Egg White Royal Icing Recipe & Egg Safety
The other day I was making cookies and I ran out of icing. I was almost finished with the set of cookies I was working on, but I had a small problem, I didn’t have any meringue powder. Since I live in the middle of the woods it’s not easy going to the store. You have to stop what you’re doing and spend half the day buying eggs. So what do I do? I make my egg white royal icing recipe. Normally I make royal icing with meringue powder because it’s safer than raw eggs. Sometimes when we don’t have meringue powder it’s good to know we can use egg whites if we needed.
The reason meringue powder is safer to use is that there is a slight risk of getting salmonella or another food-borne illness from eating raw eggs. As kids, we would fight over who got to lick the spoon when my mom or grandma would make a cake, icing or other desserts that contained raw eggs. In all my years, I have never got sick from them and I don’t know of anyone else who has become sick from eating icing or licking the spoon of some amazing cake batter.
Have you ever had food poisoning? I had it after eating a slice of cheesecake from a very popular food chain that specialized in cheesecake and it made me want to give up cheesecake forever. It is the sickest I’ve ever been in my life and I don’t want anyone else to feel like that so, I want to make sure you understand that raw egg whites can be a bit tricky before you use my or any other egg white royal icing recipe.
Supplies for Egg White Royal Icing:
- 6 cups of ConFectioner’s Sugar (that’s about 750 grams)
- 4 Egg Whites
- 1 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
- 1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
Egg White Royal Icing Recipe
- 6 cups of confectioner's sugar that is about 750 grams but you may need more depending on how thick you want your icing
- 4 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar- this is used to stabilize the egg whites)
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or the flavor of your choice
- Place the confectioner's sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Separate the eggs.
- Add the egg whites to the sugar, vanilla, and Cream of TarTar. Mix on low-medium speed until the icing is smooth.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. It is good for up to one week if kept in the fridge.
Egg White Royal Icing Recipe Video:
There are a few tips that you should know about using raw egg whites that can help keep your food safe.
- When you make this egg whites royal icing recipe, you should use pasteurized eggs.
- According to reachers salmonella tends to found in the yolk of the egg. It’s also possible for it to be in raw egg whites so be careful when working with them.
- If you don’t want to take a chance on eating raw eggs there are other choices you can use to make your royal icing such as meringue powder. If you’re looking for a recipe for royal icing made with meringue powder here is a recipe and post for Antonias Royal Icing and Half a Batch of Royal Icing.
- Egg substitutes are pasteurized. Do you know how they pasteurize eggs? It’s pretty simple. The eggs are gently heated in their shells to kill all the bacteria. They don’t actually cook the eggs. They just heat them enough to kill bacteria so it’s safe to use them for uncooked or partially cooked food. Isn’t that interesting?
- Don’t store the eggs in the door of the fridge because when the door is open it lets in heat. Eggs need to say cold so place them on a shelf and not in the door.
Now let’s see how to put this recipe together.
I used my big girl mixer in my recipe videos, but I want you to know you don’t have to have a stand mixer to make royal icing. I made it with a hand mixer for years before investing in a KitchenAid. As a matter of fact, I made a post pm How to Make Royal Icing with a Hand Mixer to show how simple it is to make. It is easy and I promise the icing will taste the same no matter what mixer you use.
Egg White Royal Icing:
Last but not least, in the video, I made the icing a little on the thin side. To make a thicker consistency, add more powdered sugar and mix it until the icing is smooth. I have a video coming up soon on how to do that. If you are looking for a Royal Icing Recipe that uses meringue powder, here is Half a Batch of Royal Icing and here is Antonias Royal Icing.
I hope you enjoy this Egg White Royal Icing Recipe. Who knows, this egg white royal icing recipe may save you one morning at 3 am. You know what I’m talking about. If you don’t have meringue powder you’ll be able to finish decorating your cookies with this recipe. I know this recipe really helped me save the day the other day. I hope it helps you.
