Vegan Royal Icing is super easy and can be made into any consistency for decorating all sorts of cookies and cakes and other sweet desserts. This is the only Vegan Royal Icing Recipe you’ll ever need. It works for and can be adapted to any application.
What is Royal Icing?
Royal icing is a smooth icing used as decoration on cookies and cakes. Traditionally, it’s made from powdered sugar, egg whites, and water. It dries to a hard finish, is versatile, and can be used for many effects.
How to Make Royal Icing Vegan?
The main difference between vegan royal icing and traditional royal icing is the vegan version uses aquafaba (garbanzo bean water) rather than egg whites. Vegan royal icing is just as amazing as the traditional and can be used the same in every way.
Why is Most Royal Icing Not Vegan?
Traditional royal icing uses egg whites to get the right consistency. Because of the egg whites, most royal icing is not suitable for vegans. No worries, though. This vegan royal icing is just as good, perhaps even better than the one using egg whites.
What Ingredients are in Vegan Royal Icing?
Vegan royal icing contains powdered sugar, aquafaba (chickpea bean water), vanilla, and a touch of corn syrup. This recipe doesn’t use added water to the base since the aquafaba provides plenty. Water is added later to form the different consistencies.
It’s important to sift the powdered sugar to keep the icing as smooth and lump-free as possible!
What is Used in Vegan Royal Icing to Replace Egg Whites?
Aquafaba replaces egg whites in a vegan version of royal icing.
What is Aquafaba?
Aquafaba is the liquid in canned garbanzo beans. Garbanzo beans are also known as chickpeas. The bean water can be used as a vegan meringue. It’s a thickener, a lightener, and can provide structure to vegan versions of dishes that may have traditionally used egg whites.
What are the Three Types (or Consistencies) of Royal Icing?
There are three main types, or consistencies, of Royal Icing. The application will determine which consistency to use. Sometimes, one consistency can be used for multiple jobs. Royal icing can be used to pipe decorations on cakes, decorate cookies, and glue gingerbread houses together. The consistency of the royal icing, how thick it is, and how easily and quickly it flows, are vitally important. If the royal icing is too thick it will be difficult to pipe. If it’s too thin, your decoration will droop, make craters, or not dry.
This basic royal icing recipe below is quite a stiff consistency and will be thinned to one degree or another, depending on what you want to use it for. This basic recipe can be easily thinned to create piping consistency and flood consistency.
Stiff Consistency Royal Icing
Stiff royal icing is used where the icing really needs to stand up. It’s thick and sturdy enough to use to pipe roses on cakes so the petals will stand up. It’s also used as the glue for gingerbread houses where sturdiness and a strong bond are needed. It also will dry faster than the thinner versions as it has less liquid.
Stiff consistency is how the icing is when first made without any additional water being added. It will be kind of like cream cheese or really stiff marshmallow fluff.
If you pull up a peak or drizzle some stiff consistency icing, it will keep its shape for some time. If you decide you need a thicker or stiffer icing than what you’ve ended up with, simply add a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar at a time and mix in until you have the exact right icing that you want.
Piping Consistency Royal Icing
Sometimes, a slightly thinner consistency of royal icing is needed. This is piping consistency and is a medium royal icing consistency and is useful for piping smaller rosettes and other decorations where the stiffer icing may cause the piping tip to clog. Add 1/8 teaspoon of water to every half cup of stiff consistency icing. If your icing is still too thick, simply add 1/8 teaspoon of water until it’s right for your job. Add the additional water in small amounts to avoid adding too much!
To test the consistency, use a piping bag and a small round tip to pipe a line of icing onto a piece of parchment paper. The line should be smooth and hold its shape without spreading or sagging. If the icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar until you achieve the desired consistency. If it is too thick, you can add a small amount of water or liquid to thin it out.
Flood Consistency Royal Icing
Flood consistency icing is even thinner than both stiff and piping icing and is often known as cookie icing. It goes on smooth and dries to a hard finish. It’s used for numerous decorating effects. Begin by adding 1/2 teaspoon of water for every 1/2 cup of stiff icing.
Flood consistency can be thicker, medium, or thin as well, depending on what you’re using it for. The thinner (and therefore wetter) an icing is, the longer it will take to dry. For some techniques, like working wet into wet, a thinner icing will be best. When a shorter drying time is desired, thicker icing will provide that.
Keep in mind that thinner icing is going to spread more. That can mean if you get too close to the edge of a cookie the icing will just spread until it runs over the edge.
Coloring Vegan Royal Icing
Add color to the icing with gel, paste, powdered, or liquid food color. Just keep n mind the liquid coloring will thin the icing slightly and so you won’t add quite as much water.
Keep Royal Icing from Drying Out
It’s important to note that piping consistency royal icing can dry out quickly, so it’s best to keep it covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap while you are working with it. If the icing becomes too stiff or dry, you can add a small amount of water or liquid to thin it out again.
How to Get Shiny Royal Icing Results
The best way to get a shiny royal icing result is to not add too much water and to let it dry fairly fast. As well, craters can be prevented or lessened in large flooded areas by adding some squiggles of icing to the large areas before outlining and flooding. Those squiggles will set just a little while you’re outlining and support the flooded icing with less chance of collapsing.
Can I Dry Royal Icing in the Oven?
You can’t bake royal icing but you can speed up the drying process by placing decorated items in a warm oven that’s been heated to 170 degrees F and then turned off. Place your iced cookies in the warmed oven and leave the oven door slightly ajar. Placing iced cookies in front of a gentle fan will also speed up the process.
How Long until Iced Cookies are Dry?
How long it takes to let iced cookies dry completely will depend on the thickness and consistency of the icing and the humidity of the environment. A flooded cookie will take at least a few hours to be dry enough to add more decoration. Letting cookies dry overnight before adding more icing will ensure they’re not going to smudge.
Basic Royal Icing
- 4 cups powdered sugar. sifted
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons aquafaba
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (clear vanilla extract if available)
- 1 tablespoon white food coloring (optional)
- flavor extracts (orange, lemon, etc., optional)
- water as needed
- Sift the sugar into a large mixing bowl using a metal sieve or sifter.
- Mix together the basic ingredients using a stand or hand mixer. It will get thick and fluffy and have the consistency of stiff marshmallow fluff.
- This mixture is what all the other consistencies of royal icing will be made from.
- Thin the icing gradually, according to what you need it for. Add a half teaspoon of water at a time until you get just the right consistency.
- Store the basic royal icing in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to a few days. When ready to use, scoop out the desired amount and thin it to the consistency you'd like for your project. The amounts of liquid to add are listed above in the ingredients. Add more or less water as needed.
- Add color to the icing with gel, paste, powdered, or liquid food color. Just keep n mind the liquid coloring will thin the icing slightly and so you won't add quite as much water.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 72mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 0gSugar: 60gProtein: 0g
Hello! I’m Lisa, a vegan artist, photographer, author, Vegan Life Coach Educator, and RYT 200 yoga teacher. I love showing others how simple and delicious a plant-based diet can be. I draw and paint, cook, write, take lots of pics, eat lots of chocolate, and practice gratitude daily.