This is the only vegan royal icing recipe you need! Just two ingredients and so easy, your vegan sugar cookies will look professionally decorated for the holidays!

Vegan Royal Icing (How to decorate sugar cookies)

Decorate sugar cookies like a pro

If you think that vegans can’t make beautifully decorated and delicious vegan sugar cookies that taste and look identical to the classics, then think again!

This is truly the only vegan royal icing recipe you need, and it can be used for more than just simply icing a cookie.

In this post, we’ll go over how to beautiful decorate vegan sugar cookies so that they look professional, along with what colors to use for vegan-friendly cookies, and the different styles of vegan royal icing you need.

What’s more, you only need two ingredients and your favorite cookie recipe to begin. This vegan royal icing is completely corn syrup free and agave free, yet sets and hardens like regular royal icing.

vegan snowman cookie

You can even use this royal icing for a vegan gingerbread house!

How to make vegan royal icing (without corn syrup or lemon juice!)

I think you’ll be shocked at how easy and effective this vegan royal icing is.

All you need are two ingredients:

You can also add in vanilla extract for flavoring, but that’s optional.

hand biting sugar cookie

A note on the aquafaba: there is some confusion as to whether or not aquafaba is bad for you. While it’s a great vegan egg replacement, some worry that coming from a can, it might not be the best. I like to get my aquafaba from jarred chickpeas, to avoid any chance of a BPA-lined can. You can also make your own aquafaba.

For our purposes, using aquafaba is totally fine. It’s not like you’re drinking it from the can, and the amount we’re using is fairly minuscule in comparison.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, you’ll begin to make the vegan royal icing.

Step 1:

Start by sifting the powdered sugar into a bowl, and adding 2-3 tablespoons of aquafaba to the side of the bowl to start.

Step 2:

Begin gently mixing in the aquafaba, taking more powdered sugar as you go.

Step 3:

You can add more aquafaba here if your royal icing is still too thick or the powdered sugar isn’t incorporating. Only add 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon at a time.

decorating vegan sugar cookies

Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take any out!

This is the basic method for making vegan royal icing, but in order to decorate our vegan sugar cookies, we’ll need two types of consistencies for vegan royal icing.

Two types of royal icing consistencies

This is the trick for piping the most delicate vegan sugar cookies. You need to make two types of consistencies in vegan royal icing in order to pipe and design your Christmas cookies.

One consistency is a thicker vegan royal icing; it doesn’t drip too easily from the spoon (it moves very slow), but is moveable and easily piped. This type of vegan royal icing will be used to create the border of your sugar cookies.

The other consistency easily drips off the spoon, is slightly runny, but isn’t watered down looking. It easily floods the middle of the cookie after the borders have set.

bitten vegan sugar cookie with vegan royal icing

Vegan food coloring ideas

The struggle with vegan sugar cookie decorating is that not all food colorings on the market are vegan.

In fact, most aren’t. You’ll have to look for specific brands. I personally use Whole Foods 365 Plant-Based Food Coloring. It’s made from beets, turmeric, and purple cabbage for the colors. I will note that the colors are more pastel than strong and vibrant, and definitely fade when baked.

vegan snowman cookies

But the beauty of decorating sugar cookies is you don’t need to bake the frosting!

Other ideas for adding color to your vegan sugar cookies:

  • Using food powders: such as turmeric, beet, matcha, blue spirulina, etc. Brands like Love Beets, Suncore Foods, and Bare Organics sells many wonderful powders that can double as vegan food coloring
  • Vegan gel food coloring: the 365 brand is a gel food coloring, but there are others on the market. Personally, some of them run a bit expensive, so I don’t find it worth it, especially if you’re new to decorating. Nomeca also makes some wonderful vegan-friendly food coloring gels (at the time that I’m writing this- sometimes brands change formulas, but at the current moment, they are considered vegan!).

Keep in mind that when you’re decorating your sugar cookies, you’ll need a border consistency and a flooding consistency for each color! Start with the border, then once all borders are added, you can make a flooding icing from each border icing.

That way, you’ll save bowls and have a neater workspace!

How to decorate sugar cookies

Now for the best part: decorating the vegan sugar cookies!

In order to decorate sugar cookies, you’ll need a few things to start:

  • Your favorite vegan sugar cookie recipe (I have one that no one will know is vegan!)
  • Cookie cutters (think snowman shapes, snowflakes, Santa hats, reindeer, stars, and the like!)
  • Vegan royal icing
  • Piping bags
  • Toothpick
  • Vegan-friendly colors
  • Vegan-friendly sprinkles
vegan christmas tree cookie

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to decorate the cookies!

