Royal Icing Recipe That Doesn’t Dry Rock Hard

Royal Icing That Doesn't Dry Rock Hard

There is one thing every cookier needs in their arsenal… a favorite royal icing recipe. The royal icing recipe that I’m sharing with you today is my favorite because it is not only yummy (of course!) but it is the perfect texture. There is a not-so-secret ingredient that allows the icing to harden enough for stacking and shipping while remaining soft on the inside. No more biting into a beautifully decorated cookie and cringing because the icing is rock hard!

After trying several recipes for classic royal icing, I came across Sweet P’s recipe for Royal Glaze, a cross between royal icing and glaze. I loved her recipe because the icing did not harden as much as classic royal icing. I adapted her recipe slightly, making it the exact flavor and texture I wanted.

Begin by using a whisk to mix 5 tablespoons of meringue powder and 3/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar with 3/4 cup of warm water. Mix it for about 30 seconds, making sure that you get rid of all lumps.

Royal Icing That Doesn't Dry Rock HardIf you are not familiar with meringue powder, it is used in royal icing as a substitute for raw eggs whites. Look, Mom, no Salmonella! It also helps to stabilize the icing and give it a nice texture. You can find it at your local craft store in the baking section or online. I started out using Wilton brand meringue powder, but have found that I prefer the taste of CK.

Now, get ready for a vicious arm workout! In a separate large bowl, sift two pounds of powdered sugar. I always make a mess doing this, so if you figure out how to do this without getting sugar everywhere, you’re a superstar in my eyes! Pssst… I heard an unconfirmed rumor that you can skip the sifting as long as you’re not doing piping with a really small tip.

Royal Icing That Doesn't Dry Rock Hard

Next, add the water mixture to the powdered sugar and mix it for about a minute to get it all combined. Then, add 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup, 1 teaspoon of glycerin, 12 drops of white gel food coloring, and your flavorings (I like to use 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon almond, and 1/4 butter). The corn syrup is an ingredient that is usually mentioned as optional in classic royal icing recipes. It adds a little gloss and elasticity to the icing. The glycerin is the not-so-secret ingredient that keeps the icing from being rock hard. You can find it in the baking section at craft stores or online. The purpose of the white food coloring is to make the icing a pleasant bright white instead of off white.

Now, put your mixer to work! Beat the icing on medium for about 6 to 8 minutes, until you can make a stiff peak that holds its shape. Pause and scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing if needed.Royal Icing That Doesn't Dry Rock Hard

 Take a step back, lick your fingers, and smile at the fluffy white sweetness you have created!

Royal Icing That Doesn't Dry Rock Hard

If you are saving the royal icing for later use, I suggest storing it in Tupperware containers (that you use for icing only, see Keep Oil Out of Royal Icing for the lesson that I learned the hard way), covered with plastic wrapped, and sealed tightly.

If you are ready to start decorating, separate your icing into smaller bowls, color with gel food coloring, and add water (a tiny bit at a time) to get the consistency you want.

Well, what are you waiting for? Now that you’re a royal icing ninja, grab your sugar cookie recipe and get baking!Royal Icing That Doesn't Dry Rock Hard

Royal Icing (That Won’t Dry Rock Hard)

5 tablespoons meringue powder
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup warm water
2 pounds powdered sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon glycerin
12 drops white gel food coloring
1 teaspoon oil-free clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon oil-free clear almond extract
1/4 teaspoon oil-free clear butter flavoring

Use a whisk to mix together the water, meringue powder, and cream of tartar for about 30 seconds, making sure there are no lumps.
In a separate bowl, sift the powdered sugar.
Add the water mixture to the sugar and mix for one minute.
Add the corn syrup, glycerine, food coloring and flavoring.
Beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks, approximately 6 to 8 minutes, pausing to scrape down the edges of the bowl if needed.

To learn more about the importance about making sure all of your ingredients and utensils are oil free, please see Lessons Learned: Keep Oil Out of Royal Icing.

Oil In Almond Extract

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About Janine

Creative sweets made simple. Learn how to easily make decorated treats through recipes and tutorials at Are you ready for sweet inspiration?
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202 Responses to Royal Icing Recipe That Doesn’t Dry Rock Hard

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  3. Jennie says:

    Does this harden enough to stack/ship? I like the idea of it not being rock-hard like RI, but concerned about stacking.

  4. Ashley says:

    A lot of royal icing recipes call for the paddle attachment, but even when I follow the recipe to the letter it still is too runny. Would the whisk attachment be better, I want those peaks :o)

  5. Casey says:

    i have to try this recipe. I have used multiple recipes and every time the mixture clumps up into little balls. I end up able to get it to the consistency I want by its a lot of back and forth with the mixer and my spatula and a lot more water than called for in the recipe.

  6. Tina says:

    This is the BEST royal icing!!! About 3 weeks ago, I decided to try making sugar cookies. I just knew that I was going to have to experiment with SEVERAL cookie and icing recipes until I found the ones that were just right for my taste and inexperience. Your recipes are the only ones I tried…WINNERS from the beginning!!! I followed your easy directions…using a hand mixer…the icing and sugar cookies are easy to work with and taste so delicious!!! Many blessings to you and thank you for such WONDERFUL recipes and tutorials!!

  7. Lisa Jenssen says:

    I recently worked at a professional cookie store and reading that you add white to your base, and are telling others to, once you add white, you have to add ALOT of color to get bright colors, or you simply can’t get those deep rich colors because white dulls colors. I no longer add white to my base and get better color faster for reds, dark blue, etc. Just sayin’.

  8. Samira says:

    Hi cant wait to try it out.!! Just wanted to clarify that you do use butter? And how much in ounces? Thanks in advance !!

  9. Kimberly says:

    Hi. Thank you for your recipe. I have a quick question: Will I be able to do detailed work with this icing? Thanks again.

    • Janine says:

      Kimberly, I have done lots of detailed work with this recipe. You can always reduce the amount of corn syrup and glycerin if you want to stiffen your icing.

  10. Chelsea says:

    Hi can you use this on cakes

  11. Pauletta says:

    I have 250 cookies to make for an event. I need to be able to freeze the cookies after I ice them. Will this icing stay nice on the cookies when they are thawed?

  12. Jaymalob says:

    Hello! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, I was so excited to try your icing recipe, I found out it great except for the fact it won’t dry :( Im Not sure why? Really I cant tell what I missed. I will give it a second chance though

  13. JayMalob says:

    Thanks so much for sharing in such a kind and fun way, I’m sorry t report that my results with your icing recipe were not successful, yes it shines more and yes it is soft when you eat it but never dries O.o . Even after hours, overnight and a hole 48 hrs still not dried. Don’t have a clue of why! But I’ll follow your blog, I like it a lot and I’m learning tons thanks to you.

  14. april says:

    is it also applicable for decorating bouqet cupacakes?

    • Janine says:

      April, I wouldn’t cover a cupcake with this icing, it is to hard. But you can use it to make embellishments to add to cupcakes.

  15. Esha says:

    How long can this be stored? I don’t know if I can use all of it and want to store it.

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