Thank you f the recipe. I was just going to do a search for the egg royal icing. I have just started playing with decorating cookies. Actually was inspired by your blog and Sugarbelle. Somehow I got linked to Sugarbelle from a cake blog. Now I receive the emails and love every minute of it. But I use glaze to decorate with…it just tastes better. However it is limiting. I haven’t shared my new hobby with people yet. I have a blog that went live today..sharing recipes. Maybe I will share my cookies there. Anyway s I will give this a
Try and see how it goes. Thank you for all that you share.
Hi Lisa, The first time I made royal icing I used egg whites. I recently read that the shell of the egg is what carries the salmonella. Maybe they’re still trying to figure it out. Thanks for a great post and video. I can’t wait to see the cookies.
Will this recipe be good to make RI Transfers? I tried using a box kind from Wilton and they didn’t turn out at all. I think I wasn’t quick enough to make them and the flooding of them didn’t work very well. I have also read if you bake you RI Transfers they look better, is that true? So very new at this and have two cakes and cupcakes to make this Sunday! Thank you of the tips!
I am glad you are making royal icing transfers. They are so helpful. Just keep in mind that sometimes when you add them to frosting, they might melt. For best results, let them dry for a couple of days add them right before the event so they will look good and won’t mess up before you need to present them.
I have a few different royal icing recipes you can use to make the transfers:
Here are the links: http://thebearfootbaker.com/2011/12/antonis-royal-icing/
I do not recommend baking the royal icing transfers in the oven. I have heard that some people put them in the oven when the oven is turned off. They leave the light on so the gentle heat from the light will help them dry a little faster.
If this is your first time using royal icing transfers and you have two cakes and cupcakes you have to make by this Sunday, you may want to have a backup plan (like fondant) incase something goes wrong. Not that anything bad will happen but it is always good to be prepared. 🙂
Let me know if you have any other questions,
How much acetic acid can you use to replace the tartar?
I have never used a substation for cream of tartar but here is some information on substitutes: http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com/2015/05/26/substitute-for-cream-of-tartar/
If this doesn’t help let me know and I will ask some baker friends of mine to help us find the answers.
Just wondering when I’m supposed to add the vanilla. Thanks!
I updated the recipe with that info. Sorry I forgot to add it before. 😉
How long do the cookies made with the royal icing made with egg whites last? Also how do they hold up in hot weather?
Any time you use raw eggs there is a risk of salmonella. I have never heard of anyone getting sick from eating royal icing made with eggs or meringue powder. I usually try to deliver all the decorated cookies as quickly as possible and inform the person who will eat them to do so within a few days. My personal preference is don’t eat them after a week but like I said, that’s just me. I also don’t like eating royal icing made with meringue powder after a week. I have eaten them more than a week old and they were good but I’d rather eat them sooner.
If you are feeding very young or older people or people with compromised immune systems, it’s not a good idea to use raw eggs since the eggs may contain salmonella.
Gingerbread houses have been made for years and years with egg white royal icing used as the glue and people ate them weeks after the icing was made. I never heard of anyone getting sick.
Like I have always said, I like to give the cookies away as quickly as possible so they’re fresh as possible. If I were going to sell cookies make with raw eggs knowing it would be more than a week or so before they were consumed, I would consider buying pasteurized white from the grocery store just to be safe.
Hope that helps!
I made a the same recipe as yours but added more sugar along the way cz I felt it was too thin. My royal icing has some small sugar granules. Is that normal? I mixed for like 5:30 mins on speed 1 and didn’t increase the speed gradually. I missed that! Could you help? Thanks!
Thats the trouble with using egg whites. Sometimes it’s hard to measure it out so the amount of sugar you need to use will vary. Also, you may have to sift the sugar to remove the clumps. I’m not sure why but some sugars has more clumps than others. If you don’t want to sift it, stir it with a whisk to help break them down.
Hope this helps,
Is it true that adding a small amount of glycerine on icing will help to prevent small sugar granules? Thanks!
