Haniela's: Fresh Lemon Royal Icing

Fresh Lemon Royal Icing

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Have you tried almond flavored  sugar cookie with  fresh lemon royal icing or honey cookie with fresh lemon icing? I'm sure you have. Delicious right?!

When I first started playing with decorated cookies, I think it was back in December 2008 or somewhere around that time, I was using raw egg whites, powdered sugar and lemon juice to make my royal icing. Much has changed since, I don't use raw egg whites anymore, but I kept loyal to lemons. I always have a basket with lemons on the counter. The color, the smell, refreshing taste. Lemons are good for you too.
I love lemon! Lemon ice cream, lemon squares, lemon honey cream cheese frosting, lemon curd, lemon zest in biscotti, and why not fresh lemon in Royal Icing?!

Recipe for Fresh Lemon Royal Icing 

Metric Version

1kg powdered sugar, sift if needed
50grams meringue powder
5grams(1tsp) cream of tartar
55 ml strained fresh lemon juice
110ml tap warm water
10ml (1tbl) Vanilla Extract

Cup Version
2lb (7-8 cups) powdered sugar, sift the sugar if needed
4 1/2 tbl meringue powder
1/4 cup  strained fresh lemon juice  (one lemon)
1/4cup +2 tbl tap warm water
1tsp cream of tartar
1tbl Vanilla Extract

For non lemon icing, use the same measurements, instead of lemon use water.
Make sure all your tools are grease free! 
I wipe my tools with a piece of paper towel and vinegar. Wipe dry with a clean towel.

  • Sift the powdered sugar if needed, if powdered sugar has big chunks make sure you sift it, otherwise I don't sift.
  •  Mix  using a whisk meringue powder with fresh lemon juice and warm water, until slightly foamy, add cream of tartar,  mix again and then add all the powdered sugar at once. Using your stand mixer, on the lowest setting, using paddle attachment, mix for about 3-4 minutes, add  vanilla extract, continue mixing for another 5-6 minutes. Scrape the bowl once and beat again.
  • When icing is done it should be stiff. 

  • You can now color your icing, using food gel coloring
  • Store this icing in an airtight container in the fridge, make sure that plastic container is grease free as well.
  • This icing behaves really well even after several weeks, just keep it in the airtight container and remix the icing when you are ready to use it again.

COLOR YOUR ICING - I recommend letting the tinted icing sit for at least several hours/covered/ this helps to develop the color better, especially when working with dark colors.

I use 5 Levesl of Consistency when decorating cookies: by adding little bit of water you can control how thickness of icing. Stiff(when you pull icing into a peak, it doesn't fall,  Outline( about toothpaste thick), 10 second, 15 second and 20 second.

BUBBLES IN THE ICING -When making icing for flooding, sometimes with all the mixing we let air bubbles in the icing. To help eliminate air bubbles, let the icing sit for at least 30 minutes and then gently stir with a spoon to get rid of the bubbles.

DARK BLOTCHY SPOTS on the dried royal icing-sometimes when royal icing dries on a cookie it can absorb fat from the cookie and create dark blotchy spots.I guess it is something that possibly  also has to do with the amount of humidity in the air. There are few things that you can do to help prevent this:
  • Let the tinted icing sit overnight, especially when  using dark colors, it helps to develop color and you don't need to use as much coloring agent, and it can also help with blotchy spots when working with dark colors, red can give you hard time sometimes.
  • To speed up the drying process use fans and dehumidifier if you have one, make sure you clean the fans periodically, and you dry cookies in an enclosed area.
  •  Keep in mind that if you live in high humidity climate you need to find a way to speed up the drying process, use fans to promote more air circulation, and use dehumidifier if you have one, it helps with the drying time as well.
  • I recommend finding what works for you the best, climate and weather can play tricks on us, so testing is always a good idea.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Great website!!! Is there a recepie that doesn't use meringue powder

    3. Does the lemon juice effect the way to royal icing behaves? I have read not to use lemon extract because of the oil but love lemon flavor.

    4. Hello dear thanx for yr wonderfully tutorials pls I want to make cup cake for my son and I want to decorate it with Lebanese flag it's for school project can u help what type of icing I should use for the decoration .

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Thank you very much for the recipes you’ve shared. I’ve seen almost all of your videos on utube, most of them twice. You are extremely talented and gifted in many culinary deliciousness categories. May God continue to Bless you.

    7. How far in advance can I decorate the fresh baked cookies with royal icing for a birthday party and thank you? I am using you awesome vanilla cookie recipe and royal icing. It's alway's been a big success! Thank you for sharing you "successful" recipes and decorating tips. You are a wonderful gift to me as an amature baker for my grandchildren! God's blessings!

    8. Do you have a printer friendly version of this recipe?

    9. How do you get your icing shiny? Mines are very matt once they dry on the cookie