Royal icing so easy you might never use store-bought icing again

Sugar cookies decorated with royal icing

Don't let the name deceive you – royal icing looks fancy but doesn't take as long as a kingdom to make. Whether you're building a gingerbread house with your little ones and need "glue" or making flowers and rosettes for a cake, a little powdered sugar and egg white is all you need. If you have concerns about using raw egg whites, use egg whites from pasteurized eggs, or go with powdered egg whites instead.

Total Time: 2 minutes | Prep Time: 2 minutes | Serves: makes around 2 cups


  • 3 3/4 

    cups powdered sugar

  • 2 pasteurized egg whites, or 4 teaspoons powdered egg white plus 4 teaspoons warm water, mixed


  1. Beat the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes by hand or 2 minutes using a mixer.
  2. Sprinkle in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time; mix until smooth, 7 to 10 minutes using a stand mixer. Add 1 teaspoon of water to the icing if you live in an arid region.
  3. Use the royal icing just after making it, or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


For flavoring, add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or extract, such as vanilla or almond, when you add the sugar.

For color, stir in 3 to 4 drops of food coloring per 1/2 cup of prepared royal icing.

For a glossy, softer royal icing, mix 3 drops of glycerine into the egg whites.