Classic Royal Icing {cookie decorating tips}

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Classic Royal Icing & Cookie Decorating Tips by #cookie #icing #recipe #decorating #tipsClassic Royal Icing & Cookie Decorating Techniques

As promised in my previous posts for Halloween Trick or Treaters Cookie Cutter Templates and Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie Cutouts, I am sharing my recipe for Classic Royal Icing along with helpful Cookie Decorating Techniques. This is not and should not be considered a complete tutorial but just a simple how-to.

Coming soon to the blog are complete tutorials for both Drop Cookies 101 and Rolled & Decorated Cookies 101. Below is just how the information was presented on a separate full color recipe card which accompanied the sets of copper cookie cutters I designed along with the coordinating cookie recipe card. Classic Royal Icing & Cookie Decorating Tips by #cookie #icing #recipe #decorating #tips

Cookie Decorating Techniques

Preparing Cookies for Hanging: Cut holes in the top of each warm, freshly baked cookie with the blunt end of a wooden skewer or plastic drinking straw for hanging with string or ribbon.

Sugaring: Slightly beat an egg white. Or, use 2 tablespoons meringue powder and enough water to achieve the consistency of fresh egg white. Apply with a paintbrush and immediately sprinkle sanding sugar on top. Allow cookie to set up for 8 to 10 minutes before shaking off excess sugar. After 15 to 20 minutes, use a clean brush to whisk away any stray granules.

As you can see here, the sugaring technique was used to add sparkle to our Wee Princess from her magic wand and to the pink wings of our Wee Fairy.

Flocking: Sprinkle sanding sugar atop wet icing to create a flocked velvet effect. Dry for 30 minutes before shaking off excess sugar. Wait 2 hours before whisking away stray granules.

As you can see here, the flocking technique was used to add a flocked fabric effect on the purple veil of our Wee Princess.

Metallic Highlighting: To create a gold or silver metallic highlighting effect, dilute edible metallic powdered food coloring (Nusilver or Old Gold Luster Dust) with a little pure lemon extract. (I have also used vodka, but felt weird having this printed on our recipe cards.) Use a fine paintbrush to apply directly over dried piping and/or base coats of icing.

As you can see below, the metallic highlighting technique was used to create the gold metallic effect on the Spicy Gingerbread Cookie cut in the shape of an ornament using our Brilliant Bauble oversized Cape Cod copper cookie cutter from the Old World Ornaments set.

Classic Royal Icing & Cookie Decorating Tips by #cookie #icing #recipe #decorating #tips

Well, there you have it…a few Cookie Decorating Techniques to use when baking and decorating your cookies this holiday season!




Classic Royal Icing {cookie decorating tips}

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Makes about 3 cups.

Classic Royal Icing {cookie decorating tips}

Classic Royal Icing and tips for success in making it to use on baked cookies and other scrumptious sweets!


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar (lightly spooned into cup & leveled off)
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon pure lemon or orange extract
  • Glycerine, optional
  • Paste food coloring, optional


Using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites briefly until bubbly. Add confectioners' sugar, cream of tartar and lemon or orange extract. Beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl, increase mixer speed to high and beat until icing is very glossy and stiff, about 6 minutes. Curving peaks should form when the whisk attachment is lifted.

If a shiny versus an alabaster appearance is desired on finished cookies, beat in 2 to 3 drops of glycerine after beating icing to glossy and stiff-peak stage. (Edible glycerine is available at candy-making and cake-decorating supply stores.)

If desired, tint icing using paste food coloring. (These days I prefer to use all-natural food coloring.) It is helpful to have on hand several mixing bowls ranging in size as well as several mixing spoons, icing spatulas, icing tips, couplers, disposable pastry bags, toothpicks, wooden skewers and paintbrushes.

Recipe Notes


Keep icing tightly covered until ready to use. Immediately after using, tightly cover again. When not in use, cover icing tips of pastry bags to prevent drying and clogging.

Experiment with flavoring extracts and essences. Other good choices are almond, anise, cinnamon, clove mint and vanilla as well as imitation butter, coconut, maple and rum flavorings.

Icing will keep up to 3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Rebeat lightly before using.

For proper consistency, thin icing with water. For 'piping consistency', use the above recipe as is or add 1 teaspoon water if needed. For "base consistency", add enough water to thin a small amount of icing to paint tiny detail with a fine "spotter" paintbrush.

Variation: For Meringue Powder Royal Icing, substitute 3 tablespoons meringue powder and 6 tablespoons warm water for egg whites. Omit cream of tartar. Continue as directed above, but only beat 4 to 5 minutes.

IMPORTANT: Raw eggs should not be consumed by infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly or anyone with a week immune system. If this is a concern, consider the alternative of preparing Meringue Powder Royal Icing.

