Sugar Skulls for Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos is a joyful Mexican holiday celebrating the departure of loved ones. Marked by festivities, grave decorating, and good food, this holiday celebrates those who have passed on. Sugar skulls are small, decorative pieces of folk art that are made to honor deceased loved ones. They are decorated brightly, and often displayed at an altar. The practice of making sugar skulls is a wonderful way to revive happy memories of those no longer with us.
  •  Gel Food Coloring
  • 6 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Meringue Powder
  • 1/3 cup Water
  •   Royal Icing
  •  Sugar Skull Molds
Mix the sugar, meringue powder, and water together in a large food processor until it achieves a paste-like consistency. To test if the mixture is ready, remove a small handful. When you squeeze it, it should hold together. If it falls apart, more water is needed. Add the water 1 teaspoon at a time to avoid making the mixture too wet.

Fill the molds with the sugar paste, patting it down gently so there are no air holes. Fill both the front and the back of the molds. Scrape off the excess sugar so that the back of your skulls is as perfectly flat as you can make it.

Place parchment paper on a baking sheet, and flip the molds over so that the flat part of the skull lands on the parchment paper. If the skulls stick to the mold, the mixture is too wet. Return to step 1 and add a bit more sugar. If the skulls fall apart, they are a bit too dry. Return to step 1 and add a bit more water.

Let the sugar skulls dry for 12-24 hours. Midway through drying, gently flip them over so that the backside can dry as well.

When you're ready to make your sugar skulls, make royal icing. Spread a thin layer of royal icing on the flat part of the skull. The royal icing will act as an adhesive to hold the two parts of the sugar skull together. Let dry for 1-2 hours.

When you're ready to decorate, separate the royal icing into small bowls and add gel food coloring in your desired colors. Fill tipless piping bags with the royal icing and pipe designs on the sugar skulls. Let dry for 12-24 hours before displaying.

Royal Icing


  • 1 lb Confectioner's Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 1/2 cup Warm Water

Prep Time: 20 minutes.

Total Time: 20 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine confectioners sugar, meringue powder and warm water; mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.