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

  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 😀

    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! 😀

    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

  101. mom of 3 on April 14, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Finally! I now know how to do this correctly! I have struggled with this. thank you for your post!

    Reply

  102. Michelle Magee on April 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    This was really helpfull! I like that you included pictures so I knew what everything was supposed to look like.

    Reply

  103. Heather on April 23, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Can you make and store royal icing ahead of time in fridge for a cookie decorating party? Is it okay icing to use with preschoolers in squirty bottles or should I use something else??? Can you substitute egg white powder for meringue powder?

    Reply

  104. Michelle on April 23, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Hi Heather,

    Yes, you can store royal icing ahead of time in the refrigerator. Store it in a Tupperware-type container, with plastic wrap pressed down against the surface of the icing so that it doesn’t dry out.

    You can definitely put royal icing in squirt bottles, in fact that’s often what I use to decorate since it’s much less messy!

    And yes, you can substitute powdered egg whites for the meringue powder.

    Enjoy your decorating!

    Reply

  105. Betsy on April 25, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial!!!!! I have been all over the web looking at royal icing sites and yours was the first that made sense. I felt i was right in the kitchen with you!! I have one question. My daughter is getting married in the middle of June and we are making weddin cake cookies as favors at the reception. The cookies are all made and frozen. How soon can I decorate them and leave them bagged in indvidual bags before the big day? Thanks so muc!
    Betsy

    Reply

  106. Michelle on April 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Betsy,

    I’m so happy to hear that this tutorial will be of great use to you! I would say that you could decorate and bag them about 2-3 days ahead of the wedding. Congratulations to your daughter!

    Reply

  107. JenetHart on April 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Very helpful! I have done limited cookie decorating and had never heard the tip about outlining your cookies in icing before flooding them. I have always had trouble making them neat around the edges and now I know why. Thanks. Also, I would love some more instructions from you on decorating with royal icing, geared towards those of us with minimal artistic abilities.(aka tricks to make my cookies look fabulous, even though I can’t draw very well, and my letters are usually crooked).

    Reply

  108. Sharon on April 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    This was wonderful, thank you! I would never have thought to do many of these steps, such as outlining, thinning out the icing flooding, and using a toothpick. VERY helpful tips. These will go a long way for me; I am so glad you posted this. Thanks again!!

    Reply

  109. LouLou143 on May 3, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I am scared to death as a 1st time royal icing user & your wonderful step by step’s are a life saver! I printed them & the pictures & will attempt 60 wedding cake cookies for my future dgt-in-law’s bridal shower. I wish I could give you a big hug for giving me a little more confidence. Thanks so very much.

    Reply

  110. Nicole on May 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

    This is helpful!I want to make black royal icing. I will be using quite a bit of black because I am making Groom cookies and black is used for the tux. Would you suggest to start with chocolate royal icing? Just add about 1/3 cup coco powder? Let me know! Thanks!!!

    Reply

  111. Michelle on May 11, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Hi Nicole,

    I wouldn’t add cocoa powder to your royal icing, it would affect the consistency and the way that it sets on the cookie. I have made black jersey cookies and things like that and always start with just basic royal icing and keep adding the black gel until you get the black shade you are going for. Also remember that colors will darken as the icing dries.

    Reply

  112. Marty on June 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Love your site. Helped a lot with your tips on royal icing. Thanks.

    Reply

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  117. Holly on June 30, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    THis was a very helpful tutorial. I now have more confidence to make favor cookies for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. One question, any tips for using two colors to flood coat? Or doing polka dots with royal icing?

    Reply

  118. Nicole on July 3, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I have been decorating cookies with royal icing for awhile but I always have the same issue. Dark colours, especially black, bleed into adjacent colours. I did a bus cookie outlined in black (I allowed the black to dry almost 24 hours before I added the next colors) it looked great for a few hours but by the next day it was a mess because the black ran so badly. What is the solution to this problem? Is it because of humidity? Help…

    Nicole

    Reply

  119. cheryl hampton on July 11, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    thank you so very much for the informative demonstration on decorating with royal icing! I have tried and tried with other instructions and these ones are by far the best. I am going to attempt some baby shower cookies for my stepdaughter’s shower and feel quite confident now in what i”m about to do. thanks again and God Bless!

    Reply

  120. cheryl on July 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    this is my second comment and am adding it because I was reading further into your site and noticed something you said about placing your cookies back in the fridge before baking. I’m like you, in that I cut my cookies a bit thicker than the 1/4 in. I’m sure I’ll get chastised for this but I do not chill my dough prior to rolling and cutting. Since they are a bit thicker they come up fine so I cut them out, place on a c. sheet and then in the fridge to chill. then onto the oven. believe it or not it saves time chilling only about 15min. I make up three or four sheets then pop them in and rotate them out of the oven for a quick process to get lots of cookies. hope this is helpful!

    Reply

  121. Tiffany on July 16, 2010 at 1:26 am

    This is such a great tutorial! Very helpful tips for the future when I decide to bake some sugar cookies of my own. Thank you!

    Reply

  122. Michelle on July 19, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    FABULOUS step by step directions. I followed your tips on outlining, thinnig the icing and everything in between. While my bridesmaid cookies were adorable and cute, it’ll take soem time before they are as cute as your playoff jerseys!

    Reply

  123. Adelaide on July 26, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Just wanted to thank you for your step-by-step tutorial. While I’ve been baking for years, I’ve never tried the intricate designs that you show here,(beautifully I might add). I now have a list of items to go get and do a test run before I need to do the real thing.

    Thanks so much, your tutorial is the best I’ve found after looking for quite a while.

    Reply

  124. heni on August 8, 2010 at 12:44 am

    waow thank you so much…i love your site

    Reply

  125. Melessa on August 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Great tips! I’m so glad I stumbled across your website. In my area decorated sugar cookies start at $3 each and that adds up quickly. I want to use some edible pearls and glitter on the cookies that I will be making. At what point in the process should I add them? Should I do it right after I flood with the royal icing or wait for them to harden a bit? I’m worried that if I add them to quickly the pearls will sink. Please advise. Thanks!

    Reply

  126. vonda on August 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    I am new to cookie decorating and making. I have never been able to bake cookies let alone decorate them. This is so helpful, i am going to start this week so i will let you know how i did, wish me luck.

    Reply

  127. Alyse on August 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you so much for your steo by step intructions. I decided to make football related cookies to send to my son. he recently left for college at University of Miami. I had time on my hands. Your guidance made this a fun, rewarding experience,The cookies look awesome. Go Canes.Thanks, ALyse

    Reply

  128. Amie on September 12, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    LOVE your site!! I am getting ready to start decorating cookies for a cheerleading competition. I just have one question how far in advance do you think I can make and store these cookies?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 13th, 2010 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Amie, Thanks! These cookies can definitely be done in stages over several day. What I typically do is make the dough one day, then throw it in the fridge to chill. The next day I bake the cookies. If I have time I will outline and flood them. Then let them dry overnight and do the details on top. Once they are decorated you can store them in an airtight container or bag (just be careful stacking!) for 1-2 days. Have fun!

      Reply

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  130. Janice on September 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Thank you so much for the detailed instructions on decoarting the cookies. I recently made cookies for my granddaughters birthday and school party but the cookies were rounded and uneven. I notice that the cookies I purchase and your cookies are flat. Any ideas as to why my cookies are uneven which makes it difficult to decorate them as well as takes away from the appearance?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 28th, 2010 at 7:12 pm

      Hi Janice, I have found that cookies sometimes turn out bumpy and uneven when the dough is too warm before getting it into the oven. I would try refrigerating the cookie sheets for 15-20 minutes before popping them into the oven and see if that helps!

      Reply

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  132. Johanna on September 30, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    thanks…

    Reply

  133. Jill Overn on October 3, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Your tutorial is absolutely FABULOUS! I am the worlds worst baker… I followed your instructions and recipes to a T and not only were me cookies edible, they were adorable and delicious too!! I have a pic of the pink & zebra cookies in this post, http://peasandthankyous.blogspot.com/2010/10/neenies-7th-birthday-pink-zebra-art.html, and I linked back to you. Thank you sooooo much for this tutorial!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 5th, 2010 at 11:09 am

      You are very welcome, Jill! Those cookies are absolutely adorable, you did fabulous work!! Love your site too!

      Reply

  134. Evelyn in Colorado Springs on October 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    This is FANTASTIC!! I have looked all over the internet to get the simplest directions to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing (since I’ve never used royal icing before), and your tutorial and photos make this seem very easy. I’m baking 150 pink ribbon cookies (6″) for my co-workers to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness month.
    Thanks for your time!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 11th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

      You are very welcome Evelyn! What a nice gesture to make all of those cookies! Have fun!

      Reply

  135. Megan on October 12, 2010 at 12:02 am

    This is an awesome tutorial! I definitely have to try this for the next time I make sugar cookies! Thanks!

