Win $500 Cash! The Holiday Desserts recipe contest is on now. LAST CHANCE TO ENTER →

While we love making cookies, it has to be a special occasion if we’re going to go to the effort of frosting them – that’s why we mainly associate cutely decorated cookies with the holidays…and we love that association because it gives us a little boost of seasonal cheer whenever we see some adorable confections.

The key to a great frosted cookie is having the right icing: too thin, and your carefully crafted decorations will droop off the edge of the cookie; too thick, and you won’t be able to get the details you want. This icing rides the line between the two perfectly and it’s easy to adjust the measurements to get it just a little bit thicker or thinner, depending on what you need. Don’t eyeball it, this recipe will make your cookie decorating a breeze!

Classic Royal Icing

Yield: approx. 2 cups


  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat egg whites and vanilla extract on low speed until frothy.
  2. Gradually add sifted sugar and continue to beat until mixture is glossy.
  3. Turn mixer speed up to high and beat until stiff peaks form. 6-8 minutes.
  4. Transfer icing to a piping bag (or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off) and pipe cooled cookies as desired.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes