Egg-Free, Vegan Royal Icing

11156303_10153549051979179_4586253457956840215_nRoyal icing is not the sort of icing that you use to cover a cake.

It dries hard, but the meringue within it keeps it lightweight, making it just right for making flowers or other piped, edible decorations in advance, to be placed onto a cake later on.

Royal icing is also used to glue together the pieces of gingerbread houses, and to adorn them with snow-covered rooftops and hanging icicles.

royal icing drop flowers
Once made and fully dried, royal icing decorations will keep indefinitely.

Store them in an air-tight container and keep them out of the light so the colors won’t fade, and you’ll have decorations ready to go at a moment’s notice.


You can even pipe tiny little flowers onto sugar cubes and serve them at your next fancy tea party, or at  bridal shower.

Make sure to pull out the silver sugar tongs for perfectly proper serving…or package them up in cute little bags to give as gifts to folks who like that sort of thing.

Conventional royal icing is made from egg whites (either fresh, or powdered and reconstituted), confectioner’s sugar, and cream of tartar, which is a problem for those who can’t or choose not to eat eggs.  Thanks to the wonderful folks at the Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses Facebook group, we have learned that “aqua faba,” or rather the liquid drained from a simple can of beans, can be whipped into stiff peaks much like egg whites.  It can act as an egg white substitute in many recipes, and royal icing is no exception.

Egg-Free, Vegan Royal Icing Recipe

10995107_10153477714279179_4914398163554628346_n5 Tbsp. aqua faba (the water drained from a can of of chickpeas or other mild-tasting beans)
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 pound (about 4 cups) confectioner’s sugar

Beat all ingredients on high for 7-10 minutes.  Use immediately.

If you intend to color your royal icing, it’s ideal to add the color while you’re beating it, and to color the whole batch.  If you need to split your batch into multiple smaller batches for making multiple colors, it may lose a bit of its loft if you stir the colors in after the fact with a spoon.  It will still work, but it’s not ideal.

Cupcakes with royal icing flowersRoyal icing dries out very, very fast (except when you’ve piped a beautiful rose and you would like to put it onto your cake…then it will take forever!).  While working with royal icing, keep your bowl carefully covered with a damp cloth, and if you need to set down your piping bag for a few minutes, carefully cover the tip so that it doesn’t dry and clog.

You can pipe royal icing decorations onto waxed paper or parchment paper, and peel them off when they are dry.  If you have trouble with the paper pulling up as you lift your piping bag away, try taping the paper to the back of a cookie sheet or baking pan.

All icings are somewhat sensitive to the heat of your hand when you are using the in a piping bag, and aqua faba royal icing especially so.  While you’re working with it, it may become too soft to get sharp edges on your decorations, so if this happens, place the piping bag into the refrigerator for a few minutes until it stiffens up again.  Don’t forget to cover the tip carefully!

Allow your royal icing decorations to dry completely before storing them in an airtight container, out of the light.

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24 Responses to Egg-Free, Vegan Royal Icing

  1. 42Y on 42K says:

    Reblogged this on 42Y on 42K and commented:
    This is not only beautiful, it’s vegan too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christine Flinn says:

    Interesting article, I might give it a go the next time I open a tin of chickpeas. I am not sure where you are based, but traditionally in the UK and a few other countries – fruitcakes were covered with a layer of marzipan and then coated in royal icing, so you make wish to amend your text. Royal icing has a far better bite quality then sugarpaste/rolled fondant and is not as sickly sweet as buttercream.


  3. Pingback: Whimsical Fairy Cakes | Geeky Cakes

  4. ambertesia says:

    Reblogged this on Ria Amber Tesia and commented:
    To those of you who don’t know, I’m a big fan of “veganising” recipes. Which is why this egg-free recipe royal icing recipe makes me very excited. A big thank you to Geeky Cakes for this ab fab post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins – Wing It Vegan

  6. I made your royal icing recipe and it worked beautifully! Thank you for sharing!


  7. Thank you for getting back to me so fast!
    I just found another recipe at
    That I’m also going to try.


  8. It is so good to find your blog when I try to find a good vegan icing. Unfortunately, all the icing is far too sweet. I will try your recipe that’s showing here. Thanks so much! 🙂


  9. Maria says:

    Can I use this icing recipe for the different concistencies needed to decorate cookies, like flooding them for example? Thank you!


  10. Mae says:

    Use immediately ? Can I keep for a day or two in sealed container? Well I don’t have long hours to use in a day I’m planning to make cup cake topper for kids birthday..thus eggless is better choice.


    • Christine says:

      make it and use it that day, don’t store it. To my mind this mock royal icing is ok for cookies/piped boarders, but is not suitable to flat coat a cake or make lift off decoration.


      • lindajulien says:

        Christine, I don’t know what you mean by that. I use this royal icing for standalone decorations all the time, with great success.

        As for how long it will keep…well, yes, I have used it the next day or a few days later, but royal icing (of any kind) will lose its loft as it sits.


  11. Karen marshall says:

    Hi, is this recipe suitable for me to use on a vegan Xmas fruit cake I have made and want to ice this week? My concern is the shelf life using chick pea juice in the icing, on my cake which will last a long time.


  12. Jenny says:

    Will this icing harden as hard as normal royal icing?


  13. Gio says:

    If it’s intended to use as royal icing for flood and pipping as well, how many cookies (standard size) does this recipe cover?


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  15. Sarah Vogel says:

    Love the icing but it seems to be wrinkling on the top of a cookie as it is drying, any suggestions


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