Royal icing is the icing of choice for decorating cookies. With a slightly lemony taste, it’s great on anything from sugar cookies to gingerbread cookies cookies, and it hardens when it dries so decorations stay in place. This is a basic recipe for white icing, but you could add food coloring to make it any shade you please.

Game plan: For a looser icing, add lemon juice by the 1/2 teaspoon until desired consistency.

  • Yield: 1 3/4 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 10 mins 
  • Active: 10 mins 

Ingredients (3)

  • 4 cups powdered sugar (1 [1-pound] box)
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed


  1. Combine ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed, stopping to scrape down the bowl, until glossy and stiff, about 5 minutes. Add additional lemon juice until the frosting is the desired consistency.
  2. Fill a piping bag or a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off and use to decorate cookies. (If not using immediately, place a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap on the surface, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. Stir before using.)