How to Make Royal Icing Video and Tips
I wanted to put together a little video for you today. It is called, “How to Make Royal Icing” because royal icing can be a wonderful thing or it can be your worst nightmare. When I began decorating cookies, I made batch after batch after batch hoping I would somehow find a magical formula that would allow me to make the perfect icing every time.
Since I live in a humid climate, royal icing was not an easy thing to master. Sometimes it turns out great and other times it makes me want to pull my hair out. It is almost a living thing. You place it on a cookie and suddenly, it seems to grow and roll off the side of your cookie. Or your cookies look amazing when you go to bed and you wake up in the morning and they have bled all over the place and have developed large craters. It is like a defiant child that will always do the opposite of what you want it to do. Hopefully this how to make royal icing video and these tips will help you make that icing behave!
I don’t have all the answers but, I have turned my kitchen into a science lab preforming all kinds of experiments trying to get definite answers for us. Or at least come up with some surefire ways to prevent it.
If you want my royal icing recipe, click here for a full batch or here for a half a batch.
How to Make Royal Icing Tips:
- Weigh your powdered sugar ever time you make a batch. My results have been nothing but positive since I started weighing.
- Keep air away because the icing dries fast. Air will dry the icing and make it form a crust that will stop up your icing tips.
- Food Color Gels like AmeriColor or Wilton work best for adding color because they don’t add a lot of liquid.
- If you don’t use a sifter, at least mix the powdered sugar with a whisk to help break down the lumps. I use a whisk.
- Use a spray bottle to add water when thinning your icing. Gail at One Tough Cookie taught us this and it is a brilliant tip!
- When flavoring your royal icing, add pure flavors and not imitations. I know the imitation is much cheaper but so is the flavor.
- Make sure anything that touches your royal icing is “oil free!” Oil will cause your icing to separate and do really weird things. For example, if you make butter cream icing in your KitchenAid, you might want to clean the bowl with lemon juice after you wash it with hot soapy water.
- Once you decorate you cookies, do not cover them in an airtight container until the icing is completely dry. The icing needs air to dry and if you cover them, they will not dry. Do not rush royal icing. Give it time to dry.
- You can re-mix and refresh your icing if you need to. Sometimes my color will separate in the bag overnight or when placed in the refrigerator. So I place it into a bow, mix it and re-bag it. It will be good as new.
- I store my icing in the refrigerator when I am not using it. Since meringue powder is dry egg whites, I feel it is safer than leaving it on the counter. I remove it about 30 minutes before decorating to let it get room temperature. Then I mix it well and add it to my piping bags or bottles.
- Remember, what works for me, may not work for you. There are many amazing decorators out there that do things different than I do and it works. These are just guideline and tips that may help you find your way.
I hope you have enjoyed my How to Make Royal Icing video. I had fun making it and hope this tips will answer some questions you have about it. Just remember, don’t give up!! You can do it!
Here are more royal icing and decorating tips for you:
Decorate a Cookie with Royal Icing Video
Tips for No Clog “0” and “00” PME Tips
Piping Bags Ready to Decorate
Almost Empty AmeriColor Bottles…
How I Get Icing in Those Little Bottles
How to Make Flood and Outline Icing
Beginners Guide to Cookie Decorating
Thank you for taking the time to share your talent and knowledge. Another great tutorial.
Do you happen to know anyone who could really, I mean REALLY use this video? Ahem, just asking. 🙂
Great video and tips, Lisa! Love your red Kitchenaid mixer too!
Such awesome tips, Lisa! I’m digging your videos 🙂
Great post and video! It so interesting how many ways there are to make sure a simple recipe. I love learning about how awesome decorators like yourself approach RI and decorating techniques, too. Thanks for sharing Lisa!
Love it, but I think you should add a link to your Goldilocks icing video. I can’t begin to tell you how helpful that terminology has been to me. Goldilocks, in combination with knowing how to make RI, simplifies the whole equation. I now (honest!) make notes on my sketches with PB, MB and BB for the areas which call for those particular consistencies. You were really a “light in the tunnel” for me with consistencies. Thanks again for being so generous with your “battle-won” knowledge.
I’m an idiot this morning. Because I didn’t see “Goldilocks” in the title of your link “how to outline and flood,” I assumed it was a different link. :::sigh::: This is further proof that I need all the help I can get from you wonderful cookies! 🙂
Lots of great tips, Lisa! I learned the one about oil in royal icing the hard way. Not fun!
