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Egg-Free Vegan Royal Icing

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This Vegan Royal icing without eggs is the perfect icing to decorate your cookies! No need for eggs or even meringue powder in this simple and easy-to-use alternative royal icing recipe.

a metal wire rack holding heart and circle cookies. Some of the cookies are undecorated, while others are lined and filled with vegan royal icing in yellow, pink, and white. Next to the rack is a bowl of white icing with a spoon it it, a bowl of bright yellow icing, and a bowl if pink icing. Photo Credit: Cindy Gordon of HappyFoodHealthyLife.com

I am so thrilled to say that I have finally been able to make a vegan royal icing that comes out the right consistency for both piping and flooding. I still have practicing to do, but I’m so giddy with the fact that I now can decorate cookies with a vegan royal icing without egg whites that comes together in minutes.

It uses just 4 ingredients, and does not start with aquafaba! In fact, it’s very similar to making royal icing with meringue powder, but we’ll replace that expensive and eggy ingredient with better options.

Why You’ll Love This Vegan Royal Icing Recipe

  • You’ll love using this simple and perfect vegan royal icing recipe to decorate my Soft Sugar Cookies, or Vegan Cut Out Cookies.
  • It works exactly like traditional royal icing, but it’s made without meringue powder or egg whites!
  • I’m not a person who can do all the fancy piping and designs that I see on sugar cookies, but if you are, you’ll love this icing!
  • It also works well for doing very simple cookie decorating (my favorite kind), and it’s the perfect vegan royal icing for gluing gingerbread houses or adding details to Vegan Gingerbread Cookies too.
  • Speaking of cookies, you’re going to love my Gluten-Free Triple Chocolate Cookies! They’re a favorite around here.

Thank you so much for this awesome recipe ! It’s the first time I find one with such a great consistency, moreover without egg whites (great when you’re pregnant) or meringue powder (which is impossible to find in France).

– Laura

a large clear bowl of powdered sugar. next it are three small bowls, one with cornstarch, one with water, and one with xanthan gum. Photo Credit: Cindy Gordon of HappyFoodHealthyLife.com

Ingredients and Substitutions

Egg-free Royal Icing only calls for 4 ingredients, and one of them is water!

  • Powdered Sugar – sometimes called confectioners’ sugar, this is the basic building block for all good cookie icing recipes.
  • Cornstarch – This acts as a thickener. If you’re outside of the US, look for “cornflour”, it’s the same thing.
  • Xanthan Gum – You can either use this or arrowroot powder. I’ve tested both, and they both give the same result, which is a thick, smooth, hardening vegan royal icing.
  • Water – You can adjust the consistency of your vegan royal icing by reducing or increasing the amount of water added.

You’ll find all of the details, measurements, and easy instructions for making this vegan royal icing recipe in the recipe card below!

a small bowl of white vegan royal icing with a teaspoon it in. Behind the bowl is a wire rack holding two round undecorated sugar cookies and two heart shaped ones. Photo Credit: Cindy Gordon of HappyFoodHealthyLife.com

Insider Pro Tips

  • Once mixed, you can store this royal icing without eggs for up to one month in the fridge. Be sure to keep it in an airtight container. I don’t recommend storing this at room temperature, as I’ve found that the top layer forms a crust.
  • After storage, whip the frosting for a few minutes to make it smooth and pourable again.
  • Adjust the consistency of the icing by changing the amount of water you add. I find that 1/3 cup of water makes vegan royal icing that is perfect for outlining and details. To make a runner icing that is suitable for flooding, I like to add a total of 1/2 cup of water to this recipe. You may need to experiment and adjust these amounts to get the consistency you need for your cookies.
  • Allow the vegan royal icing to dry for at least 6 hours so that it gets hard enough to stack. The icing will dry hard, but not rock-hard.
A kitchenaid mixer whisk attachment held over a clear bowl of icing to show the thickness of the icing. Photo Credit: Cindy Gordon of HappyFoodHealthyLife.com

FAQs

I love that once the icing has dried, I can stack the cookies for gifting without your beautiful cookie decorations getting messed up. The icing isn’t so hard that it’ll break your teeth, but it has that nice shiny finish that traditional royal icing has.  Allow decorated cookies to dry for several hours or overnight before storing them or stacking them on top of each other.

This icing is well suited to flooding cookies and creating lines and details. If you’d like to pipe flowers or more 3-D shapes, you’ll need to thicken the icing quite a bit by adding less water. You could also try using a vegan buttercream instead.

