Royal Icing Recipes With and Without Corn Syrup

The tutorials that follow test two types of Royal Icing against each other. One I call “crispy” and the other, “soft.”

According to a survey conducted by Liesbet Schietecatte in Julia Usher’s Toolbox Talk, crispy Royal Icing is the most commonly used in online tutorials. Its basic ingredients are egg whites (or a meringue substitute) and confectioners’ sugar. The Ingredients tend to vary by instructor and the resulting frosting tastes like hard sugar candy when applied thickly.

Because of crispy Royal Icing’s stiffness, it can be flowed flat onto a cookie surface, or piped into a variety of designs and shapes. To keep the butter cookies fresh and the frosting’s surface shiny, refrigerate in an air-tight, container. The icing can be left out without refrigeration, but its surface dulls.

The soft Royal Icing I use contains meringue powder, plus a small amount of corn syrup. Adding too much water to the recipe results in a consistency that looks like thick toothpaste, so add water sparingly. To determine the best initial consistency, look for stiff peaks that do not fall over when you remove your beater, no matter what measure of water the recipe recommends.

Because this Royal Icing is softer, it cannot be easily used to build sculptural cookies with molded or transferred parts. It does, however, create smooth flooded surfaces, patterns and lines that don’t break. In addition, many people like the taste of its texture over the crispy icing.

Keep its sheen and cookie freshness by storing in an air-tight box in the refrigerator. While you can leave cookies frosted with soft Royal Icing out for long periods (even overnight), the frosting and cookie itself will eventually soften in high humidity.


As Royal Icing recipes and techniques for assembling them can change over time (always getting better), they can be found by clicking HERE or on the icon below.

Next . . .

The articles that follow use these two recipes to find out how they differ from one another and provide “best practice tips” when you set out to duplicate your favorite Royal Icing designs.

Related Links

Article Series

For Royal Icing recipes, CLICK HERE

For  a list of all articles in this series, CLICK HERE

Questions? Comments? Additions? Corrections? Write to Karen Little at


Written for by Karen Little, publisher. All rights reserved, but feel free to re-publish this article after contacting Karen so she knows where to find it.

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