconstitute it with water you have to treat it like it’s real egg whites, so you should store it in the fridge.

wrapped royal icing piping bag

To store royal icing that’s in a piping bag, fold the end of the bag up to seal the opening, then wrap the entire bag completely in plastic wrap.

Put the entire piping bag into a ziplock bag and seal it to keep air out.

You’ll probably still have to change the piping tip because the icing will dry in it, but you’ll still be able to use the icing in the piping bag.

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