How to Decorate Cookies with Royal Icing

Welcome to the first in what I plan to be a recurring “How-To” series here on Brown Eyed Baker. While recipes are all well and good, there are some techniques that are best explained in a step-by-step method, with pictures included (at least this is how I learn best). As I was decorating my Stanley Cup Playoffs cookies last week I thought that doing a tutorial on how to decorate cookies with royal icing would be a great first How-To post.

pens-cookies-all-angle

I was always very good at baking snowmen, Christmas trees, angels and the like in December, slapping on some buttercream, a few sprinkles and calling it a day. Not that it isn’t good. It is definitely good. But then royal icing came onto my radar. The possibilities seemed endless – a completely smooth finish to the cookies and intricate designs? Now THAT looked fun! I’m here to guide you on a step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve any design you want on any shape cookie. Ready? Let’s begin!


Step 1: Find a Good Sugar Cookie Recipe

This might seem obvious, but not all sugar cookie recipes stand up well to heavy-duty decorating. If you don’t already have a favorite, let me point you to mine: Dorie Greenspan’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies. They’re incredible.


Step 2: Cool Cookies Completely

Again, maybe elementary, but we’re going step-by-step here. You can’t decorate cookies that have just come out of the oven. Or even cookies that are slightly warm. They need to be completely cool before you can move on to decorating.


Step 3: The Equipment

royal-icing-equip

Now, you don’t necessarily need fancy equipment for decorating with royal icing, but investing in just a few decorating tips and couplers, some disposable pastry bags and squeeze bottles will make your cookie decorating experience exponentially more pleasant. Here is a run-down of what I typically use:

♦  12″ disposable pastry bags. So easy to just throw away when you’re done instead of washing them!

♦  Decorating tips. For outlining the cookie I use a #3 tip and anything from a #1 to #3 for intricate designs on the cookie. It’s not a bad idea to have a few of each number, as I find myself using them a lot.

♦  Couplers. These make it easy to switch the size tip you are using in the same color.

♦  Squeeze Bottles. I use these for flooding my cookies. Since the royal icing is very thin at this point, it’s a much neater alternative to a cut-open pastry bag. Plus you can put the cap on and save any extra icing for next time.

♦  Small bowls or Tupperware (to color your icing)

♦  Toothpicks.


Step 4: Prep, Prep, Prep!

royal-icing-prep

This got me the first time I decorated with royal icing, and is especially important if you are going to be using multiple colors and different tips. I flew by the seat of my pants and ended up making a huge mess, it took twice as long as it should have, and I was trying to fish used tips out of pastry bags to re-use them somewhere else. Your plan of action:

♦  Write down how many different colors you will be using and take out that many pastry bags and couplers and prepare them. Also figure out what size decorating tips you will be using and fit them to the pastry bags.

♦  If you don’t have squeeze bottles for flooding, add additional pastry bags for however many colors you will use for flooding, in additional to the bags of that color you will use for detail work (if any).

♦  Have your icing colors ready and as many small mixing bowls (Tupperware works great for this) as you have colors planned.


Step 5: Make the Royal Icing

The recipe for royal icing is very simple:

4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients on low speed for 7-10 minutes or until the icing loses its shine. Add more water by the teaspoon if it appears too stiff. At this stage you want to be able to pipe it easily:

royal-icing-recipe


Step 6: Color the Icing

Divide the icing into your containers based on how much you will need of each one. Proceed to color the icing and then cover each container with a damp paper towel. It is key when working with royal icing not to allow it to dry out.


Step 7: Outline the Cookies

You will want to outline the cookies with whatever color you will be using to fill them in with. Place some of the icing into a disposable pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip and outline the outside of the cookie. I find that keeping the tip about ½-inch above the cookie while moving it allows the icing to lay on the cookie more easily.

royal-icing-outline

You’ll want to make sure that the outline is pretty well set before moving on to flooding the cookies, but I generally find that by the time I am done outlining the first ones are already dry.


