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Ridiculously Easy Royal Icing Recipe For Sugar Cookies

This easy royal icing recipe for sugar cookies is SO ridiculously simple to make! No egg whites, no meringue powder, just four simple ingredients whipped up with a hand or stand mixer. So you can get down to decorating cookies with your kids with less mess and fuss…

Easy Royal Icing Recipe

This recipe was created in partnership with Tum-E Yummies — a fun, fruity drink option made with kids in mind. Thanks for supporting me and the brands I love!

Easy Royal Icing Recipe

Iced sugar cookies — yay or nay?!? If I’m being completely honest, I’d have to say I’ve never been a huge fan. I feel like such a Grinch saying that, but I prefer my sugar cookies not-too-sweet, soft, and fluffy, like these old-fashioned sugar cookies I shared years ago.

On the other hand, I LOVE decorating sugar cookies. As do my kids — they adore gathering around the table to decorate cookies as a family during the holidays! We make it into a party with fun color-coordinated drinks and other snacks to nibble while decorating.

But let me clarify — we’re not talking the ultra detailed, royal icing piped cookies you’re probably seeing all over Pinterest right now. Those are totally amazing and beautiful, and I could literally spend all day watching videos of talented bakers decorating them. However, this mama does NOT have the time or patience for that, nor do my kids…


Royal Icing Without Meringue Powder Without Eggs

Royal Icing For Sugar Cookies

We keep our cookie decorating FAR less ornate, with just a few simple strokes of icing and sprinkles to highlight the shape of the cookies. We DO use royal icing — but it’s a bit of an unorthodox recipe. It doesn’t use egg whites (no stressing over what to do with all those leftover egg yolks), and it doesn’t use meringue powder (I really hate one trick pony ingredients).

Instead, it uses corn syrup to give it a crusty finish that has the most gorgeous glossy sheen. I bet you have some in your pantry right now, yes? Try it — you may just ditch your classic royal icing recipe for good. Seriously, this icing is SO ridiculously easy to make when you eliminate the eggs whites and/or meringue!

Easy Royal Icing Recipe Tips

Easy Royal Icing Tips

While I’m far from a royal icing expert, I do have a few tips to share that will help you get the best results from this easy royal icing recipe:

1| The icing will be very thick to start, like surprisingly thick. This is OKAY! It’s easier to thin it down than it is to thicken it back up. Just add water, a tiny bit at a time, to thin it down. A simple spray bottle of water works wonders for this task. If you thin it too much, add more confectioners sugar as necessary.

2| Not sure what the consistency should be for piping? An easy way to check is to simply use a spoon to scoop up some of the icing and drizzle it back into the bowl. If ten seconds have passed and you can still see where you drizzled it, it’s too thick. On the other hand, if it combines before ten seconds have passed, it’s too thin.

3| Royal icing sets up very quickly. Keep the bowl covered with a piece of plastic wrap pressed down directly on top of the icing in between uses. This also means that if you’re using sprinkles with your royal icing, you should apply them immediately after piping or the icing will set up, and they’ll just bounce off.

4| For novice cookies decorators (like me!), skip the fancy piping bags and tips. I achieved these gorgeous snowflake cookies with just a standard ziploc bag. I spooned the icing into the bag, zipped it up, and then snipped a small piece off the corner to pipe.

Ziploc bags can be a bit difficult for younger kids to manipulate, though, so I have another fun hack to share for them…

Easy Royal Icing Recipe Hack For Kids

Easy Royal Icing Hack For Kids

Piping royal icing onto sugar cookies with plastic ziploc bags works great for adults and older kids. But I noticed my younger kids getting frustrated with this hack. The ziploc bags were hard for them to control, and the icing ended up flowing too quickly.

As I looked through the cabinets trying to find a solution, I noticed the Tum-E Yummies drink bottles they were sipping from while decorating. Might they work?