    Reply

  136. Liz on October 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you for the great step by step instructions!!!

    Reply

  137. Zahra on October 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

    When letting the cookies sit before decorating, do we need to store it in a container or just leave it in the open?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 24th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Zahra, You can let it sit out. I always just lay them out on my dining room table. The icing keeps the cookies moist.

      Reply

  138. Alex on October 21, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks so much for posting. It is a very helpfel recipe.

    But I was wondering,

    Is there anything I can use to replace the meringue powder?

    Would cream of tartar work?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 24th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Alex, Hmm that’s a good question. The meringue powder is really essential in the icing, as it is what allows it to dry hard. I have never substituted it with anything and am not sure that cream of tartar would work in this instance. Is there a particular reason you don’t want to use meringue powder?

      Reply

  139. Liz Doherty on October 27, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    I have been a “decorating fool” since I’ve seen your tutorial about decorating cookies with royal icing!! I do have a question though, it seems that the top layer of royal icing gets hard and almost dried out on the cookie after just a day or two.Like when you bite the cookie, it is almost like a candy coating. I did cover the cookies with plastic wrap. Any suggestions? Thank you so much.

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 30th, 2010 at 7:16 pm

      Hi Liz, The royal icing is actually supposed to dry rock hard. That way you can easily decorate on top of it.

      Reply

  140. Sarah @ pão e queijo on October 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    This is so helpful! Wonderful tutorial, thanks!

    Reply

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  142. pearse on October 30, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    very informative. I however do not like cookies decorated with royal icing. tried the ones from stores. Haven’t tried it home. I am wondering whether we could do the same thing with buttercream – making it thin and various consiastency? if so how do you thin buttercream for flooding? adding more liquid or melted butter?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 30th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      Unfortunately the consistency of buttercream is totally different and doesn’t have the same properties as royal, so it would not dry smooth and hard.

      Reply

  143. Lauren on October 31, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I just made footballs using your tips, which were extremely helpful. The only trouble I had was that some of them dripped down the sides. Is this because I didn’t pipe a thick enough line in some spots?
    I also used the all-occasion sugar cookie recipe. Delicious once they’re baked. I had trouble with the dough, though. I couldn’t get the cookies off of the wax paper, even after chilling them for an extra 30 minutes. I ended up using my cookie cutters in a makeshift way, but my footballs are anything but perfect and smooth. Any tips?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 1st, 2010 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Lauren, the icing running off the edge could definitely be attributed to the border not being thick enough. I usually use a #2 tip with consistent pressure to pipe the borders. Also, making sure that the borders are dry before flooding is another important step.

      Regarding the cookies sticking – if you roll out the dough between pieces of wax or parchment paper, you need to be sure to flour all of the surfaces really well.

      Reply

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  145. Kori on November 18, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    This was beyond helpful!! You should have seen me trying to microwave my icing to make it pourable!! Ha ha ha 🙂

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 19th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

      Yay so glad you found it helpful! Woo for cookies! 🙂

      Reply

  146. Dee on November 22, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Thank you for the helpful tips and demo. I am looking into picking up cookie decorating as a hobby and this was very helpful for me.

    Reply

  147. Yin on November 22, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks for such detail explaination on icing decoration. I’m totally dummy in this. I will bookmark this for sure.

    Reply

  148. Georgia on November 23, 2010 at 12:17 am

    I have a problem when using sprinkles on royal icing on cookies or buttercream icing for cake. If I put the sprinkles on when the icing is damp, the sprinkles bleed into the icing. If I let it dry a bit, then the sprinkles do not stick. Do you have a solution for that?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 23rd, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      Hi Georgia, What you’ll want to do is let the royal icing dry. Then, brush it very lightly with some water and then add your sprinkles. Let it dry completely, and then shake off any excess sprinkles.

      Reply

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  150. Georgia Cuevas on November 24, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Thank you, Michelle, I’ll try that. We need a hairspray for sprinkles!! hahaha

    Reply

  151. Mary on November 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you for the great tutorial on royal icing. I do a lot of baking and this was one of the best set of instructions I’ve ever used! My turkey sugar cookies turned out beautifully.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 29th, 2010 at 7:19 pm

      So happy to hear that Mary! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      Reply

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  154. lynn on December 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    hi,
    i love your instruction…but mmm i’m wondering if you can make the ‘how to’ on macaroons i can’t seem to bake these babies they turned out either flat & rough or footless >_< , i've tried many many tips from the net but i simply couldn't get it right.. what went wrong? i'd really love to see the detailed step by step on this one…

    Reply

  155. Betty on December 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I was looking for a simple royal icing recipe and cookie decorating ideas to use with my 4 year old grandson. I found your website most helpful and appreciate the detailed instructions. Will be making cookies this weekend!!!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 10th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      Yay! What a wonderful activity to do with your grandson! Have fun!

      Reply

  156. Maia on December 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Amazing instructions and pictures. Thanks so much for posting this. I made cat and dog cookies for my daughter’s birthday party favors and they turned out great–but how did you get the lettering to come out so well? Did you use a #1 tip or something even smaller? Whenever I tried to draw fine lines, the icing flow would “skip” and/or the line would be too thick (way thicker than yours, even using a #1 tip)…

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 13th, 2010 at 12:01 am

      Hi Maia, I do sometimes use a #1 tip for writing letters on cookies. Depending on how large I want them I either use a #1 or #2, but mostly #1. As for the icing skipping, this used to happen to me too. The icing needs to be just a little less stiff, so try adding a touch more water. That should help it flow nicely out of the piping bag. It can take some trial and error (and patience!) to get a feel for the consistencies, but it eventually comes. It took me awhile!

      Reply

  157. margo on December 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    great tutorial + great recipes = a really great christmas cookie baking and decorating experience for me and my family. thank you for bringing out the martha stewart that i always knew was inside me!

    Reply

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  159. Annette Galloway on January 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I have a great tip in regards to the dough…immediately after mixing the dough, divide dough into 2 pieces, roll out between wax or parchment paper to your desired cookie thickness. Put flattened dough on cookie sheets (leave paper on dough) and leave in the refrigerator 2-3 hours or overnight. Once the dough is hardened, remove paper and cut out cookies! The dough stays very cold, there is less spreading and you don’t have to try and roll hard dough!

    Reply

  160. laura on January 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Brown-eyed Baker,

    I am about to try these instructions in a few days, using them to bake cookie favors for my sister’s baby shower. They will be turtle-shaped cookies, frosted in minty-green royal icing. They are based on a design in her nursery. Anyway, I would like to add candy buttons (you know, the type that come on the rolls of paper) as decorations on the turtle shells (the turtles in her nursery are polka-dotted). Is it possible to use the royal icing to affix things to the cookies? Or, should I add a different type of icing to do the adhering on top of the royal icing?
    Thanks!
    Laura

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 10th, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Laura, Royal icing is actually perfect for “gluing” things to the hardened/iced cookie. Have fun and enjoy the cookies!

      Reply

  161. laura on January 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Wow that was fast! But, do I “glue” them when the royal icing is still wet or do I follow the steps above regarding the sprinkles? Should I let the icing harden, wet it slightly and then glue them on? Thanks so much! I can’t wait to do this!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 10th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Hi again! 🙂 You will want to let the cookies completely dry before adding any extras on, then just a small dab of royal icing and “glue” on your additions. This is different than sprinkles, and you do not need to wet the icing at all. Just make sure it is completely try, then use fresh royal icing to glue on any additions.

      Reply

  162. B's Mom on January 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    VERY helpful! My daughter got some really cool Star Wars cookie cutters for Christmas. They emboss the top of the cookie with the pattern. But she got really frustrated trying to work with the royal icing. This website helped explain what she needed to know.

    Reply

  163. Laura on January 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Awesome instructions! The pictures were super helpful. Thanks for doing this!!

    Reply

  164. Laura on January 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I tried the sugar cookie recipe and your royal icing recipe last night and both were AMAZING! I cannot thank you enough for posting both in addition to your most useful play by play on how to decorate using royal icing. Thank you!

    Reply

  165. Julie on January 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    My mother worked in a bakery through college and growing up she would make “sweet and sour” sugar cookies with royal icing for nearly every holiday and event you could imagine!

    Her trick to make the flooding part go much much faster is to thin the icing and then hold the edges of the cookie and dip the top of it into the icing, bypassing the outline piping entirely. She then runs her finger like a knife along the front to even it out and then lays them out to dry – it’s a little messier than the method above – but absolutely worth it when making them by the 100’s for large events!

    Reply

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  167. Leah on January 31, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Thank you so much!!! I was looking for some tips on this (tried doing it on my own, and due to the fact that I did not know about the flooding part…. and adding water…. well u know, they didn’t come out the way they were supposed to).
    This was really helpful and hopefully over time my cookies will come out looking like yours…. 😉

    Reply

  168. Renee on February 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks so much for this! It really helped me get over my fear of tackling “professional-looking” decorated cookies. The squeeze bottles are the BEST!

    Reply

  169. Sara on February 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I made the ducky and onesie cookies for a baby shower and they turned out awesome! The mom to be and guests thought I had purchased them from a bakery! Thank you for the help.
    I did find that for me, flooding worked best by using a baby spoon, adding icing and then pushing the icing with the back of the spoon. It was small enough to get in the corners and took less time than the toothpicks.

    Reply

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  171. Lindsay on February 10, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I’m making an attempt at this royal icing thing and just wondered if the icing will stay soft in the piping bags. I’d like to outline and flood the cookies today, but then do the detailed work tomorrow. Will the leftover icing in the bags be good for tomorrow, or should I plan on making a fresh batch for the detailed work? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 10th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

      You can keep the icing in the piping bags, but put them tip-down in a glass with a little water in the bottom to keep it moist. If you don’t, the royal icing will dry out and then the tip will get clogged. Happy decorating! 🙂

      Reply

  172. cae on February 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I have used a glaze to achieve the smooth glossy cookies but yesterday was the first try for this. I don’t know what happened but it looked normal going on, but did not dry quickly and this morning are still tacky to the touch. The consistency looks different too. It almosts tastes and feels a little like marshmallow. I don’t know if has something to do with the humidity in the air as we have had a lot of rain lately or not. Any thoughts or suggestions? Hope they dry more today or I am afraid they will stick to each other when stored on top of one another. Right now, they are in the cold oven.:(

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 14th, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Cae, Hmm usually they dry completely overnight. The humidity could definitely be a factor, also could you have maybe thinned the icing too much? Those are the only reasons I can think of that it wouldn’t be dry by now.

      Reply

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  174. Rebecca on February 14, 2011 at 1:15 am

    I just wanted to say thanks for sharing these great step-by-step photos to go with the instructions. I’m a visual person and tonight was the first time I used royal icing for Valentine’s Day sugar cookies and it was so easy. I actually flavored it with a little strawberry extract and then drizzled melted chocolate on top and they tasted phenomenal in addition to giving them a little hint of pink! 🙂

    Reply

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  177. sweets2share / Trine on February 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

    that was helpfull information..
    I will make me some cookies to decorate this upcomming weekend.

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply

  178. Erin on February 15, 2011 at 1:14 am

    I have always wondered how to fill cookies like this with no lines! Thanks so much, this really helped!

    Reply

  179. Elaine on February 23, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I was looking for a new frosting recipe when I came upon this website and royal icing. I made my cutout recipe 2 different times before I gave it a go with this procedure. If I use this frosting on cookies for my daughter’s baby shower I’ll need to practice, practice, practice more. My outlining was uneven; but the outlining definitely shows the shape of any cutout cookie (onesie’s, ducks, buggy, etc.), which is nice. My husband is sampling as I write this. Not sure he likes the taste when compared to the buttercream I usually do. SO, THE BIG QUESTION IS DO I GO FOR THE LOOK OR THE TASTE? Outlining and filling is definitely more work than slapping on some buttercream.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 23rd, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Hi Elaine, I would say that decorating sugar cookies with royal icing definitely is not done for taste. It’s definitely not as good as buttercream, but it’s the only way to intricately decorate sugar cookies and allow them to dry completely hard.

      Reply

  180. Susan on February 24, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I have decorated cookies several times with royal icing and honestly never knew that there was an honest to goodness technique to make them perfect! Thank you so much for taking the time to make this step by step tutorial….you are a godsend!

    Reply

  181. Camille Young on February 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I just found this website tonight and came across your recipe. I don’t remember when I’ve seen a receipe so detailed and friendly. You seem to enjoy what you do and don’t mind sharing it with other people. Thank you so much. I will be coming back for other recipes, especially yours.

    Reply

  182. Leigh Anne on March 4, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Thanks so much for the detailed description! This is just what I was looking for!!!

    Reply

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  184. Anne on March 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

    So excited to do this! Thank you for the how-to!

    Reply

  185. Dotti on March 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I’m going to try decorating cookies for a baby shower this weekend. This will be my first try at this………wish me luck! 🙂

    Reply

  186. Jenny on March 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    This step by step instructional is amazing. I have been trying to make cookies with royal icing for years and they always turned out so messy. Thanks to this, I finally got it right. Thank you so much!!! Another tip that I learned is this: when filling the pastry bags: put the empty bag (with tip and coupler already in place) in a tall glass. Fold the top of the bag over the glass and then fill bag with icing. Once the bag is no more than half way full you can twist the top and take it out for use. This allows you to use both hands while filling the pastry bag with the royal icing. This is a great way to make a possibly messy task simple and spill proof. Once again thank you so much for taking the time to do this!!!

    Reply

  187. Madelon on April 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for making this step by step tutorial! Can’t wait to try it out!

    Reply

  188. Jasmine on April 9, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    i’ve always wanted to decorate cookies and yours is definitely a great help. i’ll want to try it soon. can i also ask if you have any books to recommend to me, who is a beginner in cookie and cake deco? thank you very much! (:

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 10th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      Hi Jasmine, I actually have never checked out any books on cake or cookie decorating, but I find YouTube videos super helpful!

      Reply

  189. Megan on April 17, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Hi!
    Thank you so much for this!!!! I am going to be making cookie bouquets for my older sisters in college for their exam week. I was wondering, do you know how ot make it so that you get the flooded look with two different colors?(this is kind of hard to describe over the computer), but like if I had a round cookie with a pink background and I wanted to put polka dots in it without them being raised above the pink icing, would I just plop them in there?

    Reply

  190. Karen on April 18, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Do you make 2 different batches of the royal icing to do one set of cookies? Meaning one batch for the flood icing and another batch for the piped decoration? I’m thinking that it sounds like if you make one batch, dividing it into piping and flooding, color it, etc, then do the flooding, by the time you are ready to do the piping wouldn’t the reserved piping icing have dried out? How do you keep that portion fresh overnight will the flood dries?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 18th, 2011 at 10:19 am

      Hi Karen, It all depends on how much I need and how many different colors. Sometimes I will make a separate batch, but if I only make one, I cover the unused icing with a damp towel (to keep the moisture in) or you can put it in the piping bags, close off the top with a rubber band, and then put them tip-down into a glass with a little water so they stay hydrated.

      Reply

  191. sarahblank on April 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I get it now!! This tutorial totally answered all my questions!!!

    Reply

  192. Heather on April 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Brilliant! This was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Been wondering how to do that for AGES and love the detailed instructions. Thanks!

    Reply

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  194. Terri on April 28, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Thank you so much for this information on decorating sugar cookies. My first attempt was at Christmas a year ago and it took me several recipes to get a tasty cookie. As for the icing, I have been using a recipe that calls for confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, a little milk and light karo syrup and what a mess. but it is tasty! anyway, my daughter wants me to decorate cookies for my grandsons 1st birthday this weekend to look like john deere tractors. I was wondering what the difference in your royal icing and the icing i’ve been using would be? i’m not even sure it has a name, I just remember searching until i found recipe for sugar cookie icing and found this one. the icing actually dries hard enough that i’ve been able to use other colors for decorating though they are nothing compared to yours. i really want to try yours but was just curious if you’d ever heard of or used the icing i’m referring to. thanks again for this valuable information!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 29th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Terri, I have not heard of the type of icing you described, but I can tell that the primary (and important) difference is that the royal icing recipe I use has meringue powder in it. That is the key ingredient and gives the icing it’s smooth texture and allows it to try super hard. I hope that helps; have fun decorating! 🙂

      Reply

      • Terri on May 2nd, 2011 at 9:41 am

        Thanks for your feedback Michelle. I completed my project over the weekend, 50 sugar cookies cut like a tractor and a red barn, and decorated. it took me forever but I did it although since it was my first time using the royal icing, i made mistakes and learned a lot! actually the icing i’ve used with the karo syrup dries hard as well but would not work for the outlining at all. the royal icing is much easier to make though. as for my other post about the outlining, for some reason in certain places the outline fell off so i went back to those places and outlined them again and had no bleeding at all. for my first attempt i thought they turned out ok. they weren’t as smooth as they should have been but i think if I keep at it I can eventually get there. This site has been a tremendous help to me. My daughter-in-law now wants some pink zebra print cookies for my grand-daughter’s 2nd birthday party coming up in a few weeks. Any suggestions? Also, do you use a stencil on your cookies to outline first or is it all freehand with you?

        Reply

        • Michelle on May 2nd, 2011 at 4:35 pm

          Hi Terri, I do everything freehand, although I do quite a bit of sketching and practicing beforehand, especially if it’s something I haven’t done before.

          Reply

  195. Christina on April 29, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Thank you for this! I follow you in Google Reader, but stumbled across this by searching. It’s exactly what I’m looking for. Thank you again!