Step 8: Flood the Cookies

Take whatever color you are using to fill in the cookies and slowly start adding a few drops of water at a time, until the icing reaches an almost liquid consistency. The test here is to pick some icing up with a spoon and let it drizzle back into the bowl – the drizzle should disappear into the bowl within 10 seconds. Once you have achieved this, you are ready.

royal-icing-flooding

Either fill a squeeze bottle with the thinned icing or transfer it to a disposable pastry bag with a ¼-inch hole cut off the end.

Now squeeze in the icing to almost completely fill the inside the cookie.

Then take a toothpick and gently use it to distribute the icing to any empty spots.

royal-icing-flooding-collage-copy

Once you are done the cookies need to dry completely before moving on to any intricate piped designs. Some bakers will let them sit overnight but I generally find that a 2-3 hour rest will do the trick.

royal-icing-drying

Now use whatever colors and tips  you’d like to achieve the design you want!

royal-icing-details-collage

♦     ♦     ♦

Was this helpful? I’d love your feedback on this post since it’s the first of its kind on Brown Eyed Baker! Any questions or additional tips to share?

What do you want to learn? I’d love to hear what you would like to see featured in the How-To series. A reader has already mentioned that she’d like to see a tutorial on baking bread with yeast. What’s on your list?

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467 Responses to “How to Decorate Cookies with Royal Icing”

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  1. Happy Cook on June 4, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Loved the step by step instructions and the tips you have given.

    Reply

    • stl on July 14th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

      I have a question regarding coloring the royal icing. Do you use gel paste or liquid food color to tent the icing? I haven’t tried your decorating suggestions, but it’s exactly what I was looking for and I appreciate the in-depth expalantions.

      Thanks so much!

      Reply

      • Libby on January 31st, 2012 at 4:08 pm

        I use the paste or gel to tint mine. You can add whichever you want. The key to using royal icing is to make sure you don’t have any oils or grease touch it or else it won’t set up. Store it in glass or metal bowls, not plastic, as plastic will hold on to fats. Good luck!

        Reply

  2. Liz Brooks on June 4, 2009 at 9:16 am

    This is really great—thank you for sharing! I love sugar cookies but my icing always drips down the sides. These are awesome tips:) Thanks again.

    Reply

  3. Liz Brooks on June 4, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Oh, and I would love to learn about meringue. Do you have any experience with that? My grandma made a chocolate pie with meringue on top and I never got the recipe. Thought I would attempt that this summer. Any info you have to share would be appreciated.

    Reply

  4. Natalie Herr on June 4, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Love the Pens cookies! I’m a born and raised Pittsburgh fan- love em!

    Reply

  5. Susie on June 4, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Awesome! I tried decorated cookies just once and it took me forever.
    Yours are great.
    Susie

    Reply

  6. Risa on June 4, 2009 at 10:36 am

    This was really helpful. I look forward to reading the rest of your “How To’s”

    Reply

  7. Nina H. on June 4, 2009 at 11:05 am

    This was very helpful! Your step by step instructions and the pictures were great! Now I feel that I know what I will be doing when I try it myself. Thanks!

    Reply

  8. Natalie on June 4, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Well done, I think you did a great job explaining how to decorate sugar cookies. You were detailed and organized in your presentation. The pictures gave visual instructions for those, like myself, who are visual learners.

    Thank You

    Reply

  9. Katrina on June 4, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Great job and tutorial. Mine never look this good!

    Reply

  10. Kristi on June 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Thank you, Thank you! I’ve always wanted to know how to do this and now I can! Can’t wait for more How-to’s from you.

    Reply

  11. Meghan on June 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I love this post!!! Please keep giving details that might seem obvious because it’s those things that most bloggers leave out and some of us (me) need the extra help :)

    I especially like seeing the supplies needed. Back in March I bought some disposable bags and some tips but didn’t know I needed couplers. I still am not clear on how the bag will attach to a coupler and tip, but I’m thinking the coupler might come with instructions for how to do this?