Lisa, you’re the best.
I must admit, though, I read this as How to make A royal icing video. I thought, hmmmm, Lisa must have fancy tricks up her sleeve for video making.
Fantastic video. I use the same recipe but never know when to stop beating the mix. Does it have to be very stiff?
For how long can you keep your royal icing (this one in the video, before thinning) in the refrigerator?
Hi Cynthia, I only keep my icing a few days. I use a lot each week so it doesn’t have much time to go bad at my house.
I keep it in an airtight container on the counter. I use meringue powder instead of egg whites. If I used egg whites I would refrigerate it. I personally think it is up to each decorator as to where they store their icing.
Hi Lisa, please help me!:) Why is it that my icing is never shiny? I am not using cream of tartar as we dont have it in Hungary, can this cause my problem? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
Try placing your cookies in front of a fan as soon as you apply the icing. It will allow the top coat of the icing to dry shiny. 🙂
Thank you! I live in a humid climate too, and my icing is forever bleeding after I put it on the cookie. Can’t wait to try your way. Thanks!
Great tutorial. Just one question!!
I’m looking for a great recipe for royal icing for stencilling my cakes.
I am wondering if the thicker royal icing will be good with a stencil? 🙂
I use it to stencil cookies and it works great. I haven’t stenciled on a cake but feel like it would work the same as a cookie. You might want to try a practice run to make sure before you use it on an order. Here is my recipe for half a batch of royal icing: http://thebearfootbaker.com/2013/03/half-a-batch-of-royal-icing-recipe/ It is a good size to experiment with.
Let me know how it works! 😉
Quick question, Can I use this recipe to cover a cake board? What consistency should be?
Will the icing brake when I put the cake on top?
I would not use royal icing to cover a cake board. It dries hard but will break and crack. I would suggest using something like fondant. It will dry hard and look nice but won’t break and crack. If you don’t want to make your own, they sell small packs of pre-made fondant at Michaels, Craft Stores, Bakery Supply Stores and even Wal-Mart.
Hope this helps!
How long can you keep the icing in the fridge before it’s no longer useable?
There has been some debate about keeping royal icing in the fridge or leaving it out on the counter. I prefer to leave mine on the counter since I make it with meringue powder instead of egg whites. If I made it with egg whites I would store it in the fridge.
When you ask people how long royal icing will stay fresh you will get a lot of different answers. I’ve heard from a week and up to a month. If you look at the Wilton icing chart it says that royal icing will stay fresh for two weeks. Since they are kind of the icing experts and since I’m using their meringue powder I believe them.
Even though it stays fresh for up to two weeks, I don’t use it if it’s over 6 or 7 days old. The longer the icing sits the more it looses the qualities of fresh icing. It separates and the water will pool in one area of the bag or bottle so you need to give it a good stir before you use it. It might even need a little more powdered sugar or water to get it to the consistency you want.
If I don’t get a chance to use it within that time I make royal icing eyes and different flowers so I don’t waste it.
Hope this helps,
Hi Lisa! I’ve always been a baker but am new to cookie decorating and your website is so so helpful, and your talent is amazing! So thank you. However I do have a question, when you say not to cover the iced cookies in an airtight container until the icing is dry do you mean to leave them out on the bench without any coverage for 12ish hours? Do the cookies go soft?
Thank you so much!
That was a really hard thing for me to do. I like to put things away immediately, but if you put the wet icing in an airtight container, it won’t dry and it will mess up your cookies. The good thing about royal icing is it will help keep the cookies fresh.
Hope this helps!
Dear Lisa, Will adding petal dust to my colored royal icing mix make the color more intense?
I am a beginner and have watched many videos and tutorials. I am having a heck of a time with my tips getting clogged. I have sifted my powder sugar they clogged. Then I read from a couple of people they don’t sift…they still clogged. The tips 1 and 2 barely get going and they clog very quickly. The 3 tip finally worked pretty consistently yesterday. I am obviously doing something very wrong. Any guidance would be very much appreciated! Thank you!
I usually whisk the powdered sugar and/or use a Double Mesh Strainer. You can get the strainer at Wal-Mart or Target, you can even find them at the grocery store. They aren’t expensive and you’ll see a difference.