Royal Icing without Meringue Powder
This is the only royal icing recipe you’ll ever need! With no meringue powder needed, my secret ingredient makes this icing harden perfectly. Plus, I’m sharing my expert tips on adjusting your icing to the perfect consistency, coloring, and storing your icing.
You will love this Royal Icing Recipe without Meringue Powder
Ready to make decorating cookies fun instead of frustrating? Enter my easy royal icing recipe, the answer to your icing prayers.
This easy icing doesn’t use meringue powder, instead, the secret ingredient is corn syrup – allowing the icing to perfectly harden to the touch so you can stack the cookies, keeping this icing simple and tasty!
This isn’t just a simple royal icing recipe, but I have tested and perfected this recipe to include ways to achieve different consistencies, and my preferred method for piping and storing icing. Once you read my easy guide below, you’ll be an icing pro, ready to decorate your heart out!
Here are a few reasons why you’ll agree this is the best royal icing recipe:
- Ready in just 10 minutes
- 4 simple ingredients plus optional coloring
- Expert tips for proper consistency every time
- Bonus tips for easy storage
- Foolproof steps for perfect icing
What is Royal Icing?
Royal icing is a hard icing that is traditionally sweet. It is most often used to decorate sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and gingerbread houses, sometimes with intricate designs. The ability to color it and the fact that it hardens allows for beautiful designs. This icing is probably most popular for being used to make beautiful sugar cookies.
Royal Icing Recipe No Egg Ingredients
This simple royal icing recipe only requires 4 basic ingredients, plus optional gel colors and squeeze bottles for storage. Keep reading for my best tips, and get the full recipe with measurements and directions in the recipe card below.
- Powdered sugar
- Milk or warm water
- Corn syrup
- Vanilla or almond extract
How to make Royal Icing without Meringue Powder
My easy recipe has just 4 steps, and the 4th is really just tips for storage.
- Combine ingredients except food coloring. In a medium to small sized mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients (minus the gel food coloring) and mix with a spatula or mixer until smooth.
- Adjust consistency. Add more milk or water, 1 tsp at a time, if the frosting is too thick. You can pick your desired consistency and manipulate it by adding a little water or more powdered/confectioners’ sugar. Ideally, when you lift the spoon or mixing utensil up, you want the royal icing that falls into the bowl to disappear within 5-10 seconds.
- Divide and color. Divide into bowls and add gel food coloring. Transfer to piping bags, pastry bag or squeeze bottles to easily decorate the cookies.
- Store. I really like these squeeze bottles because you can cut the tips to varying widths and they come with caps. However, if you don’t have caps, cover the tops of the squeeze bottles with a wet paper towel to prevent them from drying out if storing overnight.
How to use this Royal Icing Recipe (No Meringue Powder)
This classic royal icing recipe is perfect for decorating cookies! Here are a few of my favorite ways to use this icing:
- Decorate sugar cookies: Try my easy and delicious sugar cookie recipe, these cut-out sugar cookies, or my equally tasty and easy-to-make gluten-free sugar cookies!
- Decorate gingerbread cookies: Try my soft and chewy gingerbread cookies
- Decorate a gingerbread house: Check out all my best gingerbread house decorating tips here.
- Decorate oreo balls: Try my gingerbread men oreo balls, candy cane oreo balls and Christmas present oreo balls.
- Get creative: Try getting creative with different recipes like my easter egg rice krispies, nilla wafer snowman cookies, or these adorable maple acorn cookies.
Pro Tip: Toothpicks come in handy when you need to spread the icing and keep those design details in tact!
How to store Royal Icing without Egg Whites
If you don’t use all of the icing in one day, I recommend storing the leftover royal icing in these squeeze bottles. Not only are they great for decorating because you can cut the tips to different sizes, but they come with caps which makes storing the icing so much easier. When storing, cover the tops of the squeeze bottles with a wet paper towel to prevent them from drying out.
This icing can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator, as long as it’s in an airtight container. When ready to use, bring it to room temperature and gently mix it up if needed. If you need to adjust the consistency of the icing at this point, add a few drops of water slowly until you reach the desired consistency.
Does Royal Icing need to be refrigerated?
While traditional royal icing made with liquid egg whites needs to be refrigerated, this recipe does not. Using this recipe, you can store your iced cookies at room temperature.
Can you freeze Royal Icing?
Yes, this easy cookie icing can be frozen! You can place leftover icing in a freezer safe bag or airtight container and freeze it for up to 2 months. If you have colored your icing with different colors, each color should be stored separately in its own bag or container.
When you’re ready to use the icing, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then bring it to room temperature.
You can also freeze cookies that are decorated with royal icing. To freeze baked and decorated cookies:
- Stack like shapes together (for example stack the candy canes together or stack the gingerbread men together) and place a small piece of parchment paper between each cookie. I like to stack mine about 4-5 cookies high.
- Wrap the stacks well in plastic wrap.
- Place the bundles inside a ziplock freezer bag or inside a freezer container.
- To thaw, remove the cookies from the bag (keep them inside their plastic wrap) and thaw on the counter. If you store the cookies inside a container, you can simply place the whole container on the counter to thaw.
Royal Icing No Meringue Powder FAQs
It takes about 6-8 hours for royal icing to fully dry to the point where you can stack cookies.
The main difference between buttercream frosting and royal icing is the texture. Royal icing hardens on the surface of the cookie or whatever it is used to decorate, while buttercream stays soft and creamy.
The best way to thicken royal icing is to add more powdered sugar. I recommend adding it gradually until you get the thick royal icing you want, while not making the royal icing taste too sweet.
More Frosting Recipes
Royal Icing without Egg Whites
- In a medium to small sized mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients (minus the gel food coloring) and mix with a spatula or mixer until smooth.
- Add more milk or water, 1 tsp at a time, if the frosting is too thick. You can pick your desired consistency and manipulate it by adding more water or more powdered sugar. Ideally, when you lift the spoon or mixing utensil up, you want the royal icing that falls into the bowl to disappear within 5-10 seconds.
- Divide into bowls and add gel food coloring. Transfer to piping bags or squeeze bottles (https://amzn.to/3SvF85D) to easily decorate the cookies.
- I really like these squeeze bottles because you can cut the tips to varying widths and they come with caps. However, if you don’t have caps, cover the tops of the squeeze bottles with a wet paper towel to prevent them from drying out if storing overnight.