    Thanks again!

    Reply

  12. Cathy on June 4, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    this is great! I was planning on making decorated sugar cookies but didn’t know where to start. Might be a dumb question, but when you decorate it, do you use the original consistency of the royal icing or the thinned out one?

    Reply

    • Crista on December 9th, 2010 at 10:09 pm

      Hi Cathy, I just wanted to tell you that, I believe she said to use the icing as per the recipe for the outline, then add drops of water Until an almost liquid consistency to fill in. It is step 8 ” flood the cookies. :) . Good luck! I made some cookies a few hours ago and wish I had read this before I did. One other great tip is to ice the bottom if the cookie instead of the top. The top of the cookie edges slope down, whereas the bottom of the cookie is flat. Not only is it easier to ice and looks neater, but the bottom is pretty as well. ( no little crumbs ). Hope this helped you. Crista

      Reply

      • nicole on September 26th, 2011 at 9:20 pm

        Crista,
        i just discovered Brown Eyed Baker while doing a “royal icing for sugar cookies” google search. I loved this instruction and plan to text my skills tomorrow night.
        But after reading your comment, i just had to respond and THANK YOU for the suggestion to ice the cookie bottoms. I grew up in a family of cookie bakers, i.e. my mom and her mom. They would start making cookies the saturday after Thanksgiving and wouldn’t stop till the week of Christmas. thousands upon thousands of cookies would be made in my grandmother’s avocado green kitchen.
        Great memories I hope to share with my family.
        sorry for the brief family history of a perfect stranger but as a fellow baker i thought you would appreaciate the traditions baking can create.
        Thank you again for the tip.
        Nicole

        Reply

      • Hope on June 22nd, 2012 at 3:53 pm

        Thank you for the tip on decorating the bottom of the cookie. We made round sugar cookies today and are decorating as “softballs” for an end-of-season party tomorrow. I used ready made cookie dough and the top is not smooth….the bottoms are. Thank you!

        Reply

    • Beckah Whitlock on December 2nd, 2011 at 2:00 pm

      To flood cookies you make your royal icing just like the recipe says for the outline. Save some of the same for detail work after you flood the cookie. When you thin your icing you want to do it just a teaspoon of water at a time and stir it. When you lift the icing up you want it to stream back down into your bowl. When the stream hits the icing in the bowl you want the stream to disappear in about two and a half seconds. Less is too runny and three seconds or four is harder to look with.

      Reply

  13. Terry on June 4, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I always wondered how everyone got their cookies to look so neat. Mine always look like a 2 year old did them. Thanks for the tips.

    Reply

  14. Angie on June 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I’ve been trying to put together a “how-to” for decorating sugar cookies but I’m horrible at preparing for it so I’ve never felt to expert-like to post about it. I think I’ll scratch the draft I have in my blog and instead just link to this! Thanks!

    Reply

  15. Christine on June 4, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I have been really curious about how to decorate cookies nicely, so thanks for sharing. It also helps that I should already know how to do most of it! :)

    Reply

  16. Kerstin on June 4, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to put together such a helpful post! I’ve never decorated sugar cookies like this before and I really enjoyed all your tips! So cute!

    Reply

  17. Becky S on June 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Great tutorial! Cookie decoration is my weak point. Great instructions and photos too! Thanks, looking forward to more wonderful tips tutorials and of course recipes too!

    From a Fellow Pittsburgher. GO PENS! This time the cup is ours!

    Reply

  18. Martha on June 4, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Great how-to for cookie decorating! I am more of a cookie baker than cookie decorator and admire the patience and artistic abilities this takes.

    Reply

  19. gaga on June 5, 2009 at 1:27 am

    How purty! You did a beautiful job! I’d never be able to make mine so neat. I’m impressed!

    Reply

  20. Amy I. on June 5, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Oh yes, very helpful! I’d love to see more posts like this.

