Day of the Dead Cookies: a fun skull cookie recipe for Día de Los Muertos

Total time: 3H20
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 20 people
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By Cookist

If you're looking for simple, delicious recipes to celebrate Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead on November 2nd, you'll love these amazing Day of the Dead cookies. They are made from a tasty sugar cookie and decorated with colorful royal icing to resemble the edible sugar skulls. Eat or place them on altars as offerings in Mexican tradition, where people remember family and loved ones that passed away.

You'll need a skull-shaped cookie cutter to make these festive, spooky cookies, plus several colors of royal icing to decorate them. Making and decorating Day of the Dead cookies is a fun project for both kids and adults. These cookies taste as good as they look, another sweet treat to enjoy after Halloween. The best part? You can decorate them as you want, just be creative!


Tips for Making Sugar Skull Cookies

You can make your Día de los Muertos cookies a few days in advance. Keep them fresh by storing them in an airtight container. You can even refrigerate them – just let them come up to room temperature before serving.

Freezing the dough before baking the cookies will help them keep their shape – don't skip this step!

If you use unsalted butter, be sure to add a pinch of salt to your dough.

How to Store Día de los Muertos Cookies

Keep your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Frozen Day of the Dead cookies will last for 3 months.

for the cookies
All-purpose flour, plus extra
3 cups
Baking powder
1 tsp
Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp
butter, softened
1 cup
1 cup
Large egg
Whole Milk
1 tbsp
pure vanilla extract
1 tsp
for the icing
Powdered sugar
5 cups
milk, plus extra
6 tbsp
light corn syrup
1/4 cup
pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp
black food coloring
teal food coloring
orange food coloring
green food coloring
purple food coloring
yellow food coloring

How to Make Day of the Dead Cookies

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and airy. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla until the mixture becomes smooth, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Shape the dough into a disk, then wrap it in plastic. Put in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Flour a work surface. Roll out the dough so it's about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out the dough using a skull-shaped cookie cutter and arrange the cookies on the baking trays. Place them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Whisk powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in a bowl. Transfer ¼ of the icing to a piping bag. Outline the edges of the cooled cookies.

Pour half of the remaining icing into a second bowl. Whisk milk in one teaspoon at a time until it takes on a somewhat liquid consistency. Pour into a second piping bag, then cover the cookies with icing.

Divide the remaining icing into 6 bowls. Dye each with one color of food coloring. Transfer each colored icing into a piping bag and decorate the cookies.


Use room temperature ingredients to make your cookies. They'll combine more easily and yield a better quality dough.

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