I grabbed a few empty squeeze bottles, washed them out, and used the plastic bags to squeeze the icing into the mouth of the bottle. Then I replaced the squeeze top, and voilà — an instant DIY cookie-decorating tool for kids! The tip makes it much easier for them to control placement of the icing, and when they need a short break, they can just close the top and return to it when they’re recharged.

P.S. Placing sugar cookies on a quarter-sheet cookie tray while decorating will corral those sprinkles from running all over your kitchen! Just another #momhack I’ve learned over the years…

Royal Icing For Sugar Cookies

How To Make Royal Icing

Soooooo, have I mentioned how EASY this royal icing recipe is, yet? Just kidding — but I really just can’t get over it.

Simply whip together confectioners sugar, a little milk, some corn syrup, plus a touch of pure vanilla extract, and then thin it out with a touch of water to the perfect consistency. THAT’S IT! Can’t wait to hear what you think…


Easy Royal Icing Without Meringue Powder Without Eggs

Ridiculously Easy Royal Icing Recipe For Sugar Cookies

Yield: 2 cups of icing
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This easy royal icing recipe for sugar cookies is SO ridiculously simple to make! No egg whites, no meringue powder, just four simple ingredients whipped up with a hand or stand mixer.



  1. Add confectioners sugar to a mixing bowl or to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment.
  2. Start mixing on low, and slowly add the milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Continue to whip on medium until smooth.
  3. If the royal icing is too thick, thin it out by misting it with a spray bottle of water, one spritz at a time, until it reaches the proper consistency. If it's too thin, add additional confectioners sugar a teaspoonful at a time, until it reaches the proper consistency.


 If you want to color to your royal icing, I recommend using gel food coloring.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 96 Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 11Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 0.7mgCarbohydrates: 2.8gFiber: 0gSugar: 2.8gProtein: 0g

How much did you LOVE this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unsophisticook!

I’d love to see how you’ve used this easy royal icing recipe on your favorite sugar cookies… Tag me @Unsophisticook on Instagram or use the hashtag #Unsophisticook so I can check it out. Enjoy!

P.S. Looking for a lighter and fluffier frosting for your cakes and/or cookies? Check out this ah-mazing whipped buttercream frosting recipe!

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Wednesday 28th of October 2020

Can you use Agave instead of Corn Syrup?

Tara Kuczykowski

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

Hi Thania! I haven't tried it myself, but I did a little research and it seems like it would be a good substitute. I would recommend using a light agave, if you try it. I'd love to hear how it turns out!


Tuesday 29th of September 2020

Can I use Lemon extract instead of vanilla extract?

Tara Kuczykowski

Wednesday 30th of September 2020

Absolutely! If you prefer lemon flavor, go for it. I love to add lemon extract when I'm using this frosting for sugar cookies. I'd recommend starting with half the amount, and then tasting it and adding more as desired.


Saturday 13th of June 2020

Hello! I am interested in making this recipe in a small batch. Does anyone know about how much icing in cups this recipe makes? Thanks (:

Tara Kuczykowski

Saturday 13th of June 2020

Hi Kate! The recipe as written makes about 2 cups of icing.


Monday 23rd of December 2019

Hi! I can’t wait to try this recipe. It was recommended by my cousin. I don’t have gel food coloring but will it be okay to use regular food coloring? Will it change the consistency?

Tara Kuczykowski

Monday 23rd of December 2019

Hi Raeanne -- so glad your cousin directed you here! I definitely recommend the gel food coloring; however, liquid food coloring can be used. Just be aware that you will need to use quite a bit more if you're looking for vibrant colors, and yes, it will change the consistency somewhat, so you'll need to fiddle with adding more confectioners sugar to make up for the additional liquid.


Wednesday 18th of December 2019

Hi!! I'm planning to try this icing recipe soon, but I wanna ask, can I substitute the corn syrup with honey?

Tara Kuczykowski

Wednesday 18th of December 2019

Hi Lourdes! I've never tried it, but I'm leaning toward no. The corn syrup isn't necessarily for sweetening -- it's what gives the icing the proper texture and helps it crust over. I don't think honey would hold up the same.