Can you eat royal icing?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “Can you eat royal icing?”. We will further discuss various ingredients found in it and explore whether it is safe for consumption or not.

Yes, you can eat royal icing. It is safe to consume; however, salmonella infection is the only risk associated with it, which is found in the egg whites used for making this icing. 

Using other ingredients instead of raw eggs can eliminate the risk of infection. Meringue powder or pasteurized eggs can be used to make completely safe royal icing.

What is royal icing?

Royal icing is a type of frosting made from sugar, egg whites, and different flavors. It is used in many ways to decorate cakes and cookies, and it is quite different from buttercream frosting.

Buttercream frosting is creamy and soft but the main difference lies in the texture. Royal icing is candy-like hardened frosting, which is mostly used for decorating or flooding sugar cookies, piping festive holiday decorations on a gingerbread house, or attaching decorations (like flowers or buttercream roses) to the tops of cakes or cupcakes.

Royal icing is usually made using two parts egg white to nine parts sugar by weight, this ratio of ingredients ensures that royal icing remains crisp after drying out. As it is mostly made of sugar, it is no surprise that it is incredibly sweet.

What sugars can I use to make royal icing?

There are a few substitutes for sugars available to make royal icing. Using organic dried sugars will give your royal icing a greater depth of flavor because it contains natural molasses and gives a mellow sweetness of raw cane sugar, instead of the usual sucrose sweetness.

Also, most organic sugar powders are made with tapioca flour rather than cornstarch, which reduces the sense of grittiness in royal icing.

The only disadvantage is the presence of molasses in organic powdered sugar gives the icing a distinct white color, so it might not be the greatest choice for snowy patterns or light colors, but the off-white hue is easily fixed when the frosting is coloured with strong dark colors.

Are there any alternatives of raw egg whites in royal icing?

Various types of processed egg whites can also be used instead of raw egg whites.

The two basic products to use are:

  1. Meringue powder
  2. Pasteurized egg whites

Royal icing with meringue powder

Meringue powder is a dry substitute for egg whites made from pasteurized dried egg whites and used for icings and meringues, and can also be used in place of raw egg whites in pies, cakes, pavlovas.

It contains food starch, egg whites, sugar, gum arabic, calcium sulfate, citric acid, cream of tartar, silicon dioxide and artificial vanilla flavoring.

Meringue powder is just dried egg whites and is ideal for substitution for fresh egg whites in recipes. It is gluten-free and safe from salmonella.

Royal icing with pasteurized egg whites

If you really need that brittle icing on your confectionery items and still want to be on the safe side from salmonella, you can opt for pasteurized eggs, which are partially sterilized and safe from other pathogens commonly found in eggs.

The best methods of making royal icing are discussed here:

How long does royal icing take to dry?

Royal icing takes six to eight hours to thoroughly dry. Allow your cakes and cookies to cool once you’ve applied icing to them. If you’re not cautious, royal icing will start to dry midway and form a thin crust on the surface. Keep your icing covered with a moist towel as you work or a drop or two of water to keep it from solidifying, and regularly stir to keep it from hardening. 

How long does royal icing last?

Royal icing may be refrigerated for up to three days and can be made to last longer when stored in the fridge, but for optimal results, use or consume it within those three days. If you don’t, you can notice an unpleasant texture shift in your icing. Royal icing may be stored in the freezer for up to one month, but it must be completely thawed before use.

How to store royal icing?

The best method to store royal icing is to refrigerate it if you have used raw fresh egg whites. While it can be made using different ingredients and products which don’t include raw eggs, then it can be stored at room temperature. 

Use ceramic or glass containers covered with wax paper or plastic or damp paper towel to cover your icing and then close the container tightly. 

It can also be frozen in resealable bags and can be thawed when ready to use.


In this brief article, we answered the question “Can you eat royal icing?”. We further discussed various ingredients found in it and explored whether it is safe for consumption or not.