How to make Royal Icing

Follow this easy step by step guide on How to Make Royal Icing to make sugar cookie icing and to decorate gingerbread houses!

This simple recipe for Royal Icing makes a perfect frosting for sugar cookies and Gingerbread House Glue!pinterestIf you are looking for the perfect frosting to glue your gingerbread house together, then you’re going to want to use Royal Icing.

Royal Icing is also the perfect icing for decorating sugar cookies!

So I’m going to teach you how to make Royal Icing right here, right now!

Ingredients Needed to Make Royal Icing

This icing is super duper easy and only has 3 ingredients:

  • Egg whites
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla extract

You can make this in the bowl of your stand mixer or using a hand mixer.

This Royal Icing Recipe makes a perfect frosting for sugar cookies and Gingerbread House Glue!

How To Make Royal Icing

First thing you need to do is beat your egg whites until they are frothy (as pictured above).

Then you will gradually add powdered sugar. Anywhere between 3-4 cups of powdered sugar depending on how big your egg whites are.

Add the vanilla extract to give it a nice flavor. You could use lemon juice, almond extract, or any other extract you prefer (in place of the vanilla) to flavor the icing, just make sure you’re using clear extracts to keep the color of the icing white.

This Royal Icing Recipe makes a perfect frosting for sugar cookies and Gingerbread House Glue!

Once it’s reached a thick and smooth consistency you can place it directly into a zip close bag for storing, or into a frosting bag fitted with tip for immediate use.

This Sugar Cookie Icing makes a perfect frosting for sugar cookies and Gingerbread House Glue!

If you are wanting to add color to your frosting you would simply beat in your color choice (gel colors work best) at the end, just a drop or two at a time, then decide if the color is to your liking, add more if necessary.

Gingerbread House Glue Recipe

When making a gingerbread house, plain white works for me!

This frosting holds together wonderfully. That little teepee was solid within less than two minutes!

Sugar Cookie Frosting makes a perfect icing for sugar cookies and Gingerbread House Glue!

I actually built the remainder of the gingerbread house last night with my kids, and that little teepee was the covering to our porch. The Royal Icing held up so strong that we built a two story house and didn’t have any cave-ins! So if you’re looking for the perfect glue to build your gingerbread house…

This is it!

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5 from 3 votes

How to make Royal Icing

The best Royal Icing recipe for decorating sugar cookies or building gingerbread houses
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 tbsp
Calories: 90 kcal
Author: Shawn


  • 2 egg whites
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • In a large bowl beat the egg whites until frothy.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, half of a cup at a time, making sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl if necessary, until the icing becomes thick.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form.
  • Place the prepared frosting into an air tight container and leave at room temperature until ready to use. Or place directly in to a frosting bag fitted with a tip and use immediately.
If you have an aversion to consuming egg whites, you can substitute with Meringue powder which can be purchased at craft stores and anywhere cake decorating ingredients are found.


Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 6mg | Sugar: 22g | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: cookie icing, egg whites, gingerbread house, royal icing
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?don't forget to share a picture and mention @iwashyoudry on Instagram or tag #iwashyoudry!

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About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
31 Responses
  1. Angel Poole

    5 stars
    So… can I use it to make flowers and other things to use in cakes later? Eyes, flowers, starts, balloons, hearts etc?

  2. Debbie

    Ive made this several times to decorate cookies but find when using dark colors, after setting out drying for a day, they ‘crystalize’ What sm i doing wrong???

    1. Shawn

      It could have a lot to do with the type of icing color you’re using. Try using the gel type of icing color, I find those give the best consistency.

  3. Stacy

    I’m worried about it being “raw” egg whites. Is it safe to use raw egg whites, especially if it won’t be refrigerated? I don’t want to make everyone sick.

    1. Shawn

      If you’re concerned, you can definitely use pasteurized egg whites, but I’ve never had an issue with just regular egg whites.

  4. Ada Nicole

    HI! I worked with an orphanage in a developing nation to try to mix up a batch of Royal Icing in the past year. I wrote a blog post about the experience, however — we are missing a recipe. May we advertise your blog post and recipe for Royal Icing on this page?

    (The blog post is more about the first time we ever made a cookie, but the picture is a recent picture of one of our first attempts at Royal Icing, using only village ingredients.) We’d like to add more recipes for our readers to try.

    Feel free to share or reference our blog if you’d like. Both the village and the author are benefitted from the visitors.

    -Ada Nicole — international human right’s worker —

  5. Lara

    I bought a gingerbread house kit that came with terrible icing, so I used this recipe to make our own. It worked really well, it took a few hours to dry solid, but it did the trick. I also used it to make little houses with graham crackers.

  6. Mary

    I used this recipe and found that it was really thick to the point that the egg whites didn’t absorb the icing sugar so I added a smidge of water and it was perfect!

  7. Diana

    i just wanted to add that when I took cake decorating and we used royal icing we had to make sure all utensils were clean and didn’t have any oily residue on them as this would ruin the icing (ie spatulas, bowls, rubber shapers, etc)

  8. nicole

    I am using this recipe for my classrooms annual gingerbread house making party. Do you think I can make this and put into baggies for the next days use? I need 22 baggies and see its about 4 cups a serving. Is this enough for only one house? Thank you very much in advance! Sorry so many questions , but don’t want 22 crying children if houses fall apart hehe

    1. Shawn

      Yes, I would just make sure that you squeeze all the air out of the baggies so they do not harden. There is enough frosting to make a few houses, I’m not sure about 22 small houses, especially since children LOVE to use LOTS of frosting. I would make two batches to be on the safe side and divide the frosting out and just let them know when it’s gone, it’s gone. Hope that helps!

  9. Cindy B

    Can I make this the night before or will it harden? I need to bring icing to school for my daughters class to make gingerbread houses.

    1. Shawn

      You can definitely make this ahead of time. Make sure to cover it completely (put a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the icing if storing in a tupperware), so it will not harden. Hope that helps! 🙂

  10. Jocelyn

    looking forward to using this to glue my fondant Palm tree together. How far in advance can I make this recipe and how long does leftovers last? Thanks so much!

    1. Shawn

      Hi Jocelyn, if you keep the royal icing in an air tight container (place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the icing to prevent crusting), in the fridge, it could last for a week. I wouldn’t make it too far in advance though, as you’ll most likely have to remix the icing to get it back to proper consistency. Fresh is always best, but I hope this answers your question! 🙂

  11. Dena

    So for a school project I am gluing together chocolate chip cookies. The only way I could think to make this chocolate though is coco powder, and I think that would throw off the proportions with the powdered sugar. What do you think?

    1. Shawn

      Hi Dena, I’m not sure how the two would react, but I think since cocoa powder and powdered sugar are similar in consistency that it might work if you throw in a 1/4 cup of cocoa powder with the powdered sugar. Just use a little less powdered sugar than what the recipe calls for. Good luck!

  12. Debbie Mitchell

    I used this recipe last night for my daughter’s birthday party and it worked great! I even made mine in my vitamix to save some dishes. 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  13. Joy T

    I’ve always been too terrified to try and make Royal Icing. Your photos and tutorials make it seem so much simpler. Thanks! Now I’m making it for my gingerbread house and other treats this season.

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Shawn Syphus

Hi, I’m Shawn and I’m a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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