Before we begin:

Make sure that the vegan sugar cookies are completely cool to touch. If they are not cool, then the vegan royal icing won’t set, and it will run everywhere.

You can cool the cookies faster by placing them onto a cooling rack and into the fridge to chill for a few minutes.

Once cool, let’s begin!

Create the border:

You’ll start by piping the border around the sugar cookie. Keep in mind that if you’re doing different colors, like white for the snowman body and blue for the snow man hat, you’ll need two border royal icing colors.

For the piping bag, I actually recommend not using a piping tip. You’ll get a cleaner line if you just fill the piping bag and snip the end of the bag.

hand creating border of vegan royal icing

Flood the sugar cookies:

Once you’ve allowed the border of the cookies to dry (about 10-15 minutes), then you’ll flood the cookies.

Make the second type of consistency for vegan royal icing that we discussed in the beginning of the post and pipe only a little of the vegan royal icing to start into the middle of the flooding area.

flooding the cookie

Use a toothpick to push the icing to the edges of the border and fill any gaps.

Add sprinkles!

Only if desired! This is the time to add on top any fun holiday-themed vegan-friendly sprinkles. Sweetapolita has some wonderful vegan-friendly holiday sprinkles that I recommend checking out!

vegan snowman cookies

Allow the vegan royal icing to set:

Give the cookies about 15 minutes to full set! Then you can enjoy, bring to a fun holiday cookie exchange or mail a box to your family and friends as a delicious holiday gift.

vegan snowman cookie

I hope this vegan royal icing is helpful in decorating your vegan Christmas cookies! If you use it, let me know how it goes down below in the comments section!

And you know I’m going to want to see your decorated sugar cookies, so be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram so that I can see and share with the Banana community!

Happy vegan sugar cookie decorating!

More vegan Christmas cookies:

Vegan gingerbread cookies

Easy Vegan Gingerbread House

Paleo sugar cookie cut outs

Vegan ginger molasses

Easy double chocolate chip cookies

Vegan peanut butter cup cookies

Paleo vegan Linzer cookies

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

Vegan Royal Icing (How to decorate sugar cookies)
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vegan snowman cookie

Vegan Royal Icing (How to decorate sugar cookies)

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  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 35 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This is the only vegan royal icing recipe you need! Just two ingredients and so easy, your vegan sugar cookies will look professionally decorated for the holidays!


Ingredients

Scale
  • Your favorite vegan sugar cookie recipe
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 35 tbsp aquafaba
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • Plant-based food coloring*

Instructions

  1. Bake and cool the sugar cookies in the shape that you desire.
  2. First make the border royal icing: this will be to prevent the more liquid royal icing from running over the cookie. Mix together the powdered sugar with 2-3 tbsp of aquafaba to start. Add more if you need help creating more of a paste than a liquid and runny royal icing. If you are making multiple colors, such as the snowman’s hat, you’ll divid some of the vegan royal icing into a separate bowl and add the coloring. Spoon the icing into a piping bag and cut the very end of the tip with scissors. Pipe a clean border around the sugar cookie that will block the vegan royal icing from flooding.
  3. Make sure to cover the unused vegan royal icing with a wet paper towel. This will prevent the royal icing from hardening.
  4. Make the flooding vegan royal icing: in the same bowl, add another tablespoon of aquafaba and mix until the royal icing easily drips from the spoon. If you need more aquafaba, add in a tbsp at a time- you don’t want to make it too drippy, or it will thin. Do this for all of the colors that you’ve made, and spoon the icing into another piping bag. Cut the tip of the piping bag and fill the middles of your cookie only a little to start. Then use a toothpick to carefully push the royal icing to the border that we made in Step 2.
  5. Allow the royal icing to set for 15 minutes before you pipe more royal icing on top (like a scarf, facial features, mittens etc.).
  6. Allow the cookies to finish setting for 15 minutes and enjoy! Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes

For plant-based food coloring: I recommend using the Whole Food 365 vegan food coloring. It’s liquid and easy to use. You can make purple from the red and blue, green from the blue and yellow, and orange from the red and yellow. You can also use powders, such as turmeric powder, beet powder, matcha, blue spirulina, purple sweet potato powder, etc.