I love making sugar cookies for just about any holiday. I love to decorate them with royal icing so they are shiny and colorful. I don’t like using raw eggs and I don’t always have meringue powder which are both common ingredients in royal icing. I have this recipe that is just perfect without egg whites or meringue powder. So technically this frosting is like a cookie glaze that hardens perfectly so you can stack the cookies. And it’s WAY more delicious than Royal Icing.
Click here for my favorite cookie recipe and a great tip on how to roll out your sugar cookies without any mess or extra flour!!
Royal Icing without Egg Whites or Meringue Powder
1 Cup Confectioners Sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Food coloring of your choice
Add confectioners sugar to a mixing bowl or to your stand mixer and with a wire whisk start mixing on low. Add the milk, corn syrup and almond extract and whip until smooth. Add more corn syrup if the icing is too thick to use, but be sure to not make it too runny or it will run right off the cookies. It needs to be pretty thick to begin with if you are doing an outline around your cookies.
Separate the icing into different bowls for coloring with food coloring. Pour the icing into zip lock bags and cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag. Using the thick frosting, outline your cookies and let the frosting sit about 10 mintues to slightly harden. After lining your cookies with the thicker frosting, add a tiny bit of corn syrup to the frosting to thin it out just a bit, and mix well by kneading the bag, holding the hole shut with one hand. Fill the middle of the cookies with icing and using a toothpick, spread the frosting to fill in all the holes. (see more detailed instructions below with images). Let the cookies sit at room temperature on your kitchen counter until the icing has hardened all the way. Once the icing is hard to the touch, you may stack the cookies to package up or store. Store at room temperature for up to one week.
To learn how I outline and fill the cookies, see step by step pictures next!
First though, learn how I use the ziplock bags for icing watching this video. Obviously this is a buttercream frosting, but you get the picture. Just make sure to cut a very tiny hole in the corner for the royal icing.
- 1 Cup Confectioners Sugar
- 2 teaspoons milk
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Food coloring of your choice
- Ziplock bags
- Add confectioners sugar to a mixing bowl or to your stand mixer and with a wire whisk start mixing on low. Add the milk, corn syrup and almond extract and whip until smooth. Add more corn syrup if the icing is too thick to use, but be sure to not make it too runny or it will run right off the cookies. It needs to be pretty thick to begin with if you are doing an outline around your cookies.
- Separate the icing into different bowls for coloring with food coloring. Pour the icing into zip lock bags and cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag. Using the thick frosting, outline your cookies and let the frosting sit about 10 mintues to slightly harden.
- After lining your cookies with the thicker frosting, add a tiny bit of corn syrup to the frosting to thin it out just a bit, and mix well by kneading the bag, holding the hole shut with one hand. Fill the middle of the cookies with icing and using a toothpick, spread the frosting to fill in all the holes.
- Let the cookies sit at room temperature on your kitchen counter until the icing has hardened all the way.
- Once the icing is hard to the touch, you may stack the cookies to package up or store. Store at room temperature for up to one week.
I hope you have fun making these cookies!
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Is this icing okay to be left at room temperature or does it need to be refrigerated as it has milk in it? Can the milk be substituted for water please? Thanks
I’ve left it at room temperature in a closed container for a few days and it was just fine. I’m sure you can substitute water, I’ve never done it that way. If you try it let me know if it works out. Thanks!
Hi can i substitute the corn syrup with golden syrup if no can u give me a recepie of corn syrup i couldn’t find it here i live in lebanon.thank you
Corn syrup is something you typically buy. It’s essentially glucose. I don’t think you can really make it.
I understand that the original question was posted months ago, however, I actually think that golden syrup would work in creating the icing. I personally have not used it but it seems as thought it would be a good replacement for corn syrup (especially those with an allergy to it) in icing due to the fact it is of a sticky nature, but not sure of how hard it can get. Should probably add to the mixture in small amounts until the correct consistency is achieved.
It would probably change the color and flavor, though, so anyone still reading this thread would want to be aware of that. (It is golden, after all.)
Yes, corn syrup and golden syrup (like Lyle’s) are chemically the same – both invert sugars, that keep sugar crystals from forming. They are interchangeable in equal amounts.
Does this recipe harden well?
Yes! Perfectly. You can stack the cookies to store them.
I made this and the glaze was shiny and hardened well. I left the cookies sit out about 6 hours and then stacked them in a plastic storage container with wax paper between the layers. When I went to serve them the next day, the shine was gone, and the frosting was all “splotchy”. What happened? How do you store and transport these without ruining the pretty glaze?
Sorry about that Gail. I’ve never had it turn splotchy. Maybe it got too humid in the container. Leave them out next time and see if that works. Don’t put them in a container until you have to transport them.
Peggi Tebben says
I never put mine in a plastic container. It will cause moisture to form. I buy the cardboard cake boxes & stand them up in there to store. I’ve never used this recipe before though. I am going to try it. Oh, I also leave them on a cookie rack overnight to dry thoroughly before storing. I also cut out paper towel squares, the size of the cookies & place in between the cookies. I sell them so I do this for reassurance.
I tried this recipe, but it just clumped into little balls. I had to add about a tablespoon more milk to get it to thin out a little.
Yes, that can happen if you are at a different elevation or if you have more or less humidity in the air. Using more or less milk or corn syrup will help with that.
how long is the set time for this some of the other you have to let it set for like 12 hours
I’d say overnight to be stackable, but it get’s hard in a few hours.
What type of cookies are these? Sugar? Shortbread?
Sugar Cookies 🙂
Thanks! They look delish, will be making them this weekend for an end-of-the-year gift for teachers! 🙂
Did u like how the icing came out and did it dry well ? I am making wedding cookies next week for my son and I just want them to be perfect ,I am concerned that the icing will flake off the cookie or stick together . Thanks
Sandy this is my favorite icing to make. It doesn’t flake off for me or stick together. BUT I live in a dry area. You should make it and try it out a few days in advance to make sure it will work for where you live. If it us humid, you might have to make sure you don’t stack the cookies.
I don’t have any almond extract, is there something else I can replace it with?
You can use vanilla, it just won’t have that almond taste that I love so much! 🙂
I have successfully used maple syrup as well, but one must be cautious as it is runnier than corn syrup. Also, the maple flavour is present, and might conflict with some other desired tastes in the cookies. Gelatin is also an option.
Corn syrup is a useful idea for avoiding egg whites (some people are allergic to them — and by extension also to meringue powder; I am often amazed at the people who suggest substituting meringue powder for egg whites, since meringue powder is essentially egg whites).
With that in mind, I would also point out that Almond Extract is a nut product, and if used care should be taken to make sure any nut allergic people are made aware of it. I have all too frequently had people swear up and down that they’ve avoided nuts in something, only to find out — too late — that they’ve used Almond, Walnut or some other nut extract.
Absent the physical nut many people fail to realise that the extract is just as big a problem to those who are nut allergic.
I thought it was made from apricot pits?
Hi this looks fabulous but I was wondering if it is possible to make without corn syrup as I don’t have any on hand?? Thanks!
No, the corn syrup is what gives it’s consistency when it dries. Sorry!
Oh, so honey won’t work? Darn! D:
Is it light corn syrup?does it taste nice
Yes light corn syrup and it tastes really good!
what will happen if i use the ordinary corn syrup? not the light one.. the yellow one is what i have on hand at the moment…
Vahlli, it will work just fine!
Can I use glucose instead of corn syrup? For how long can I keep the cookies when they have already been decorated? It is a shining icing or an opacity icing? does the icing gets to hard with the time? Sorry for so many questions is just that I’m trying to find a good recipe for decorating cookies and yours seems perfect because it has no eggs which tends to make people a little bit nervous about something containing eggs that haven’t been cooked.
I have never used glucose so I’m not sure if it would work. It is shiny and does get hard after a few hours. Thanks!
