Martha's Favorite Royal Icing

Photo: Sang An
Prep Time:
12 mins
Total Time:
12 mins
2 cups

Royal icing is best for decorating cookies, since it dries to a plaster-hard finish. This recipe yields enough to cover about 100 three- to four-inch cookies. To ice all those in this story, you will need to make two batches of icing; increasing the recipe by half won't work well.


  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more if needed

  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder

  • Scant 1/2 cup water, plus more if needed


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and beat with a mixer on low speed until smooth and opaque white, about 7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing has the consistency of glue; if too thin, beat icing 2 to 3 minutes more, or add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.

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