    Reply

  21. Jade on June 5, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Thank you so much for a such a wonderful tutorial. I have been wanting to make them but have been a little scared. Thanks for the detailed steps.

    Reply

  22. Liliana on June 5, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Great tutorial Michelle! Thanks. I always seem to have problems when it comes to the ‘flooding’ part.

    I really enjoyed your interview with Donna Diegel on the Examiner.

    I am rooting for the Penguins – Go Crosby!

    Reply

  23. maeghan on June 6, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Love it! I’ve been wanting to tackle royal icing but have been a bit scared, thanks for the easy step by step!

    Reply

  24. bakingepiphanies on June 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    This is super helpful. Step 2 seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve let my impatience get the best of me and cause me to dive into the decorating before the cookies were completely cool.

    Reply

  25. Michelle on June 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    CATHY — Consistency depends on which part of the decorating phase you are talking about. The original consistency should be good enough for piping an outline with a #3 tip (remember that temperature and humidity levels will affect the consistency so you may need to add more or less water). Aside from outlining, if you are doing detailed work with a #1 or #2 tip the icing will need to be a little thinner to keep the icing from breaking. And then of course for flooding the entire cookie you will need the icing even thinner still (see Step #8). I hope this was helpful!

    Reply

  26. BigSis on June 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks so much for a great tutorial! I’m bookmarking it on Delicious so that I don’t lose it!

    Reply

  27. Michelle on June 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    BigSis – You are welcome, so glad that you found it helpful!

    Reply

  28. chenyin on June 25, 2009 at 3:58 am

    where you buy the cutter?

    Reply

  29. Michelle on June 25, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Chenyin – I purchased the cutter in the “Football Theme” cookie cutter set by Wilton at Michael’s craft store. I imagine you could find the same product at any arts and crafts store that sells Wilton products like Hobby Lobby or JoAnn Fabrics. You can also buy them off of Wilton’s website here:

    http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?id=696917E9-1E0B-C910-EAC4A9E24C060793

    Reply

  30. Rachel on July 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    The detailed instructions were great! I never would have guessed that it was so easy to decorate cookies like that, I made some for July 4th and they went over really well!

    Reply

  31. Michelle on July 6, 2009 at 12:08 am

    Hi Rachel,

    I’m so glad you found this helpful and were able to use the instructions to decorate your cookies! Thanks so much for coming back and letting me know!

    -Michelle :)

    Reply

  32. achristiangirl on July 6, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I will this great step by step with my boys this year

    Reply

  33. Selba on August 11, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Wow! This is such a great post of Royal Icing, thanks for sharing the tips.

    Reply

  34. Keely on August 11, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    I just spent 2 hours delicately painting my biscuits. Once i was done, they still looked like a 2year old had done them :-) so i decided to see how to do this properly (on the net) and came across your website! what a relief!! you have made my next attempt so much more promising. Thank you this was exceptionally helpful.

    Reply

  35. Debbie Parrett on August 18, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Loved your detailed instructions and photo illustrations. I want to make sugar cookies for an upcoming baby shower. You’ve given me the courage. thanks!!

    Reply

  36. Michelle on August 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Debbie – I’m thrilled that this post has given you the courage to do decorated cookies for a baby shower! I can’t wait to hear how they turn out!

    Reply

  37. Jill Jodrey on August 26, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Thank you X 100! This is a fantastic tutorial.

    Reply

  38. Suzanne on September 20, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful tutorial! I want to make sugarskull cookies for a Halloween party and this tutorial is just what I have been looking for since I had no idea on how to go about decorating them. You make it sound very easy! Do you recommend a certain type of coloring such as liquid or gel?

    Reply

  39. Michelle on September 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Suzanne – I’m glad this tutorial was timely and useful for you! I recommend the gel coloring, as the liquid can tend to affect the consistency and taste too much. I use Wilton brand, and have also heard good things about Ateco.

