How To Make Royal Icing For Piping & Flooding

How to make Royal Icing

I have received many questions about how I make my royal icing. I make royal icing with eggwhites (pasturized) since meringue powder and dried eggwhite powder is not very common here in Denmark. Some of the cake decorating shops may have it though, but I stick to the eggwhites.

If you know how to make royal icing, but are having trouble getting it runny for flooding your cookies, this step by step instruction might be helpful to you. I can tell that I always start out with a stiff royal icing and then I thin it down with water to either soft for piping and runny for flooding.

Always remember to cover up your royal icing with either cling film or a wet cloth as this will prevent the royal icing to dry out. Also if your icing gets too thick add water or if it is too wet add more icing sugar. So here is the tutorial on how to make royal icing.

This is what I use:
2 eggwhites
2 lb icing sugar sifted (Not all may be used)
1 tsp lemon juice
Large bowl
Handheld mixer with hooks or kitchen mixer with paddle attachment
Cling film

Step 1:

Combine eggwhites and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add some of the sifted icing sugar to the mixture and start the mixer.

How to make Royal icing

Step 2:
Keep adding icing sugar a little at a time. When the mixture looks like thick whipped cream and makes soft peaks when you push down the hooks/paddle in it, you can use it for piping.

Step 3:
When you have the soft peak icing, you start to only add 2 tbsp of icing sugar at a time because from now on the icing will get more and more stiff. When you can pull out small stif peaks the icing is ready. Cover the icing with cling film and a lid or wet cloth and store it in the fridge.

Runny icing:
If you want to make runny icing for flooding cookies or making run-outs then take some royal icing (stiff made) into a bowl and start mixing it with water, a few drops at the time. Continue this until the icing it thin and liquid. It should be smoothing out when you lift the spoon. The mixing with the water will most likely cause many air bubbles in the icing, so it is always good to cover up the icing and let it “rest” for 30 min. Then give it a slow stir and you have reduced the amount of air bubbles in your icing.

As mentioned before royal icing is great for flooding cookies. See my how to flood cookies with royal icing tutorial to learn this decorating technique.

You can also visit my tutorial section if you want to learn how to make other icings and frostings.

I hope you can use this :-)

Happy Caking!

Louise

Louise
Louise is the founder and editor of CakeJournal. She's a passionate, self taught, cake artist who has been doing cake decorating since 2002.
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Comments

  1. Šämäthä Buck says

    How much do u need for a 3 tiered cake? My three tiered cake is gonna be 3″, 6″, 9″ circle!

    • says

      I have very little experience in covering cakes with royal icing. So I think you will have to search for a good answer elsewhere. Maybe CakeCentral?

  2. says

    I need to make a topper…that is simply an 8 and a 0 for an 80th birthday. She wants it brown…so I thought I’d make royal icing, tint it brown and make 8s and 0s on wax paper with a “peg” to stick in the cake. Have you done this before?

    • says

      I think it would be much more sturdy if you did it in gum paste. If you want to do it in RI you need to make double of both the 8 and the 0 and glue those together with a flat “peg” in between. Round pegs are not good and I think that it will break.

  3. Tona Aspsusa says

    Mange tak for the comprehensive tutorial – your pictures are really good, illustrates the different consistencies well (makes me remember what my grandmother taught me when she had me mixing – by hand and ‘feel’ – the icing for the gingerbread house when I was a small child :-)).

    A few remarks, questions: what exactly is the function of the lemon juice (or cream of tartar, or spirit vinegar)? The acid component probably has a function, as it is also often present in recipes for meringue and poached eggs; must be something to do with modifying how eggwhites behave, right? My *guess* would be something to do with moisture/drying – maybe make the finished product more impervious to humidity? Maybe make it dry faster?

    I am not a cake decorator, but landed here because I needed to find a way to make glucose ‘sweets’, and seeing the consistency of the glucose being close to ‘flormelis’, thought of the RI of my childhood. But not having the patience – nor the muscular stamina! – of a child anymore, I need to find the right way of using electric tools to help me… so far the results have been atrocious from an esthetic POV: lumpy, runny, far too stiff, drying so hard you get a ceramic sound banging two pieces together… lol, luckily I’m mostly looking for a way to make glucose tablets for medicinal purposes. But I’ll probably be the queen of RI for gingerbreads come next christmas ;-)

    Just as a comment it is sad to read that you can’t trust unpasteurized eggs in Denmark. Luckily here in Finland there’s still no salmonella in our eggs.
    BTW, what is RI called in Danish? (In Swedish it is ‘kristyr’)

    And lastly, a small wish/suggestion: as your blog is so popular, and you get so many comments (250+ here, and I read them all!), maybe you could tweak it to show more than 10 comments/page? Maybe 50? Or even 25?

    Thank you so much for this fabulous resource; fantastic pics, clear instructions and such a very nice (&useful) comment section!

    • says

      Adding lemon juice, cream of tartar, vinegar stabilize the icing. I have though made RI without using lemon juice and it still works fine. Now I just use a meringue powder mix as it is much more faster.

      Yes, it is very very sad that we cant use fresh eggs here. RI is called glasur in Danish:-)

      Showing more comments is slowing the loading time :-(

  4. Lobna says

    Hi dear…
    Thank you heaps for these wonderful recipes & for sharing your expertise…
    I made this the other day, the pipping was ok but when dried was easily “crushable”… & flooding was also ok at the time, but it never got to dry properly… just stayed loose & sticky & it even made my crunchy cookies a bit soggy…!
    any advise please….

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