    Reply

  196. Terri on April 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I outlined my cookies last night to prepare them for flooding tonight and had problems with the icing not sticking to the cookies in several places. I followed the recipe on here for the royal icing and my cookies were completely cool. does anyone have any suggestions as to how to prevent this?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 29th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Terri, The outlined icing didn’t stick to the cookies? Could you explain exactly what happened/how it looks, or include a link to a picture if possible? It will help me help you out 🙂

      Reply

  197. Colleen on April 30, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Michelle, did you ever think of outlining in chocolate? I am considering melting down some of those Wilton wafers (you can melt them right in the squeeze bottle) and outlining in chocolate, then flooding the cookie with royal icing after the chocolate has set. I haven’t tried this yet…what do you think? Does it sound like it would work?

    Reply

  198. Gada on May 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Hi, whats the diference between Royal icing and color flow icing?

    Reply

  199. Chung-Ah Rhee on May 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    These are so precious!!

    Reply

  200. Melissa on May 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I want to bookmark this page for my own reference, but being hardcore Lightning fans, I think my husband would freak out if he found a bookmarked page full of Pens cookies. :o) You did give me an awesome idea for our Eastern Conference Finals watch parties/traveling to Tampa goodies, though!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 9th, 2011 at 8:29 pm

      Haha! Well, if it makes you feel any better, I’m rooting for Tampa to beat Boston 🙂

      Reply

  201. shannon jauregui on May 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    thank you so much your walk through was so very helpful. i am not a baker by far but wanted to make cookies for my sons baseball team. Thank you very much!!!!

    Reply

  202. Liz on June 19, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I love your website!! I have made many of your yummy sweets. I do have a question/problem, no matter what sugar cookie recipe I use, the cookies break sometimes as soon as the next day.Any ideas as to what I am doing wrong? I have a big project for a baby shower this comming weekend!! Thank you again.

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 19th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Hi Liz, What do you mean that they break? Just sitting in a container, they break in half? Or the icing cracks? I’m not sure I really understand what you mean whey you say that they break.

      Reply

      • Liz on June 19th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

        Hi Michelle, The cookies just break either in half, or a corner breaks off. It happens both unfrosted and frosted. Its as if the cookies are too dry. It does not matter how thick or thin the cookies are made. I will try to email you a photo(although I am not computer savy) Thanks for your fast response. Liz

        Reply

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  204. Michele Donet on August 11, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    your tips were all great! when i was looking for how to decorate sugar cookies i was expecting some crazy elaborate technique. i’m having a baby shower for my daughter in law and were doing a tea party theme and you ideas seem easy enough for me to try. thanks so much, i’m not freaking out so much now!:)

    Reply

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  206. Angela on August 16, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Hello,
    This was pretty helpful, but I specifically was hoping for the NEXT step…. how you get it so perfect with the details. Especially with your onesies and stuff like that. When I am writing my frosting either pulls up, or it’s thick, or there is a peak when I lift up…. or it’s too thin and blends together. It would be nice to see you do the NEXT step to put it all together and get it so detailed. Like, how the heck to you draw a GUITAR?!?!?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 18th, 2011 at 10:15 am

      Hi Angela, Thanks for the feedback! I will work on doing a similar tutorial for the details, maybe “part II”. For some of the cookies, like Pea in a Pod, I do illustrate the step-by-step decorating process.

      Reply

  207. Concetta on August 23, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Your tutorial answered every question that I had. Thanks for the detailed, organized and informative directions!

    Reply

  208. Erin on August 25, 2011 at 1:29 am

    I used royal icing for the very first time tonight, and your tutorial was very helpful! I even used the cookie recipe you suggested. I’m so proud of my cookies, I can’t wait to share them on my blog tomorrow!

    Reply

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  210. katrina Wise on September 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you for putting together such an informative piece on this subject…I tried years ago, made a huge mess and said never again…but now I’m off to the kitchen to try again after so many years, I’ll let ya know…lol…thank you again on a great piece…also awesome troubleshooting tips!!!! ; )

    Reply

  211. Tressa on September 7, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I have avoided sugar cookies like the plague. A couple attempts in the very distant past was horrendous. Everything went wrong from the cookie to the frosting. I actually want to try this with your wonderful tutorial helping me every step of the way. Thank you for all your hard work in doing this for us.Ü

    Reply

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  213. Veronica on September 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Loved how everything is step by step. I learn best this way. Thanks 🙂

    Reply

  214. Queenie on September 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

    The tutorial was absolutely amazing, the tips are so useful, THANKS!! I love it so much and planning to make cookies for my baby shower party. What can I use instead of the meringue powder? I don’t live in a Western country so it’s a bit tricky in getting the powder. Please let me know if there are any substitutes to it.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 18th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      Hi Queenie, I have never used a substitute for the meringue powder, but I do believe you can make royal icing with egg whites. I would Google for some recipes, since I’ve never done it there aren’t any particular ones I can recommend.

      Reply

  215. Sandra on September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Can you tell me why I need to keep mixing the royal icing until it loses its shine? It seems very well mixed way before 7 minutes.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 22nd, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      Hi Sandra, While it will indeed be combined rather quickly, beating it for a significant amount of time helps with the ultimate consistency.

      Reply

      • Sandra on September 28th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

        OK Thanks Michelle! I didn’t see this response before and I resubmitted the question. Please ignore.

        Reply

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  217. Sandra on September 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Can you tell me WHY we need to keep beating the icing until the shine goes away? I really appreciate your comments on the technical aspects of the sugar cookies and I was wondering about the icing.

    Reply

  218. Sandra on October 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Michelle, please help.

    I love your cookie recipe and I am going along and decorating a number of cookies but I keep running into the same problem and I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I am using a tip and coupler but the tip keeps getting clogged. I don’t think I have any grease in the bag or the tip — my icing is definitely not too stiff. I am going along and it seems as though there is a small sugar crystal or it is drying out. I can’t imagine it drying out because it happens right in the middle of my decorating. I sifted the powdered sugar so the only thing I can think of is that the meringue is globbing. Is that possibly the problem? The only other thing is whether I should be burping the bag all along instead of just at the beginning. I am at a loss as to what the problem may be. I would appreciate your feedback.

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 10th, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Sandra, If the tip opening is small enough, it could definitely get clogged, I have had this happen. Royal icing can dry very quickly, so as soon as you put the bag down to do something else, I recommend wrapping the tip in a wet paper towel to keep it from drying out. Also, make sure that the tips are thoroughly washed and dried, sometimes the smallest piece of dried icing left in there can cause headaches.

      Reply

      • Sandra on October 10th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

        Thanks for replying so quickly. I don’t know exactly what was causing the problem but I did go ahead and dissolve the meringue powder in water first and then made sure that there was absolutely no clumps by smashing what was left undissolved between my fingers. Then I added the powdered sugar. I guess the fingers are the BEST tool! Anyway, I used a 1.5 tip and I absolutely had no problems! Yeah!

        Reply

  219. Pingback: » {The Friday Yum} Tips for Decorating Cookies with Royal Icing The Outlaw Mom (TM) Blog

  220. janeen on October 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Thank you so much for the tutorial! I think the key is in having the right tools. Besides, you will use them over and over, making cookie decorating enjoyable instead of a disaster.

    Reply

  221. Randa on October 14, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks for the tips! Really great techniques. I can’t wait to try them for my saints cookies for Sunday football! Who dat!

    Reply

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  223. Sandra on October 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I am really having fun making these for my friends. I am creating all kinds of intricate designs but I am hoping you can give me some advice. Did you ever have trouble with the colored icing seeping into the white icing? They seem ok when I flood them but after a day or two I see that the black or orange seeped into the white making small areas of discoloration. I would guess it is a drying issue. Did you ever have that problem and do you know of a magical number of hours to wait before putting white down next to a color? (or the other way around?)

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 31st, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      Hi Sandra, If I flood in white I usually leave them to dry completely overnight before doing details in other colors. The other thing that could cause it is if your “other” color isn’t quite stiff enough – if the icing has a little too much water it will be more prone to running.

      Reply

  224. Mary on October 30, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Found you through Google! Many thanks for a great tutorial….but I’m wondering what method you use to put the icing you use for flooding into the squeeze bottles? I have used both disposable pastry bags and the bottles you suggest but find that, as much as I like the idea of the squeeze bottle for flooding, it’s really hard to get the icing in there to begin with. Any tips I can try?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 31st, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Mary, I usually just mix my icing in a tupperware container, and then slowly pour it into a squeeze bottle in a steady stream. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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  226. KatieG on November 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve tried your cookie recipe a few times because I LOVE soft sugar cookies. However, I can’t get the shapes to hold their form. Its like they melt and the cookie cut-out form doesn’t hold up. Is it because I’m not putting them on the upper and lower racks? Could my oven be too hot (set at 375)? They taste great, but for the purpose of creating specific shapes I’ve had a hard time accomplishing this.
    I LOVE your decorating tips, though. They have helped me make great cookies for many parties.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 11th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Katie, I would try chilling the cookies (on the baking sheet) for at least 15 minutes before baking. That should help them keep their shape. Also, if you don’t have one, I would recommend an oven thermometer to make sure your oven isn’t running hot.

