Is royal icing safe to eat?

In this article we are going to answer is royal icing is safe to eat, what is royal icing, is royal icing healthy, what is the risk of eating royal icing, and how to use correctly royal icing. 

Is royal icing safe to eat?

Yes, royal icing is safe to eat especially if it is made with meringue powder. When it is made with raw egg there is a chance that it can get contaminated with salmonella. To reduce the risk of salmonella in royal icing it should be made with pasteurized egg whites. 

What is royal icing?

There is a huge variety of icing that have different texture, flavor, and use in the world of bakery. Royal icing is just another type of icing that has the special characteristic that when it cools, it hardens. 

Royal icing is usually used for decorating cookies or gingerbread houses. The secret ingredient that makes royal icing so special is meringue powder. It can sometimes be made with egg whites but when it is made with meringue powder it has a more glossy consistency which makes it easier to work with. 

If you decide to use egg whites instead of meringue powder there is a higher risk of foodborne illness because of salmonella in eggs. The risk might be small but there is still a risk.

To make royal icing you need 

  • 2 cups of confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of water
  • 4 ½ teaspoons of meringue powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Food coloring depending on what you are decorating

First, you need to combine all the dry ingredients which include confectioners sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. 

Once the dry ingredients are combined, add the water and beat the mixture for about 4 to 5 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. 

Once the mixture is ready, add the food coloring as desired and you’re ready to use it. 

Is royal icing healthy?

No, royal icing is not healthy to eat because it contains almost just sugar. If you eat it in small amounts and once in a while there should not be a problem when eating royal icing but if you indulge in royal icing, sugar can have seriously bad effects on your health. 

Too much sugar in your diet can 

  • Cause weight gain
  • Increase your risk of heart disease
  • Has been linked to acne
  • Increase your risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Increase your risk of cancer
  • Increase your risk of depression
  • Increase your risk of skin aging and cellular aging

What is the risk of eating royal icing?

When royal icing is made with unpasteurized egg whites there is a high risk of foodborne illness because of salmonella. Salmonella can have serious side effects, especially in pregnant women, immunocompromised patients, the elderly, and young children. 

Salmonella is a bacteria that causes salmonellosis which causes symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Symptoms begin about 6 hours to 6 days and last several days. 

The risk of salmonella is that some strains can also cause infection in urine, blood, bones, joints, or the nervous system and can cause severe disease that can cause death, especially in populations that are more at risk. 

According to the CDC, Salmonella cause about 1.35 million illnesses, 26500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year. 

How to use royal icing correctly?

Royal icing is not that hard to use especially if you are good at decorating. To use royal icing correctly, place the royal icing in a pastry bag and pipe it into a cooled cookie. Some recommendations for decorating with royal icing include

  • Use #3 pipe for border and dots
  • Use #1 or #2 pipe for small detailed decorations
  • You should buy a needle-like tool so you can have greater control over little details. 

When you are not using royal icing keep it covered so it won’t dry up. Follow this link on how to decorate cookies with royal icing. 


This article answered: is royal icing safe to eat, what is royal icing, is royal icing healthy, what is the risk of eating royal icing, and how to correctly use royal icing. 


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