Sugar Skull Recipe

Decorate your skulls with colorful patterns and sparkling jewels. You can make them as plain or elaborate as your skills allow. The skulls are for display only: They are not to be eaten. Some skull molds come with a recipe, which you can follow if you prefer.

How to Make Your Skulls

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  • 6 cups (1.2 kg) granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp (30 g) meringue powder
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) powdered royal icing, plus extra for decorating
  • Food coloring pastes
  • Plastic gems or sequins
  • Medium-sized sugar skull molds
  • Spatula
  • Piping bags and nozzles

Makes 6 medium skulls

  1. Put the sugar in a large mixing bowl, and add the meringue powder. Add 2 tbsp water. Massage the water into the sugar with your hands until evenly distributed through the sugar. When the mixture is ready (about 5 minutes), the sugar will stick together in a lump and hold an imprint of your fingers when you squeeze a handful.
  2. Pack the sugar mix tightly into a mold and press down firmly. Keep adding and pressing to get in as much mixture as possible. Scrape away excess sugar from the back of the mold with a spatula so you have a completely flat surface.
  3. Place a tray or plate over the top of the mold, then invert both together to transfer the skull onto the tray or plate. Remove the mold. Repeat until you have used all the mixture-you should be able to make 6 medium-sized skulls, each with a front and a back piece.
  4. Leave to set for 4-5 hours. Once they feel firm on top, gently turn them over and leave to dry overnight until completely set.
  5. In a bowl, mix the royal icing sugar with enough water to make a spreadable paste. Spread the back pieces of the skulls with a good layer of icing, and press each one onto a front piece. Gently wipe any excess royal icing from around the edge of the seams with your thumb, and leave to dry for at least an hour until firmly set. You can keep any leftover royal icing for decorating.
  6. To decorate, make a thick icing from royal icing sugar and a drizzle of water, and add your chosen color. The icing will need to be quite thick to keep a clean line once piped and not run down the sloped sides of the skull (practice on a sheet of parchment paper first). Transfer the icing to a piping bag.
  7. Pipe lines and patterns onto your skull. Change colors and try different piping nozzles to vary the effects. Use the icing to stick on plastic gems or sequins to add a touch of sparkle. Leave the icing to set completely.

Don’t have Meringue Powder or a Mold available? Watch this video to learn how to do it with Egg Whites and no mold!