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.


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


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!


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


♦     ♦     ♦

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?

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Brown Eyed Baker RSS feed to ensure you don’t miss any upcoming posts!

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

  1. 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!!!!


  2. 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.


    • 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.


      • 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


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  4. 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!:)


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

    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?!?!?


    • 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.


  7. 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!


  8. 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!


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  10. 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!!!! ; )


  11. 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


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

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


  14. 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.


    • 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.


  15. 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.


    • 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.


      • 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.


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  17. 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.


  18. 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.


    • 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.


      • 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!


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  20. 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.


  21. 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!


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  23. 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?)


    • 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.


  24. 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?


    • 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!


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  26. 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.


    • 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.


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  30. 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.


    • 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.


  31. 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!


  32. 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 ^_^


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

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


  34. 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!


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

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


    • 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.


      • 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.


        • 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!


  36. 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!


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  38. 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!


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  40. 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.


    • 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.


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  42. 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.


  43. 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!!


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  45. 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.


  46. 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.


  47. 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.


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  50. 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. ;)


  51. 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!!


    • 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 =)


  52. 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!


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

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


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  56. 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.


  57. 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!


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  60. 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.


  61. 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!!


  62. 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!


  63. 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!


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  66. 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?


    • 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.


  67. 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!


  68. 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!


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


    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?


    • 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.


  70. 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!!!! :)


  71. 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!


    • 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.


  72. 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?


    • 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!


  73. 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!


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  76. 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. :)


  77. 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.


  78. 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?


    • 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!


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

    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?


    • 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!


  81. 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.


    • 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!


    • 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.


  82. 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.


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

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


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

    Thanks for the great instructions, especially the flooding.


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  85. 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…


  86. 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!


  87. 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!


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

    Great tutorial


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

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


    • 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.


  90. 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


  91. 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.


    • 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.


  92. 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!!


    • 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: 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.


  93. 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!


  94. 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


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

    What is a coupler and how do you use it?


  96. 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!


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

    i love icing!!!!!!<3


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

    i love this recipe


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

    i love this icing! xxx


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