    Reply

  40. LInda on October 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Thank you for having step by step, found this very helpful compared to other sights.
    Do the cookies with royal icing get really hard to eat & are they edible?

    Reply

  41. LInda on October 5, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Does this sugar recipe that you use, can be used for making cookies on a stick? This is something I am excited to try, but need a good cookie recipe.

    Reply

  42. Michelle on October 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Linda,

    So glad you found this helpful! These cookies are absolutely edible! The royal icing dries smooth and hard. I have never used this recipe to make cookies on a stick, so I can’t attest to that, but if you try it definitely stop back and let us know how it turns out!

    Reply

  43. Stephanie on October 12, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Great step by step instructions. Now I can achieve the professional look I have searching for. I make cookies for the local highschool football team every week and have been looking for this sort of instruction so I can make personalized cookies for each team member. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Reply

  44. Christine on October 15, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Beautiful job! My husband is also impressed with the jerseys and wishes there were some Chiefs ones lying on the countertop right now. (I told him they should win first, which didn’t go over well.) Anyway, thanks for the tutorial. It’s very helpful!

    Reply

  45. Meesh on October 22, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Late to the party here but honestly this post just rocks!!!! I have been baking for y e a r s and have not had great luck with Royal Icing and cookies. Should have been obvious to thin the icing you flood with but nooooo never read it anywhere nor saw it demonstrated! Thank you, Thank you!!!! Keep up the great work! Meesh :D

    Reply

  46. Brooke on October 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    thank you So much! i have always wanted to decorate cookies but have never known how. i’ve even asked others but never gotten a response. i can’t wait to try with you step by step instructions.

    Reply

  47. Emily on October 25, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you so much for such GREAT instructions! I do have a question though–I followed your directions, but I think I thinned my “flooding” icing a little too much. The cookies took forever to dry, some icing breached my “dam” and most importantly, tiny bubbles were in all of them, and did not go away upon drying. Will thinning the icing cause these bubbles? I didn’t even shake the icing in my squeeze bottle so I can’t imagine where so many bubbles came from! Also, I was using very light colors and I added more “flooded” icing when they started drying a little and I felt I could still see cookie showing through the icing. I know now that was overkill–well let’s just say I learned A LOT just trying this out on my own! But the bubbles are my major concern. Any ideas?

    Reply

  48. Tania on October 26, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Hi, I made the cookies and followed the above recipe and instructions for icing them. They looked good, but not the way in picture. I mean, my icing after drying, was not very shiny and smooth. It looked smooth while wet, but was little crusty after drying. What do you think I must be doing wrong? Do you use some very fine sugar for it?
    Also, my cookies took forever to dry. My last night batch is still drying.
    can you please advice where I could be doing wrong. Thanks!

    Reply

  49. Michelle on October 26, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Hi Emily – You hit the nail on the head – thinning the icing too much to flood the cookies will definitely cause a lot of little bubbles. It has definitely happened to me before. That would also be why they took a long time to dry, breached the dam and weren’t a deep enough color. I hope you’re not discouraged and I’ll give the cookies another shot!

    Reply

  50. Michelle on October 26, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Tania – The type of sugar that should be used for the royal icing is powdered sugar, which is softer and finer than granular sugar. What type of sugar did you use? Not using powdered sugar would be a reason why it looked a little “crusty”. I hope this helps!

    Reply

  51. Tania Tangri on October 26, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Thanks so much Michelle. You were right on sugar.. I was not using the fine powdered sugar. I did another batch with icing sugar and it came out perfect.

    Reply

  52. DenzelWEn on November 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Good morning, Happy late Halowen(: !!

    Reply

  53. Amanda on November 6, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    WHOA. That’s too weird! I just happened across this from a link on your onesie cookies. I JUST made 20 football jersey cookies and colored them tonight! I was planning on adding the kid’s numbers to the jerseys tomorrow really early so that they are dry for their football party tomorrow :0) Great tutorial!!

