How to make gingerbread cookie icing

Get the simple recipe for gingerbread icing and check out more Christmas and gingerbread ideas!

In partnership with Western Star.

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How to make gingerbread cookie icing

Gingerbread is traditionally iced with royal icing. This very simple icing recipe is pure white, thick and spreadable. Once it sets, it’s dry to the touch and has a slight shine to it.

Gingerbread icing recipe


4 egg whites
8 cups pure icing sugar, sifted


Beat egg whites at medium speed until foamy.
Gradually beat in icing sugar on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Do not overbeat.

This recipe will give you enough icing to decorate 1-2 batches of cookies or a whole gingerbread house.

How to keep royal icing

To store any unused icing, cover with plastic wrap. Press the wrap onto the surface to stop it from setting. Place in the fridge and keep for up to 3 days.

Place on the kitchen bench for 30 minutes to let it come to room temperature before using.

How to colour royal icing

Add a couple of drops of liquid food colouring to your icing and stir until evenly coloured. Gel food colouring is much more concentrated and you don't need to use as much. To use it, dip a skewer into the gel and swirl into the icing to add only a little at a time.

How to decorate with royal icing

You can spread or pipe this icing onto your cookies. If you’re using sprinkles or toppings, press them into the icing immediately to get them to stick. Once the icing is set, decorations won’t stick unless you use a bit more wet icing as glue.

How to make flavoured royal icing

Add half a teaspoon of flavour extract such as vanilla, mint, strawberry or lemon to flavour your icing. Do not add oil-based extracts. Lemon juice, orange juice and other liquids can add a nice flavour, but adding too much can make your icing too runny to use as royal icing.

Why isn’t my royal icing shiny?

If your icing is beaten for too long, it can incorporate too much air and make it look bumpy and dull. To avoid this, ensure you only beat it long enough to mix in all the icing sugar. Different colourings and flavourings may also have an effect. Avoid oil-based additives and ensure you use very clean bowls and utensils to avoid any mishaps.

Watch how to make and decorate gingerbread

Get the recipe: Gingerbread House

Go all out with this traditional gingerbread recipe! Covered in icicles made of icing and candy decorations, let your creativity loose.


Get the recipe: Gingerbread Star Trees

These adorable stacks of stars turn into festive trees. Wrap up in cellophane to make a pretty gift.



Get the recipe: Gingerbread and Caramel Trifle

If you have leftover gingerbread, crumble it up for this delicous twist on trifle and decorate with gingerbread cookies on top.

*DISCLAIMER: Western Star is a contributing recipe Partner at This feature includes a mix of content sourced from Western Star and our own opinions. Find out more about the full range of Western Star products.