This question probably has the most obvious answer but I need some clarifying. When you say whisk on low are you referring to the blender on a low setting or heating the mixture on low?
Whisk on low speed 🙂
Does this give the right texture/hardness to make gingerbread houses etc?
Yes it does Tam!
Can you substitute the milk for water? Please let me know if someone has tried. Thanks
This is actually a glaze icing. To me, it tastes A LOT better than royal icing, but it doesn’t hold it’s shape as well. Royal icing is both fluffy and stiff because of the egg product in it. Glaze tends to be kind of oozy, even if you make it really thick.
I’ve also made this glaze without the corn syrup, and it was just not as shiny… And it seems to dry a bit faster. (Or maybe it was just really warm the few times I made it without?)
How did the frosting hold together though?
i have actually tried this, tastes a lot better than royal icing, and it does dry hard, after a few minutes you can already touch it without it sticking or deforming 🙂 this goes into my recipe box ^_^
I tried this icing for Christmas cookies and it worked great! Thanks for the recipe
How many cookies will this batch of icing decorate?
Oh gosh, I didn’t even pay attention. Probably about 25-30.
Have you tried this? Since no one answered, how many cookies were you able to decorate? (Sorry to make a follow up on your question back to you)
Cheryl HIgdon says
I tried this, and as another comment said, it was very dry and did not mix up well. I added at least two teaspoons more each of milk AND corn syrup. Finally, it softened and wasn’t total dry balls of sugar. I live in Oklahoma and the humidity is high right now, and cold. I guess that has something to do with it, but I can’t imagine it making THAT big of a difference!
This is a much easier recipe than the types with the cream of tartar. I did find though that I needed about 3-4 times the amount of milk and corn syrup. Other than that, working with it was a breeze. My grandson and I had a blast making cookies for Santa! Thanks for sharing a more simple recipe!
Hi ! plz can you tell me any exact name for corn syrup or can we replace it with something else syrup Thanks
Karo brand has been making corn syrup since at least the fifties.
can lactose free milk be used? i have a kid who is egg and lactose sensitive. really like this egg-free icing option!
Yes Kacy, I’m sure the lactose free milk will work.
Michele Braid says
How many cookies does this recipe frost?
About 2 dozen.
hi! thanks for the great recipe. i shared it on my site with my cutier star wars cookie cutters. cheers! http://www.juniperinherhair.com/royal-icing-no-egg-whites-or-meringue-powder/
Hi – I’ve had great success with icing sugar and corn syrup and water for a glaze that hardens nicely. Does the milk act as a binder in this?
Would this appropriate for gluing a gingerbread house? I’m deathly allergic to egg whites, but I still want to create some fun for my kids.
Also – please mention that glaze is wonderful for children’s cookies – I have mini seasonal cutters that do animal cracker size cookies – because it’s NOT sticky and messy. I always make cookies for each child’s class at holidays.
They look beautiful – like designer cookies!
After making the cookies can I keep it in the fridge or am I supposed to keep it outside in room temperature???
I always keep mine at room temperature. I’m afraid of condensation building up on the frosting. But if you try it, let me know how it turns out. Thanks!
Can I use different flavors besides almond?
Yes Tawaina, you can use vanilla or any other flavor you would like.
Can you spread this with a knife? Or do you need the piping bags
You can use a knife, just make sure you make the consistency a little more stiff by adding a little bit more powdered sugar.
I just used this to make gingerbread houses with my littles!! It was perfect! I let the sides dry 30 minutes, then added the roof, let it dry 30 minutes, then we decorated!! Thanks so much, I was looking for a nice stiff icing that didn’t contain meringue so I didn’t have to go to the grocery store : ) This is a keeper.
Thanks so much for the review Jamie! I’m so glad that it worked for you. I hope your family has a great Christmas.
Is it possible to freeze the leftover icing, as I made extra? I made this today and it’s fantastic! Thanks for the recipe.
I have never tried freezing the icing and using it again, but I don’t know why it wouldn’t work. Let us know how it turns out!
