Royal Icing Recipe

24 cookies
20 min

The best no-fail, homemade, 3 ingredient royal icing recipe for decorating sugar cookies. Use for gingerbread cookies and houses!

I love to make homemade sugar cookies and decorate them all fancy and personalized for all of my kiddos various events (I’m an overachiever in that way!) They are super easy to make and usually a big hit!

I’ve written a FULL tutorial of Everything You Need To Know About Royal Icing from what royal icing is used for, how to use it, how it compares to other frostings, and more! Royal icing is perfect for decorating holiday cookies.

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Royal icing is really easy to make but can definitely be intimidating when you are not sure how the process goes. So lets make this no fail, 3 ingredient royal icing recipe together!

NOTES: The images I show below are with cream of tartar. I have recently switched to using 1/2tsp of vanilla extra in place of cream of tartar.

SUGAR COOKIES: I use my mom’s sugar cookie recipe which is my most favorite! Roll out thinner and bake at 400 degrees for crispier sugar cookies or roll thicker and bake at 350 degrees for more soft and fluffy sugar cookies!

GINGERBREAD COOKIES: I use my grandma’s recipe. This recipe also makes perfect gingerbread houses because it’s firm.


  • egg whites
  • confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • cream of tartar or vanilla extract
  • food coloring (optional)

Kitchen Supplies

  • 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup
  • Mixer with whisk
  • Piping bag and tips

The Process

1. Separate egg whites from yolks. Discard egg yolks and put egg whites in a mixing bowl. Measure out 3 ounces (typically around 3 eggs)

2. Mix/whip with hand held mixer with whisk attachment until light and fluffy

3. Add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar **or substitute cream of tartar for 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (use clear, imitation vanilla extract if you need a bright white royal icing color)

4. Add 4 cups powdered sugar

5. Mix/whip until you reach a toothpaste-like consistency

6. If making colored royal icing, now is the time to add your food coloring. **a little goes a long way so start by adding a few drops at a time and then mixing. Add more food coloring as needed

7. Using handheld mixer, blend food coloring into the royal icing

8. Scoop icing into decorating bags (I prefer the reusable Wilton Piping Bags) and with your decorator tip of choice, pipe around the outline of your cookie and then fill the inside

9. Have fun getting creative!!

Decorating with royal icing can be super fun! The creative possibilities are endless! I have a whole Pinterest board with sugar cookie decorating ideas! Come follow along for great inspiration!

Baseball cookies for my little man’s birthday!!

Easter Egg Sugar Cookies

Easter Cookies with Carrots

Melting Snowman Cookie

Gingerbread Boy Cookies

· In: Dessert, Recipes

Recipe details
  • 24  cookies
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 10 Minutes Total time: 20 min
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  • 3 oz egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract can use clear vanilla extract if desired
  • 4 c powdered sugar

Separate egg whites from yolks. Place egg whites into a mixing bowl
Mix eggs until fluffy and airy
Add in vanilla extract
Mix in powdered sugar
Mix until icing reaching a consistency of toothpaste *don't over mix
Gathered In The Kitchen
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