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Royal Icing

Curious to learn how to make royal icing? Our Test Kitchen experts have mastered the recipe for this stunning cookie decoration. Royal icing is different from other types of icing because it dries quickly and has a super-smooth finish—perfect for decorating! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
  • Makes
    about 1 cup


  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Food coloring, optional


  • In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, water, meringue powder and cream of tartar; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Tint with food coloring if desired. Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
  • To decorate, place icing in a pastry bag. For border decorations and dots, use a #3 round pastry tip. For small detailed decorations, use a #1 or #2 round pastry tip.
Editor's Note: Use of a coupler ring will allow you to easily change pastry tips for different designs. Meringue powder is available from Wilton Industries. Call 1-800/794-5866 or visit
Nutrition Facts
1 teaspoon: 24 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 3mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 starch.

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  • brandy1619
    Dec 9, 2014

    I'm looking for an icing/frosting that I can decorate on my cookies and then freeze.The ones I've tried discolor after I defroz the cookies.

  • sgronholz
    Dec 10, 2013

    I tried this icing on my gingerbread cookies this past weekend and was thrilled with the results! I will definitely make it again.

  • KaSm
    Jun 28, 2010

    There are two royal icing recipes. Which one is better?

  • alexa621
    Dec 22, 2009

    I added some vanilla and almond extract and it was really good! I was expecting it to be more functional than tasty for some reason, glad I was wrong!

  • sugarbooger111
    Dec 8, 2009

    Cream of tartar is best known in our kitchens for helping stabilize and give more volume to beaten egg whites. It is the acidic ingredient in some brands of baking powder. It is also used to produce a creamier texture in sugary desserts such as candy and frosting, because it inhibits the formation of crystals. It is used commercially in some soft drinks, candies, bakery products, gelatin desserts, and photography products. Cream of tartar can also be used to clean brass and copper cookware.

  • Kamal
    Dec 30, 2008

    No comment left

  • dmmg
    Dec 12, 2008

    how can I make meringue powder myself it is possible? Thank you.

  • Kimmer66
    Dec 10, 2008

    Does this frosting have a good taste? How does it compare to the other frosting choices? I've never worked with this before but heard it was best for cut-outs and ginger people. Thanks!

  • winchel1
    Dec 9, 2008

    what is the cream of tarter for in royal icing? I have made tons of royal icing and have never seen it added in a reciepe before