5 Kid-Friendly Ways to Use Royal Icing

3 years ago

If you’re anything like me over the holidays, you’re up to your ears buying gifts, attending parties, and just trying to make it through the month. December always feels like a race to the finish line. Who are these people who have time to bake?

I’ve never been a huge baker, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the spirit of the season. But with so little time, my treats need to be easy. Bonus points if I can keep my kids engaged.

Image: Courtesy of Feed Me Dearly

A few years ago I discovered a little trick. It’s called royal icing, and it just might be the busy mom’s best friend.

The best thing about royal icing is that you can make it well in advance. So before you get into the mayhem of the holidays, you can whip up a big batch of this stuff, and have it on hand for the rest of December.

I learned the technique when I took a gingerbread-making class with my daughter at Taste Buds in Chelsea. We decorated houses, and as we wrapped up to leave, I spied a stack of royal icing piping bags, each one tied off with a rubber band.

After asking how long you could keep them like that, premixed, I was surprised to find out that you could actually keep them at room temperature for weeks, if not longer.

Genius. So every holiday season, I now make a batch of royal icing, and keep it on my counter, ready to go for all kinds of simple and last-minute holiday treats.



Clearly not the most novel use for royal icing, but I can’t get through the holidays without making at least one of these. Get creative with your houses–you can buy the kits, or you can even make them at home with gingerbread that you bake and slice yourself. In a pinch, you can also construct a house with graham crackers. Just seal your edges with royal icing, let it harden, and you’re ready to start decorating!


Sugar cookies are another more traditional way to use royal icing. I used to shy away from using it on cookies, thinking that it was too complicated for my kids, but I got over that fear quickly. Now I grab some of my premixed icing, separate it into different bowls, and create different colors for each bowl. You can also decorate sugar cookies just as you would a gingerbread house. Use plenty of candies, big or small. The bigger, chunkier, and more layered, the better!


This is the easiest treat of all time-just pour a pile of animal crackers onto the counter, and dip the head of each animal into some royal icing. Hold it upside down for a few seconds, letting it start to dry into a peak. Then place it to dry fully on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Take clear sanding sugar and sprinkle the hats, and leave to dry completely (at least an hour or overnight). You can make hats for just about anything–gummy bears, gingerbread men, you name it. The kids go nuts for these things (as do adults, who wouldn’t, they’re adorable!).


Line a baking sheet with parchment. Take your pretzels, and one at a time, dip them in some thinned out royal icing and place them on the sheet to dry. When you’re done dipping, shower the pretzels with little sprinkles and let them dry completely.


Although I often frost my cupcakes with buttercream, when I’m in a rush, I always use this prep. Bake a bunch of mini cupcakes, and when they’ve cooled, dip the tops into thinned-out royal icing. Invert and before the icing hardens, place a silver dragee or dust some edible glitter over the top. Simple and beautiful.

For pictures of the above treats, check out the full post at Feed Me Dearly

So let royal icing be the star of the show. Just mix a package when you have a few minutes to spare and let creativity be your guide.

Hope you’re all enjoying a wonderful holiday season, and happy eating.


Jessica Fiorillo

Author, Feed Me Dearly blog


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