Recipe Source:

Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.

Image Credits: Decorating Cookies and Christmas Ornament (Brilliant Bauble) images with food styling by Stacy of Wicked Good Kitchen and photography by Teri Campbell of Teri Studios, Cincinnati, OH. Christmas Tree Cookies image from

About Stacy

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her passion is developing original conventional baking recipes as well as special diet recipes to include dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free. You can follow Stacy at Pinterest.


  1. This is right up my alley! 🙂 (even though I haven’t decorated cookies in a while) I’m excited to see more!
    Jennifer @ Not Your Momma’s Cookie recently posted…Frozen Snicker’s Peanut Butter LasagnaMy Profile

  2. If I can make cookies look 5% as good as yours I would be a happy girl! Absolutely beautiful!
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl recently posted…Sweet Pepper SoupMy Profile

  3. Stacy, this is a fantastic tutorial with easy-to-follow instructions!
    Nik@ABrownTable recently posted…cinnamon sapota kulfiMy Profile

  4. Stacy, you are an artist. The work on the cookies is so so beautiful. I am very bad at decoration, so I know how hard it is. I really appreciate and enjoy looking at beautifully decorated cookies. Loving your cookie posts. Hugs my girl.

  5. Wow, I don’t think I have ever seen such perfect looking cookies not from a store, these are absolutely gorgeous Stacy:) Love all these cookie posts and tips, thanks for sharing girl!

  6. Fantastic info, Stacy!! These hints and tutorial will help bring our holiday cookies to a new level of fun and celebration. Awesome job, my friend!!
    Dan from Platter Talk recently posted…Chicken Pot PieMy Profile

  7. Those cookies look gorgeous! I always bake and decorate Christmas cookies with my family so I’ll be putting these tips to use this holiday season. Thanks, Stacy!


  8. I don’t think I could ever get mine to look this good!!! Nice job!
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes recently posted…Chicken Piccata SkilletMy Profile

  9. Wow, these cookies are gorgeous, Stacy! Looking forward to your other tutorials!
    Caroline @ Pass the Cocoa recently posted…Homemade Granola BarsMy Profile

  10. Maria | Pink Patisserie says:

    Such gorgeousness! Love the cookies and I can hardly wait to start that Christmas baking!!

  11. These look so perfectly decorated Stacy… When Christmas rolls around, I want to hang these in my tree! 🙂 Absolutely beautiful!
    Anne ~ Uni Homemaker recently posted…Pork Chili VerdeMy Profile

  12. Omg, Stacy. These are STUNNING. I could never do as perfect as a job as you did here. Your instructions, on the other hand, are crystal clear and very descriptive so maybe I CAN pull it off! It might be sloppy though haha 😉
    Julie @ Table for Two recently posted…Roasted VegetablesMy Profile

    • Awww…thank you, Julie! I hope you do try decorating cookies this holiday season. It is not as hard as it looks. As always, I appreciate your support! xo

  13. Decorating cookies scare me and these tips are so helpful!! Such beautiful cookies. I will have to use your recipe and tips this holiday!
    Zainab @ Blahnik Baker recently posted…Salted Caramel Spiced Apple Macarons #appleweekMy Profile

  14. You are getting me SO pumped up for Christmas cookie decorating!
    ashley – baker by nature recently posted…Silky Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie Bars with Brown Butter Pretzel Crust and Bourbon Whipped CreamMy Profile

  15. Beautifully done Stacy – I wish I was even an 1/100th as talented as you. I am horrible at cookie decorating. Great inspiration!
    Jeanette recently posted…Lentil Salad with Kale, Whole Grains, Beets, Winter Squash, Mushrooms and Pomegranate SeedsMy Profile

    • Jeanette, you are too kind! Thank you for the compliments, my friend. I appreciate it ever so much. Thanks again and have a fabulous weekend!

  16. Stacy, you are incredible and these cookies are perfection!! You are getting me very excited for the holiday season. I only wish I could decorate a cookie like you can!

    Tieghan recently posted…Mini Cheddar Sweet Potato and Chorizo Shepherds PiesMy Profile

    • Awww…Tieghan, you are THE BEST! Thank you for the kind words and compliments. I appreciate it so much. Christmas baking certainly is the most fun type of baking, isn’t it? I bet you have all sorts of wicked goodness planned for your awesome blog! You, my dear, are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Have a fabulous autumn weekend!

  17. i wish to be talented like you.

  18. Wow, Stacy! Your cookie decorating skills are just phenomenal! This post makes me excited for Christmas cookie decorating season (:

  19. Love this post! Those cookies are so pretty!!
    Jaclyn recently posted…German Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

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