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  • How to Make Sugar Skulls for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
  • Post author
    Melissa Guerra

How to Make Sugar Skulls for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

How to Make Sugar Skulls for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

What better way to celebrate Dia de los Muertos than by showing off your arts and crafts skills when making traditional sugar skulls to honor those departed souls.

The History Behind the Holiday

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that takes place during November 1st and 2nd of every year. These are days when Mexican citizens attend special masses and partake in elaborate festivities to commemorate the dead.  In modern culture, Day of the Dead continues to evolve as large populations of Mexican Americans in the United States participate in their own celebrations while incorporating aspects of traditional Mexican festivities.

A Tasty Treat to Celebrate With

Sugar skulls are a popular treat offered during Day of the Dead and are commonly used when decorating the altars of those who have departed. With the help of Melissa Guerra, you too can make your very own sugar skulls for the occasion.

Melissa’s Recipe on How to Make a Sugar Skull


Sugar Skull

  • 4 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of meringue powder
  • 3 – 4 teaspoons of water
  • Royal Icing
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoon of meringue powder
  • 1/3 cup of warm water
  • 2 – 5 Gel Colors


Step 1: Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Place the granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the meringue powder, and stir to combine. Add the water one teaspoon at a time, mixing with your hands. The sugar should feel like barely damp beach sand, forming a clump with finger indentations when squeezed in your hand.

Step 2: Pack the prepared sugar into the mold, and then turn over quickly onto the parchment. The formed skull should come out of the mold in once piece. Allow to dry overnight.

Step 3: Once the sugar skulls have dried, decorate using a piping bag filled with royal icing. Allow the decorated skulls to dry overnight. Sugar skulls will keep indefinitely, provided they are stored in a dry environment.

Step 4: (Note) If the sugar skull crumbles, return the prepared sugar to the bowl, and add one more teaspoon of water. Remix, then pack again into the skull mold. Unmold and dry overnight.

Step 5: To make the royal icing, combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder. Add the water one tablespoon and mix at a time until your icing is thick, yet smooth in consistency.

Step 6: If you would like colored icing, divide the icing into portions, and add the gel color of your choice, and mix well. The icing should be thin enough to pipe using a piping back, but not runny. You can adjust the consistency by either adding a bit of water to make thinner, or a teaspoon of powdered sugar to make thicker.

Step 7: Decorate the skulls with the royal icing and a piping bag. Allow to dry overnight.

Sugar Skull Molds Available at Melissa Guerra

Melissa Guerra Latin Kitchen Market has a variety of sugar skull molds available to help you start creating this traditional treat. We carry mini, medium, large, and x-large sizes so that you can make a variety of these fun and crafty sugar skulls. You can purchase your very own sugar skull mold in store or shop online at


By Samantha Salazar


  • Post author
    Melissa Guerra