Royal Icing

Total Time:
7 min
7 min

3 1/2 cups

  • 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar

In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Contains Raw Eggs: The Food Network Kitchen suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

View All

More Recipes and Ideas
Loading review filters...

    115 Reviews
    0/1000 characters
    Your Rating:
    Sort by: 
    Way, WAY too thick. The recipe listed says 3 oz of egg whites, but they're assuming you're using the thin cartoned kind. Watch the video: you need 4 egg whites (which is about 6 oz). The website should definitely be clearer. Who measures eggs in ounces anyways?
    Love the reviews!! Can cookies be frozen with this icing on them?
    It took 4 tries, but it finally worked. A big THANK YOU to tlord_verminaard and indigold_3 who pointed out the need to "beat the heck" out of it. It was very stiff, but a wee bit of milk got it to the consistency I needed. I'm giving it three stars, though, because I had to go to the reviews to learn how to do it properly - the video and instructions weren't enough.
    Fantastic recipe! Easy breezy and perfect. Outlined a gazillion snow flake sugar cookies with ease. One can add any flavor extract...lemon, vanilla, butter, etc. And one can play around with consistency by adding confectioner's sugar slowly. If too thick, thin out with more of the beaten pasteurized egg. Thank you so much for posting this royal icing recipe. Happy New Year!!
    This recipe is great
    If your wondering what pasteurized egg white are, go to the dairy/egg section of your grocery and look for the little milk cartons with egg in them. You'll notice that it says the product is pasteurized. If you want to use regular egg whites, go for it, but you'll risk salmonella poisoning. You can also find powdered egg whites.
    I have no idea what pasteurized egg whites are nor where to find them. I've already got all my ingredients for my cookies, and spent about $50 on them, I'm not about to run all around town trying to find something else. Guess I will just move on to the next recipe. I've seen royal icing recipes that just call for regular egg whites before.
    Look in the refrigerated section next to the Egg Beaters. You will see the carton of pasteurized egg whites.
    I can't believe you left a single star because YOU did not know what pasteurized egg whites were. The recipe is awesome. I give you zero stars for not doing your research and for leaving a single star because of your ineptness and lashing out at others because you made a mistake.
    you bashing out great recipe for your incompetence  
    Shame on you  
    you are right move to next recipe and enjoy your salmonella
    Can this icing recipe be used to use with stencils on sugar cookies? Is it thick enough or does it need to be played with a little for the right consistency of stenciling?  
    Also, how long does it keep before I have to ice it on the cookies?  
    And how long does it take to harden?  
    I have only a few hours in between baking and taking to someone's house, so I'm hoping I can do it. This is my first time making the icing so if any one has any tips for stenciling, that would help!
    I believe you can add more sugar to the mix to make it thicker for stenciling. If you need some of it for stenciling and some for filling in the outline separate it so you have one stiff and one soft batch.
    I LOVEEEEEE this easy recipe for royal icing. I use it for Anything that requires a glossy egg white icing. It is easy, it comes out beautiful and delicious.
    So easy to make and the kids love it. : so easy to pipe on to the sugar cookies. Thanks for the great recipes.
    How do you make this into a glaze? Not put as much powdered sugar or add more liquid?
    This recipe worked wonderfully. I found the pasteurized egg whites in a little carton by the eggs at my grocery store. 
    To use for a FLOODING technique, like with cookies: I added three tablespoons of water at the end and this was perfect.
    Ok so this was my first time ever making icing ever (and from scratch, that's awesome! It was great! I wish there were a little more signs to look for to see if it was done correctly, but it was very simple to make and I can't wait to make more cookies to decorate. I cut a line through the icing and counted how long it took to fill back in. Twenty seconds is great if you want to use for piping and flooding, so you don't have to make 2 different consistencies. Just add a bit of water (1 tbsp at a time to get it a little less stiff if you need to. I used 12" disposable bags with plastic couplers and metal tips. Don't use an extremely skinny tip unless your icing needs are small spaces, you'll regret it because it will take forever. We made snowflake sugar cookies. I separated into 2 batches and colored one batch green and the other blue with plain old regular food coloring. The cookies were a hit and very tasty! Thanks, Alton Brown!!
