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Vegan Eggless Royal Icing

Did you know you can make Vegan Royal Icing from chickpeas? I finally tried it and it works.

Vegan royal icing in a bowl.


Few weeks back I made Vegan Sugar Cookies. Today I’m going to show you how to make royal icing without egg whites with aquafaba.


Who would have thought that chickpeas, an annual legume can be used to make something sweet? I like chickpeas and I use them in salads or eat them plain with apples. They are also the main ingredient in hummus.

Little did I know that brine from chickpeas can be used to make Vegan Royal Icing and Vegan Sugar Cookies. Isn’t that awesome?! So next time you drain chickpeas be sure save the brine. And you can also freeze it for later.

Make sure to drain the chickpea brine through a fine mesh sieve. Just in case there are some bean bits in the aquafaba. You don’t want those in your vegan royal icing.

Draining chickpeas from the can.

Into the aquafaba add cream of tartar and whip until foamy. Then you can add all of the powdered sugar all at once. Using a wire attachment beat on low speed until thick. I also add little bit of white food coloring while it’s mixing.

Mixing icing with a wire attachment.


To flavor my royal icing I like to add with Vanilla, Lemon and Almond extracts.  I know it seems like an odd combination of flavors but it really works. Of course, nothing is set in stone and you can experiments with other flavors. However I’d recommend that you stick with Vanilla Extract. You can then add other flavors of your choice.

Extract to flavor royal icing.


I use gel food colors to color royal icing. Check with the manufacturer if you have further questions about the contents of gel food colorings you are using.


To bag the the icing I mostly use disposable piping bags bags and a tape sealer to seal them. Make sure to get the tape too, as the sealer doesn’t come with it.

Royal icing in piping bags


Yes, this aquafaba royal icing dries hard. If you’d like it to dry with a softer bite try using little bit of corn syrup or invert sugar.


10-14 days. I find that vegan cookies tend to dry out a little and they get crunchier with time. I’ve had some vegan decorated cookies for 3 week and they were super crunchy and still very tasty.


You’ll need to add extra powdered sugar to make it stiff to pipe roses and such. I find vegan royal icing slightly less flexible than traditional meringue based royal icing and it maybe harder to pipe 3 dimensional flowers with it.


No worries, eggless aquafaba royal icing doesn’t taste like chickpeas at all. Vegan icing is a bit sweeter than traditional meringue based royal icing. It’s also less flexible


For the best results use liquid from store bought can of chickpeas.


5 from 8 votes
Vegan royal icing in a bowl.
Vegan Royal Icing
Prep Time
10 mins

Royal icing made from canned chickpeas brine. Great for cookie decorating.

Store in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

Course: Frosting, icing
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: aquafaba royal icing, eggless royal icing, vegan royal icing.
Hanielas.com: Hani Bacova
  • 6 tbsp strained canned chickpeas brine
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar substitute 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanille extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 3 drops white food coloring
  1. Open a can of store bought chickpeas, drain and strain the brine though a fine mesh sieve.

  2. Measure chickpea brine(6 tablespoons, 15ml measure) into a bowl of your stand mixer. Add cream of tartar(1/2tsp). Then beat with a wire beater until mixture is foamy. Add all powdered sugar(4-5cups) and continue beating on low speed until thick. Beat in Vanilla Extract(1/2tsp), Lemon Extract(1/2tsp) and white food coloring(3drops). Beat until thick. 5-10 minutes

  1. Store in an airtight container, covered with plastic wrap and closed with a lid in the fridge for up to 5 days. Let come to room temperature before adding water to thin icing for cookie decorating as desired.

Color Vegan Royal Icing
  1. Vegan royal icing can be colored with gel food colors.

Recipe Notes

For the best results use brine from drained store bough chickpeas. It’s difficult to control concentration of homemade chickpea brine.


II see this happen often when too much food coloring is added. As with all royal icing recipes adding too much food coloring can result in excessive drying times. Allow icing to dry overnight.


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Vegan royal icing in a bowl.

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  1. Hiya,
    I’m thinking of using this vegan royal icing recipe to cover my Xmas cake. How long will it stay OK on the cake for before being eaten? I’m hoping I don’t have to eat it within a few weeks as I’m thinking of making it a few weeks before Christmas.

    1. Hi Stella,

      I haven’t used this recipe on a cake. I’m not sure how well it would do on a cake. I generally use buttercream on cakes. That being said you can use it to dip cookies, either cut-out or drop cookies.

  2. I love this recipe, and it’s my new go to for icing cookies! I’d like to know if there is any trick to slowing the crusting process, as it does crust much quicker than RI. Any tips or tricks would be so appreciated! Thank you!!

