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Less Sweet Royal Icing | Jam & Bread | Matthew Smedal

Less Sweet Royal Icing

  • Author: Matthew Smedal
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Enough icing to frost a batch of Christmas cookies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: British


Here’s quick and easy recipe that will allow you make a less sweet royal icing which will — maybe unfortunately — allow you to eat way more of it.

If you prefer not to use raw eggs in your less sweet royal icing you can substitute the two egg whites with 4 teaspoon (12 grams) of meringue powder and 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) of water. Works every time.


  • 2 egg whites from two large eggs (60 grams)
  • 2 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (300 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Place your confectioner’s sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and carefully stir to distribute the salt. Fair warning: You will likely get a sugar cloud in your kitchen after doing this. 
  2. Add in your egg whites and vanilla extract and — using the whisk attachment — slowly start to beat the icing. Again, you’re headed for a sugar-cloud here. You can prevent this by wrapping a damp kitchen towel over the top of the bowl and keeping it there for about a minute until most of the sugar has dissolved into the liquid. As the sugar incorporates increase the speed of the mixer, stopping it to scrape down the sides of the bowl once.
  3. Mix on medium-high for about 5 minutes or until the icing is super shiny and forms gorgeous, floppy, soft peaks.
  4. Use immediately, always keeping the bowl covered with your damp kitchen towel.


My Less Sweet Royal Icing keeps remarkably well for several days at room temperature. If you have any extra scrape it into a storage container and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the icing so that it doesn’t dry out. There is no need to refrigerate the icing when you are storing it this way. If you have stored if for more than a day plan on spending a few minutes re-whipping it before using it.

Keywords: royal icing, frosting, icing, less sweet royal icing, less sweet royal icing recipe