is royal icing gluten free

The question on whether royal icing is gluten free often arises, especially for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. The good news is that pure royal icing, made with the traditional ingredients, is indeed gluten free. Royal icing is typically made from a mixture of powdered sugar, water, and meringue powder or egg whites. None of these ingredients contain gluten, making royal icing a safe choice for those following a gluten-free diet.

Ingredients in Royal Icing

Royal icing is made with a few simple ingredients that are naturally gluten free. Here are the components commonly used in royal icing:

  • Powdered Sugar: Also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar, this fine sugar is made by grinding granulated sugar into a powdered form. It does not contain any gluten.
  • Water: The liquid component of royal icing, water is gluten free and does not add any gluten to the icing.
  • Meringue Powder or Egg Whites: These ingredients provide the structure and texture to royal icing. Meringue powder is typically made from dried egg whites, sugar, and stabilizers and is gluten free. If using fresh egg whites, make sure they are not contaminated with gluten-containing ingredients.

Gluten Contamination Risks

While the core ingredients of royal icing are gluten free, there is still a risk of gluten contamination, particularly if the icing is store-bought or made in a facility that also manufacturers gluten-containing products. Cross-contamination can occur through shared equipment or improper handling. It’s important to read labels carefully and choose reputable brands that have gluten-free certifications or labels.

Making Gluten-Free Royal Icing

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you may prefer to make your own gluten-free royal icing to ensure its safety. Here’s a simple recipe for gluten-free royal icing:

  1. Ingredients:
Powdered Sugar2 cups
Meringue Powder2 tablespoons
Water3-4 tablespoons
  1. Instructions:
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and meringue powder.
  2. Add water gradually while mixing. Adjust the amount of water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
  3. Beat the mixture on low speed for 7-10 minutes until it forms stiff peaks.
  4. Your gluten-free royal icing is now ready to use for decorating cakes, cookies, and other treats.

Precautions for Gluten-Free Baking

While royal icing itself may be gluten free, it is essential to ensure the overall baked goods are also gluten free. Here are some important precautions to take:

  • Check the labels of other ingredients used in your recipes, such as flour, baking powder, or flavorings, to ensure they are gluten free.
  • Be cautious of cross-contamination when using shared equipment or utensils. Clean and sanitize thoroughly before using for gluten-free baking.
  • Store royal icing and finished baked goods in sealed containers to prevent cross-contamination from gluten-containing items.


In summary, royal icing, made with traditional ingredients, is gluten free. However, it is crucial to be vigilant about potential gluten contamination and take necessary precautions to ensure a truly gluten-free experience. By following proper labeling, choosing reliable brands, and practicing safe baking practices, you can enjoy delicious gluten-free treats adorned with beautiful royal icing.