Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Written by Ariana deVries on Feb 14

If you want a bit of a baking challenge, try making cookies with royal icing!

When I first said yes to making 9 dozen of these decorated beauties, I was a little hesitant but not completely freaked out. Having made them once before, I knew what I was getting myself into. I have to say, it's so much easier the second time around! 

A few things I learned about royal icing:

  1. It works best if used the same day.
  2. Piping bags are so much better than a piping gun.
  3. It takes SO much food colouring to make the colour red.
  4. Slow and steady doesn't always work best.
  5. Separate your piping from the flooding icing.
  6. Be creative!

Now let me expand on these a bit. Last time I made this icing, my mom-in-law and I tried to salvage the leftover icing we had, but to no avail. It was so lumpy and we could not get the right consistancy back. I recommend making one batch at a time and either using it all or just dumping the leftovers. That's how I did it. I made what the recipe said and decorated cookies until it was gone. 

I have a piping gun (which I used last time), but this time I bought some disposable piping bags. They were so much better! It was easier to handle and control. You simply put the size tip you want in it and cut a tiny bit of the end off. My hand didn't get nearly as sore! Made the experience a lot nicer.

It really does take so much food colouring to make the colour red! I had to go through various shades of pink before it finally looked the way I wanted.

The piping and fancy decorating didn't necessarily require me to be slow and steady. Sometimes that made it worse because the icing would twist. I found it was better to be confident and pipe in a smooth motion. This helped the lines be more steady.

Be sure you separate your piping icing from the flooding icing. Once flooding icing has been thinned with water, it is very, very difficult to get it back to the original consistency. Plus, your icing for flooding cannot be saved. 

Last of all, be creative and have fun! There are so many beautiful and even silly ways to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing. If you're looking for ideas, the Bake at 350 website is a fantastic resource. 

So if you want a challenge and are feeling creative, why not try these cookies with royal icing? You will feel like a professional when you stand back, look at your handy work and say..."I made those!" :)

Royal Icing

Serving Size: 3 dozen cookies Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: N/A


4 tbs Meringue Powder
1/2 cup Water (Scant: with a bit of room)
1lb (or 4 1/4 cups) Icing Sugar (Sifted)
1 tsp Corn Syrup (Light)
A few drops Almond Extract (Or any clear extract)


  1. Combine the meringue powder and water. Beat until combined and foamy. I found a hand mixer worked best.
  2. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting! It helps keep the icing smooth.)
  3. Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. (The corn syrup helps keep the icing shiny.)
  4. Increase speed and beat for about 5 minutes - until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. If you lift up the beaters and are able to jiggle the icing without it falling over, it's done. Do not overbeat.

*Original recipe found on the Bake at 350 website. It's a phenominal resource for royal icing and flooding techniques.*

Rolled Sugar Cookies

Serving Size: Approx. 3 dozen (depending on size) Prep Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour chill time Cook Time: 6-8 minutes


1 1/2 cups Butter (Softened)
2 cups White Sugar
4 large Egg(s)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
5 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt


  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Roll dough flat on a floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. (Don't roll the dough too thin or it will easily break and may burn quickly). 
  5. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and let cool for 2 or so minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

*Original recipe found on the website by Jill Saunders.*