sugar cookies with royal icing transfer reindeer design

Cookie Decorating with Easy Royal Icing Recipe

This easy Royal Icing recipe with video tutorial will make decorating sugar cookies fun and easy! The full video tutorial shows you how to make the perfect sugar cookies, how to get the right consistency in your royal icing, and shows several techniques to make beautifully decorated sugar cookies!

Sugar cookies decorated with royal icing are so pretty but the whole process can be intimidating. Making sugar cookies that hold their shape, with a flat top, takes just the right recipe. The consistency of the royal icing is key but seems tough to get right. And making gorgeous designs seems like only a skilled artist can even attempt it.

I’ve got you covered!

The BEST Sugar Cookie Recipe for decorating

My sugar cookie recipe below produces a cookie that tastes delicious, is easy to roll & cut, and holds its shape when baked.

The perfect sugar cookie is buttery and short but holds its shape when baked!

To get a great sugar cookie, the dough shouldn’t be mixed or kneaded too much during mixing or rolling. This will keep the cookie ‘short’ and not tough or dense.

The eggs in this sugar cookie recipe help to give structure to the dough as well as a little richness to the flavor. You’ll find that this sugar cookie dough is so easy to work with! It rolls out like a dream and holds it’s shape after being cut.

These sugar cookies should be chilled, especially if you are making them for decorating.

Chilling this dough will help the cookies hold their shape and produce sharp designs. I have often found recipes that claim to be no-chill sugar cookies but, even with those recipes, chilling is the ONLY way to get sharp edges from cutout sugar cookies!

Make this easy sugar cookie recipe ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months! This is especially helpful around the holidays or if you want to have cookie dough available for a quick snack!

You can also freeze the baked cookies, decorated or plain, for up to 3 months, making the holidays and parties easier! Just make sure to dry completely and put parchment paper between the cookies before placing in a freezer container or bag.

Watch the full video with all the tips on making the best sugar cookies!

Making the PERFECT Sugar Cookie

Easy Royal Icing Recipe

Working with Royal Icing is so fun but it can be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be!

The trick to making royal icing easy is learning how to get the perfect consistency!

I normally use pasteurized egg whites in my royal icing recipe. I know this may put some people off but as long as the egg whites are pasteurized, they are absolutely safe to eat. Some people will choose to use fresh eggs and others will use carton egg whites. This is a personal choice and totally up to you but I use and recommend pasteurized carton egg whites.

If you don’t want to use pasteurized egg whites, you can use meringue powder, which is essentially dried egg whites. Here is a recipe for royal icing using meringue powder.

Keep in mind that the amount of water will change depending on how you are using the royal icing. Piping, flooding, etc. all require different consistencies so start off with the smallest amount of water (1 cup) and work up in small amounts.

Royal Icing Recipe with Meringue Powder

  • 900 grams (about 8 cups) powdered sugar (confectioners sugar/icing sugar)
  • 1/3 cup meringue powder
  • 240 mL to 295 mL (1 cup to 1 1/4 cup) water
  • Gel food colorings of your choice (I use THESE)

Directions: Add all ingredients to a stand mixer or a large bowl if using a hand mixer and mix until stiff. Following method below and in the video to color and to change icing consistency for different uses.

The recipe that I use for Royal Icing is below.

Consistency is the MOST IMPORTANT part of working with royal icing. It can be tough to get right but I have some tips for success for you!

Watch my full video tutorial on how to make royal icing and how to get the perfect consistency for several different techniques!

Making the PERFECT Royal Icing

Decorating cookies with royal icing

Using royal icing doesn’t have to be hard! There are tips and techniques that make it easier and more approachable.

There are so many different techniques that I can’t possibly cover them all in one post or one video.

But in this Royal Icing Bake Along for the my favorite facebook group – the Great British Bake Off Fans group – I have gathered a few techniques to start with.

These techniques can be used on any design and the colors can be changed to make the designs your own.

There are some tools that are helpful when decorating sugar cookies with royal icing.

First, you’ll need to make my easy royal icing recipe (found below).

Next, you will want to watch the video on getting the perfect consistency before beginning to decorate cookies.

Consistency is KEY! The wrong consistency will cause your royal icing to be too thick and clumpy or too thin and runny. My video provides all of the info your need to get the right consistency for each method.

Here is a list of Tools needed:
  • Piping bags (I used 8 in the video)
  • Piping tips (optional but helpful)
  • Couplers (optional, but helpful)
  • Gel Colors
  • Spray bottle
  • Toothpicks or scribe tool
  • Small paint brush
  • Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • White sparkling sugar or sprinkles for the snow on tree cookies (optional)
  • Cling film
  • Silicon spatulas (I use one large and one small)
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters or templates (Below are files for download for the cookies in the video – Pumpkin, Plaque shapes, and 1 Square shape)

Download the templates here!

Watch the full video tutorial on how to use this easy royal icing recipe to do several techniques, including wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, royal icing transfers, flooding, and piping techniques.

Decorating with Royal Icing

I hope these videos are helpful and fun for you! Drop questions and comments below or, if you are a member of the GBBO Fan group on Facebook, post comments, questions and photos of your cookies in the dedicated post!

Cookie Decorating with Royal Icing

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time






  • BEST Cutout Sugar Cookies
  • 560 grams (4 ½ cups) all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon baking powder (use less for very flat tops, use a little more if you aren’t worried about flat tops)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 340 grams (3 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Royal Icing
  • 2-pound bag (907 grams) powdered sugar (also called confectioners sugar or icing sugar)

  • 155 grams (5.5 ounces) pasteurized egg whites

  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • A few drops of extract ( vanilla, lemon, almond, etc. – optional)

  • Gel colors


  • To make the Sugar Cookies
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on low speed until incorporated. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and vanilla until well blended.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add to the butter mixture on low speed until combined. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap if not using right away. Chill for 1 hour or up to 3 days. If using right away, rolling the dough out to 3/8″ thickness on parchment paper or silpat and chill for one hour before cutting and chilling again.
  • Preheat your oven to 350ºF/176ºC.
  • Bake for 7 to 11 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Baking time will vary greatly and is based on the size of your cookie. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.
  • To make the Royal Icing
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the powdered sugar and cream of tartar and whisk together to combine. Add the egg whites and corn syrup and optional flavorings and stir gently with a rubber spatula until the powdered sugar is moistened.
  • Put the bowl on the stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, mix on low-medium speed until smooth, thick and bright white in color. This will take between 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Color as desired and thin to the consistency needed for your intended use. Watch the video for precise instructions on consistency.

Recipe Video


  • The number of cookies that this recipe makes will depend on the depth of your dough when rolled out as well as the size and shape of you cookie cutter.


  1. Pingback: DECORATING A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS CAKE – Part 7 – Caroline's Easy Baking Lessons

  2. Pingback: Jam Sandwich Sugar Cookies – Caroline's Easy Baking Lessons

  3. Pingback: TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS CAKE – PART 4 – Covering The Cake – Caroline's Easy Baking Lessons

  4. Cannot wait to try your recipe and tips! I always been afraid of trying decorating sugar cookies but you have help my confidence!!! Christmas sugar cookies here I come!

  5. What a fantastic post, Tanya! I’ve been wanting to try cookie decorating, and now I have the perfect guide to help me master it. Thanks so much for sharing all the techniques and tips.

  6. These are adorable! I am having difficulty finding the Royal icing transfer patterns. Please help. Thank you

    • Shirley – Thanks so much for baking along! I apologize for the delay in getting the templates on this post! I completely missed it! I have uploaded them for you now just under the list of tools. Happy baking!

Leave a Reply