    1. I just love this recipe!! I’ve substituted with both Swerve and Splenda. I made cute fish cookies for my son’s class that were low sugar and so, so cute!! I also usually make a huge batch of frosting and freeze it in small bags for later use – in case anyone wants to know if you can, sometimes it needs a little added sugar or cornstarch. Thanks for sharing your recipes Hani- Hani- I’ve tried several and yours are always my favorite and my go-to if I’m making cookies for others!!

      1. Hi Anna,
        Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I’m sure others will find it also helpful. I’m glad you like this recipe and were able to make it also low sugar. That’s
        so great to know that Swerve and Splenda work well.
        Happy Baking.

  3. Hi Hani! Wondering if you have any updates on how long this recipe is good for? I love the flavor of this icing and am wanting to use it for my vegan DIY cookie kits that I’ll be selling this Christmas. I want to make sure I note proper storage instructions for their vegan royal icing, and I think that (if it is the case), my customers would be thrilled if it lasted a few days without needing to be refrigerated!

    Thanks so much! Love your recipes!

      1. Hi Brigid,
        yes, I don’t see why not. You’ll most likely need to adjust the baking time, since they are a little thicker.

    1. Hi Kelsey,

      yes you can. Just like with meringue based royal icing, frozen icing become slightly more fluid when thawed. So you’ll probably need to add more powdered sugar.

  4. hello,
    I read through all the comments first to see if my question was asked lol
    I know sometimes people will make 2 different consistencies with icing. One to outline and one to flood. Is this recipe suitable for both? Do you recommend thinning with water to flood or is it not necessary?
    Thank you so much. I’m making these for a party in a couple weeks and planning on making them as advanced as possible, maybe a couple days before the party. Cant wait to try!

    1. Hello La
      You will most likely have to thin this royal icing to desired consistency. Icing when first made is going to be on a thicker side so adding little bit of water (drops) will make it more fluid and easier to work with. You don’t necessary need to make 2 consistencies to outline and flood. I use 15 to 20 second consistency icing to outline and flood. If you have any details you’d like pipe on the top of the 1st layer, after’s crusted for this I’d use thicker icing. It’s fine to make cookie a week ahead, You can store them in airtight container,layered between parchment. Thank you and have fun decorating.

  5. Hey! How long do cookies iced with this royal icing stay good for (in an airtight container) ?

    Thanks so much in advance!

    1. 10 days. Vegan cookies tend to dry out faster. Cookie are still edible after 10 they are just a bit more crunchier.

  6. Typical royal icing is pretty shelf-stable, meaning it doesn’t go bad for a LONG time. Do you find there is a shorter shelf life to this icing, either before it’s used, or after being piped and dried? Curious if it needs any different care or concern than typical royal icing

    1. Hi Kristy,
      I wouldn’t keep this vegan icing with aquafaba for a month like my regular meringue based royal icing. And I definitely store in the fridge. Lemon juice also acts as a preservative so it’s helpful that way. I’d keep it in the fridge for 10 to 14 days. I think fresher it’s better.

  7. This was the best recipe! Thank you so much for sharing. My daughter (who is recently vegan dairy free) and I made this recipe this Christmas and had a great time. The tips were so helpful and the cookies tasted fabulous! Who knew you could use chickpea brine? Brilliant! Thank you so so much!! love following all of your creative ideas and recipes!! We tried the vegan royal icing recipe as well! It was perfect! The icing dried hard and we did not need to find white food coloring as mentioned in the recipe. The powdered sugar took care of keeping it white. One tip for those who are using liquid food color, use gel food color with a toothpick and you won’t add extra moisture to your royal icing. Thanks again for sharing the recipe! This will definitely be a holiday favorite in our house!

  8. Hi Hani! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have a query, do I need to use the canned chickpeas brine for this or can I use the homemade chickpeas brine too? Thank you ☺️

    1. Hello Amrita,
      it is best to use store bought chickpeas brine. It’s hard to tell with homemade brine if the concentration is the same and such. Hope that makes sense. You can also freeze the brine for later.

      1. Hi Hani! I tried this recipe and it was loved by all. Love how quick, easy and delicious this icing is. Thank you so much for your prompt reply 💝

  9. Do I need to add in white food coloring drops? I am decorating a penguin, but I do not have white food coloring because I am use to royal icing being white no matter what. Is it because the chick peas could turn the icing a brownish color?

  10. Hi Hani, uhm I have a quick question… do you use anything to “dry” quick your icing? Or just air dry? Because someone told me that a fruit dehydrator works to dry fast & secure the royal icing. (In case that you sell cookies)

    Thank you ♡!

    1. Hi Charlote,
      I personally don’t use food dehydrator to dry royal icing but yes you can use to dry royal icing faster. I’d suggest testing it out with a couple of cookies first, using different setting, time etc. Please don’t leave them there for too long or cookies will dry out.

