Day-of-the-Dead Sugar Skull Recipe

Day-of-the-Dead Sugar Skull Recipe

By Abigail Janzen
Sugar skulls are traditionally used on Nov. 1 and 2 for the Day-of-the-Dead in Mexico. This tradition is widely practiced in other countries as well. Sugar skulls, along with flowers, incense, food, candles and items that belonged to the deceased, adorn altars that are made by their families and friends.

A modified version of this beautiful traditional folk art from Mexico can now be made in the comfort of your own home. This is the first year that I have made my own sugar skulls using the recipe from Molds of the skulls can be purchased from that site as well. I recommend making a small batch at a time unless you have some helping hands available. This activity is a great way to learn about the holiday and tradition from Mexico of honoring the departed.

Day-of-the-Dead Sugar Skull Recipe

Sugar Skull molds (front and back sides)
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon meringue powder (for every cup of granulated sugar to be used)
1 teaspoon water (for every cup of granulated sugar to be used)

Mix dry ingredients together, sprinkle in the water. Mix well with hands until all sugar is slightly moist. Pack sugar into the mold firmly. Scrape off the excess sugar from the back to make it flat. Using a piece of cardboard, place it flat against the mold, invert then lift off the mold carefully. Let them dry overnight. When dry, the sugar skulls are ready to be put together and decorated with colorful Royal icing, foils, glitter, sequins and rhinestones.


Abigail Janzen is a founding member of Dulce Upfront, a community multimedia arts collective. She is a fulltime artist and hosts workshops. Contact her at


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