Last Updated on June 23, 2022 by Zara R.
Royal icing is a popular choice among bakers for decorating sugar cookies. However, you may wonder, is royal icing safe to eat? One of the key ingredients in many royal icing recipes is egg whites, which can be a health concern when consumed raw.
Royal icing is great for decorating sugar cookies, along with gingerbread houses, brownies, and even cakes. It is great for creating intricate designs and patterns on desserts and it is a favorite among baking professionals. You can make different colors and consistencies to create beautifully decorated desserts.
What Is Royal Icing?
Royal icing is a type of icing that when it dries, it will harden. This makes it ideal for decorating sugar cookies and gingerbread houses. In addition, it is also great for decorating flowers, leaves, ruffles, line work, and lettering on cakes and other desserts.
Ingredients In Royal Icing
Royal icing typically contains powdered sugar, egg whites, and vanilla extract. However, some recipes may contain powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water. Both can be used to create delicious royal icing.
Royal icing with egg whites
Traditionally, egg whites are used to make royal icing. Generally, the egg whites and vanilla extract are beaten until frothy. Then, the powered sugar is slowly added in and the icing is beaten on high speed until glossy, stiff peaks form.
Royal icing with meringue powder
Another way to make royal icing is to use meringue powder. Meringue powder is made of dried pasteurized egg whites.
To make royal icing with meringue powder, the meringue powder is mixed together with water and added to the powdered sugar. The mixture is then beaten until glossy and smooth, with the addition of vanilla extract if desired.
Consistencies Of Royal Icing
Royal icing can be made to different consistencies. These different consistencies can be used for decorating different designs. To reach different consistency, water or powdered sugar may be added to either thin or thicken the icing.
Stiff royal icing is great for making flowers, leaves, ruffles, and filling in stencils. Stiff royal icing should have soft to stiff peaks form when mixing. You will likely have to add additional powdered sugar to achieve stiff royal icing.
Piping royal icing is great for doing outlining, lettering, and detail work. Piping icing should have soft peaks and it should take about 25 seconds for the icing to incorporate back into itself after drawing a line in the icing. You will probably have to add a bit more powdered sugar to achieve this consistency.
Medium royal icing is great for outlining, flooding, and creating puffy areas. It should have a thinner consistency than piping royal icing and should take 10-15 seconds to disappear back into itself after drawing a line in the icing.
Flood royal icing is great for flooding cookies, marbling, and wet-on-wet effects. It should have a thin consistency and take 5-8 seconds to disappear back into itself after drawing a line in the icing. You will likely have to add more water to the icing to achieve the right consistency.
Is Royal Icing Safe To Eat?
When properly prepared royal icing is safe to eat. When using egg whites, you should make sure they are pasteurized in order for them to be safe. When eating raw egg whites, there is a small chance you can get salmonella.
If your royal icing recipe calls for meringue powder, you are good to go as it is safe to eat. If your recipe calls for egg whites, be sure to buy pasteurized egg whites or pasteurize your own. By pasteurizing egg whites, you heat them to a certain level where it doesn’t cook them but will kill any harmful bacteria.
How to pasteurize egg whites
To pasteurize egg whites, separate the yolks from the whites. In a double boiler above a pot of simmering water, add your egg whites and half of the sugar the recipe calls for. Whisk the egg whites and sugar while above the pot of simmering water until the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the egg whites from the simmering water and let them cool for around five minutes. Then, continue on with making your royal icing recipe.
How to store royal icing
Leftover royal icing with meringue powder can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. Leftover royal icing made from egg whites can be stored in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container. Be sure to beat your leftover royal icing for around 20 seconds before using.
Making Delicious Royal Icing
Royal icing is safe to eat when it is made with meringue powder or pasteurized egg whites. You can buy pasteurized egg whites at the grocery store or make your own at home.
Do you have any questions regarding is royal icing safe to eat? If so, please ask any questions regarding making royal icing in the comments.
Does Royal Icing Need to be Cooked?
If you are making royal icing with raw egg whites, you should pasteurize the egg whites first. In a double boiler atop a pot of simmering water, add your egg whites and half of the sugar the recipe calls for. Whisk the egg whites and sugar while sitting above the pot of simmering water until the temperature reaches 160 degrees Farenheit.
Can You Eat Icing with Raw Egg White?
It is recommended to not eat icing made with raw egg whites, as there is a small chance you could get salmonella. Instead, use pasteurized egg whites or meringue powder.
How Long is Royal Icing Edible?
Royal icing made with meringue powder will last for about two weeks at room temperature if properly stored. Royal icing made with egg whites will last for about three days in the fridge when properly stored.
Can I Eat Royal Icing When Pregnant?
Royal icing made with meringue powder or pasteurized egg whites is safe to eat for pregnant women. Pregnant women should avoid eating royal icing that is made with raw egg whites.