      Reply

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  230. Kristal on November 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    First off, thank you for this tutorial! I have a question regarding putting actual cartoon characters on the cookie, like a football team mascot, Dr. Seuss, Hello Kitty…etc. I’ve seen cookies that every cookie is identical and also different fonts. I’ve wondered if it is a stencil or cricut machine they are using. Do you know how I would accomplish this. I have done many cakes, but have not baked or decorated sugar cookies, but I’m now excited to try.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 11th, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Kristal, I’ve never done this, but I’ve seen some that use an icing printer to print out an image that can be laid on the top of the cookie. Otherwise, you could maybe find molds or something like that to imprint the images and then decorate using those lines.

      Reply

  231. Kara on November 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Wow! Love the step by step…I am sure to try this during the holidays! Thanks for great pictures too!

    Reply

  232. Sarah on November 20, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Great & simple how-to, can’t thank you enough. I’m about to make my very first cut-out cookies and was mystified on what goes first & the time length I should leave the flodded cookies stay before adding the details.

    Really appreciate you wonderful efforts. Many thanks ^_^

    Reply

  233. Ashley on November 23, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    These are so cute! I’m totally making them for a Pen party!!!

    Reply

  234. Linda on November 26, 2011 at 9:44 am

    This saved me TONS of time and the cookies looked way better once I started using your method. THANK YOU!

    Reply

  235. Kathryn on November 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    What’s the best way to get your thicker royal icing smooth??

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 27th, 2011 at 11:32 pm

      Hi Kathryn, I add water a little at a time, maybe a teaspoon or so at a time, until I reach the desired consistency.

      Reply

      • Kathryn on November 28th, 2011 at 12:13 am

        Well we do that when we need icing thinner for “flooding,” but we have been making little icing decorations to put on the cookies themselves, like the little flowers/snowflakes/ etc. you can buy. Since we are making these decorations (1in x 1in) we need pretty thick icing for it to hold its shape. Do you have any tips for smoothing thick icing out? We read somewhere to use cornstarch on the tip of your finger, but I found out it’s easier to just pat down a bit after a couple minutes. I was thinking maybe parchment paper, but the decorations are so small I’d risk messing something else up. I was hoping maybe there was a simpler way.

        Reply

        • Michelle on November 28th, 2011 at 11:48 am

          Hi Kathryn, I’m not sure I’ve ever done what you’re referring to. I’m sorry I’m not much help on this one!

          Reply

  236. MomWhatsForDinner on November 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you for this! I am a great cook and baker but I suck at decorating. My daughter and I are supposed to make penguin cookies next week and this how to guide is going to come in handy!

    Reply

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  238. Tanya Bright on December 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I have always wondered how to decorate cookies like that! This is perfect. Thank you!

    Reply

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  240. Zai on December 8, 2011 at 6:34 am

    Hi, I’m not sure I can get meringue. What can I use instead? Sorry if you’ve answered this question before.

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 8th, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Hi Zai, There actually isn’t a good substitute for using meringue in royal icing, as this is what causes it to harden. If you can’t find meringue powder near you, you could always order it online (it’s available from places like Amazon and baking supply sites). Alternatively, there are some royal icing recipes that use regular egg whites. I’ve never tried one so there isn’t one in particular I would recommend, but you could Google and poke around to see what you find.

      Reply

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  242. Melanie on December 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    You are awsome! I love the step by step with pictures. As for a suggested topic: Decorating with Fondant.

    Reply

  243. sarah on December 11, 2011 at 12:43 am

    wow im soooo glad i found this post!!!
    the cookies i made for my sons first birthday was a total flop. can’t wait to follow these steps next time!!

    Reply

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  245. Michelle on December 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    This is a great tutorial. Iced sugar cookies scare me, its something I am always happy to buy from someone else. But your tutorial makes it seem possible. I just came here to get your recipe for royal icing for gingerbread men, but I’m book marking this to give fully iced cookies a try soon.

    Reply

  246. Kathryn on December 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I suggest, if you are going to decorate cookies with sprinkles that you may want on just one part of the icing, for example just the lettering and not the background on the pictures above, let dry several hours more than the 2 or 3 that you’d wait for piping designs.

    Reply

  247. Kathryn on December 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I suggest, if you are going to decorate cookies with sprinkles that you may want on just one part of the icing, for example just the lettering and not the background on the pictures above, let the cookies dry several hours more than the 2 or 3 that you’d wait for piping designs.

    Reply

  248. Pingback: 25 Beers of Christmas: Day Eleven – New Glarus Moon Man & Gingerbread Cookies « The Bake and Brew

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  250. Jennifer on December 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

    This was very helpful. I am making Christmas cookies with my 5 year old and have never used royal icing in my life. I am glad I googled it before starting to decorate. Gotta go to Wally world…..then we may be able to make cookies like the ones on the cover of all the magazines. 😉

    Reply

  251. Betty Franklin on December 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I pulled up your recipe and instructions again this year to make Christmas cookies with our grandson. Still could not find meringue powder locally so this time I used egg whites and it worked beautifully! I love this website!!

    Reply

    • Tina on December 20th, 2011 at 10:03 am

      Betty – have u gone to walmart & michaels? In their baking sections you will definitely find them =)

      Reply

  252. Francesca on December 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    How does this royal icing taste in comparison to normal sugar cookie butter cream frosting? Also, I would love “How-to’s” about rolled fondant and decorating cupcakes- all of your cupcakes are so gorgeous!

    Reply

  253. Tina on December 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Awesome! =) Can anyone tell me if the icing tastes good?

    Reply

  254. Pingback: The Serious Business of Christmas Cookies « KatieVanCan

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  256. Casie on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you so much for this!!! This helped me a ton and I really appreciate it.

    Reply

  257. Kisha on January 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you thank you so much for this easy to follow step-by-step guide. You just saved me over $200. I am planning and baby shower and wanted the baby themed cookies. You know the onesie or baby carriage with the pastel icing and they wanted $4 per cookie. I have 60 guests. I thought it would be impossible to get the smooth topping that looks like a machine made it. I will be testing this out today to see how they come out. Thanks again!! I love this blog!

    Reply

  258. Pingback: gingerbread cookies with royal icing | Sweet Dreaming

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  260. Jennifer on January 21, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Great tutorial! Just tried to decorate some cookies for Valentine’s Day and the iciing wasn’t too thick so I couldnt flood my cookies. Gonna bake some more and try again.
    At Nicki Sweetapolita has a tutorial on using the royal icicng on wax paper then transfering to a cake.

    Reply

  261. cl on January 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    this is EXACTLY what i was looking for! i’ve seen this technique all over cute cookies and i’ve just been needing to know HOW it was done! thank you!!

    Reply

  262. Ana-Lisa on January 28, 2012 at 6:26 am

    These cookies are great! I live in Fiji and no one here probably does these kinda cookies because we don’t have meringue powder but i found a great substitute by using egg whites and they turned out to be fantastic! They look great and taste great too. I made a batch for my boyfriend who plays rugby, wrote his name on the cookie and his jersey number and he thought it was the cutest cookie he had ever seen. Will be making this alot!

    Reply

  263. culinaryneophyte on February 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    This was INCREDIBLY helpful. I see you’re a Steelers fan, but hopefully you’ll still be happy to hear I used this to make Giants cookies for the big game this weekend. They didn’t come out as pretty as yours, but I think it was a good start. Thanks so much for sharing this great post!

    Reply

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  266. Anna on February 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I have always hated to bake sugar cookies because I can’t find a good recipe and decorating them, forget it! I have looked up so many recipes and instructions on how-to do cutout cookies and icing like in this tutorial but I have never found such a good one like you have here. Its idiot proof! I haven’t tried to make these yet, but I am going to give it a test try and if all is well, then I want to make the heart Vday cookies for my daughters pre-school class. I am terrible at piping lettering,.,any tips?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 6th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Anna, Honestly, like a lot of things, the more you practice it the easier it will become. You want a consistency that is thin enough to easily flow out of the decorating tip, yet still thick enough to not bleed. I use a #1 tip for writing. Sometimes I use my left hand to help steady my right hand while I write.

      Reply

  267. Amanda on February 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Your tutuorial is just AMAZING!!! I am in charge of making cookies for my daughter’s Valentine’s Party and I cannot wait to use this recipe for the icing. Thank you so much for all the information and the wonderful tips! BTW, I just love you site!

    Reply

  268. Stephanie on February 11, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’ve only used royal icing once because it was such a disaster. The first time I tried it it either ran completely off the cookie, or ended up a terrible lumpy mess. I just figured it wasn’t for me. Very excited to try it again using your instructions!

