Air Bubbles In Royal Icing

Baking By tuctam Updated 18 Jan 2013 , 3:40am by kakeladi

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tuctam Posted 20 Dec 2012 , 5:50pm
post #1 of 12

I am so frustrated.  I have tried so many recipes for royal icing and have followed directions to a T and when I flood my cookies I am seeing air bubbles especially in my lighter colors.  I wasted so much icing because I just can't find that right recipe.  I have been to all the popular cookie decorators websites/blogs and tried theirs with not much success with air bubbles. 

Any advise and or suggestions you have that would help with these stubborn bubbles I would GREATLY appreciate. 

Thanks in advance for your time.

11 replies
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BakingIrene Posted 20 Dec 2012 , 8:08pm
post #2 of 12

Let's start with some very basic procedure.  (disclaimer I do not use meringue powder)


You DO NOT whip royal icing at high speed when you are making it from egg whites.  You beat the egg white on medium speed with a mixer and add sugar gradually.  Then you keep beating for a few more minutes. I use 3 whites from "large" eggs per pound of powdered sugar. It should form soft peaks.


To thin it down to spread on cookies, you MIX with water as gently as possible.  Stir with the back of a spoon with just enough motion to blend the icing and water. Keep the spoon touching the bowl so that you are not trapping bubbles into the icing.


Finally you let the soft icing sit for a half hour and then you start flooding the cookies.  That way the air bubbles come out.

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tuctam Posted 21 Dec 2012 , 1:45am
post #3 of 12

Thank you for your recommendations.  I tried again tonight and as you said let it sit for 30 minutes prior to using.  I did notice like you said a lot of bubbles come to the surface.  It did help some.  Right now I lean towards using Sweetopia's recipe and mixing procedure.  Thanks again for replying and giving some great tips. 

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sugarkissed_net Posted 21 Dec 2012 , 3:04pm
post #4 of 12

After I mix water and coloring into my icing to get it the right consistency and color, I let the icing sit in a bowl covered with a damp towel. The air bubbles come to the surface so that I can pop them before filling my icing bag. Then, after filling my icing bag, I massage the bag to pop any new bubbles that have formed. Finally, after flooding a cookie I run a toothpick (or boo boo stick) through the surface of the icing. This helps to spread the icing evenly and pop any bubbles. Also, if you see a bubble form after flooding you can pop it with the tip of a toothpick (or boo boo stick) and the icing will fill in the whole.


I usually use 12-count icing for both outlining and flooding because I hate to mix two different consistencies for each color. The recipe I use is below. I love it because it dries hard on the outside and remains a little soft on the inside. It's tastes great and the texture is more pleasant to eat than royal icing that dries rock hard.


Royal Icing
Author:, adapted from Sweet P’s Royal Glaze
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder
  • ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon glycerin
  • 12 drops white gel food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon oil-free clear vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon oil-free clear almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon oil-free clear butter flavoring


  1. Use a whisk to mix together the water, meringue powder, and cream of tartar for about 30 seconds, making sure there are no lumps.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift the powdered sugar.
  3. Add the water mixture to the sugar and mix for one minute.
  4. Add the corn syrup, glycerine, food coloring and flavoring.
  5. Beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks, approximately 6 to 8 minutes, pausing to scrape down the edges of the bowl if needed.

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thefrostedfox Posted 21 Dec 2012 , 4:52pm
post #5 of 12

I use the Wilton royal icing recipe and mix on low for 10 minutes. Then i slowly add water to get the consistancy i need. then let it sit for a while and mix it slowly for just a minute and then pipe with it.

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sugarshack Posted 22 Dec 2012 , 7:37am
post #6 of 12

if you flood with no larger than a tip 2, it will pop bubbles as it flows thru the tip. :)

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tuctam Posted 23 Dec 2012 , 2:48pm
post #7 of 12

Thank you all so much for suggestions.  I am going to  try different ones this week while I am off work. 

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ShareDessertCo Posted 23 Dec 2012 , 4:32pm
post #8 of 12

I absolutely love the recipe I use by Sweet Dani B. It is fast and easy and tastes great! It does not get rock hard so these cookies end up absolutely delicious to eat and not just to look at!


Royal Icing
By Sweet Dani B
Yields: 5 cups
1/2 cup meringue powder
1 cup cold water
2 lb powdered sugar
Food coloring (water-based)


One thing I do is that I don't use the bulb whisk attatchment on my hand-mixer when making my meringue. I use the beaters (the ones with 4 thick wires which is more like the paddle attachment on a stand mixer). The bulb whisk is made to incorporate air and the beaters don't do that as much. I don't have a problem with bubbles when I follow the instructions in the link below. (Mix to the right consistency, separate into different bowls and stir in the water-based food coloring). This way you can make your royal icing and pipe right away rather than having to wait. If you do get a bubble or two, you can pop them with a toothpick.

Here is a link to my full recipe and instructions.


Hopefully this helps too!


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SemiSweetMike Posted 29 Dec 2012 , 6:53pm
post #9 of 12

Air bubbles are a pain! Here's a trick that really helps me out. After piping and flooding your cookie with royal icing, shake your cookie vigorously by sliding it back and forth on a smooth surface. Don't worry, the icing won't get messed up from doing this. Actually, the flood icing becomes very level after shaking and it forces all the air bubbles to the surface. The bubbles usually pop on their own after surfacing, but if they don't you can easily see them after shaking and pop them with a toothpick. 

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SugaredSaffron Posted 30 Dec 2012 , 12:31pm
post #10 of 12

There's a technique, I think its called rubbing down? You use a spatula and take out the royal icing and spread it back and forth against a clean surface before loading it into a bag. I think its what the pro's do.

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enga Posted 17 Jan 2013 , 8:01pm
post #11 of 12

I love Toba Garret's Royal Icing recipe from her book "The Well Decorated Cake"to make the flood icing by adding 1-2 ounces of water to the royal icing a little at a time and stirring it carefully with a spatula. After you add half of the water check the consistency. Continue to add water until you have the flow consistency.


Her book says, you have achieved the flow consistency, after you run a knife through the icing, the icing completely comes back together after you count to 10 seconds.  If the icing comes together before 7 seconds, add a little more royal icing to thicken it.


I use it for my cookie bouquets all the time. I took me awhile to achieve a smooth cookie without air bubbles. I learned from trail and error not to use the whip blade either, and I definitely don't use squeeze bottles, because just the action of adding the flood icing to the bottle created a lot of air bubbles. I out line the cookie with stiff royal icing, then flood and use a tooth pick to bring it to the edge and give the cookie a gentle shake to make it all uniform.


There are all sorts of wonderful recipes for royal icing, but this one works for me.  I like that it comes out so fluffy, smooth, and light, and I don't have to struggle with it when doing pipe work, because my wrist are shot,lol.  I plan on using it for Valentina's Day cookie bouquets.

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kakeladi Posted 18 Jan 2013 , 3:40am
post #12 of 12

When you add liquid stir it in a figure 8 with a wire wisk S L O W L Y  and there should be no bubbles. 

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