The superior sugar cookie icing recipe

Yes, this sugar cookie icing recipe indeed is an exceptional royal icing, hands down.

These are some of its enticing attributes:

  • Delicious
  • Soft-crusted bite
  • Less fading of colors
  • Easily change up flavors
  • Stays puffy on top of the cookie
  • Enhances food color gels

Here are some results of this recipe… 

Stars and swirls made with this icing recipeStars and swirls

***How do you make your sugar cookie icing shine? Two things: 1. add corn syrup (amount below) 2. Use a dehydrator on the flooded cookie for 15 minutes or a fan on low overnight.***


I've been asked which food dehydrator I use. I searched, read reviews, and watched YouTube videos on which one was the best. I finally took the plunge. I ended up buying the Vivo Home food dehydrator. I opted to go ahead and get the 10-rack model. The way my cookie business had boomed, I NEEDED it! 

My two cents worth: if you are planning to have an active sugar cookie business, you will want to get the 10-rack one. This will allow you to grow into it instead of needing another one down the road and spending a lot more money.

The main pros to the Vivo Home:

-fan in the back, not the top or bottom (makes it more efficient)

-digital temperature settings

-digital time setting

-alarm when it's done

-spacious (10-rack)

-stainless steel (quality)

-fairly quiet


-racks are rectangular in shape instead of square. It's so close that when placing the racks in, you have to turn the rack sometimes to slide them in.

I also use Teflon baking sheets over the stainless steel racks, that's the brown you see in my photos here. This assures the cookies' bottoms do not get dry.

I place the cookies with their first coat or color in for 15 minutes on the lowest heat. They are then ready for the next color.

Did I say it speeeeeeds up time like a squirrel running from a cat?

Here is the Vivo Home food dehydrator I purchased. I will be doing a professional review on it as soon as I can for you.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means no cost to you but I may receive a small commission when you click on this image link and make a purchase. 

Be sure and catch the Q & A section at the bottom.

If you would like to skip this part, I made a video for you, just keep scrolling!

***Oh, those poetic words from Pepper Blair:

Icing on the Cake

The setting sun
Is icing on
The cake of day.
From dusk to dawn...

Is a time for dreams.
Sunrise is a time to start
Making dreams come true.
     -Pepper Blair

Flavor options galore!

The beauty of this royal icing is how easily the flavors can be changed.

Think outside the box with this sugar cookie icing recipe. How about…

  • strawberry sugar cookies with lemon royal icing
  • cherry sugar cookies with coconut or orange flavor icing
  • lemon cookies with lime icing
  • lime cookies with raspberry royal icing

Endless possibilities! For more inspiration, you may want to bookmark The Baker’s Almanac. They have an exhaustive list of flavors you can pair. 

The point is, that this basic sugar cookie icing recipe is so versatile you can have fun and change up with different flavors or take it as is.



If you are planning on beginning a cookie business, fewer options for the customer are better for you.

Also, the more options there are for customers, the harder it is for them to make a choice.

The busier you are, you will want to freeze cookies ahead of time, whether dough or baked cookies. If you do not have freezer space, then making a ton of different flavors probably is not an option for you.

Instead, what I do is if a customer asks for certain flavors, then I will make what they ask for.


Sugar cookie icing recipe…the ingredients

Download and/or print your free Superior Sugar Cookie Icing recipe. You won't regret it! I have included the number of ingredients for a single batch as well.

Click on the image.

Click this link if you would like a good glaze for cookies instead of royal icing.

This is my favorite scribe I make hundreds of sugar cookies a month with. I would be lost without it. See it in my new shop here: Stainless Steel Scribe

Stainless steel scribe to help the cookie artist with decorating.

I make a double batch of royal icing each time.

1-2 ounces of icing (varies on how much icing you prefer) is on average what we flood about a 3” cookie with.