    Reply

  269. Shanny on February 15, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Hi

    Love your blog!!!
    I hope you can help me- In my area we don’t have meringue powder, but we do have egg whites powder and I understand it’s like meringue powder if I’ll add some powdered suger.
    Can you tell me if that is so, and what are the amounts to make the replacement?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 16th, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Shanny, You do add powdered sugar to the meringue powder to form the royal icing. I think the egg whites powder is probably very similar (minus the sugar) to the meringue powder and since you’re adding so much sugar anyway, I think you’ll be okay.

      Reply

  270. Karen on February 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    This is my first time decorating cookies with royal icing, outlining and flooding. I’ve never even heard of “flooding” before so it was all new to me. Thank you for the step-by-step. It was really easy to do and my daughter even helped out! Thank you!!!! 🙂

    Reply

  271. Natalie on February 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    How early can I prepare and decorate my sugar cookies? I will be decorating 80 cookies for my daughter’s 1st birthday and don’t want to be doing it the night before (or morning of the party!) Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 23rd, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Natalie, You could finish them a full day or day and a half ahead. For instance, if the party is on a Saturday, I would say the latest I would decorate them would be Thursday evening. Ideally, I would flood the cookies on Thursday night, let them dry overnight, and then add the details on Friday morning, let them dry, and then if you are packaging them as favors or anything like that you can do that Friday night or Saturday morning, or else just keep them until you’re ready to serve them.

      Reply

  272. Tanvi on February 24, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Is there any substitute you can use besides royal icing?
    I’m not too comfortable using it because of the egg white. You don’t get meringue substitute here. So, suggestions please?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 25th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Tanvi, You can use Google to see what you can find with ingredients that are readily available to you. I know I have seen a recipe floating around that uses corn syrup, you might try that!

      Reply

  273. Zanne on February 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve wanted to do this for decades and never had anyone show me how. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. It’s obvious by all of the comments that you have touched many lives. Just think of all of the recipients of these cookies who will be happy also. Thank you again for spreading knowledge and sunshine!

    Reply

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  276. Judy on March 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you for the step by step. It really helped me see what I was doing incorrectly. Just wish mine looked as good as yours. 🙂

    Reply

  277. NannyB on March 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    This is a great instructional post. I needed a really nice background for some fancy edible pictures to go on shortbread cookies and this is perfect. I really appreciate you for taking the time to do this.

    Reply

  278. Krysten on March 7, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Great tutorial! I’m making about 75 sugar cookies for a bridal shower with royal icing. I need to have the icing harden and then write on top of it, but also have the writing harden. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 7th, 2012 at 9:19 am

      Hi Krysten, That’s exactly what I did in this tutorial. Once the flooding dries, you can go ahead and write on top of it. Writing usually dries and hardens completely within a few hours. Have fun decorating!

      Reply

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  280. Bianca on March 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Hello,
    Sorry I’m a beginner at this, so this may be a stupid question… but after you’re done flooding the cookie and you let it dry, what type of icing do you use to finish the decorating? The thick Royal icing? If this is the case, can I re-thicken the flodding icing to get back to the piping consistancy?

    Just to be clear… you make one batch of icing total? First it’s made thick… then you add color… then you thin the color version… then you make the thin color version think again? Is this correct?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 14th, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Bianca, No such thing as a stupid question! What I typically do is make one batch of icing. If you’re planning to color it, you can do that (dividing it up if you want multiple colors). Then you’ll need to thin it a little bit to get it to a nice piping consistency for the outline and any writing. Once you have finished your outlines, I then take some of that icing (not all) and thin it way down so that it is thin enough to flood. Once the flooded cookies are cooled, you can use the rest of the icing that you didn’t thin for flooding to do any writing or additional decorating. I hope that makes sense!

      Reply

  281. Glenda on March 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I would like to know how you get the black frosting. I have tried and tried and I always need to add a lot of black coloring to the white frosting. Is there something I need to know or should be doing to get it the color I want without having to use so much coloring? Loved your picture tutorial. It was a lot of help. I always wondered how these cookies turned out so perfect.

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 15th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Glenda, I just end up using a ton of the black gel color to get the shade of black that I need. I agree that it can be a pain a lot of times, but so far haven’t found an alternative. Happy Baking!

      Reply

    • Georgia on March 15th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      You could try making chocolate royal icing and then using black gel coloring to turn it black. Add 1/3 cup of cocoa for each cup of powdered/icing sugar. You probably will need to add a touch more of water to get the right consistency.

      Reply

  282. Michele on March 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Excellent demonstration and instructions! Do you ever work with store bought icing? Something you only add water to? Just curious. Thanks for the great tips.

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 31st, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Michele, I haven’t used store-bought icing as a base.

      Reply

  283. Linda on March 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for the great instructions, especially the flooding.

    Reply

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  285. ColleenSylvester on March 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    This blog was SO helpful! My Aunt started designing these beautiful cookies and I asked her, “how did you do that?!” She wasn’t able to get back to me yet, and I decided to look up some things on my own. This was one of the 1st blogs I have seen. Although it looks like I’m a little late to the post, better late than never! Thanks so much for these step by step instructions! They are very clear! I can’t wait to get decorating…

    Reply

  286. Mountainbaby on April 8, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Thank you so much for your excellent step-by-step instructions! I made iced (Easter) cookies for the 1st time this weekend and they went down really well! My flooding didn’t ‘set’ too well, but they looked gorgeous!

    Reply

  287. Linda on April 10, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    For Easter, I iced bunny cookies with white, and let the kids color on them with edible markers. They had a great time!

    Reply

  288. waleska on April 12, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Great tutorial

    Reply

  289. Sally Cash on April 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Do I have to write onthe cookie before the flooding of the icing dries?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Sally, No, in fact you definitely do not want to try to write on them before the flooding dries. If you do, the colors will bleed. Make sure the flooded cookie is completely dry and hard (I usually let them sit overnight) before you write on them or decorate them.

      Reply

  290. Lori Orton on April 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    I’m making cookies for favors for my daughter’s baby shower, normally I decorate my sugar cookies with regular frosting. This time I wanted to do a more detailed decoration so of course I decided to try something new for the first time (3 days before the shower) I started to get nervous and was going to just go back to my standard method…but then I found your website and this how-to. WOW it’s incredible, the instructions are easy to understand and the pictures were perfect! You really did a great job with this and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your how-tos. Thanks to you my cookies turned out perfect, I can’t wait til everyone sees them at the shower!
    Lori Orton
    Beavercreek, OR

    Reply

  291. Heather on May 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I’m sorry if this has already been asked, but I was wondering if this process worked on shortbread cookies? I love the simple step by step instructions, and really want to try it for my daughter’s birthday party, I would just prefer shortbread cookies over sugar cookies.

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 4th, 2012 at 12:02 am

      Hi Heather, Sure, I don’t see why you couldn’t use this same method on shortbread cookies.

      Reply

  292. sarah on May 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    hi, i have one more question ( i wrote before) i wanted to kknow how to make sugar cookies from a cookie shape that will actually keep to its shape. i made airplanes for my sons birthday, but they exxpanded and ended up looking more like a cross than an airplane. any tips? thanks!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 4th, 2012 at 12:04 am

      Hi Sarah, I really like this recipe for sugar cookies, I find that they don’t spread much at all: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/04/22/soft-chewy-sugar-cookies/. Some other tips though – make sure your dough is cold, and if it warms up at all from rolling/cutting, pop the cookie sheet (with the unbaked cookies on it) into the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes before baking.

      Reply

  293. Tenielle S on May 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I just want to thank you for doing this blog entry! I am making cookies for my son’s teacher and this is exactly what I need to help make the cookies! I have made sugar cookies before but they always look like my son did them 🙂 Now I know how to make them look a whole lot better and I greatly appreciate you for that!

    Reply

  294. Evelyn on May 14, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Love your tutorial! I am going to make about 50 decorated sugar cookies for my sons graduation. I am wondering if I can decorate the cookies with royal icing and then freeze them?
    Thank you

    Reply

  295. Angel on May 25, 2012 at 3:07 am

    What is a coupler and how do you use it?

    Reply

  296. dahlia on May 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Super helpful!!! going to be decorating with royal icing for the first time and had no idea what I was supposed to do with it-will let you know how it goes… I just discovered your blog and it looks great!

    Reply

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  298. im crazy about cooking on June 4, 2012 at 10:13 am

    i love icing!!!!!!<3

    Reply

  299. im crazy about cooking on June 4, 2012 at 10:13 am

    i love this recipe

    Reply

  300. im crazy about cooking on June 4, 2012 at 10:14 am

    i love this icing! xxx

    Reply

  301. im crazy about cooking on June 4, 2012 at 10:15 am

    i love icing!

    Reply

  302. Carlie, Liz, Jessica on June 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Ok. When you say to add water to the frosting for when you flood the cookie, do you mix it in by stirring it by hand? Or by using a hand beater? In experimenting… And not knowing what we were doing, we beated it on low and found that our frosting lost color and grew in size. ALOT! It would be helpful if it was specified to hand mix the drops of water in. Then at the end of decorating, you wouldn’t be left with a gallon of fluffy frosting. Thank you. This website was truly helpful though.

