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Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Delicious sugar cookies decorated beautifully with royal icing.
Course: Dessert


Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1.5 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp meringue powder
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 4-6 tbsp warm water
  • Gel food coloring


Cookie Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • In a large bowl, using electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  • On medium speed, beat in egg, vanilla and almond extracts. 
  • Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Gradually beat into butter mixture, about 1/2 to 1 cup at a time. 
  • Divide into two balls. On a floured surface roll a ball to about ⅛  inch thickness.
  • Dip cookie cutters into flour and use to cut out cookies. Re-roll as needed, and once done with first ball of dough, repeat with the second. 
  • Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 6-7 min or until lightly browned (I use a silicone mat on an AirBake sheet).
  • Let cookies cool on pan for 2-3 minutes. Remove and finish cooling on wire cooking rack.

Icing Directions:

  • Stir together powdered sugar and meringue powder. Gradually still in water.
  • Pour in vanilla and stir until smooth.
  • Diving icing into number of bowls corresponding to number of colors you want to use.
  • I recommended adding 1-2 extra tbsp of powdered sugar to one of the bowls to make a thicker icing. This thicker icing is good for piping edges that you can let dry, and then flood the inside with a less viscous icing.
  • Add gel food coloring and mix until desired color is reached. NOTE: Liquid food coloring does NOT dry well, the icing comes out looking marbled.
  • Cover bowls with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 10 minutes to get the air bubbles out.
  • Icing can be applied using a pastry bag or bottles. I prefer Wilton 6oz squeeze bottles. NOTE: The icing can be tough to get into the bottles. Using a funnel with a tip as wide as can fit in the bottle opening is helpful.
  • If you are using more than one color, let the first one dry for 12-24 hours so the colors will not mix.
  • It is helpful to squeeze a thicker icing outline, then flood the center with icing. Working quickly, a spoon works well to spread it out, and a toothpick can help with fine details.


Royal Icing: recipe minimally adapted from http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/cookie-decorating-how-tos/
The sugar cookies freeze well, but the royal icing does not look the same after it has been frozen. It still tastes great though!