The double batch floods about 5 ½ to 6 DZ cookies (66-72)

Here are the ingredients…

  • 1 1/8 c cold water
  • 8 tbsp. meringue powder
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 4 lbs (2-2 lb bags) quality confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp. corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp. clear vanilla extract (any flavor)
  • 30 drops of white food gel coloring (about 5 drops per cup of icing)

After you make this sugar cookie icing recipe, you will need this free 2-page download on Royal Icing Tips. It will lead you through all kinds of troubleshooting to prevent color bleed and more.

Sugar Cookie Icing…the Making 

Picture quote by Pepper Blair. Have patience. Practice makes perfect. Found at"Have patience, little rosebud. Your bloom has just begun."-Pepper Blair

As with any good recipe, the steps are important.

1. Give yourself the advantage of having the best sugar cookie recipe.

2. Know the best baking sheets to use (this might surprise you)

3. Know the process of how to bake sugar cookies (trust me, it'll make it easier and it's NOT the way you were taught growing up)

4. Know beforehand how to flood these beauties.

Follow along with these still shots

Royal icing hates grease!

To be on the safe side, do a quick wipe down of your bowl, whip, spatula, measuring spoons, or anything coming into contact with the ingredients.

Step 1. Wipe out bowl with vinegarWipe out bowl with vinegar
Step 2. Wipe down all utensils with vinegarWipe down all utensils with vinegar

Here we go!

3. Add the water to bowl1. Add 1 1/8 c cold water to mixing bowl
4. Add meringue powder to water2. Add 3/4 c meringue powder to water
Step 6. This is how the meringue powder should look after whiskingWhisk until frothy. There may be some powder not fully incorporated, but it's ok.
Step 7. Add in cream of tartar4. Add in 2 tsp cream of tartar
8. Add in confectioner's sugar over cream of tartar5. Add in confectioner's sugar over the cream of tartar
9. On lowest speed whisk together ingredients6. Turn the mixer on lowest speed. Scrape down sides once. Whisk again on low for 30 seconds
10. Add extract and corn syrup7. Add 2 tbsp extract and 2 tbsp corn syrup
Royal icing in stainless steel bowlYou should be able to see the peaks and streaks of the whip that do not meld into the rest.
The image shows that the royal icing should be quite thick.Finished icing should be quite thick
This image shows peaks of the finished royal icing.Finished icing should be quite thick

Common questions

1. Q: Will this recipe hold up to piping stiff things like roses?

     A: Yes! Here are a few examples:

Stiff royal icing with this recipeRoses made with this recipe
Ruffles made with this stiff icingThick consistency ruffles

2. Q: Can I freeze royal icing?

    A: Absolutely. It can be beneficial for you in more than one way. 

  • it won't separate in the freezer
  • your prep work is done for next time
  • stays good for months

    Just make sure you keep it air-tight. 

When you remove it from the freezer, if it's stored in a bowl with a lid, it should only take about 30 minutes (for 2 cups) to thaw. If it's stored in a piping bag, it'll thaw in about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is.

I store mine in those glass bowls with plastic lids sold at Dollar Tree. Very handy!

3. Q: Why do I get so many bubbles when piping/flooding?

    A: As you already guessed, it is trapped air. When making sugar cookie icing, it is a must to place your mixer at the lowest speed possible. Every mixer is different but shoot for about 5 minutes total mixing time.

Another reason is adding too much water at one time when mixing colors. Go for a couple of drops at a time or try a spray bottle designated for this purpose.

A good remedy is to mix your colors and let them set ideally for 24 hours or overnight. This allows the bubbles to rise to the top.

4. Q: My icing is way too thin. Should I throw it out?

    A: Not at all! Simply sift in more confectioners/powdered sugar to reach your ideal consistency.

5. Q: I have a few different colors left over. How can I use it instead of tossing it?

    A: Here's a nifty idea. Mix all the colors with the confectioner's sugar to make it very stiff, like a thick putty. You can make 'rocks' out of this or even figures. Roll it into a ball and pinch a little off. Form it by squeezing it between your fingers in odd shapes.

Now that you have the best sugar cookie recipe and the perfect sugar cookie icing recipe, it's finally time to get started.

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