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 7th, 2012 at 11:03 am

      Hi there, I apologize for any confusion in the directions; when adding water to flood the cookies, it should be stirred by hand. I will edit the instructions so that part is more clear; thank you for the feedback!

      Reply

  303. Sara on June 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    GOD BLESS YOU! I was ready to cry… or scream… or something! Your guides, step by step directions, and photos are amazing. You are an angel.

    Reply

  304. Jackie on June 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    SO unbelievably helpful! It’s official – you are my new favorite site! Thanks for the tips!

    Reply

  305. Clare on June 12, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Really good instructions, thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  306. Engy on June 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I loved your step by step guidelines !!!! Will decorate some cookies for my son’s graduation party (preschool)! I’m from Egypt btw, that means your tips are universal 🙂

    Reply

  307. Irene on June 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Great tips! Super easy to follow. I had never decorated with royal icing and my cookies came out great! Couldn’t be happier with the instructions!

    Reply

  308. Meg on June 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Thank you so much for this brilliant tutorial. I’ve been using your technique for over a year now and the results are brilliant! Absolutely the best tutorial on the topic ever!

    Reply

  309. Concrete Illinois on July 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I have everything for decorating with royal icing… but I am so afraid of the idea… it seems so intimidating to me for some reason… maybe someday I will venture to the world of royal icing!

    Reply

  310. Angel on July 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I was really surprised at how fast the icing drys and the importance of the squeeze bottles. But overall very easy to do. I’m definitely going to do this again!
    BTW, the recipe for the cookies rocks! Thanks for posting!

    Reply

  311. Natasha on July 10, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Other than the convenience factor, is there any other reason to use disposable bags? The waste of those bags is just too much for the environmentalist in me!

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 24th, 2012 at 11:54 am

      Hi Natasha, For me, it’s much easier to use disposable bags when you are using tons of different colors. Definitely to each his own, though – if you are opposed to them, then you’ll just need to invest in a number of re-usable pastry bags (I’d probably recommend no less than 5 and probably more around 10 if you plan to decorate cookies often with different types of designs.)

      Reply

  312. Connie on July 15, 2012 at 8:11 am

    My Niece is having a wedding shower that is (sorry!) Red Wings themed. She got engaged at a Red Wings game and we are following that for her shower. I’m going to try your cookies this week and see if I can do a job as good as yours. I’ve called lots of bakeries and they want up to five dollars apiece for frosted cookies. Thank you!

    Reply

  313. Diana on July 21, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Thank you for the post! I plan on using this soon!

    Reply

  314. ROSE on July 22, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Thank you so much for your step by step instructions on how to use royal icing. I am planning to do elmo and cookie monster cookies for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. I hope that using your instructions I am able to make some great looking and great tasting cookies. Thank you once again for the steps.

    Reply

  315. sarah on July 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I was wondering how many cookies this recipe is good for. I need to make about 45-50 cookies (they will be about 3″ cookies). How many times should I multiply this recipe?
    Thank you

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 24th, 2012 at 11:56 am

      Hi Sarah, I get around 2 dozen cookies from this recipe, but if I were you, I’d probably triple the recipe to account for cookies that might break, spread too much, etc. You can always eat the throwaways 🙂

      Reply

  316. Amanda on July 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Great tips, I am actually getting some practice in now (before xmas) so I can make my cookies look amazing (hopefully*)!

    Reply

  317. Casey on July 30, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    This might sound really stupid but where did you get the squeeze bottles?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 3rd, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Hi Casey, Not stupid! I bought them at Michael’s 🙂

      Reply

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  320. Kelly on August 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I know you have gotten a ton of comments on this tutorial but wanted to add one more – thanks very much for the incredible detail that you put into this post. Following your instructions to the letter, I successfully made and decorated cookies for the first time and they were a big hit. Just wanted to say “thanks!”

    Reply

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  322. Susan on September 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    What a great how-to! I do find the step-by-step picture helpful. Will definitely try your method.

    Reply

  323. Pam on September 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    This might be a silly question, but when decorating football shaped cookies, is that a brown tinted icing or a chocolate icing? thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 27th, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Hi Pam, The icing for the football cookies is royal icing that I tinted brown.

      Reply

  324. Stephanie on October 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!!
    My daughters birthday is approaching, and I want to have beautifully iced sugar cookies. The local bakers are asking $2 per cookie!!! Now I’m going to be able to make my own!!!! With your guidance I have no doubt that I can do it!!! Thank you again!!!!

    Reply

  325. jessica on October 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    wow wow wow!!!
    that was awesome. Thanx a million
    🙂

    Reply

  326. Tea on October 20, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Great, just what I was looking for!

    Reply

  327. Christina on November 3, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Thank you so much for posting this!! Very helpful!

    Reply

  328. Sherry on November 18, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Let me join the crowd here and say this is exactly what I was looking for! I’ve read through all the comments and I don’t think I’ve seen this question, though: Any tips on wrapping and transporting these cookies? Can they be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stacked? Thank you so much. Wonderful tutorial.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 20th, 2012 at 11:59 am

      Hi Sherry, Yes, once completely dry, you can definitely wrap these individually and stack them for storage. I’m glad you found the tutorial helpful!

      Reply

  329. Pingback: Simply Baking: Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting |

  330. Rin on December 2, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Thanks so much for such a great tutorial, it was very helpful!

    Reply

  331. Blair on December 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Hi, I was wondering about how much royal icing this ends up making. Planning on using it to decorate gingerbread men (also your recipe). Thanks!

    Reply

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  334. Alicia Lavis on December 13, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I really love cookies!

    Reply

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  336. Tracy on December 18, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Can the frosted cookies be frozen?

    Reply

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  341. Lisa on February 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Thanks! Looking forward to trying it and appreciate the quick and efficient directions!

    Reply

  342. Rebecca on March 6, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Why isn’t there a Link to save this to our recipe box?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 6th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      Hi Rebecca, Ahh, probably because it isn’t formatted as an actual recipe. I will work on getting it revised so it can be saved. Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

      Reply

  343. Priti on March 22, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Hi,

    I tried following this recipe and my frosting had a more granulated appearance to it rather than the smooth shiny shine your cookies seem to have. Do you have any thoughts as to why or what I can do to correct the problem? Thanks!

    priti

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 28th, 2013 at 12:26 am

      Hi Priti, Did you use meringue powder, powdered sugar and water? Be sure you’re not using granulated sugar, as that would definitely be gritty. Otherwise, sift the powdered sugar if yours is clumpy, but everything should dissolve together into a smooth icing.

      Reply

      • Priti on March 28th, 2013 at 6:53 pm

        Oh my god, thank you! Yes, I was using granulated sugar by accident! I did it again with the correct sugar and it came out perfect, thank you so much for pointing out my silly mistake!

        Reply

  344. Pingback: Sugar Cookies for Autism Awareness | Mix Bake Eat

  345. cindy on May 15, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I found this after calling around for graduation cap cookies for my sons party and finding $3.50 per cookie is the lowest price. So I. Will be trying this instead. How long do the cookies keep?

    Reply

  346. cindy on May 15, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Oops just saw 1 week awesome. Thanks.

    Reply

  347. Hilda Ezcurra on May 17, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I’m new at baking and trying to make some cookies for my daughter’s baby shower. I can’t not find the “merengue powder” nor ” Just whites” what can I replace this with? Thank you very much.

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 19th, 2013 at 11:51 am

      Hi Hilda, I’m not sure where you are located, but I usually find meringue powder at a craft store like Michael’s (not at the grocery store). If you can’t find it, there really is no substitution for this particular recipe; you may need to try Googling “royal icing recipe without meringue powder” and see what you can make work. Good luck!

      Reply

  348. Lauren on May 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Which sugar cookie recipe do you prefer: the all occasion or the soft and chewy ?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 22nd, 2013 at 12:28 am

      Hi Lauren, I would go with the soft and chewy.

      Reply

  349. Pingback: 27 Blogs Illustrating How to Decorate Cookies for All Occasions | Babysitters

  350. Lemoncake on June 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Brilliant tutorial! It helped my friend and I to bake gorgeous cookies for a baby shower. Thank you – your blog is wonderful 🙂

    Reply

  351. Fabz on June 24, 2013 at 6:32 am

    hi, we dont have meriunge powder available where i live. what can i use to substitute this?
    thanks.

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 24th, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Unfortunately, there isn’t a substitute for meringue powder in this particular recipe. I would search online for a royal icing recipe without meringue powder.

      Reply

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  353. Sascha on September 22, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Hi! First of all this was very helpful. I have always been curious about how to decorate cookies in this method. I am curious about how much icing your recipe yields though? Once all is said and done with adding water of course. Thanks!

