Sugar Skulls

(Calaveras de Azúcar)

November 1-2: Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos)

We admire the colorful artistry of decorated sugar skulls that we see displayed on the ofrendas (altars) at this time of the year.

Islander and her Mexican cake club friends in San Antonio, Texas, had planned on making sugar skulls together but, ironically, life got in the way of the Day of the Dead festivities. So she went ahead and took a hands-on class when visiting a museum in Houston, Texas, one year.

Now Islander enjoys demonstrating the creative and spiritual process with others (library culinary club, church family life ministries, ESL students, etc.). Making sugar skulls has become part of our respectful observation of the Day of the Dead and we hope it is a sweet activity for all who try it, too.



  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Royal icing
  • Gel paste colors


In a large bowl, combine the sugar, meringue powder and water. Mix until it feels like wet sand.

Pack the skulls mold with the sugar mixture. Level off with a bench scraper. Invert the sugar skull onto cardboard or plate. Let dry for at least 24 hours.

Stir royal icing until it is pipeable consistency. Place in decorating bags using tips 1 and 2 (alternatively, snip a small hole from the end of the bag).

Decorate the skulls with colorful royal icing. Let dry for another 24 hours.


  • Muchas gracias (thank you very much) to Margarita F. for giving us the sugar skulls mold.
  • For another festive food for Day of the Day, try making sugar skulls cookies.