Day of the Dead Cookies

Total Time

Prep: 2 hours + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


1 dozen

Updated: Oct. 27, 2023
I make these cookies for all occasions. In the spring, I cut them in flower shapes and insert a lollipop stick in each to make a bouquet. Using candies, food coloring and a wild imagination, try your hand at this Day of the Dead version. —Kristine Fossmeyer, Huntley, Illinois
Day of the Dead Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 ounces almond paste
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages (12 ounces each) white candy coating melts
  • Optional decorations: Jumbo sprinkles, peppermint candies, candy-coated sunflower kernels, Skittles, Twizzlers Rainbow Twists and Good & Plenty candies
  • Black paste food coloring


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes; add almond paste. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut out with a floured 5-in. skull-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 375° for 7-9 minutes or until firm. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. In a large, shallow, microwave-safe dish, melt white candy coating melts according to package directions. Dip top side of each cookie into coating, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed paper.
  5. Add decorations as desired. Tint remaining white candy coating black; pipe on mouths. Let stand until set.
Day of the Dead Cookies Tips

Should you use salted or unsalted butter to make sugar cookies?

Many cutout cookie recipes call for unsalted butter for a slightly more pronounced butter flavor. However, these Day of the Dead cookies work best with salted butter, and a small amount of salt to boost the flavor.

How can you make Day of the Dead cookies your own?

Make these Day of the Dead cookies your own by using royal icing to decorate the cutouts, instead of melted candy coating and candies. Tint the icing several colors to keep the colorful look. Our guide about common mistakes when using royal icing can help you make beautiful cookies if you decide to go that route.

How should you store Day of the Dead cookies?

Store Day of the Dead cookies in airtight containers at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Peggy Woodward, Taste of Home Senior Food Editor

Nutrition Facts

1/2 cookie: 364 calories, 19g fat (14g saturated fat), 34mg cholesterol, 164mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate (29g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.