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chocolate icing recipe

How to Make Chocolate Royal Icing

Dreams do come true! There IS a way to get chocolate flavored royal icing for your cookies, but it takes a little trial and error. So we spent some quality (and chocolatey) time in our test kitchen to find out what works and why!

Let's start with a primer on what not to do.

If you made classic royal icing, replacing the powdered sugar with cocoa powder, you would get an icing that would be hard to work with, never harden, and be runny.

This would happen because cocoa powder has natural oils (even though it's dry, yes, it has oils!) that would stop your icing from setting. So while that would be true chocolate icing, what you actually want is royal icing with a bit of chocolate in it.

The solution is to make a standard royal icing, and add in the smallest amount of cocoa powder possible to get the best chocolate taste and color.

Above: Stencil shown is Ornate Medallion / Mandala found here. Stenciled in white royal icing over dried chocolate royal icing.

This is exactly why Genie's Dream brand made their Infinitely Black Cocoa No 3. It's different than average cocoas because it's:

  • Super dark black, so you get better color using less.
  • Strong cocoa flavor.
  • Very finely milled, to blend better into icing.
  • Unsweetened.

It's because of these qualities that we use it in our chocolate royal icing recipe. Follow the recipe below and the result will be a chocolate-y royal icing that sets firm.

You're going to start with a standard royal icing recipe; find our tried-and-true recipe here.


For a full batch:

For a small batch:


If you are making a full batch of icing, add the cocoa at the same time you add the second half of your powdered sugar.  This will keep you from adding any more electric-mixer time to your icing, reducing the risk of overmixing.  Note: you may need to start with just a touch more water to help with the extra powder.

If you are making a small batch, you can use fresh or stored royal icing and mix the cocoa in by hand.

For black chocolate icing

If you're looking for a black icing, you can add black gel color to your icing after the cocoa is incorporated.  You won't need much, since you'll be starting with such a nice dark color!

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Rosemary - May 8, 2023

To the lady looking for black cocoa powder in Canada…you can get it at the Bulk Barn.

paula - March 9, 2023

Hi. I have ordered everything I use for decorating and coloring and stenciling my cookies from you and I love everything. Problem is that I live in Canada and you don’t ship black cocoa powder or meringue powder to Canada. What stores could I buy it from if I go shopping in the US. Is it available in any stores. Help!! Thank You. Paula
The Cookie Countess replied:
Thank you so much for the kind words! We aren’t the manufacturers of either of those products, but if you contact Creative Cookier they’ll be able to tell you where you can find their products!

Jill - December 5, 2022

Hello !
I love all of your recipes and tips. I tried the chocolate RI using 1/2 cup of plain RI and adding 1 1/2 tsp of King Arthur black cocoa powder.
It turned kind of gray. Any suggestions?
Thank you !!!
The Cookie Countess replied:
Hi Jill! If you’re looking for a darker chocolate icing, you can add a little black gel color to your icing after the cocoa is incorporated. We always use Genies Dream Infinitely Black Cocoa No 1 because of its super dark black color – no extra gel color needed!

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