Royal Icing Drying Too Fast

I'm hoping someone can help me! I have been doing sugar cookies with royal icing for a couple years now, but for some reason, with this batch of cookies, my royal icing is drying SO fast! I'm not a super quick outliner but I am not slow by any means, and I have NEVER had this happen before. By the time I outline and go to flood, my outline is already starting to dry! Any tips or ideas??

Original Post

Hi, again! Great first post with a great question. I am going to answer it with a series of questions to you to help diagnose what happened, as there are at least five key things that could impact drying time:

(1) Did you change your royal icing recipe, or do you use meringue powder? If the latter, sometimes variations in the meringue powder from batch to batch (bag to bag) can affect drying time, as meringue powder has other additives in it that icing made from pure egg whites or albumen does not. Some of these things are drying agents. However, I would expect these variations to be relatively minor.

(2) Did you mix your icing thicker than usual? The thicker the icing is to start, the faster it will dry.

(3) Are you outlining larger cookies than your usual? Outlining a larger cookie will take more time, so, if the cookie is larger and nothing else has changed, the icing may have had a longer time to dry before you came around to flooding the cookie.

(4) Have your drying conditions changed? If the ambient humidity is especially low or you are using other means (than air-drying) to dry your cookies, drying time can naturally be accelerated.

(5) Did you have a lot of white or other coloring in your icing? Adding coloring, especially white, loosens the icing and can delay drying time.

Hi Julia,

Thank you so much for your reply!

So #1 I am using meringue powder but its the same brand I have always used, does it go bad?

#2 Now that I think about it it was a bit thicker but really not by much!

#3 I thought about that luckily I am doing all shapes and different sizes, but it was happening to all of them! Even the smaller cookies..

#4 I will say most of the time when I do cookies its winter that's the only thing i can think has changed since its summer where I live. I just use air dry.

#5 I haven't used any white so far everything has been colored.. I wish I had photos so i could upload but I don't have access tot he cookies right now.

I did however instead of outlineing the cookie and then flooding i just flooded as i went which kind of sort of worked but i hate that I don't have that initial straight edge..

Celese Marie posted:

Hi Julia,

Thank you so much for your reply!

So #1 I am using meringue powder but its the same brand I have always used, does it go bad?

#2 Now that I think about it it was a bit thicker but really not by much!

#3 I thought about that luckily I am doing all shapes and different sizes, but it was happening to all of them! Even the smaller cookies..

#4 I will say most of the time when I do cookies its winter that's the only thing i can think has changed since its summer where I live. I just use air dry.

#5 I haven't used any white so far everything has been colored.. I wish I had photos so i could upload but I don't have access tot he cookies right now.

I did however instead of outlineing the cookie and then flooding i just flooded as i went which kind of sort of worked but i hate that I don't have that initial straight edge..

I believe meringue powder does get old.  When it gets older I don't get the same volume and to me the icing doesn't flood as well.

I'm not sure how meringue powder ages, as I don't use it. I prefer to use pure egg whites, as there are fewer variables due to the lack of additives. Based on how you've answered the questions, it's hard to say what might have happened, as it sounds like you didn't do anything differently. My guess is your icing was thicker than you think and/or the drying conditions were drier than you are used to . . .

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