Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread

Welcome to Mexican Meatless Monday! Today I made a super authentic Mexican recipe that’s steeped in a holiday tradition.IMG 3074 thumb Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread

November 2nd is Day of the Dead or Dia De Los Muertos in Mexican culture. We pay homage to our dead ancestors on this day. People often build altars and decorate them with food and pictures of their relatives or go to the cemetery and decorate their graves.

We have sugar skulls and things that remind us of the dead. It’s meant to be a celebration of life so the decorations and food are often colorful and celebratory. sugarskulls thumb Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread (source)

Today I made something I used to enjoy on Dia de los Muertos growing up – Dead Bread. The bread I am used to is in the shape of a person, but I couldn’t find a good step-by-step recipe explaining how so I went the more traditional route.

IMG 3068 thumb Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread


The ingredients:


warm water

1/2 cup milk

1/2 stick butter

3 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup sugar (1/4 separated)

1 tsp orange zest – optionalIMG 3048 thumb Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread



Combine yeast and warm water (should be over 100 degrees) per package directions

Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt. Stir until smooth.

Add to yeast mixture.

Add 2 eggs to mixture, blend.

Slowly add flour and mix until a dough ball forms.

Knead it like you need it. Make sure your surface is covered in flour and that it gets everywhere so any potential guest knows you are baking bread. IMG 3050 thumb Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread

Then, put the dough ball aside for 90 minutes in a warm place to rise. It should double in size.

After 90 minutes, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take the dough and knead it for a minute then separate into 4 equal parts. Roll out three sections into ropes and braid. Form a circle with the braid.

Take the last section and divide it in half. Form each half into a bone shape. It would be best if you formed a generic bone shape, but if you’re a really talented clavicle maker then have at it.

Place “bones” in a criss-cross on top of braided loaf.

Whip last egg and brush entire loaf with egg. Sprinkle with copious amounts of sugar because you’re unsure if this recipe used enough sugar for the amount of flour required. 

IMG 3054 thumb Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread


Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.IMG 3074 thumb1 Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread


Doesn’t this look like a bone! IMG 3062 thumb Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread


Cut yourself a big piece, slather with butter and pray to God that your relatives are well in Heaven. IMG 3080 thumb Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread

Fun fact: My grandma’s birthday is on Dia de los Muertos!

Happy Birthday Grams!DSCN1118 thumb Pan De Muertos – Dead Bread


  1. says

    This post just took me back to 12th grade Spanish class. I can taste that bread even almost a decade later!!! My favorite days were our fiesta days b/c I got to make such fun dishes, including this one! Thanks for sharing it.

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