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Types of Cookie Icing

This chart helps you find the right cookie icing for the job. Some icings work best for soft colors, others for brights. Certain icings dry hard for decorating in advance. Consider flavor, texture, climate and other factors when choosing an icing for your cookies.

Icing Type Flavor/
Description
Consistency Best Used For… Coloring Storage/
Freshness
Special Information
Buttercream
(Wilton Mix) or homemade)
Sweet, buttery flavor. Tastes the best and looks beautiful for most decorating Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of corn syrup or sugar added (sugar stiffens). Icing cookies smooth, borders, writing. Most decorations including roses, drop flowers, sweet peas and figure piping. Yields all colors. Most colors deepen upon setting. Let icing set 2-3 hours for deep color. Some colors may fade sitting in bright light. Icing can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 weeks. Iced cookies can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Flowers remain soft enough to be cut with a knife. Not recommended for stacked or mailed cookies.
Wilton Ready-to-Use Decorator White
(4 1/2 lb. size)
Sweet, vanilla flavor. Convenient, ready-to-use spread icing. Pure white color is ideal for coloring. Thin-to-medium. No need to thin for spreading. Spreading on cookies right from the can. Piping stars, shells, messages and more. Yields truer colors due to pure white base color. Creates deep colors. Most deepen upon setting. Leftover icing can be refrigerated for 2 weeks. Iced cookies can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Available for purchase through Wilton Yearbook, at www.wilton.com or any authorized Wilton retailer. Not recommended for stacked or mailed cookies.
Wilton Ready-to-Use Decorator White
(1 lb. size)
Sweet, vanilla flavor. Convenient, ready-to-use spread icing. Pure white color is ideal for coloring. Stiff. Make roses right from the can. Shell, stars, flowers-use from container. Roses-may stiffen with confectioner's sugar. Icing cakes, writing, leaves-thin with milk, water or corn syrup. Yields truer colors due to pure white base color. Creates deep colors. Most deepen upon setting. Leftover icing can be refrigerated for 2 weeks. Iced cookies can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Available for purchase through Wilton Yearbook, at www.wilton.com or any authorized Wilton retailer. Not recommended for stacked or mailed cookies.
Wilton Decorator Chocolate
(Ready-to-Use 1 lb. can)
Sweet chocolate flavor. Convenient ready-to-use spread icing. Stiff. Make roses right from the can. Shell, stars, flowers-use from container. Icing cookies, writing, leaves-thin with milk, water or corn syrup. Recommended when black icing is needed. Add a little black icing color to chocolate for a better tasting black icing. Use when brown icing is directed. Leftover icing can be refrigerated for 2 weeks. Iced cookies can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Available for purchase through Wilton Yearbook, at www.wilton.com or any authorized Wilton retailer. Not recommended for stacked or mailed cookies.
Royal Icing
(made with Wilton Meringue Powder)
Very sweet flavor. Dries candy-hard for lasting decorations. Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of water added. Flower-making, figure piping, making flower on wires. Decorating cookies and gingerbread houses. Yields deep colors. Some colors may fade sitting in bright light. Requires more icing color than buttercream to achieve the same intensity. Icing can be stored in airtight, grease-free container at room temperature for 2 weeks. Air-dried decorations last for months. Bowls/utensils must be grease-free. Cover icing with damp cloth to prevent crusting.
Color Flow Icing
Very sweet flavor. Icing flows onto cookie surface, then dries shiny. Flowing texture can be thin to stiff consistency depending on the amount of water added. Decorations that completely cover cookies. Also used for icing plaques of various designs. Yields deep colors. Some colors may fade sitting in bright light. Icing can be stored in airtight, grease-free container at room temperature for 2 weeks. Air-dried decorations last for months. Color flow designs take a long time to dry, so plan to do your color flow piece up to at least 2 or 3 days in advance.
Rolled Fondant (homemade or Wilton Ready-To-Use Rolled Fondant) Covers cookies with a perfectly smooth, satiny iced surface. Easy and fast to use. Knead in flavor of your choice. Dough-like consistency that is rolled out before applied to cookies. Any firm textured cake, cookie, pound cake or fruit cake. Cutting, molding and modeling decorations. White yields pastels to deep colors. Wilton pre-colored fondant is also available in pastel shades and in Multi-Packs for fondant decorations in a variety of colors. Excess can be stored 2 months in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Iced cookies can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days. Prior to applying fondant, cookies should be lightly covered with a glaze or buttercream icing to seal in freshness and moisture.
Quick-Pour Fondant (homemade) Very sweet flavor. Covers cookies with perfectly smooth, satiny iced surface. Coats baked goods and seals in freshness with a shiny, smooth surface. Pours and dries to a semi-hard, smooth surface. All cookies. Yields pastels. Use immediately. Excess fondant may be refrigerated, reheated and poured again. Prior to applying fondant, cookies must be covered in apricot glaze and/or buttercream icing to seal in freshness and moisture.