Royal icing is a frosting used to decorate cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and other baking products. But how do we preserve royal icing?
Royal icing made with meringue powder can be stored in a cool, dark place for one week. You can also keep it in the fridge for up to 1 month or extend its shelf life for three months by freezing it.
The shelf life is significantly reduced in the case of royal icing prepared with egg whites.
I invite you to continue reading to know how to preserve the royal icing.
Store royal icing at room temperature
Royal icing is made with meringue powder, egg whites, and icing sugar. But the shelf life between these products is not the same.
Royal icing prepared with meringue powder usually has a much longer shelf life than egg whites and can be stored at room temperature without problems.
On the other hand, royal icing made with egg whites should not be stored at room temperature since the humidity tends to separate more quickly from the frosting, accelerating their decomposition process.
To preserve the royal meringue icing powder at room temperature in the best way, you just have to follow these indications:
- Step 1: Dry the container.
The container should preferably be made of glass or metal, well dry, and without traces of grease.
- Step 2: Pour the icing into the container.
After pouring the royal icing, you must clean the outer walls of the container in case something stays there.
If some royal icing is attached to the walls of the container, it will crystallize and could cause the rest of the contents to thicken.
- Step 3: Cover with plastic film.
The plastic should touch the entire surface and then stick the surplus very well on the outer walls of the container to reduce the air intake as much as possible.
- Step 4: Cover.
If the container has an airtight lid, much better. Otherwise, cover it again with plastic film as if it were a lid; you just have to stretch the plastic well to the edges of the bowl.
- Step 5: Tag.
As I always recommend, label the container with the storage date.
- Step 6: Store in a cool, dark place.
Light and direct heat accelerate the decomposition process, which is not what you want.
Following all these measurements, the royal icing can last a week at room temperature.
Keep the royal icing in the fridge
Keeping the royal icing refrigerated is the general recommendation for sugary products. 
It is the ideal storage option for places with very hot climates or when summer is hitting very hard. But in particular, this storage method serves the royal icing made with egg whites.
To store the royal icing in the fridge, you have to do the same as in the previous method, that is:
- Step 1: Make sure the container is dry.
Traces of grease or moisture would ruin the actual icing. It will be best if it is airtight.
- Step 2: Pour the contents into the container.
As in the previous method, after filling the container, ensure the outer walls of the container are clean to prevent it from crystallizing and ending up affecting the rest of the icing.
- Step 3: Cover the surface with film paper.
Make sure that the plastic film touches the frosting, and the edges stick well to the walls of the container to block all air inlet.
- Step 4: Final covering.
Close the lid tightly if you have an airtight container (suggested in step 1). If you do not have a container with a lid, you can cover it with plastic film, but this should NOT be glued to the mixture, as in the previous step.
- Step 5: Tag.
This way, you will know how long it has been stored and if it is safe to consume.
- Step 6: Refrigerate in the coldest area of the fridge.
The coldest area with the most stable temperature is at the bottom of the refrigerator, away from the door.
Following these recommendations, you can keep the royal icing made with meringue powder in good condition for one month. On the other hand, royal icing made with egg whites will only be able to last three days.
When using, it is advisable to leave the royal icing for a few minutes at room temperature.
Freeze the royal icing
Can the royal icing be frozen? You can freeze the royal icing made with meringue powder or egg whites. However, it would have a different shelf life for each case.
To properly freeze the royal icing, you need to follow these steps:
- Step 1: Pour the royal icing into airtight bags.
The glass has a chance of breaking in the freezer when you store it for a long time, so the most convenient thing, in this case, is to keep it in ziplock bags.
- Step 2: Flatten.
After removing the air from the bag, it is advisable to flatten the royal icing so that in this way, it freezes evenly.
- Step 3: Remove as much air as possible.
Before sealing, it is advisable to remove all the air inside the bag. So, push the content to the bottom and take out the air by squeezing the top of the pack.
Another way to do it is to place a straw, close the ziplock bag, just leaving space for the straw, and then suck it.
Again, keep the royal icing flat (step 2).
- Step 4: Store in an airtight container or bag.
If you have several bags with royal icing, it is advisable to store them all in one place, so an airtight container resistant to the freezer or another more giant airtight bag is a good option.
In case of using another bag, you should also take out as much air as possible inside it.
- Step 5: Tag.
Placing the storage date will indicate when it is about to decompose.
- Step 6: Freeze.
Following all the steps, the royal icing prepared with meringue powder might be freezing for three months. In contrast, the royal icing made with egg whites can last between 3 and 4 weeks.
If you are thinking of using the frozen royal icing, leave it in the fridge overnight, then leave it for a while at room temperature.
With the royal icing always in good, take into account the following considerations:
- Sometimes when you store the royal icing for a while, you will see a transparent liquid, sometimes somewhat yellowish, but it is something completely normal, and by beating the icing again, it will be perfect.
- It is not advisable to store the royal icing in plastic containers since plastic tends to be more porous and retains more fat.
- When using fresh egg whites, you risk contracting salmonella, so many confectioners prefer to use meringue powder, which also has a longer shelf life, or you can use pasteurized egg whites.
How do you know if the royal icing is bad?
At first glance, determining whether the icing is in poor condition is tricky.
As explained before, it is normal to see liquid among the royal icing, especially if it is made with egg whites. But this is not an indication that it is bad.
However, if the royal icing smells or tastes bad, it should be discarded immediately to avoid any poisoning.
How long does the royal icing last?
Depending on the storage method selected, here you have the summarized table.
|Royal icing (meringue powder based) at room temperature||1 week|
|Royal icing (meringue powder based) refrigerated||1 month|
|Royal icing (meringue powder based) frozen||3 months|
|Royal icing (egg whites based) refrigerated||3 days|
|Royal icing (egg whites based) frozen||3 – 4 weeks|
What is the best way to preserve royal icing?
I could say that the best way to preserve the royal icing is using the fridge since you can store any kind of royal icing there, in addition to helping maintain the same consistency.
Freezing is also an option when you want to extend its shelf life.
If you like this type of content, this site has a long list of topics related to food preservation.