clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon

How to make sugar skulls for Day of The Dead

  • Author: Maura Wall Hernandez
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 medium-sized sugar skulls 1x
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Make your own sugar skulls and decorate with royal icing to adorn your altar for Day of the Dead


  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 2 tablespoons water

For Royal Icing:

  • 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • For coloring icing: Wilton Icing colors
  • juice of 1 lime


To make the sugar skulls:

  1. Mix dry ingredients, then add water and mix until sugar has a crumbly, wet beach sand consistency.
  2. Fill your skull molds, pressing tightly into the mold.
  3. Flip the molds onto a flat surface and allow to dry 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Brush the excess sugar away and then use royal icing to cement the front and backs of the sugar skull together, and colored royal icing to decorate.

To make the royal icing:

  1. Beat ingredients on low-speed in a stand mixer for 7-10 minutes or until stiff peaks form and the icing looks more like a consistent paste.
  2. Use about half of the plain white royal icing to cement the front and back of the sugar skulls.
  3. Divide remaining icing into separate bowls and use a toothpick to transfer icing colors into the royal icing. Incorporate well with a butter knife or small spoon until the color reaches the desired hue and the color is consistent throughout.
  4. To dilute the icing a bit to make it easier to pipe in disposable decorating bags, use fresh lime juice (squeeze a little at a time and mix well to incorporate). The lime juice will cause the icing to glisten, which is normal.


    These are not supposed to be eaten, as they are for decoration. However, all of the ingredients are edible.

    The prep time accounts for how long it takes to make the icing, use icing colors to color the icing to be used for decorating, and to fill the disposable decorating bags. It does not include the time it will take to actually decorate your sugar skulls; time for that can vary greatly depending on the level of detail you would like to decorate your skulls.

    Keywords: sugar skulls