    Reply

  54. Jessica on November 12, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this information!! I am so happy to know how to do this now!!!

    Reply

  55. Susan on November 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Your tutorial was great….and the royal icing recipe has worked great. What type of food/icing coloring do you use? I just purchased the wilton icing coloring and I can’t seem to get certain colors to brighten up (ie. my red looks like fushia). Thanks again!!

    Reply

  56. Alberta on November 17, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Great tips! Thanks! :D

    Reply

  57. Elizabeth on November 19, 2009 at 10:27 am

    How long do the cookies stay good for? I was planning on making some cookies for an open house that I am going to on Saturday and was just wondering when I should start to make them in order for them to be dry/ready by Saturday evening. I was thinking of baking on Wednesday evening, flooding them on Thursday evening and then finishing the decorations on Friday evening. Will the cookies be stale by Saturday?

    Reply

  58. Amy on November 22, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Thank you for posting such great instructions! The photos are perfect!!

    Reply

  59. Michelle on November 22, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Hi Susan,

    I use Wilton food coloring gel for my icing coloring. The red and black can definitely be tricky – you need to use quite a bit of it to get the full color. Also keep in mind, though, that the colors of the icing will typically darken a bit over the course of a day or so. I hope this helps!

    Reply

  60. Michelle on November 22, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Hi Elizabeth,

    You can definitely use the schedule that you outlined – your cookies will be perfectly fine by Saturday. Once they are decorated and dry you can store them in an airtight container. Mine have stayed for up to a week.

    Reply

    • missy on April 26th, 2012 at 11:54 am

      have you ever frozen them before? i am doing them for a first communion party and i am trying to get some food done ahead so i can spend more time cleaning closer to the party…

      Reply

      • missy on April 26th, 2012 at 11:56 am

        never mind, i just looked at the other post where this is linked to. it says 2 months. thanks for such a great tutorial! i am excited to try this way -i too have cookies that look like a 2 year old decorated them…

        Reply

        • Michelle on April 26th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

          Hi Missy, Just wanted to clarify that you should not freeze them after you have frosted and decorated them – the icing will bleed when it thaws. You can freeze the plain, undecorated cookies, but they should only be decorated within a few days of serving. Enjoy!

          Reply

          • missy on April 26th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

            thanks so much! i did catch that in the other post! about to get started baking now!

            Reply

  61. Erin on December 2, 2009 at 10:57 am

    THANK YOU!! This is exactly what I needed!

    Reply

  62. Aimee on December 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    thank you so much for the wonderful step by step instructions! i’ve always wondered how these type of cookies were made and am now anxious to get started on the royal icing. i’m not nearly as artistic as you so mine will likely be fairly straight forward but it will beat the usual buttercream frosting!

    Reply

  63. Canadianhockeymom on December 7, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Thank you for sharing! Awesome tips and pictures. Love the tip for flooding the cookies. Lets hope the pens make it to the final this season so I can make these jerseys for our party! and mini stanley cups..hmmm..in the mean time, I will try this sugar cookie recipe and icing for Christmas cookies. Thanks again.

    Reply

  64. Lauren on December 7, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Can you freeze frosted cookies? I’m sitting here, and my cookies are drying, and I’m thinking… d’oh… should I have frozen first, and frosted later? Let me know! Thanks for the great tutorial.

    Reply

  65. Michelle on December 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Hi Lauren,

    You know, I’ve never frozen them after I have decorated them. Like you, I’d think it would be better to freeze before you decorate (which I have done) but if you end up freezing these let me know how it goes. The only thing that might happen could be the royal icing losing consistency and bleeding when it thaws.

    In any event, I’m glad you found the tutorial helpful!!

    Reply

  66. Teri on December 12, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Thank you for including pictures with your step by step. I made decorated sugar cookies for me daughter’s baby shower, they were alright but now I know could have been better had I let the icing dry before I finished decorating. Trying out your tips today, my youngest daughter having friends over for a cookie decorating party.

