does royal icing need to be refrigerated

Does royal icing need to be refrigerated? You are probably going to have this question if you have just started using it.

Surely, it benefits you a lot to learn the basics when working with royal icing.

Royal icing provides an unrivaled level of detail when it comes to decorating cookies.

However, working with royal icing can seem daunting if you have never done it before. And something you should always remember is that royal icing has a shelf-life too.

So, do you really need to refrigerate it to keep it in the best condition?

Yes, it is important to refrigerate royal icing after use, mainly because it contains meringue powder, which cannot stay good at room temperature. 

Does Royal Icing Need to Be Refrigerated?

the royal icing need to be refrigerated

Decorating sugar cookies with elaborate designs requires royal icing. However, for all its elegance, royal icing is notoriously difficult to work with.

So, is royal icing required to be refrigerated?

Yes, is the answer.

Remember it is made of powdered meringue because of which you must keep it in the refrigerator.  The shelf life of royal icing depends on its storage conditions.

If it is produced with fresh egg whites and improperly stored, it will go bad, have an unpleasant odor, and be unsafe to eat.

Tip: Be sure to thaw your royal icing at room temperature if you have stored it in the freezer.

Why Do You Need to Refrigerate Royal Icing?

To understand why it needs to be refrigerated, you need to know what it truly is and how it is made.

Keep in mind that the frosting known as “royal icing” is actually made from egg whites, flavorings, and confectioners’ sugar.  

It is the presence of egg whites that requires proper storage in the freezer or your royal icing will begin to spoil. 

How Do You Use Royal Icing When Refrigerated?

how to use after refrigerating

You usually need to wait 6-8 hours for the royal icing to dry completely.

So, when you flood the cookies, you must apply them by piping or spreading them. They should then be left to cool to room temperature.

However, royal icing will start to dry as soon as it is used. Due to this, extreme caution is warranted.

In addition, always keep a wet cloth over the royal icing. Do it while you are working. Not only does it not harden while you embellish, but it also stays soft.

Also, make sure to stir it every once in a while. Moreover, if the desired consistency is lost, just a few drops of water will do the trick. 

Can Royal Icing Be Refrigerated to Extend Shelf-Life?

can icing extend shelf life

Yes, Royal icing can be stored, but only if done properly.

You may have some leftover royal icing after using it to adorn some cookies, a cake, or other decorations, and you will want to keep it from going to waste.

That is when freezing it will do the job.

To avoid having gritty royal icing, it is best to let it sit out at room temperature for a few hours after preparation.

This allows the sugar crystals to dissolve.

Tip: If you want to make your royal icing a bit thicker you can always achieve that consistency using lemon juice. 

How Long Will Royal Icing Last at Room Temperature?

If it contains fresh egg whites, you should handle it with additional care.

When stored between 68-72F, royal icing made with fresh egg whites will keep for two days.

If you have created your royal icing with dried egg whites or it contains meringue powder, you can store it for up to a week at room temperature.

If you want to store it for longer, you need to consider refrigerating it. 

How Do You Refrigerate Royal Icing for Improved Shelf Life?

how to refrigerate to extend .life

You can definitely improve the shelf life of your freshly prepared royal icing simply by refrigerating it.

Royal icing prepared with fresh egg whites will stay in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

But, if you have made it using meringue powder or opted for dried egg whites, refrigerating it would keep it good for up to 2 weeks. 

How Do You Do It?

Royal icing is best kept in the refrigerator in a clean, grease-free glass. Alternatively, you can also use a ceramic bowl that has been thoroughly washed and then wiped down with lemon juice.

Unless the plastic container is fresh, avoid using it because it is impossible to clean the oil buildup, which degrades the royal icing.

To prevent the icing from hardening and cracking, place it in a bowl and cover it nicely with plastic wrap.

After that, you can either put the bowl in a sturdy plastic bag to store it.

Note: It is important to always keep it well-wrapped, as the sugar in it will absorb odors from other foods if kept in the fridge.

An Important Consideration

an important consideration

When stored for longer than a few days, you may notice the water separating from the sugar in your royal icing.

It may not be aesthetically pleasing, but that does not mean you cannot put it to good use.

In order to get it back to the correct consistency for use, all you have to do is give it a good whisk at low speed.

Tip: Make use of confectioner's sugar if you really love a thicker consistency for royal icing. 

Does Royal Icing Harden When Refrigerated?

It can happen, but it is usually the result of how you store it in the refrigerator in the first place.

As a rule of thumb, royal icing should never be refrigerated while drying or after it has dried.

You should only store it in the refrigerator immediately after preparation. Also, to store it without hardening, it is essential to press a layer of cling film directly onto the top to remove all the air. 


Do not store your baked products in the fridge after using royal icing.

The cold, moist air will prevent the icing from setting and will soften your treats. Instead, the frosting should be left to dry naturally.

Is It Okay to Freeze Royal Icing?

is okay to freeze icing

Yes, it is okay to freeze royal icing.

Royal icing should be frozen if it is to be kept for longer than two weeks. The frosting should be stored in a new, airtight freezer bag.

If you handle everything right, it stays good in the freezer for about six months. To be on the safe side, you should double-bag it or put it in a plastic freezer box.

When you need it, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature.

Before use, be sure to give it a quick whisk on low to achieve the desired consistency.

Remember, you can adjust the consistency by adding additional water or icing sugar, if necessary.

You should wait about two hours after adding extra icing sugar so the sugar can dissolve. 

Do You Always Need to Refrigerate Leftover Royal Icing?

do always need to refrigerate

Yes, it is a good idea to store it in the refrigerator to use later, but you do not always have to do it. 

In fact, you can use leftover royal icing in many different ways and save yourself from the hassle of storing it.

For instance: 


The icing may be piped onto waxed or baking paper in straight lines; once dry, the lines could be broken apart and used as sprinkles. 


It is also possible to pipe dots onto waxed paper and then dry them out before scraping them off

You can then store it in an airtight jar and use it as a topping for ice cream or decorate your cakes. 


a flowers

Simply pipe flowers onto waxed paper and then leave them to dry. Once dried, you can store them to decorate cupcakes or cakes. 


You can easily put the royal icing into different molds and wait for them to dry.

Get them out of the molds and put them in an airtight container. You can use them later to decorate cakes. 


Making run-outs involves piping out shapes onto wax paper, filling those forms with runny icing, and allowing them to dry.

Go with an airtight container for storage and take them out when you are ready to use them to embellish baked goods.

Tip: Make use of a thinner to make royal icing a bit more spreadable and work great for flooding cookies. 

Read Next: Can You Eat Pancake Batter or Not?


You can use royal icing in so many ways, so you may obviously be thinking about storing some but, does royal icing need to be refrigerated?

Well, yes, you should refrigerate it, especially if you want to use it after a couple of days.

But, it is also possible to use that leftover icing and turn it into something else, like molds, flowers, dots, etc., and use whenever you like.