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Sugar cookies being decorated with yellow royal flood icing

Royal Icing

Royal Icing can turn regular sugar cookies into little works of art! Smooth and shiny, royal icing and flood icing is actually simple to make and decorate with too!
Course cookies
Cuisine American
Keyword royal icing
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Setting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 122kcal
Author Erica Walker


  • 6 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (about a pound and a half)
  • 1-2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • gel food coloring optional (ONLY use gel food coloring, don't use the watery food dyes)


  • In a stand mixer, combine the meringue powder and water. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high until the mixture becomes foamy and has a little bounce-back to it. 
  • Remove the bowl from the stand and sift the powdered sugar into the bowl (this is important if you want smooth icing). Place the bowl back on the stand mixer and beat on low until well combined.  
  • Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add corn syrup and extracts. 
  • Restart the mixer and beat the mixture on medium/high speed until very thick, shiny, stiff and white. This should take about 7-10 minutes. You want the peaks of the icing to stand straight up without flopping over at all. 
  • If you want to dye your icing just one color, you can add a few drops of food coloring into the bowl and mix it for a few seconds until the coloring is evenly distributed. 
  • If you want to make several different colors, divide the icing into several different bowls and stir in the food coloring by hand.
  • Notes:
    Royal icing dries to a very hard consistency, and it will begin setting as soon as it is made. To prevent the icing from getting hard before you use it, thoroughly wet a paper towel and place it over the top of the icing in the bowl. It is very important to keep the icing covered! Likewise, if you are using a pastry bag and piping tips with the icing, twist the back end of the bag tightly, and wrap a wet paper towel around the tip when not in use so the icing will not dry in the tip.
  • Depending on the temperature, humidity, and amount of icing used, royal icing should harden within 30-60 minutes of application.

To Make Flood Icing:

  • Once you have used all of the royal icing you plan on using (or have set aside the amount of royal icing you need) add about a teaspoon of water at a time to the royal icing that you would like to make into flood icing, stirring constantly, until you get the right consistency. 
  • You want to be able to pull up a spoonful of icing and have it drip back down into the bowl and combine with the rest of the icing within just a few seconds (see image above). You don't want to have it lay on top of the remaining icing for long, you also don't want it to absorb immediately. There is a fine line here, which is why you only want to add a little bit of water at a time so you don't overdo it. 


Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 11mg | Sugar: 30g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg