My vegan royal icing is a 2-ingredient healthy icing perfect for sugar cookies and cakes. It dries hard and shiny, is egg-free, 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.
Why You'll Love It
Only 2 ingredients. It's easy to mix up these two ingredients, both are egg-free and they make a delicious royal icing that dries hard. The best part is the ingredients are likely in your kitchen right now.
Tastes unusually delicious. A few tricks can turn this royal frosting into a delicious addition to your cookies and cakes, so much so that people will be asking you for the recipe.
Versatile recipe. This royal icing can be used on many things, including to ice round cookies, cut-out cookies, top cakes and bundts, use as a marble topping for cookies, and it makes the best glue for gingerbread houses, and it's the perfect decoration for my vegan gingerbread cookies. Even if you aren't vegan, you'll love this easy 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. Cornstarch is added to the mainstream brands as an anticaking substance. It contains GMOs, and brings with it a chalky flavor and dusty texture to the frosting. There are many organic powdered sugar brands on the market.
Aquafaba. The brine from a can of unsalted chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans. I recommend using a brand with only chickpeas in the ingredients, such as Whole Foods 365 brand or Eden. Stay away from brands with sugar, salt or color retention additives.
Glycerin, a few drops to help the harden frosting stay white.
Lemon juice, a teaspoon freshens the flavor.
Corn syrup, can serve as a replacement for aquafaba if you prefer.
How to Make Royal Icing
1. Sift your organic powdered sugar into a bowl.
2. Spoon room temperature liquid aquafaba into the sugar.
3. Mix with a hand-mixer, or stand mixer if you have one. Add 3 tablespoon of aquafaba at first and see if that creates the texture you want for pipable frosting. It took about 3 minutes of mixing to get the icing to a smooth consistency.
Tips for Frosting Cookies
If you are covering sugar cookies, you'll actually want two batches: One batch that is thicker made with 3 tablespoon of aquafaba, and another batch that is thinner made with 4 tablespoon of aquafaba.
Put the thicker batch in a piping bag and use to pipe a design or outline around your cookie.
Put the thinner batch in a bowl and spoon or "flood" the inside of the cookie design within the border you just created.
Powdered sugar - You can use either organic or non-organic. Organic will taste better.
Aquafaba - Not everyone has a can of chickpeas in their cabinet so here's an alternative ingredient: corn syrup. Use it instead of aquafaba in the recipe, you'll be using less.
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.
Ways to Improve
1. Add baker's glycerin. This increases the frosting's shine and helps keep the icing from yellowing over a few days once it's hardened on cookies.
2. Add lemon juice. Adding lemon juice adds a brighter flavor, a delicious balance to the sweetness of the sugar. To add it, remove 2 teaspoons of aquafaba, and replace with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
3. Add vanilla. This will yellow the color however, so depend more heavily on brightening the color using my blue food coloring trick.
4. Whiten the frosting. Both the aquafaba and vanilla add a yellow tinge to the frosting. To brighten the frosting's white color, add a drop of blue food coloring to a spoon, then remove ¾ of it from the spoon with a paper towel. You must remove most of the drop from the spoon or you'll be turning your white frosting blue. My video in the recipe card below demonstrates how little you need. Poke the blue-tinged spoon into the white frosting and mix again.
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 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.
How to Use
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
1. 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.
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.
Other Frosting Recipes
Healthy Fudge Frosting
Bright White Frosting
Sweet Potato Chocolate Frosting
Cookie Dough Frosting
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Vegan Royal Icing
Vegan Royal Icing (white)
- 4 tablespoon aquafaba
- 3 cups organic powdered sugar vegan means no bone char
- 1 teaspoon baker's glycerine (optional to retain shine and white color)
To Color Icing
Cookie Paint Recipe (to paint hardened icing)
- ½ teaspoon gel paste food coloring
- 1 teaspoon water or Vodka
- food grade paint brushes
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 brighten the icing's 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, 1 teaspoon baker's glycerine
- Add a speck of blue food coloring to brighten the white color*. See notes for detail.
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 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.
Can I use both aquafaba and corn syrup in this vegan recipe? In my org RI I use quite a bit of corn syrup to make the bite softer. Would I need to reduce the aquafaba or corn syrup if i use both to avoid the icing becoming too thin?
If you want to use both, I suggest you not go beyond 4 tbsp of liquid overall. Let us know how it works out! Dee
Can I use this with a stencil?
I suppose so although I have never tried it. Let me know how it goes.
I was dubious that aquafaba would work as well as egg whites but my husband challenged me to try. Boy, it's shinier than the traditional royal recipe. Looks perfect on my Christmas bell cookies! I'll show you on IG! Marllene
OMGA! You always post exactly what I need when I need it! Can I paint this stuff?
Sanje, Yes! Just make a cookie paint. I use 1/2 tsp gel paste food coloring and 1 tsp of water. Some people use vodka instead of water to avoid the icing melting away, but if you let this icing dry long enough, water should be fine.
This stuff work like glue for my gingerbread house. Thank you!