Royal Icing Made With Egg Whites and With Corn Syrup

In my previous article, Comparing Royal Icing Recipes, With and Without Corn Syrup, I noted that the corn syrup-based Royal Icing (which I call “soft”) was far more pliable than a standard recipe (which I called “crisp”).

In my current experiment, I compare Royal Icing made with corn syrup to one made with fresh egg whites, but I’ve changed the recipe for the soft frosting to make it much stiffer.

The original soft recipe (see Royal Icing Recipes With and Without Corn Syrup) called for 5 ounces of water (10 tablespoons). I now have reduced the water to 8 tablespoons, which resulted in a very dry, thick mixture. To use, I reconstituted the moisture prior to filling my pastry bags.

Recommendation: The initial corn syrup-based recipe contained too much water. I found that it is more efficient to moisturize a dryer version of this recipe, than to dry a wetter version by adding a lot more powdered sugar.

Royal Icing Using Egg Whites

I was surprised at how different royal icing made with real egg whites looked, tasted, and behaved from the standard (crisp) icing  that relies on meringue powder and icing that has corn syrup added to the meringue powder. It resulted in a mixture closer to what one would use on a lemon meringue pie and I found it easier to mix than the other two Royal Icing versions.

All that is required for the egg white version is to whip the egg whites into a very stiff foam (like you would for meringue pie), then spoon in powdered sugar.

This is what my beater blade looked like after mixing in half the powdered sugar:

And here is what the beater looked after all the sugar was added.

The photo below shows the difference in appearance between the frosting made with real egg whites and the corn syrup version. Had the corn syrup version contained more water, you would have seen fewer dents.

Using Raw Egg Whites – a discussion

Julia Usher in her article, Royal Icing with Consistency Adjustments, recommends pasteurized whites instead of raw egg whites to protect against the possibility of salmonella. It is unlikely that salmonella will affect your Royal Icing with raw egg whites, but it could happen. Using the safest product is the best practice, of course.

Using a Corn Syrup-based Recipe

My biggest mistake when learning how to use Royal Icing was following a corn syrup-based recipe that had too much water added to it. I’ve since reduced the water in the basic recipe.

Article Series

For Royal Icing recipes, CLICK HERE

For a list of all articles in this series in the order written, 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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