    This is my first time making royal icing from scratch. I've previously used merengue powder or royal icing mix, being concerned with using raw egg whites. No more! The taste, workability & results of this recipe were so much better! The pasteurized egg whites were easy to find & use. Thanks to fellow reviewers for the tips re: 3 oz = 6 tbsp = 3 med egg whites & coloring/flavoring ideas. I used this icing to build graham cracker houses to decorate Christmas Eve. The icing piped easily & smoothly with enough working time before it set, & set it did. No structural failures. Looking forwards to decorating with the icing tomorrow & trying it with AB's sugar cookie recipe. A thought on the reason this recipe might fail: egg whites are fussy about fat. Utensils must be free of fat/oil. A stand mixer definitely helps. Thanks AB, you're my go to guy!
    Fantastic icing! This is my new go-to icing for decorating cookies. I love that it hardens to a clean smooth finish. I can stack cookies easily in a container and not have to worry that the icing is sticking. This is the perfect icing!
    This is a superb recipe. I had to make gingerbread cookies for our PTO and never had made or used royal icing before so was quite intimidated to have this task. However, the hardest part is just getting the frosting into the bag (now I found the trick with glass and bag. For you novices, not only does the frosting taste great, but my cookies were the first ones sold. Thank you, Alton! FYI: My large eggs were about 2.5 egg whites for 3 oz and used them cold. Added more egg white to thin.
    A tip I got from another biscuit maker - makes filling and cleaning icing bags easy.A large square of plastic food wrap, lay flat on counter and place icing towards an edge, roll the food wrap into a sausage shape. Twist one end around and tie in a knot, the other end you drop into your icing bag, slide through the opening of the coupler and snip off the end of the icing sausage. Then attach the nozzle and the rest of the coupler. So easy. To remove pull out and discard!
    The all time best royal icing recipe I have ever made! Love the texture, as well as the taste. Will only use this one from now on. So easy to make. Used it to decorate both cookies and gingerbread houses. Works fabulously! Thank you Alton!
    Rosiecola you must have done something wrong. This recipe is the bomb! Beautiful for Christmas cookie decorating! Always get rave reviews with the cookie recipe of Alton's and this royal icing! Use beautiful gel paste for coloring and voilá!
    This icing was so easy, and delicious to make. I made it with Alton's sugar cookies, and didn't have any left over!
     I piped the outside of the cookies, then thined the icing with a tiny bit of water, and filled in the piping. They were so cute.
    this icing is extremely easy and very tasty!
    This royal icing tastes really good! It was easy to color and pipe. I beat the icing right before putting it into the pastry bag.
    Don't worry about "stiff peaks" just mix with the sugar until your desired consistency is reached. Too runny? More sugar. Too thick? A bit of water and mix/repeat as needed. Not rocket science just a great basic icing for Xmas cookies.
    I am one of the guilty ones who rarely takes the time to give a positive review for a recipe. However Mr Brown, you nailed this one. I've been baking professionally for over 20 years and this is by far the simplest, fail-proof, easy to remember recipe for royal icing I have ever tried. Baker's tip: butter flavor with the vanilla extract gives a creamy taste to the icing. And any bakers who can not find pastuerized egg whites- slowly stir the egg whites with a whisk over a double boiler until they are warm to the touch (voila! pastuerized egg whites then proceed with recipe/process. Thanks for sharing Alton & FN!
    Okay, i have never seen pasteurized egg whites. and i am staying in new zealand which makes it rather difficult to find special items. What can i do?
    I used powdered egg whites/warm water, and this turned out great. For the icing a cake question, NO, you would not use royal icing to frost a cake. Royal icing dries quite hard/brittle, but it IS a great icing to use for string work, for "hair" on fondant figures or "fur" on animals. Royal icing is mostly used on sugar cookies. This recipe works well for outlining, and if you also want to flood, you simply need to thin it a bit with some water.
    Ok, I'm back and made the Royal Icing with pasteurized, 100% liquid egg whites and this icing was A-mazing and was so good on his sugar cookies!! This recipe is a keeper... can't wait to make them at Christmas time. They are so pretty!
    Has anyone out there tried this icing on a cake? One of my hobbies is cake decorating and I am just wondering how well it worked when you iced and piped the cake. : Any input will be helpful.
    Wondered why this only had 88 reviews. It was awful.
    I thought the icing was delicious my family loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Used it for my christmas cookies now using for valentines day cooked. Definitely my new go-to recipe for royal icing. Used a little water to loosen up to my desired consistency and used gel coloring to color.
    It was easy to make and dried shinny on cookies. Only problem for me.... taste the power sugar to much.
    Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you! your flag was submitted.

    This recipe is featured in:

    Crowd-Pleasing Cakes