    Reply

  67. Sarah on December 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been decorating cookies for years, only using buttercream – I had absolutely no idea how to use (much less make) royal icing. Your step by step was incredibly helpful – my cookies turn out PERFECT!!! These are the most helpful instructions I have found! Thank you so much!!

    Reply

  68. Lisa E on December 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    This is exactly what I was looking for. I am making cut out cookies for the first time and I want the icing to look great. This is just what I needed :-) Thank you!

    Reply

  69. Alvin on December 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    You mentioned that some bakers let the cookies dry over night after flooding. I assume the cookies aren’t covered, because the icing is wet, during drying…is that correct? If so, is there any danger of the soft cookies getting a little dry?

    Reply

  70. Candy Hess on December 29, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I love to decorate cookies with my two girls. I have ALWAYS flown by the seat of my pants. It really does take more time and more work than it needs to be. I want to be having FUN! Thanks so much for this info. Too bad for me I found it after Christmas but we like to make cookies at Valentines Day too! Love your site. :)
    Candy

    Reply

  71. sarah on January 1, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    How can i prevent spotting after everything is done?

    Reply

  72. Melanie on January 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks for the great tutorial!! I love the step by step and all the tips and tricks! I can’t wait to make a few cookies tonight!

    Reply

  73. Michelle on January 3, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Hi Alvin,

    You are correct – the cookies are not covered when they are left to dry. As long as you are using a recipe that gives you a soft sugar cookie (like the one I refer to in this post), your cookies should not get hard. I have never had that happen. In fact, the icing will serve as a type of barrier to keep the cookies moist.

    Happy Decorating!

    Reply

  74. Michelle on January 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    I find that spotting (or faded areas) sometimes pop up when I have thinned the icing a bit too much. Next time try not thinning the flooding icing as much as you normally do and see if that helps. Let me know how it turns out!

    Reply

  75. Kelly on January 24, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I have just spent the whole day making cookies for my friends baptism. I love you bottle idea for the flooding….less mess and so much easier probably to work with. Plus you don’t have to worry about the royal icing drying at the end of your bag.

    Thanks!

    Reply

  76. Alyce on January 26, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I have worked with Royal icing a couple of times, and the first time I too had a BIG mess in my kitchen. Your tip to make the flooding icing thinner will help. Thanks

    Reply

  77. Carolina on January 27, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    This is a great step by step! I did my first trial run and it was pretty succesful. I’m making some cookie favors for a shower. Do you think if I bake the cookies today and decorate them, they’ll stay soft for a shower 2-3 days away??

    Reply

  78. Sara on January 30, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Oh my lord… this was everything I ever needed to know about using royal icing! I’VE BEEN SO LOST! Thank you so much!

    Reply

  79. susie on February 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Excellent tutorial – thank you very much. I just decorated Mardi Gras cookies with my 4-year-old and they look awesome. I’ve only ever used royal icing for putting together a gingerbread house, so your guide was most helpful. Thank you!

    Reply

  80. Colleen on February 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I am preparing to make valentine’s cookies for my daughters class. The plan it to make cookies to look like conversation heart candies… Your instructions seem great, I will let you know how successful I am! Keeping my fingers crossed…

    Reply

  81. Michelle on February 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Carolina,

    I’m so happy to hear that this tutorial was helpful for you! I do apologize for being late in my reply, but yes, they will definitely stay soft for up to 5 days or a week. Enjoy the shower! :)

    Reply

  82. stephanie on February 10, 2010 at 11:59 am

    hey …. love your cookies they’re really pretty. i have a question regarding using egg white verses mering uepowder when making royal icing. I saw a video with someone using egg white and icing sugar to make their icing. i guess what i’m asking is that fine to do? what if your in a hurray and don’t have the meringue powder handy is it safe just to use the egg white beaten until foamy then add the icing sugar?

