Chocolate Brown Icing

The Thanksgiving holiday is approaching full steam.  For most people this means turkey and pumpkin pie…but for a cookie decorator it means tons of brown icing.

Brown has long been a source of frustration for new {and sometimes experienced} decorators, but with a little practice you CAN master it.

Let’s start with the basics.  My two favorite browns are Americolor warm brown and Americolor chocolate brown.  Using these two colors as a base, I can make almost any shade I have in mind.  Check out the icing swatches below.

  1. Americolor warm brown, straight from the bottle
  2. Americolor chocolate brown, straight from the bottle
  3. Americolor warm brown with a touch of Americolor super black
  4. Americolor chocolate and warm brown, mixed
  5. Americolor chocolate brown mixed with Americolor super black

Two of the most important things to remember when making brown icing is:

  • It takes quite a bit of color to get a rich brown
  • A little black can deepen brown icing significantly

Here’s a visual of how white royal icing becomes a deep shade of chocolate brown.

Keep in mind, however, that brown is notorious for developing after it dries, sometimes significantly.

What does this mean?  Basically, it gets darker as it sits, so you might go to bed to perfectly chestnut football cookies and wake up to a big coffee-colored mess.

The two shades of brown below are actually the same shade of icing one day apart.  After 24 hours the black undertone was much more noticeable than the day before.

If this is a problem for you, my advice is to mix brown icing a day or two BEFORE you need it, so you will have a chance to lighten it in the case that it develops more than you like.

Try combining the brown shades mentioned above with other colors such as egg yellow, ivory, gold, regal purple, avocado green, and more.  The results might surprise you.

Here are a few of the MANY projects I’ve made using custom shades of brown.

Simple Autumn Leaves and Acorns

Simple Sunflower Cookies

 Tulip Owl Cookies

Sparkley Acorn Cookies

And if you need tons of brown, you may just want to go with chocolate royal icing.  You can find the recipe HERE.

So, I have to ask…have you mastered brown?  If you have, do you have a favorite color combination, or are you “straight out of the bottle”?  I’d love to hear!

I hope everyone is as excited about the upcoming holiday {mainly the eating} as I am.  I cannot wait to see all the Thanksgiving cookies to come.

Happy Baking!

Join The Discussion



  1. 31
    jamie says:

    You are such an inspiration to me!

  2. 32
    Blanca says:

    I love your tutorials with the colors.

  3. 33
    Barbara says:

    I always start my brown and black icing by adding a teaspoon (or so) of excellent quality cocoa powder to my already mixed royal icing and then adding my colours. I’ve never had drying issues like this – maybe the water difference is key??


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