How to flood cookies with royal icing


I get a lot of questions on how I decorate my cookies with royal icing. I like the method where you first outline the cookie and when the outlining is dry you flood the cookie with a runny icing. It gives the cookie a smooth look and when its dry, you can pipe details on the cookie. Flooding cookies is easy and so much fun to do.

I use a piping bag with soft royal icing and a tip 3 for my outlining most of the time. I make my royal icing soft with few drops of water, but not softer than it keeps its shape when I pipe. Stiff icing will make the icing curl and it can be hard work for your hands. Try and pipe a few strings on your worktop, to see if its good consistency.

I hold my bag about 1/2″ above the cookie. That way I can navigate the icing without breaking it. It takes a few practice. For the second outline on the cookie I use a piping bag and a tip 2 with soft icing. If you are not happy with the outlining, use a small spatular to scrape off the icing and start over.

For flooding I always use a squeeze nozzle bottle for my runny icing. That way I can change the tip and I dont have to worry about icing running out of the piping bag when not used. I can storage any left over icing as the squeeze bottle comes with a screw cap.

I always let my flooded cookies dry over night before I continue decorating.

This is what I use:
Cookies You can use this shortbread cookie recipe
Royal icing (find info on how to make runny icing)
Food gel colors
Squeeze nozzle bottle
Piping bag with coupler
2 x tips no. 3
Small spatular
Small pin (to perforate airbubbles)
Small thin damp brush (I use this if the outlining need to be repaired)

Step 1:
Pipe the outline of the cookie. Let it dry a few minutes before you flood with the runny icing.

Step 2:
Take the squeeze bottle filled with runny royal icing. Start piping from the outside and work your way into the middle. Be careful not to over flood the cookie. If any air bubbles comes use a pin to perforate them.

Let the cookies dry overnight. Use a tip no.2 to pipe second and other details.

Tip 2:If you want to decorate with glitter or sanding sugar? Then shake it over the wet cookie. Let it dry comepletely before you shake off any excess glitter.

Tip 1:You can make dots on a flooded cookie. Take another squeeze nozzle bottle and a tip 2, fill it with runny icing in another color and pipe dots into the wet icing.

I always let my flooded cookies dry over night before I continue decorating.

Happy Caking



  1. says

    Hi Emma

    I stumbled across your site and it’s fab! This is rather off topic, so you may want to move the question to another area but I didn’t want to email.
    I am making a rocky road cake but it’s for a special occasion and I need to try to ensure a smooth chocolate base layer at the bottom and side of the tin before adding the mixture so it looks smooth and more presentable as it is for a party. I know rocky road is meant to be ‘rocky’ but I would like a smooth finish. A friend had a bottom tier of a wedding cake made this way and the outside was smooth and chocolatey and the rocky road was hidden underneath which is what I need to achieve. I will be using a number tin (2) so this will make it harder, also need to ensure I can remove it from the tin, any tips please? (The cake will be ’21’ and is for a joint party – one person having the ‘2’ in rocky road, one person having a chocolate layer cake with the ‘1’ hence needs to look pretty similar when presented, if that makes sense! Hope you can advise me. Thanks, Bev.

  2. says

    I have been trying to figure out why my royal icing has a dull, matte appearance. I cannot figure out how to get the nice sheen that I see in all of your iced cookies. Do you have any tips to help me on this?

  3. Laura says

    Wow… such beautiful work. So neat. So detailed.

    I’ve been baking for 15 years mostly simple cakes and pies. They taste excellent, very moist, etc, but I’m hopeless at decorating them. (Try my best on the birthday cakes with little success)

    Absolutely terrified to try icing cookies although I’ve wanted to make them for ages. Thank you for your very clear instructions and photos. I feel a little braver now! I’ll finally give it a go.

  4. Harriet says

    these cookies are amazing.
    I made your cookie recipe today and they came out great.
    keep up the good work i love your blogs=)

  5. Jennifer says

    Thanks for the great tips, can’t wait to try them out. Where did you find that cupcake shaped cookie cutter? It is so cute!

  6. Diane Hetzel says

    When you let your flooded cookies dry overnight, do you put them in the fridge or leave them out in room temperature?

  7. sonika says

    Hi louise…

    i have seen on some cupcakes, butter cream is finely been spread cross. I cant get the affect, shall i make my buttercream runny?

    • Louise says

      Do you mean like the “Magnolia cupcake swirl”? or is it with royal icing that you cannot get the effect?
      The buttercream needs to a bit soft to spread it easily on the cupcake. You can warm it a bit in the microwave only be careful that you don’t melt it. If it’s royal icing then you can thin it with a little water.

  8. Fabiana Giffoni says

    Hello Louise!
    These cookies are amazing…I really loved!
    I have a doubt and would really appreciate your help.
    When I do cookies with stick, the stick escape from them…
    So, my doubt is: what should I do to avoid this problem? Is it a matter of temperature or i need to somehow prepare the stick before putting it in the cookie?
    Fabiana, from Brazil

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you a bot? *