Dry Royal Icing in No Time: Quick Techniques for Fast Drying

How to dry royal icing quickly

Drying royal icing quickly is essential to achieving beautifully decorated cookies. The drying process can significantly affect the look and taste of your creations. In this article, we will explore the best methods to dry royal icing quickly without compromising the quality of your decorated goods.

Understanding Royal Icing

Before we delve into techniques for drying royal icing, it is important to understand what royal icing is and how it differs from regular icing. Regular frosting, also known as glaze, is a simple mixture of powdered sugar and warm water. When it dries, it forms a hardened layer of frosting.
Royal icing, on the other hand, is made with a combination of sugar, water, and egg whites. The addition of egg whites gives royal icing a slightly grainy but firmer and lighter texture, making it ideal for creating intricate designs on cookies and other baked goods. Royal icing sets well, allowing for the creation of multiple layers without disturbing the underlying layers.

How long does Royal Icing take to dry?

The drying time of Royal Icing can vary depending on several factors such as ambient temperature, humidity, sunlight and wind. When left at room temperature, Royal Icing typically takes 6 to 8 hours to dry, sometimes as long as a day. However, by using certain techniques, you can significantly reduce the drying time.

Factors that affect drying time

Humidity plays a crucial role in the drying process of Royal Icing. If you live in a humid environment, royal icing may take longer to dry. Contrary to popular belief, placing royal icing in an airtight container will not speed up the drying process. In fact, it may cause the cookies to become soggy due to trapped moisture.
Two main factors that affect the drying time of Royal Icing are ambient temperature and wind. Room temperature typically ranges from 68 to 72°F (20-22°C). By keeping decorations at room temperature with low humidity and a gentle breeze, you can reduce the drying time to approximately 2 to 3 hours.

Methods for Drying Royal Icing

There are several safe methods you can use to dry royal icing quickly while maintaining the integrity of your designs. Here are four effective methods:

Oven Drying Method

The oven drying method is a simple and efficient way to speed up the drying process. Preheat the oven by turning on only the oven lamp. The low wattage output of the lamp will produce a consistent temperature between 70-72°F (21-22°C) inside the oven. It is recommended to use a cooking thermometer to ensure accurate temperature control. To prevent excessive heat, open the oven door slightly to allow cool air to circulate. The cookies should dry in the oven for approximately 2 to 4 hours.

Dehumidifier method

If you already have a dehumidifier, this method can be quite effective. Start by running the dehumidifier to create a comfortable environment with reduced humidity. Once the desired humidity level is reached, decorate the baked goods with royal icing and leave them near the dehumidifier. This method not only speeds up the drying process, but also helps preserve intricate details in the frosting. The drying time using the dehumidifier method is approximately 3 to 5 hours.

Heat lamp method

The Heating Lamp Method is a highly efficient technique for quick partial curing of Royal Icing. You will need a tungsten lamp and an adjustable stand. Any heat lamp with a wattage of at least 150-200W can be used. Attach the bulb to the adjustable stand and place the decorated item at a safe distance from the heat source. It is important to carefully monitor the temperature to avoid overheating and drying out the cookies. The goal is to maintain a temperature between 75-80°F (24-27°C). This method can achieve partial drying in as little as 1 to 2 hours.

Pedestal Fan Method

The pedestal fan method is particularly effective for drying Royal icing on cookies with large areas of icing. This method creates an insulating layer that allows the icing to dry on top while retaining moisture underneath, keeping the cookies fresh. Use a small stand fan set at medium speed. Place the decorated items at an appropriate distance from the fan so that wind does not disturb the wet icing. Combining the pedestal fan method with a dehumidifier is recommended for humid environments. Drying time with this method is approximately 1 to 3 hours.

Identifying Dried Royal Icing

To determine if royal icing has dried, you can observe certain visual and tactile characteristics. Dried royal icing tends to be slightly more granular and less shiny than its wet counterpart. When lightly tapped on the top and sides, the icing should feel firm and dry to the touch. If the icing leaves an impression or feels sticky, it needs additional drying time.


Drying royal icing quickly is critical to achieving professional-looking decorated cookies. By understanding the factors that affect drying time and using effective methods such as the oven drying method, dehumidifier method, heat lamp method and pedestal fan method, you can significantly reduce drying time without compromising the quality of your creations. Remember to monitor the ambient temperature, humidity, and airflow to ensure optimal results. With these techniques, you can create beautifully decorated cookies in a fraction of the time. Happy baking!


How long does Royal Icing typically take to dry at room temperature?

Royal Icing usually takes about 6 to 8 hours to dry at room temperature, but it can take up to a full day depending on environmental factors.

Can I speed up the drying process if I live in a humid environment?

Yes, you can speed up the drying process even in a humid environment. By controlling the ambient temperature and using techniques such as the oven drying method or the dehumidifier method, you can significantly reduce the drying time.

Can I use a regular oven to dry Royal Icing?

It is not recommended to use a regular oven to dry Royal Icing as the high temperatures can cause the icing to melt or discolor. It’s best to use the oven light or a low wattage light bulb for drying.

How do I keep my cookies from getting soggy when I dry the royal icing?

Avoid placing royal icing cookies in airtight containers while drying, as this can trap moisture and cause the cookies to become soggy. Instead, allow for proper air circulation and use methods that promote airflow, such as the pedestal fan method.

How can I tell if the Royal Icing is completely dry?

To determine if Royal Icing is completely dry, gently touch the icing and observe its texture. Dry icing will feel firm and slightly grainy. It should not leave an impression or feel sticky.

Can I use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process?

It is not recommended to use a hair dryer to dry Royal Icing, as the hot air can cause the icing to melt unevenly or create undesirable effects on the decoration. Follow the methods recommended in the article for best results.