      1. Oh, thank you very much for your reply! I dont know if you have a post here in the blog with the exact time of drying? Because now I’m starting the xmas season for sell cookies and I live in a place where is almost summer time and the enviorment temp is 80°+F in summer is 100°+F so it’s really important for me to know drying times for royal icing.

  11. Hiiiii Hani
    I will be shipping these how long to dry before shipping?
    How do you suggest defrosting already made icing?
    Thank you so much

    1. Hi Kimberly,
      Package cookies after icing has dried. Drying time can take up to 8 hours, depending on thickness of icing, humidity etc.
      Defrosting icing on the counter.
      Hope this helps.

  12. Hi again, do you think I could use this icing for a birthday cake? I’ve never made royal icing vegan or with eggs- but would like to cover a vegan cake with it🤷‍♀️ Thanks so much , Lynne

    1. Hi Lynne,

      this recipe is not really suitable in place of buttercream for the cake, as it dries hard. It’s more suitable for cookie decorating than cake decorating. Here is what you can do, you can use Regular American Buttercream Recipe but omit dairy butter, instead use vegan butter substitute such as Earth Balance or Miyokos and in place of milk use coconut milk, almond milk or other dairy free milk you use. I’d say 1 stick of fat(butter), 2-3 cups powdered sugar and few tablespoons of 2-3 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and vanilla extract. Beat butter until creamy about a minute, then add powdered sugar, vanilla and beat until fluffy, add milk to reach the consistency as desired. Hope it helps. Hani

  13. Hi! Wondering how many batches of this icing is needed to ice a 3x batch of vegan sugar cookies? First time for both recipes and I want to make sure it is correct. Thanks!

  14. Great recipe. How long will the icing keep once set on the biscuit? With normal royal icing, my biscuits will keep for a good few weeks in an air tight container, is this the same with this vegan RI? thanks

    1. Hi Annie, I’ve only had the cookies for a week so I’d think at least a week. I would have to test it out.

    1. HI Margaret, depends on the batch size. When making a regular batch(using either 2lb powdered sugar, or 1kg powdered sugar – I add 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup corn syrup. Mix it thoroughly and use as usual.

    1. Hello Mary, I haven’t kept it longer than 5 days. But my understanding is that you can freeze aquafaba. I also left it at room temperature for 2 days and it was fine, too.

    1. Hi Stacey, I haven’t tried it. It dries hard but I think if you add corn syrup to make it a bit softer it could work. But like I said I haven’t tried it my self. Thank you.

    1. 1-3 days should be fine. After that I noticed it started to separates a little. I haven’t tried freezing it myself but I recall someone telling me you can freeze chickpeas brine so I assume it will be fine to freeze the vegan royal icing. I freeze regular royal icing all the time. Hope it helps.

  15. Hi Hani! I was wondering if this vegan RI dries as hard as regular RI? In the comments above you mentioned your transfers dried slower, would you recommend anticipating longer drying time for flooding?

    1. Transfers for some reason took a bit longer to dry but overall I think it is very similar to regular royal, I don’t think you’d need extra time for flood to dry. I think perhaps because bees were a bit puffy that is why extra time was needed for them dry completely. I like how shiny the icing was.

  16. Is it necessary to keep this vegan RI 5 days on the fridge before using it? My own recipe I use it directly.
    I have a bleeding prob with my colored RI, is this recipe avoid this prob?

    1. You can use it right away. I meant to store it. Bleeding can occur for number of reasons. Food coloring, higher humidity. Try using a fan when drying the cookies.

    1. I just looked at the can of the chickpeas I use and there is sea salt, sodium 140mg. I’m not sure if it differs from brand to brand.

      1. Hello Hani! Thanks for posting this recipe! I haven’t tried it yet but i was wondering if you noticed differences with the regular icing (how long it lasts in the fridge, the consistency, shininess, etc)
        Thanks very much!

      2. Hi Ana,

        I think it dries very nicely with a nice shine. It was setting up pretty fast actually but it could have been ambient temperature, I worked by the wood stove. I was able to make different consistencies and I should have a tutorial out soon where I used it make royal icing transfers, they took a bit longer to dry than with traditional royal icing but at the end it worked.

  17. Great alternative for folks with egg allergies! I’ve heard so many positive things about using the beams. Will give it a try!

    1. Hi June,
      I totally agree, my neighbor has an egg white allergy also. I’ll be using it to make her some cookies. Thank you.

      1. Yes, indeed.Vanilla is the main flavor and then I add little a little bit of almond and lemon. You can also use just vanilla, or add only extra almond. Make it your own.Thank you. Keep me posted how it goes.

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