Be sure to let the cookies dry and harden before packing. It’s best to store them in tins or airtight containers with layers of parchment paper in between them. You can store decorated cookies at room temperature, or freeze them for longer storage.

Meringue powder can get expensive, and it’s made with eggs, which we don’t want. Use either xanthan gum or arrowroot powder instead of meringue powder to make royal icing without eggs. You only need a half teaspoon of either of these for the recipe, so one container will last you a very long time!

More Egg Free Vegan Desserts to Try

Did you make this recipe for Royal Icing without eggs? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment, or share this recipe with all of your cookie baking friends.

Egg-Free Vegan Royal Icing

closeup of two round cut out cookies decorated with vegan royal icing one is pink, the other is yellow. Next to them is a piping bag fitted with a #2 tip, filled with yellow frosting. Photo Credit: Cindy Gordon of HappyFoodHealthyLife.com
Easy Vegan Royal Icing without eggs or meringue powder is the perfect icing to decorate cookies, gingerbread houses, and more!
Louisa
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4.5 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour in the UK)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum or arrowroot powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine all dry ingredients (powdered sugar, cornstarch, and xanthan gum or arrowroot) in a mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment). Beat at low speed for 1 minute, or until everything is thoroughly combined.
    a clear glass mixing bowl with a spout, filled with powdered sugar. A black handled whisk is in the bowl, and it's viewed from overhead. Photo Credit: Cindy Gordon of HappyFoodHealthyLife.com
  • With the mixer running, drizzle 1/3 cup water down the side of the bowl so it doesn’t splatter, slowly increasing mixer speed until sugar is incorporated. Beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
    a pastel green stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and a clear glass bowl. In the bowl is powdered sugar. Water is being poured in with a measuring cup. Photo Credit: Cindy Gordon of HappyFoodHealthyLife.com
  • The icing should be thick and stiff enough so that the beaters or whisk attachment leaves ridges when drawn through. If the icing seems too thick, you may need to add up to an additional teaspoon of water.
    view from the side of a pale green kitchenaid mixer whisking vegan royal icing. Photo Credit: Cindy Gordon of HappyFoodHealthyLife.com
  • Divide icing into however many colors you would like and color to your liking and decorate cookies as you would with regular royal icing, watering down slightly to fill piped lines.
    closeup shot of a clear glass bowl of white creamy vegan royal icing with a small spoon it in. To the right is an empty plastic piping bag fitted with a small round tip. To the left is a tan linen napkin. In the top left corner is a wire rack of undecorated heat and circle shaped cookies. Photo Credit: Cindy Gordon of HappyFoodHealthyLife.com

Video

Notes

  • Store this icing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep well for up to 1 month. After storage, beat the icing again for a few minutes to make it smooth again before using. 
  • This icing will dry hard, but stay soft enough for biting into. Allow decorated cookies to dry for several hours or up to overnight before stacking them. 
  • If desired, flavor your icing with vanilla extract, almond extract, or any flavor that you like. 
  • For piping outlines on cookies or creating line details, 1/3 cup of water should give you the proper consistency. For a thinner, flood consistency, you will want to add a bit more water so that the icing is still thick and glossy, but runs off the beater in a thinner, quicker stream. 

We updated the recipe photos for you! Here are the old ones in case you’re curious.

Egg-Free Vegan Royal Icing - the perfect icing to decorate your cooking without having to use eggs or even meringue powder!
Egg-Free Vegan Royal Icing - the perfect icing to decorate your cooking without having to use eggs or even meringue powder!
Egg-Free Vegan Royal Icing - the perfect icing to decorate your cooking without having to use eggs or even meringue powder!
Egg-Free Vegan Royal Icing - the perfect icing to decorate your cooking without having to use eggs or even meringue powder!

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Recipe Rating




33 Comments

  1. I have a question, thank you for this recipe it’s so easy to make and I’ve made lovely royal icing flowers and leaves.
    What I do find is that no matter what I do and what consistency my flood is, after a day or so of leaving the cookies to dry, the flood without fail craters and doesn’t set smooth no matter what I do. I use a shortbread biscuit which I make 24 hours before I decorate, and once I do my outline and flood and leave it to try when I come back to it the next day it has cratered and looks all wavy. I don’t know how to stop this. I’ve tried using a fan, heat gun, nothing seems to work. please help! any advice is appreciated.

