How, Exactly, Do You Store Royal Icing?

Royal icing has achieved an elevated status in the world of decorative desserts. Not only does this spreadable delight make for a flawless finish atop cookies and cakes, but it also delivers a decadent flavor, largely thanks to the inclusion of fresh or dried egg whites or meringue powder (depending on the recipe). As a result, this regal spread requires some TLC to preserve its rich flavor and texture between uses. So how, exactly, do you store royal icing to keep it fresh, and avoid wasting any of your creamy creation?

Since royal icing is prone to drying quickly — a positive and negative factor in the decorating process when icing consistency matters — you'll want to ensure that you're properly storing your icing, even while actively using it. To prevent it from drying out, it's important to protect your royal icing from any air sneaking in. To do this, first determine how long you'll store your icing, as your strategy will change based on short-term versus long-term use. For example, preserving your icing for short-term use, such as decorating a batch of cookies, a gingerbread house, or a cake, requires a different storage technique than keeping your icing fresh for a longer stretch. 

Understanding the different storage options

For shorter-term storage, royal icing requires only that you cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap to keep out any air that may dry or disturb the icing's desired texture. For longer-term storage, we recommend that you transfer any leftover icing into an airtight container. Then use either wax or parchment paper, plastic wrap, or even a moist paper towel to create an interior layer over your container before fully sealing it. This will add one additional form of protection against dryness.

If your royal icing contains meringue powder, it can be stored at room temperature on the countertop; however, if you're using fresh or dried egg whites in your icing, it's best to store it in the refrigerator. Either method should preserve your icing for two weeks. A third, longer-term storage option is to place your royal icing in a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to three months.

While royal icing requires royal treatment, remember that storage should be simple. Whichever option you choose, the more precise you are with your storage technique, the fresher your royal icing will taste — and appear — when you reuse it.