    Reply

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  355. Lisa on October 14, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Hi, thanks for sharing! How do I store left over icing? And hw long can it be stored for?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 15th, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Lisa, I keep mine in tupperware containers; I would use it within a few days. It can dry out if exposed to air.

      Reply

  356. jamie on November 23, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    does this work on gingerbread cookies or is this only for sugar cookies?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 24th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Jamie, You could definitely use this on gingerbread cookies!

      Reply

  357. Catherine on November 27, 2013 at 1:23 am

    I always failed miserably at decorating my cookies with icing.
    Thanks so much for this post! Its really going to help a lot next time I attempt at it.

    Reply

  358. Luigi Fulk on November 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I just want to mention I am newbie to blogging and absolutely liked your blog site. Likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You actually have good articles. Kudos for sharing your blog.

    Reply

  359. Vicki Simpson on November 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I loved this. It is explained wonderful and easy! Thank you for your expertise.

    Reply

  360. Marlena on December 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    This tutorial was exremely helpful.
    I cannot thank you enough for posting this. I was able to make beautiful cookies for a bake sale last year and now I am making cute cookies for my dayghters 2nd birthday.
    Thank you again!

    Reply

  361. Holly on December 10, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Your step by step guide was extremly helpful, thank you. I haven’t decorated sugar cookies before and I’m so greatful I found your guide, I have my list ready for the store and I’m looking forward to decorating this weekend. I think will it go much smoother thanks to all of your tips. I’ll be trying out your soft and chewy sugar cookie recipe for my first batch! Your website has my become first stop when preparing to bake. Thank you for all the great recipes. p.s. Your soft pretzels are still my favorite item!

    Reply

  362. kate on December 23, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    This was super helpful! I can’t have dairy so I was trying to find a frosting to frost Christmas cookies that I converted to be dairy free! I never heard of royal icing, but I think I will give it a try!
    Thanks!

    Reply

  363. John on December 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Can I package cookies with royal icing on them. Does the icing hold up well to some handling on store shelves or stick to the packaging , etc???

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 29th, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Hi John, Yes, you can definitely package cookies decorated with royal icing. Once the icing has dried it is rock-hard. You can stack layers with parchment or wax paper between them, wrap in plastic wrap, etc. As long as you let it dry completely, the icing will not stick to packaging.

      Reply

  364. Jenny Melhuish on January 9, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Hi silly question but what is meringue powder not sure if I will find it in Australia is there something else ?? Normally I make royal icing out if icing sugar, egg white and cream if tartar thank you in adavance

    Reply

  365. Candice on January 31, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! I have ALWAYS wanted to know how to make the icing so smooth! Your directions were wonderful and so easy to follow!

    Reply

  366. Janice on February 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    I still do not understand one point. Do I need to thicken the icing after I have flooded the cookies. Is the consistently of the icing used for flooding too thin to use for decorating?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 17th, 2014 at 11:21 pm

      Hi Janice, Yes, you are correct. The icing needs to be thickened after the cookies have been flooded. The consistency used for flooding is too thin for decorating.

      Reply

  367. Alice on February 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I just want to say how much I appreciate this post about decorating cookies with royal icing. I have worked with it before and it has always been messy and somewhat frustrating. You streamlined the process and have wonderful tips! I followed your steps to make valentines cookies for my daughter’s class and they turned out so well! Thank you!

    Reply

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  369. Letitia on March 19, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I am ancient mother of three-year-old twins and just asked Siri why do the cookies I make always look like I’m in first grade? Siri led me to your website. I love the tutorial. . . it has given me hope and I will try your tips forthwith. Many heartfelt thanks.

    Reply

  370. Janice Bihn on March 25, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Thanks so much, I found this very helpful.

    Reply

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  372. Kristine on April 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I don’t understand step 8 can you break it down for me after you decorate the outline ? Please thanks 🙂

    Reply

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  375. Robin on August 6, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I knew you were awesome, but I didn’t realize you were a yinzer! LOVE! 🙂

    Reply

  376. naazi on October 1, 2014 at 12:04 am

    hii,, i liked your post very much but do share how you dry n store them n how it can remain crisp because after drying them my cookies become soft, i want it to be crisp…..i use the recipe without baking powder…..thanks for all the help

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 5th, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Hi Naazi, The icing should not get soft once it has dried completely. Storing the cookies in an airtight container should not cause the icing to soften.

      Reply

  377. naazi on October 7, 2014 at 2:25 am

    hello,, thanks for your reply, sorry but my question is still unanswered, my cookies(base) becomes soft after decorating n drying them how can they remain crisp…plz reply….thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 9th, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Hi Naazi, You may want to experiment with some different cookie recipes. The decorating should have zero affect on the texture of the cookie. If yours are too soft, I would look for a crispier cookie recipe.

      Reply

  378. Lynne on October 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Gosh, not sure anyone would read to the 467th comment, but here goes.
    I have made sugar cookie cut outs with frosting for many years now. I make them at Christmas and Valentine’s Day. I usually just make a powdered sugar glaze, tint it, and use special sprinkles and colored sugar to decorate.
    On Halloween I use a classic sugar cookie recipe, and decorate the circles as pumpkins and other ghouls. This year my kids wanted to do some other shapes for cut outs, so I decided to try the method above to get a cleaner look for the icing and decorations.
    While the finished product definitely looked nicer, they do not taste as good, and the texture is brittle, not soft. I guess we prefer the way that the powdered sugar icing melts into the cookie a little. Also, it’s incredibly time consuming to outline, flood, then wait to dry, and finally decorate. Getting the royal icing to the right consistency is very tedious. I bought the squeeze bottles for flooding, and found that you could use the tip of the bottle to spread the icing, but filling the bottles, etc., was a PITA and wasted so much icing. To see a picture of our finished product, see: https://lynnehartley.shutterfly.com/1880

    Reply

  379. Pingback: Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing | Living Life to a "T"

  380. Theresa on November 4, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Thanks so much for this tutorial, it was so helpful! This was the first time my cookies turned out as planned, and I tried my best to be patient at each step. The pictures were extremely helpful as well. (PS The icing was delicious!)

    Reply

  381. Sunny on December 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    excellent article, esp the part about outlining the cookies first.
    Thank you.

    Reply

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  383. Emily on July 20, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Love your easy to follow instructions. Did you use a cookie cutter for the shirts?

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 21st, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Emily, I did! It came in a set of sports cookie cutters from Wilton.

      Reply

  384. goggly on July 25, 2015 at 6:05 am

    I found some Disney typeface online, published it, made it the
    dimension I needed, and mapped them onto the gold/yellow paper.

    Reply

  385. miz jessie on September 30, 2015 at 9:27 am

    i want to learn to write on cookies.

    Reply

  386. Sara on October 16, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I love this recipe! I’ve been using it for the last 5 years and it never fails. I recently moved and lost my copy of the recipe but thanks to Google and remembering the phrase “brown eyed” I found it in no time 🙂

    Reply

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  388. Sue on January 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I followed it exactly. I have 2 questions. I was disappointed that the royal icing didn’t look shiny after it dried. Also, I was doing candy cane shaped cookies and I tried to do the red & white striping with not much success. I did the two separate colors but they didn’t look good using the outline & flooding technique. Should I have skipped the outline for that or should I have done white over all and then after they dried put the red on top of the white?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 7th, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Sue, I’m not sure that my royal icing consistently dries shiny. As for the stripes, doing all white and then layering the red might work! Check out http://bakeat350.blogspot.com – Bridget has TONS of tutorials for different types of cookies and designs.

      Reply

  389. Charwyn Wyndham on February 4, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Can you substitute real egg whites for powered egg whites and what is ratio?
    Thank-you
    Charwyn

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 5th, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Charwyn, I don’t think that’s possible.

      Reply

  390. Ellen Kerstetter on March 2, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    This was wonderful! Thank you!
    My grand daughter is into volleyball and I wanted to make cookies for in their “take home” bags. Following these instructions – I think I can actually Do It! Again my thanks for you simplicity in dealing with royal icing!

    Reply

  391. Melody McKinney on March 26, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    I immensely enjoyed the step by step instructions. The completed project of the cookie was a little hard. I under-cooked some to get the desired texture. I think I will make this cookie again but would like to add more of the Almond Extract to give it more flavor. I have not frosted/decorated them yet. But will get back to you on that. Maybe it will allow me to place a photo of the finished product. I do your like web page its very GOOD. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  392. Denise on April 1, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    I always thought these cookies were hard but your directions make it logical. Can you freeze the cookies, either before or after they are iced?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 11th, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Hi Denise, Yes, you can freeze them at either point!

      Reply

  393. Tanvi Shah on August 16, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Hi,
    I was wondering if it is possible to use a buttercream frosting to decorate sugar cookies instead of the royal icing?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 17th, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      Hi Tanvi, You can if you just want to slather it on, but you won’t be able to do any intricate decorating with it, as you can with royal icing.

      Reply

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