How To Properly Store Royal Icing For Later

Royal icing is a versatile frosting that tastes great and looks absolutely beautiful on everything from buttery sugar cookies to colorful Christmas gingerbread houses. That being said, it is rarely an ingredient that one tends to finish in a single baking session, and, as such, there are many times when large amounts of royal icing are leftover. In order to avoid food waste and keep your icing fresh and ready to top your next batch of sweets, you must be sure to store it according to its needs. Luckily, there are several different methods for preserving royal icing between uses.

This type of frosting is extremely simple, with the most minimal recipes calling for only powdered sugar and pasteurized egg whites or meringue powder. This simplicity, however, also makes the icing extremely temperamental. Exposure to air is the main enemy. Keep the icing in an airtight container or in a mixing bowl with a layer of plastic wrap over the top. Press the plastic wrap down so that it touches the surface of the icing, as this is key for preventing the frosting from coming into excess contact with the air. When stored this way, royal icing made with meringue powder will last for two weeks at room temperature and one month in your refrigerator. Icing made with egg whites will last for less time — about a week at room temperature and three weeks in the fridge.

How to tell if royal icing has gone bad

Due to its sky-high sugar content, royal icing does not spoil very quickly; however, it can degrade to a point where the quality of the icing renders it relatively unusable for its intended purpose. The primary risk when storing this icing is that the exposure to air will very quickly cause it to dry out and become rock hard, meaning it will no longer be able to be piped or spread. The consistency of the icing may also change over time, separating and becoming undesirable in texture and appearance. In addition to these culinary concerns, keep an eye out for visible signs of mold or bacteria growth, which will render the icing unsafe to consume.

If you need to store your royal icing for longer than a month, you may want to consider freezing it. Do so by transferring the icing into a sealable plastic bag, removing any excess air, and placing it into the freezer. There, it will last for two to three months. Frozen royal icing can easily be defrosted as long as you are patient; simply set it on the counter and wait for a few hours. The total length of time will vary, so check the icing and ensure that it's fully thawed and has achieved the proper texture before use.