Difference Between Fondant and Royal Icing

Main Difference – Fondant vs. Royal Icing

Fondant and Royal Icing are two types of icings that are ideal for cake decorations. The main difference between fondant and royal icing is that Fondant is made of icing sugar, corn syrup, water, gelatin while royal icing is primarily made of icing sugar and egg whites. Based on these different ingredients, many differences can be seen in these two types of icings. Sometimes, we face a problem in choosing between fondant and royal icing. So in this article, we are going to discuss the difference between fondant and royal icing in detail.

What is Fondant

Fondant is an edible icing used to decorate cakes and pastries. The word fondant can refer to two types of icing: poured fondant and rolled fondant. Poured fondant is a creamy paste made of confectioner’s sugar and corn syrup. This mixture is cooked and poured into cakes or deserts. In short, it is used as a filling or coating for cakes, pastries and various types of sweets. Poured fondant can be found in food like éclairs and petite fours.

Rolled fondant is not same as the poured fondant and is used commonly to decorate cakes. Rolled fondant is also known as sugar paste. In addition to the ingredients used in poured fondant, it also uses gelatin and shortening which keeps the sugar pliable and adds a dough-like consistency to the icing. Due to this consistency, it can be easily used to cover a cake as it gives a smooth, polished appearance. Rolled fondant dough can also be cut and shaped into any form you like.

Fondant icing has a very sweet taste since it is made mostly of sugar. Many people remove the fondant from the cake before eating since this sweet taste. However, some others enjoy this candy-like taste of fondant.

It is somewhat difficult to make it at home, and even some cake decorators tend to buy premade fondant rather than making it from scratch.

Fondants can dry out quite easily, and this can lead to cracks or tears in the cakes. Thus, it must be stored properly. Furthermore, fondant is not well suited for piping due to the texture and consistency of the icing.Difference Between Fondant and Royal Icing

What is Royal Icing

Royal icing is a white, hard icing primarily made from confectioner’s sugar, egg whites and sometimes lime, lemon or cream of tartar is added. The icing starts out soft but hardens with time. Sometimes, glycerin is added to prevent the icing from getting too hard.

Since this icing has a dried texture, you can make decorations in advance and keep them for a long time. This firm and dried texture make this perfect for decorating cookies as well.

Royal icing is used in wedding cakes, Christmas cakes, gingerbread houses and many other cakes and cookies. It is ideal to add intricate designs and piping to cakes. Unlike fondant icing, it cannot be rolled out. This should be coated on a cake. That is to say, this is applied in coats and gradually built up.

Royal icing is not generally used to cover large or curved surfaces as it tends to crack. In addition, royal icing is more intended as a decorating medium or a garnish than a flavorful topping. But, colors or flavors can be added to this recipe to make it more colorful and tasty.Main Difference - Fondant vs Royal Icing

Difference Between Fondant and Royal Icing


Fondant is made of icing sugar, corn syrup, water, gelatin.

Royal icing is primarily made of icing sugar and egg whites. Sometimes, lime or gelatin is added.


Fondant is not as hard as royal icing.

Royal icing is harder than fondant.


Fondant can be rolled out and placed on the cake.

Royal icing is applied in coats.


Fondant is used to cover cakes.

Royal icing is not generally used to cover the whole cake.

Other Icings

Buttercream is sometimes used under fondant to better adherence.

Marzipan is usually used under Royal icing to prevent discoloring.


Fondant is not well suited for piping.

Royal icing is ideal for piping and intricate details.Difference Between Fondant and Royal Icing - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“FondantCake” by Brianjester – Own work. (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons 

 “untitled-4” by Elizabeth McClay (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) via Flickr

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