My vegan royal icing is a 2-ingredient healthy icing perfect for sugar cookies and cakes, dries hard and shiny, has no eggs, can easily be colored, and works great as a gingerbread house glue.
My vegan royal icing is only 2 ingredients and perfect for icing cookies as well as cakes. It can be easily colored with commercial food colorings or fruits, and it is a strong frosting binder for custom gingerbread house building or even just mini-graham-cracker type gingerbread house projects.
Try it on my healthy easy gingerbread cookie recipe here. Even if you aren't vegan, you'll love the flavor of this icing - organic powdered sugar is so much tastier.
Ingredients in Vegan Royal Icing
Powdered Sugar. I suggest using organic powdered sugar, even if the recipe doesn't have to be vegan. Organic powdered sugar tastes better, has retained more minute levels of nutrition, but most importantly doesn't have the added cornstarch that conventional powdered sugar has. It is added to the mainstream brands as an anticaking substance, contains GMOs, and brings with it a chalky flavor and dusty texture. There are many organic powdered sugar brands on the market, but here is one of my favorites, Wholesome.
Aquafaba. The brine from a can of unsalted chickpeas. I recommend using a brand with only chickpeas, such as Whole Foods 365 brand or Eden. Stay away from Goya and other brands with sugar or color retention additives.
How to Make Royal Icing
To make it, follow these steps:
1. Sift your organic powdered sugar into a bowl.
2. Spoon room temperature liquid aquafaba into the sugar and mix with a hand-mixer, or full mixer if you have one. Add 3 tablespoon of aquafaba at first and see if that creates the texture you want for pipable frosting.
If you are covering sugar cookies with a layer of white frosting, you'll actually want two batches: One batch that is thicker so add 3 tablespoon of aquafaba, and another batch that is thinner so add 4 tablespoon of aquafaba.
Add the thicker batch to a piping bag and use to pipe a design or outline around your cookie. Keep the thinner batch in a bowl and spoon or "flood" the inside of the cookie design within the border you just created. I will create a video tutorial soon!
Powdered sugar - You need powdered sugar but you can use either organic or non-organic. I have to tell you you'll want to use organic powdered sugar, even if you are not vegan, because it tastes sooo much better than the non organic version.
Aquafaba - I realize not everyone has a can of chickpeas in their cabinet so I'll give you an alternative ingredient: corn syrup.
How to Store
Royal icing sugar does not need to be refrigerated immediately. It keeps at room temperature in a piping bag with a writing tip in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
After that, refrigerate it for a week, or freeze for 3 months.
You'll need to bring the bag back to room temperature and massage for a while to restore consistency.
Tips To Improve The Icing
1. Add baker's glycerin - To increase shine and help keep the icing from yellowing over a few days once on cookies.
2. Add lemon juice to off-set the sweetness of the sugar.
3. Add vanilla to add more flavor to the icing although that can move the color to a tan.
1. This recipe makes about 1 cup of icing, enough to decorate a dozen cookies.
2. Using aquafaba. You'll get about ½ cup of liquid from a can, so refrigerate the leftovers - this will last about 1 week in a jar. Or freeze for several months. This recipe - which makes about 1 cup of icing - only needs 4 tablespoon of aquafaba.
3. Using corn syrup. If you'd prefer to use corn syrup, just reduce the amount. Use only 3 tablespoon of corn syrup, while aquafaba calls for 4 tbsp.
Ways to Use Vegan Royal Icing
1. Decorate sugar cookies
2. Decorate cakes, pies or tarts.
3. Coat cookies with layers of smooth icing, let harden and then paint. To paint ON this icing, let it harden at least a few hours, or even overnight at room temperature. Create a coloring paint by mixing food coloring and water or Vodka. Use food paint brushes to brush painted designs on cookies or use stencils.
4. Use the frosting as a glue to bind walls of a gingerbread house or even just graham crackers.
5. Use the frosting as a glue to stick candy or other decorations to baked goods.
How to Color Vegan Royal Icing
1. For white icing, make this recipe as is and you will have white royal icing.
2. For colored icing, set some white icing in a bowl and add a tiny drop of food coloring, and stir. You won't need much extract to create a color, and remember the frosting color will be darker once dry. All types of food coloring work well in this icing recipe.
How to Use This Frosting to Decorate Cookies
1. To decorate using lines, make a thicker batch using only 3 tablespoon of aquafaba, and load a piping bag. Either insert a tip or snip the end so you can let the frosting out in some way. Then fill the bag with icing. To do this easily, put the piping bag into a tall glass, fold the bag open over the sides, and fill the bag.
2. To fill in your lined design or outline, make a thinner batch using the full 4 tablespoon of aquafaba, and don't fill a piping bag, instead spoon the frosting into the design. If you need your frosting to be thinner to do this, simply add another ½ tablespoon or more of aquafaba.
What Is The Difference Between Royal Icing And Regular Icing and Vegan Royal Icing?
Regular icing such as buttercream is soft and creamy and remains somewhat soft after applying to cakes or cookies.
Royal icing is different because it dries hard and has a crisp shell.
Vegan royal icing also dries hard and has a crisp shell and in addition does not use eggs or any animal products.
What can I use instead of eggs in royal icing?
This recipe uses the brine from canned chickpeas instead of egg whites. The brine is called aquafaba and is an excellent plant-based binder and stablizing agent for baked goods.
Is icing OK for vegans?
Most commercial icings and recipes are not ok for vegans as they can contain milk and eggs. Use a vegan royal icing recipe such as this one.
Can Vegan's Use Meringue Powder?
No because meringue powder contains dried egg whites.
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Vegan Royal Icing
Vegan Royal Icing (white)
To Color Icing
Make Vegan Royal Icing
- Open a room-temperature can of chickpeas, drain off the aquafaba liquid and keep that for the recipe. Measure out 4 tablespoon and set aside. Put the rest in the refrigerator for your next recipe. Also keep the chickpeas for a different use.
- Do you want to add lemon juice to reduce the sweet flavor? Replace 1 teaspoon of the aquafaba.
- Add powdered sugar to a mixing bowl.3 cups organic powdered sugar
- Add in the aquafaba, glycerin and lemon juice if using, and stir with a hand-mixer until all are dissolved and the frosting is creamy and stiff.4 tablespoon aquafaba OR 3 tablespoon corn syrup, 1 teaspoon baker's glycerine
Make Icing to Outline Cookies, Gingerbread Men or Write
- Use only 3 tablespoon of aquafaba to make a thicker frosting.Fill a baker's frosting bag either fitted with a writing tip or snip off the tiny tip. Use this bag to pipe buttons and lines on gingerbread cookies and other baked goods.
Make Icing to Fill in Designs or Outlines
- Use 4 tablespoon of aquafaba to make a thinner frosting.Flood the outlined designs by spooning in the thinner frosting.
How to Color the Icing
- For white icing, make this recipe as is and you will have white royal icing.For colored icing, set some white icing in a bowl and add a tiny drop of food coloring, and stir. You won't need much extract to create a color, and remember the frosting color will be darker once dry. All types of food coloring work well in this icing recipe.gel paste food coloring
To Paint with Food Coloring
- Mix ½ teaspoon gel food coloring with 1 teaspoon water or vodka (vodka is preferable because the alcohol evaporates and doesn't melt the hardened icing you are painting.½ teaspoon gel paste food coloring, 1 teaspoon water or Vodka, food grade paint brushes
Store the frosting
- Put frosting in baker's piping bag or sealed container and keep for 4 days at room temperature. To keep longer, refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for three months. Once chilled, bring it to room temperature to use again. You may have to stir or knead the bag to make it creamy again.
To coat cookies with layers of smooth icing, let harden and then paint. To paint ON this icing, let it harden at least a few hours, or even overnight at room temperature. Create a coloring paint by mixing food coloring and water or Vodka. Use food paint brushes to brush painted designs on cookies or use stencils. Use the frosting as a glue to bind walls of a gingerbread house or even just graham crackers. Use the frosting as a glue to stick candy or other decorations to baked goods.