All You Need To Know About Royal Icing | How to Use Royal Icing

Royal icing is a great way to create and decorate your plain sugar cookies or shortbread biscuits. Royal icing can be made to have different consistencies and can be piped on to create intricate details which will make you cookies, cakes and cupcakes look more sophisticated.

Will royal icing (RI) melt?

RI does not melt but humidity can cause it to become sticky.

Can you freeze royal icing ?

No, royal icing cannot be frozen and thawed successfully, but it can be stored at room temperature, covered in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks. Rebeat before piping to maintain a consistent consistency of the icing.


How long does royal icing last?

Royal icing will keep at room temperature for 2 weeks. The best way to store it is in a grease-free, airtight container. If that is not available, cover the icing bowl with a damp kitchen towel (not paper); then cover with plastic wrap, securing the wrap with a rubber band. Before using the icing, stir thoroughly, or rewhip with an electric mixer.


Which is the best icing to decorate cookies?

Both Color Flow and Royal Icing are great for decorating cookies. Both of these can be made thick enough to pipe or thin enough to flood in parts of the cookies, and both dry completely hard.  Bottled Cookie Icing is also available in a variety of colors and is a convenient option if you don’t want to make your own.


How do i make royal icing that dries shiny?

Royal icing is not supposed to dry shiny. Color Flow Icing is similar to royal icing, except it dries shiny. Use it in place of royal icing on cookies and other projects where you want a shiny finish. Color Flow Icing drys completely, just like royal icing.


Recipe for Colour Flow icing

Makes 2 cups plus 2 tablepoons full strength icing


1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon water

1 lb. (4 cups) sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons of Color Flow Mix



1. With an electric mixer, blend all ingredients on low speed for 5 minutes; for hand mixer use high speed. Color Flow icing “crusts” quickly so keep it covered with a damp cloth while using.

To “soften” or thin for filling in, add ½ teaspoon water to ¼ cup of icing (add just a few drops at a time as you near proper consistency). Color flow is ready for filling in outlines when a small amount dropped back into the mixture takes a count of 10 to disappear.

Stir in colouring as desired. Dried color flow will fade slightly when exposed to fluorescent and bright sunlight, so keep dried color flow pieces covered until cake is ready to assemble.


What happens when there is an increase in the number of egg whites in RI?

Increasing the egg whites in your recipe will reduce the consistency of your icing.


What does “flooding” using icing mean and how do you do it?

“Flooding” is a technique for filling in decorations, used most frequently on cookies. It can be done with either royal icing or Color Flow icing. First a medium to stiff consistency icing is used to outline the decoration. This is allowed to crust over. Then, a thin icing is piped into the outline; because it is thinned, the icing then flows or “floods” to fill in the space between the outline. If thinned to the correct consistency, the icing will dry completely flat on the top.


Can iced cookies be refrigerated?

You can refrigerate iced cookies, but the moisture from the fridge will affect the texture of the cookie. Cookies will become softer in the refrigerator. When wrapped tightly, most cookies will keep well at room temperature for several days. This is a better method than storing the cookies in the refrigerator. If you need to keep them longer, freeze the cookies without icing them, then thaw them before icing and serving.


Can royal icing instead of Candy Melts be used for the cake pops or should (thinned) buttercream be used?

Thinned buttercream will work for cake pops, but it doesn’t harden as much as the Candy Melts, so you’ll have to be more careful when decorating and transporting them. Royal icing will dry too hard, and have an unpleasant texture for cake pops.


What is difference between royal icing and buttercream icing?

Royal icing is a smooth, hard-drying icing. It is great for making decorations that will last for quite some time. Royal icing is also perfect to use as a “glue” to hold decorations together.  It is edible, but is not recommended for icing cakes. This type of icing is usually made with meringue powder, water, and confectioner’s sugar.

Buttercream icing is definitely a favorite for frosting cakes, cookies, and other treats. It has a sweet flavor, soft and smooth texture, and creamy mouth-feel. Buttercream icing is easy to spread on cakes and cookies, and takes a longer time to become dry. The ingredients in buttercream icing are different than those in royal icing, too, resulting in a different icing product. The amount of liquid in buttercream icing can be adjusted to create thinner or thicker icing.


What kind of icing should I use for cookies? (Going to stack the cookies)

If you are stacking cookies, it’s best to use either Royal Icing or Color Flow Icing.  Be sure to plan ahead, as both require a day or so to dry completely.


Is there a way to keep royal icing shiny after it dries?

Unfortunately, royal icing dulls as it dries. If you are making flowers and other decorations , you can give these decorations a sheen by brushing them with Pearl Dust.  It comes in a variety of colors, including gold, bronze and silver;  if you can’t find a Pearl Dust color to match your royal icing decoration, brushing with White works well on all colors.


Once you have your royal icing flowers, how long can they last if you are in a hot weather area?

Once hardened, if properly stored, royal icing decorations never soften or crumble and can be kept indefinitely. Store the decorations in an airtight container, out of direct light to prevent the colour from fading. If you live in an area with high humidity, prepare your royal icing using only pure cane confectioners’ sugar (not dextrose or beet sugar); add a bit less liquid and add 1 teaspoon more Meringue Powder to the recipe.


Can leftover thinned royal icing be added to buttercream?

Unfortunately, you cannot combine royal and buttercream icings.  The fat in buttercream icing will break down royal icing, making it unusable.  That’s one of the reasons why a perfectly clean bowl and beaters need to be used when making royal icing.


Will RI break down when stored in plastic containers?

Fats and oils are what break down Royal Icing, and it is very difficult to completely clean fats and oils from most plastic containers. However, if you use a brand new plastic containers, or you use the same container always for Royal Icing only, you should have no problems.


Can a plastic mixer be used to make RI?

If your mixer is plastic, just make sure the beaters are completely clean, with no fat residue. If you have any doubt, wiping them with white vinegar can help.


Looking for a good RI recipe? Check it out here!

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