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Royal Icing Recipe

User Rating 4 Star Rating (15 Reviews)


Gingerbread house sitting on table
Angela Wyant/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Royal icing is the glue or mortar that holds a gingerbead house together, among other uses. It got its name from being used on fruitcake -- the traditional wedding cake of English royalty -- to keep it moist. I prefer using pasteurized egg whites (now available at grocery stores in cartons) instead of meringue powder because the result is smoother and it has better "stickability." Be careful not to overwhip your royal icing, or it will crack as it dries and your house will collapse.

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See these step-by-step instructions for filling a pastry bag.

Makes enough for 1 decorated Gingerbread House

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 pound sifted confectioners' sugar or more as needed
  • 1/2 cup pasteurized egg whites (3 large egg whites)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine. Scrape down sides. Turn the mixer to high and beat until thick and very white. Mixture will hold a peak. This should take at least 7-10 minutes.

  2. When finished, cover with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the royal icing so a crust doesn't form. Royal icing dries out quickly, so make sure it is covered all the time. Otherwise there will be lumps in the icing and they will never pass through an icing tip.

  3. I prefer white icing, but you may tint it by using a small amount of paste food color. For 1/4 cup tinted icing, dip the tip of a toothpick into desired color, then into the icing, and stir well. Repeat until desired color is achieved. For strong colors, such as red, royal blue and dark purple, use 1/8 teaspoon color to 1/4 cup icing.

    Contrary to the review posted below, this recipe delivers PERFECT royal icing EVERY TIME and I have been making royal icing and gingerbread houses for 20 years. You may not have used enough confectioners' sugar. If it's soupy, add more sugar and keep on whipping.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Perfect Royal Icing, Member mnergord

Just made this and it is perfection - very thick & shiny. I mixed it for about 6 minutes in my Kitchen Aid.

4 out of 4 people found this helpful.

See all 15 reviews

Related Video
How to Make Royal Icing
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