    1. Hi Rav, sorry for the delay in my response. I’ve recently taken over the site for Holly and I am working my way through problem solving the any issues in the recipes. I apologize you’ve had a problem with it. This one is scheduled to be retested and worked through again in the next 3 months. I’ll update the recipe with any notes and hopefully we can get an answer for you 🙂

      The HFHL Team

  2. 5 stars
    I was able to frost cookies with my kids who both have opposite food allergies! This was exciting. Now, I am wondering for future, does this recipe cause the cookies to need to be refrigerated?

    Your recipe was a lifesaver! Thanks so much!

  3. Hi! Happy to find a vegan royal icing! Thank you. Two questions: (1) can we substitute tapioca starch instead of cornstarch (for those avoiding corn), and (2)For decorating a gingerbread house with this icing, how many days can we keep it at room temperature and it still be safe to eat? Thanks!

  4. Hi, this recipe looks great! I want to send my friend some cookies to cheer her up in lockdown but she can’t eat egg. I only have cornflour here – not arrowroot. Would that work instead? I’m also in lockdown so it’s to hard to get hold of stuff at the moment. Thanks for sharing your recipes 🙂

    1. you CAN! You’ll just need to adjust the consistency a bit so it’s very thick. Start with very minimal water – probably half the amount noted. have fun!

  5. Thank you so much for this awesome recipe ! It’s the first time I find one with such a great consistency, moreover without egg whites (great when you’re pregnant) or meringue powder (which is impossible to find in France). How long do you think i can store my royal icing leftovers in the fridge ? Thanks 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you love this recipe as much as I do! I’ve had it covered in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week with no problems.

    1. That all depends on how much water you use. Less water = better piping consistency. I’ve had plenty of good luck piping with this recipe.

    1. I would say you could touch them after 2 hours and they’d be dry, but if you’re wanting to stack or package them up, I’d give it a full 24 hours to dry completely. I hope you give it a try!

  6. Is there any chance at all that I can use tapioca starch instead of the arrowroot powder?

    I’m not vegan but my cousin is, and I’m making grain free sugar free vegan cookies for a family cookout in a few days, and silly me I didn’t realize meringue powder would be a no-no! I’ll just have to return it and see if I can go back to the store today to get arrowroot powder.

    1. I went ahead and bought the arrowroot powder to make the recipe. Since I used Swerve confectioners style sugar substitute, I think it behaves differently than confectioners sugar, so I needed double the liquid to make it piping consistency. I also added lemon juice instead of most of the water, to match the lemony cookies.

      Oh and my cookies, iced with your icing, were a hit today!

    1. If you head to Amazon and type in “vegan powdered sugar” there are a few companies that have certified vegan powdered sugar options. Likewise you should be able to find at whole foods also! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    just made a batch and i may not have mixed it enough because i still taste a hint of cornstarch! other than that it’s AWESOME! it’s hardening up just like regular royal icing!! one question though, how do you store it?!

  8. Ive been looking for a recipe without eggs or meringue powder,cant beleive i found one!! Thanks so much

    1. I am so happy you happened across this recipe then! Let me know what you think. I know I was sick of using a ton of meringue powder, and I didn’t want to use eggs either, so I knew I had to come up with a solution for both myself and awesome readers like you! Enjoy!

  9. I have to say that as soon as I read this post, everything stop…..?, I decorate cookies in large quantities for a big company, and the meringue powder was getting very expensive. It’s ok for few dozen, but when it comes to 1000… I pulled my hair…. I tried your recipe and when dries looks fantastic, and I tried it with bright red ?which is a nightmare sometimes…. So, thanks, you just make my life and cookie adventure easier…?

  10. Well I have never done this or made the icing for cookies befor. So this will be the first time. I have blabbed my mouth off so now I have to make this project to its end..and being I will be sending so me to a different state, no egg whites will be great.so thank u for working out the bugs for me..

  11. This makes me happy. Going to try it out today or tomorrow! My daughters friend is allergic to eggs and I always feel bad because he can’t eat cake or cookies at birthday party’s!! This will be great for me to make for him!

    1. Oh goodie! You’re going to love it, as is your daughter’s friend. So thoughtful of you to make accommodations for him.

  12. Thanks so much for this post. I checked it out on the Everything Food Blog and pinned it to my Baking Board. I think that looks like something I will try. I’m not vegan (I am vegetarian), but the meringue powder kinda freaks me out! Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you’re going to try it out Gigi. I know what you mean about the meringue powder. It’s just one of those weird unnatural ingredients that I’m totally not into. This Royal Icing is the best solution! Enjoy!