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Article: Royal Icing

Royal Icing

Decorated Sugar Cookies are traditionally iced with royal icing.  You can be as creative as you like when it come to decorating.  Just make sure that you color it to your liking, and the right consistency.

So what is royal icing?

In the past, traditional royal icing included raw egg whites as an ingredient. However, due to concerns about salmonella and other potential pathogens, this practice is no longer recommended today.

Pasteurized raw egg whites are easily accessible in most grocery stores and are the key ingredient I use in this recipe. You can find them in the dairy section of your grocery store near the egg section.  Pasteurized egg whites undergo heating sufficient to eliminate bacteria without cooking the eggs, ensuring they're safe for preparing royal icing.

You can also use meringue powder to make royal icing.  

Basic Royal icing:

  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons or 3 large) pasteurized egg whites

  • 1 teaspoon lemon or vanilla extract

  • 4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar

To finish:

  • Food coloring of your choice

  • Additional powdered sugar to thicken icing

  • Water to thin icing

  • Sprinkles (optional)


Mix egg whites with electric or stand mixer using paddle attachment  Add sugar and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until smooth and thick. Adjust consistency with water, if necessary. Keep covered when not in use. Store in refrigerator.