    Reply

  83. Andrea on February 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Oh My! Thank you so much! I am decorating Valentine’s Day cookies for a friend’s party and it’s been a very long time since I’ve done royal icing. This was an amazing help. Thank you very much!

    Reply

  84. Michelle on February 16, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have never used actual egg whites, and would recommend that if you do so you either use pasteurized eggs (so that bacteria is gone), or that you heat them to a temperature of 160 degrees F while beating them. Since I have never used this method, I can’t speak to how the icing itself will turn out, so proceed at your own risk ;-)

    Reply

  85. Sana on February 20, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    IF i have a baby shower on sunday afternoon…how much in advanc can i make and decorate them and pack them… please let me know it will be great help coz i need to take out time to make/decorate these and also make food :-)

    Reply

  86. Michelle on February 22, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Hi Sana,

    I would say you could have them finished and packaged on Friday and they would still be good for Sunday. The royal icing helps to keep the cookies soft and fresh. Have a great baby shower! :)

    Reply

  87. JIM-49 on February 22, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Such a great “how to”!! I try to teach two little granddaughters,how to cook,and decorate cookies and cakes.We have started on pastries,shapes and forming.These are sorta hard to find.I try to teach them,”Home”,can be so warm and wonderful,if you make that way!! Many now days,can’t even boil water,and I know its because of lazyness,and maybe a few,have never done it,and fear failure.We sure need to start building back,good homes,baking and cooking at home.Thank you for all your time and work!! I really love the site,its hard to wait for your next post!! May God Bless,you and your site!!!

    Reply

  88. happyland on February 25, 2010 at 4:44 am

    i scare i can’t find Meringue Powder in my country. So can you tell me any things can substitude it? Thanks =)

    Reply

  89. CLaire on March 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    This was sooo helpful!!! My aunt had a baby shower last weekend and I used your tips to decorate baby onesies! they were so cute and everyone loved them! they turned out awesome! thanks again! your directions were so easy to follow!

    Reply

  90. Kelly on March 2, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I just happened upon this post searching for tips for icing easter sugar cookies. It is extremely helpful PLUS I live near Pittsburgh and am a huge Pens fan!

    Reply

  91. Sharlene on March 2, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Can’t wait to try this out this weekend !

    Reply

  92. Shami on March 9, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    So cute! And what a great post. Very informational and I love the step by step instructions (with pictures). I think I’m might just have to try my hand at decorating cookies this weekend! Thanks you so much for this. :)

    Reply

  93. jojo on March 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I have just discovered beautiful wafer paper to put over the royal icing on cookies,is it hard to work with?

    Reply

  94. Renae on March 10, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I think the step by step instructions are wonderful. I can’t wait to decorate some cookies with my girls. Thanks!

    Reply

  95. Cookin' Canuck on March 15, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Great detail in this post! Loving the hockey jerseys.

    Reply

  96. Rhyah on March 17, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing! I plan on doing cookies on a stick for my daughter’s birthday. This will save me lots of grief!

    Reply

  97. Kristen on March 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you so much- I just tried to decorate some cookies with royal icing and failed miserably. I will have to try again :)

    Thanks!

    Reply

  98. Nicki on April 1, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    this was an awesome how to!!!… out of curiosity. if i decorated the icing right onto a piece of waxed paper and let it dry do you know if it would then be possible to transfer the designs onto say a cake with a pancake flipper?… i can’t decorate straight on the cake because of time constraints, but i really like how royal icing allows for more intricate design.

    Reply

  99. Michelle on April 3, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Hi Nicki,

    You could do that, but depending on the icing dries on the wax paper, it’s possible that the icing design won’t sit exactly flat on the cake. That’s the only downfall I could think of, though! Have fun decorating!

    Reply

  100. Kristy on April 4, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    This is a great tutorial! I bake and decorate sugar cookies all the time. I was hoping to perfect my icing technique and this step by step how-to really gave the few extra tips I needed. Love your blog!

    Reply

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