Joyce Miller says
I work in a day care facility with the 3 year olds. Each holiday I bake special cookies for the students. Each time, up until I found your recipe, I had to do something special for one child who was egg intolerant. No more. Along with your recipe for the Royal Icing and an egg-free sugar cookie recipe, she can enjoy the same cookies as her classmates. Thank you so much.
Yay! I’m so glad Joyce. Thanks for sharing your story.
Jen SZ says
Hi there! I’m really excited to try this recipe, but I can’t seem to find “regular corn syrup ” here in Germany. Maple syrup seems kinda runny, but I’ve also found brown rice syrup and Lyles Golden Syrup …and of course honey. Does anyone have any advice for a sticky substitute? Thank you!! (Danke schön!) 😉
Beverley Thomas says
Golden syrup is the best substitute for light corn syrup and vice versa.
I found this out after trying for years to find golden syrup in any supermarket where I live.
Can I pipe rose for cakes and cookies with this recipe?
You would have to add a lot more powdered sugar to this recipe to make it suitable for roses. I would try it and see if it hardens enough. I’m skeptical though.
Hi !! Do you have to use the almond extract in this formula?
No, vanilla extract works just fine.
Hi! Your recipe looks great! Just wondering how long you can keep them for as I am making a bunch and would like to do them ahead of time? Thanks!
Hi Samantha. I think up to a week. Not too early. And I don’t think they would freeze well.
I’m doing a test batch to see how they freeze, so I’ll let you know how it works out!
Awesome! Let us know. Thanks!
Chris Muller says
How did freezing work.
I hope they will last longer than 1 week. It takes a few evenings to decorate, then package, and mine always ship to my grandchildren, so i need them to last 2 wks mininum. Going to try this recipe, as the meringue powder icing doesn’t taste good at all. I’m shocked at how many people use it.
How do I print this recipe????
Hi Julie, I just added a Yummly printable version on the second page of the post. Thanks for pointing that out.
My daughter has a birthday party on Saturday and I’m having a cookie decorating station. How far in advance can I make this without it going bad?
Kathy – did you find out how far in advance you were able to make the icing? I’m also having a cookie decorating station and am afraid the icing will harden before the kids even have a chance to start.
Tips From a Typical Mom says
If you keep the icing covered it won’t harden. It only hardens when left in the open air. So just keep it in a zip lock bag.
Hello, I know this is an older post, so I’m not even sure if I will get an answer. I’m making sugar cookies and plan to put edible images on them, does this recipe work for that or would you suggest it to be done a little differently?
Harmeet kaur says
How to store the icing if some icing is left? Nd how to use for the next time?
Hi! I am wanting to make your icing but I’m wondering can it be stored in the fridge and if so for how long.
Tips From a Typical Mom says
Hi Tiffany, Yes it can be stored in the fridge. But you need to make sure that it’s covered tightly with no air that can get to it. Then you’ll have to sit it out on the counter to come to room temperature before using it. I wouldn’t keep it in there for longer than 2 weeks.
Shirlee Schuster says
I am new to making (nice) decorative sugar cookies, but like the idea of using what I have in the pantry! ( I live out in the country, lol) I found this recipe very nice to use. I DID have to use much more milk & corn syrup, because I was mixing cement- ha. But since I’m new, I just winged it and wanted more of a flood mix for this batch. Next batch I will make a touch thicker for piping. I plan on using this icing for all my cookies since it tastes so good! Thanks!
I am allergic to corn syrup- has anyone done this with any other sugar?
I stumbled on this yesterday while making a gingerbread house. I went to make royal icing and had no meringue powder, no royal icing mix and I wont use raw eggs.
I decided to give this a whirl and OMG it works!! I pieced together the house before bed and this morning it was hardened and ready to decorate!! Absolutely awesome!! Thanks for posting!!
Could I use almond milk as my granddaughter is severely allergic to dairy and egg. Not an intolerance but a severe allergy.
Tips From a Typical Mom says
Yes, almond milk would work.