Can I Freeze Royal Icing?

This is a question I get asked quite a bit here on the blog and, much to my embarrassment, it is one that I had no answer for until I tested it myself. 

It's baking season now and many people want to get into the kitchen to ice those marvelous cookies for friends and family.  I'm right there with you. Those of us who ice cookies on a regular basis inevitably end up with leftover royal icing and I'll admit that in the past I used to dump what was left (big guilt trip, believe me!).  Well, I no longer do that because I freeze what I do have left after one of my baking projects.

It's simple, it's easy and it works!

Unless one is icing hundreds of cookies, you may end up with leftover royal icing after making a couple of dozen cookies.  Most royal icing recipes (including my own) make a substantial amount to begin with.  I think it's good to have more icing than is needed, because there are always moments when you want to add a little flourish here or there, and then there are moments when you absolutely do run out of a color and need to make more.

You can see that I truly do love to use a whole range of colors when I decorate these types of cookies.  Having more options makes the job of icing sugar cookies enjoyable and absolutely easier.  Again, unless I have a specific request from someone, I usually mix colors based on what I want to convey.  I almost see it as artwork that allows one to express a certain kind of creativity.  

Keep in mind that I tested freezing royal icing with my recipe and no one else's.  

This is what you do.  Any leftover royal icing should be placed into zip-top freezer bags, giving each color its own bag.  Push the icing to the very bottom of the bag and squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it shut.  You want the royal icing baggies to be well sealed.  Repeat with remaining icing. Place these sealed bags into a larger zip-top freezer bag and seal shut, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

Freeze flat on a rimmed baking sheet until you're ready to use the icing.  

You can make your icing a couple of weeks ahead of time and freeze it before your baking project.  With all of the baking I've been doing in the past month, believe me, it has saved a lot of time doing this task early.

Note: royal icing can successfully be frozen for up to one month.

Thawing is the easiest thing of all.  Remove as many icing baggies from the freezer as you will need and let them thaw on the kitchen counter.  As soon as they're malleable, they are ready to be removed from the bags.

Note: colors may separate and the icing may need to be adjusted to have the right consistency for piping and flooding.  I urge you to drop the icing into a bowl to mix thoroughly with a spoon rather than putting it into your piping bag.  Find out if it needs to be thinned out with a bit of water or if it needs anything else for your baking project.  If the colors do seem uneven, use that spoon and bring the color back together.  This is imperative!  

Use as desired by filling your piping bag or squeeze bottle and decorate those cookies.

If you have followed my delicious recipe, there will be no compromise in flavor or texture.

Now you know!  Royal icing can be frozen with great success.

Happy Baking!


  1. I found this super helpful! Going to try it myself. Thanks!

  2. can you freeze decorated cookies? I need to make about 15doz cookies at Christmas and wondered if I could start early, decorate and then freeze them, or would this mess with the consistency?

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Yes, you can definitely freeze iced cookies once the icing has set & dried. As long as you don't add any colored nonpareils, dragées, or any edible candies that are colored, you should be fine. Colored sprinkles, etc. will bleed once you thaw the cookies and you don't want that.

      Freeze cookies flat on baking sheets and then wrap them tightly in bundles using a good plastic wrap (put pieces of parchment between cookies. No more than 4-6 cookies per bundle. These can then be placed in zip-top freezer bags (remove all air).

      I recommend that you don't freeze the cookies for more than one month.

      Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

      Best of luck!

  3. Thanks! Good tips, i'm going to start teaching a class decorating cookies with royal icing. I worked as a cake decorator for many years before I was diagnosed with MS. In planning for my class, I was trying to figure out the best way to do the icing. I was planning on six students and providing each student with four small parchment bags in different colours, which amounts to 24 bags of royal icing! That's a lot of icing and colours to mix and I was trying to think of how to break up the work and you just gave me the solution! Very grateful! Mixing the icing is hard on my shoulders, tendinitis The bane of every cake decorator! LOL!

    1. Sounds like a good plan, Wendylea!! I know you will have success with the cookie decorating classes of yours. Keep me posted and email me photos if you get the chance!


  4. Thank you so much David!
    Yaay! No more wasted icing! This helps heaps!!

  5. Hello, can I use mine which was frosted few months ago; You write only one month but mine was like 3-4 month ago but -17 C the hole time. Do you think that it makes my guests sick if i use it now?
    Thanky ou for his helpful article!!! :-)

  6. Hi Katerina, you can try using your icing even at 3-4 months as long as the freezer has been stable. Taste it before you use it to see if it's still palatable.

    Let me know how it works out.

    Your guests should be fine.

  7. If you freeze decorated cookies will the colors merge/run as it thaws out?

    1. Shanee, as long as the cookies are completely dry before freezing, and you freeze the cookies by removing all of the air from the freezer bag, they will be fine. Thaw while wrapped, because you don't want any condensation forming on a bare cookie.

  8. I have some thinned royal icing & medium consistency in freezer but it isn't frozen. Still soft. Is it suppose to freeze solid? Thank you.

  9. Jennylu, the royal icing will not freeze solid. It stays somewhat pliable in the freezer. Just make sure it's room temp before you mix it back together and use it.

  10. Hello David, I have sugar cookies with white royal icing in the freezer. After they've thawed, can I add more royal icing for decorations?

  11. Could I freeze the icing as a shape and decorate things with it later? I want to make fishy cupcakes.

    1. I don't see why not. You could also store your piped royal icing shapes in either zip top bags or an airtight container. As long as the air isn't humid in the room you're storing them in, they should hold up at room temperature .


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