Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls Cookie Recipe

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Yesterday, I made three dozen sugar skulls for a Spanish class “Day of the Dead Fiesta”! I’ve always thought the Day of the Dead celebration decorations were so beautiful. I love them. So, when my daughter handed me the sign up sheet for “what to bring”, I checked off sugar skulls! I could have made it easy on myself and checked off salsa. But, nope, not me…I picked baking and decorating 3 dozen cookies! All kidding aside, I loved trying my hand at Sugar Skulls. Now that I’ve done it, they are not so daunting. I might just sign up for this item next year, too! Here’s my recipe for the most delicious sugar cookie and frosting ever, and some ideas on decorating your own Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls. 

Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls Recipe and Decorating Ideas -



Sugar Skulls Recipe

  • Author: Melissa


  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 4&1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder


  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. of almond extract
  • 810 tsp. of water

Candy Ideas

  • Soft Puffs
  • Good & Plenty
  • Chocolate Melts – black and at least 2 other colors
  • Black Non-Pareils and other assorted colors


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a large bowl – Cream the fist 4 ingredients
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond – mix in
  4. In another large bowl, mix the flour & baking powder
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix
  6. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour
  7. When you are ready, roll the dough out between to sheets of wax paper *my little trick to avoid sticky dough on the rolling pin!
  8. And…cut the shapes out with a skull shaped cookie cutter
  9. *When the dough warms up – and it does pretty quickly – pop it back into the refrigerator. I like to take half of the dough out, roll, and cut…then take the other half out to finish
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes
  11. Mix the icing by mixing the powdered sugar, almond extract, water and food coloring together. *Add water gradually until the icing is the consistency you like
  12. When the cookies have cooled – decorate using the tips below! 🙂


Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls Recipe and Decorating Ideas -

Now that you have the recipe – Here are some ideas for decorating your sugar skulls:

You’ll Need:

  • Good & Plenty for the teeth – I used 3 boxes for 3 dozen skulls
  • Chocolate Melts – I used black, light blue, and green – the more colors, the better!
  • Black Candy Non-Pareils for pupils, and other decorations, the more colors of non-pareils, also…the better! (I wished that I had lots of colors to choose from)
  • Colorful soft Puffs – those are the candies that look like colorful peppermints for eyes
  • Any additional candy is your call 🙂 Candy flowers would be beautiful! Darn, I wish I had thought of that, yesterday! Oh well!


Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls Recipe and Decorating Ideas -

  • Once your skulls are baked, and cooled, use the icing recipe to make up some white icing, and spread across the skulls
  • While the icing is drying add the Soft Puffs for eyes, the Good & Plenty Teeth, and any Non-Pareils you want for added decoration
  • Melt your chocolate melts and put the melted chocolate into squeeze containers, or baggies with a hole cut in one corner
  • Begin piping the chocolate out in swirls, dots, and rays, and across the teeth
  • Using a melted chocolate, make a dot in the center of the Soft Puffs
  • Add one of the black Non-Pareils to the melted chocolate dot
  • I think that’s it! You can’t go wrong with any design choice. Sugar Skulls are full of swirls, dots, flowers, and other designs. The more you cram in, the prettier it looks.

Here’s some equipment you might need or even want for this recipe: (contains affiliate links)

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~Melissa –

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