Royal Icing Recipe

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Our home economists share the recipe for this classic decorating icing that sets up and dries quickly. It's nice to use when cookies will be stacked on a plate.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
MAKES:40 servings
Quick Diabetic Exchange Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
MAKES: 40 servings


  • 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

Nutritional Facts

1 teaspoon equals 24 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 3 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, trace protein.


  1. 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.
  2. To decorate, place icing in a pastry bag. For border decorations and dots, use #3 round pastry tip. For small detailed decorations, use #1 or #2 round pastry tip. Yield: about 1 cup.
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
Originally published as Royal Icing in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2004, p76

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Reviewed 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."

Reviewed 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."

Reviewed Jun. 28, 2010

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

Reviewed 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!"

Reviewed 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."

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