I’ve never added glycerine to royal icing. It will make the icing softer but I’m not sure if it will help prevent sugar granules. Wish I could be more help!
I just used this recipe for the first time for my sugar cookie Christmas chaos baking day! I loved it and the family digs it too. Great job. Thanks for making my baking day a success.
I didn’t do anything! You did all the baking and cleaning so I’m giving you a round of applause!!!! You go girl!
Hi Michelle, I am a total newbee to cookie decorating so I have two questions for you, first, can I make just a half or fourth recipe of the royal icing ? Second can I freeze the frosted cookies? There is just the two of us and we can eat just so many cookies. Once I become somewhat okay, I can gift cookies,but until then, I need a way not to waste the cookies.
Thank you for your help and time,
I have a recipe for “Half a Batch of Royal Icing” and you can find it here: http://thebearfootbaker.com/2013/03/half-a-batch-of-royal-icing-recipe/ Sometimes it’s the perfect amount and I use it all the time. I hope you find it useful! 😉
Bridget at Bake at 350 did a tutorial on how to freeze decorated sugar cookies. I think you’ll find some great info from here and you can find the post here: http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2012/05/yes-you-can-freeze-decorated.html
Hope this helps,
Hello, Lisa! Is this recipe good for outlining before flooding? I usually use a very thin icing to flood (with 5 egg whites and 4 cups of sugar), but it doesn’t work very well for outlining or details. Is this recipe much thicker? Either way, can’t wait to try it! Thank you!
I feel I know the answer but to be sure, can I freeze or should I refrigerate frosting and how long does it last in said compartments.
Sweetopia has a great post on freezing decorated cookies and you can find it here: http://sweetopia.net/2011/03/freezing-decorated-cookies/
Bridget at Bake at 350 degrees also has some good information on freezing cookies and you can find it here: http://www.bakeat350.net/2012/05/yes-you-can-freeze-decorated.html
Hope this helps!
If I purchase a carton of pasturized egg whites, how many grams would 4 egg whites yield?
4 egg white is about 120 grams depending on the size of the eggs. If you need a weight chart, King Arthur Flour has a great one you can use here: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/ingredient-weight-chart.html
I love this recipe. I can put parchment paper down in place of flour and its so easy to use the scraps again and again without them getting over floured and dry. Thanks
I put this on the wrong recipe page, but regardless I also used this icing recipe and it was flawless.
So glad I found this, as I was worried I might have gifted the family with Salmonella poisoning this Christmas from the gingerbread house I made. I can safely say now that my husband and I partook in some bad sushi, but I will be buying pasteurised egg whites from the freezer section from now on just to be safe!! Thanks!
I have had food poisoning and it’s not fun! It was from cheesecake from a very well known cheesecake shop. Never again! LOL
Pasteurized eggs are my choice when using real eggs for the royal icing. I hope you and your hubby don’t ever come close to bad sushi again!!!!!! Hugs!
By the time my cookies are cool, it will be 3am and of course I don’t have meringue Powder. So basically this recipe is a God sent gift to my late night Christmas time pregnancy cravings haha!! THANK YOU
I think we need to write a book on “Late Night Christmas Pregnancy Cravings” so we can enjoy them all year long! Have your people call my people! LOL
Good, I enjoy watching baking videos. I like the mixer you were using. Wish I could have one like that.
hey, I’ve read the article but I am still bit confused…. would you be so kind, please and tell me how long gingerbreads are good to eat after i decorated them with royal icing made out of the RAW egg white?
If you decorate them with the raw egg white royal icing you need to eat them immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. It is good for up to one week if kept in the fridge.
If you decorate with meringue-powered royal icing they last much much longer.
I hope this helps.
Had to make my icing with pasteurized egg whites. I, like with the powder, thought store room temp…. so it sat out for about 8 hours on counter…….. is it okay? Or should it have been refrigerated sooner?! Should I toss it?!