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Sweet Treats: How to Flood a Cookie With Royal Icing

You know those smooth, flawlessly iced sugar cookies you see in bakeries? You can make them yourself! The key is using the right type of royal icing at the right consistency. It all starts with flooding, or creating a base of royal icing for your cookies.

Learn how to flood cookies with royal icing to create perfectly sweet treats!

Learn how to flood ice cookies with this tutorial from Juniper Cakery

What you need

Step 1:

Tiips on royal icing consistency for cookies

First, make two consistencies of royal icing: one in piping consistency and one in flooding consistency. The two consistencies should be the same color.

In the photo above, you can see two dollops of icing. The one on the left is the piping consistency: it’s a slightly thick royal icing that will hold its shape and corral the fooding icing. On the right is the flooding icing, which is a softer, almost honey-like consistency. This icing flows nicely, but should be stopped by the outlining icing.

Some bakers like to use what’s called 15-second consistency icing for both outlining and flooding. As you gain more experience, you can try that option. When you’re just getting started, though, it’s best to have two different icings.

Step 2:

Place the piping consistency icing in a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip.

Always look inside the piping tip to see if it has a seam on the side. Seams in the tip can cause a crooked flow.

How to flood cookies with royal icing tutorial by Juniper Cakery

Carefully pipe an outline within the shape of your sugar cookie: Touch some royal icing down onto the cookie slowly lift so that the royal icing the flows out as you pipe is suspended above the cookie before it rests onto the cookie. This ensures better control and more fluid lines.

If you’re going for a seamless look between the outline and the flooding icing, move quickly! If you want a more visible outline, wait up to 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on humidity) for the outline to set slightly.

Step 3:

To flood the cookie, we like to use a cookie icing bottle, which is simply a food-safe plastic bottle with a thin pointed nozzle. Of course, you can use a piping bag without a tip or with a slightly larger round tip.

Decorate and flood cookies with royal icing with this step-by-step tutorial

Fill your bottle or piping bag with with the flood-consistency icing. Carefully pipe the icing onto the cookie filling in the outline roughly.

Step 4:

Flooding cookies with royal icing tutorial by Juniper Cakery

Using a toothpick or cocktail stick and swirl-like motions, gently yet quickly move the flooding icing over the entire cookie, reach out to the piped outlines.

Step 5:

With flood icing, you can get air bubble threatening to ruin your hard work. Try dropping the cookie from a few inches or smacking the cookie down on a level surface. This helps any trapped air bubbles rise to the top, where you can pop them with a toothpick.

Some air bubbles hide halfway between the cookie and the icing surface. Look for slightly darker splotches in your icing. Poke the darker icing with a toothpick to pop them.

Step 6:

Before you even think of adding more details, leave your cookies to fully set for at least 20 hours.

How to flood ice cookies tutorial How to decorate cookies with royal icing

If you catch the cookie bug it won’t be surprising to find yourself practically living in your kitchen covered with powdered sugar. Opening your talents up to the realm of cookie decorating is fantastic. It’s pretty scary, but with a little patience and practice you’ll be piping like a pro in no time!

What’s you favorite way to decorate cookies?

piping pink heart on a blue cookie

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and was updated in February 2018.



What royal icing recipe do you use?


Do you have a good tasting sugar cookie recipe that is good for shaped cookies. I can’t find one that keeps it shape, yet tastes good. Thanks!

Pamela Jarratt

Look up it is the best recipe I’ve ever used my grandkids love it . It calls for Almond Flavoring and the cookies are great to cut into shapes it’s best to bake put in a container for 24 hrs and the add icing.
You will love this cookie as will everyone else.
Try it just once


Jan, I use the Cookie Countess sugar cookie recipe. I have had no problem with my shapes not holding to the desired cutter shape.


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