A Dead Delight

From ofrendas to sugar skulls, there are many exciting customs observed on Dia de los Muertos. But one tasty tradition stands above the rest: Pan de Muerto.


Abbi Prieto

Finished pan de muerto.

Abbi Prieto, Columnist

Pan de Muerto is a traditional Mexican sweet bread that is typically baked on the holidays of Dia de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents, which celebrates dead children), and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, which celebrates dead adults ). Dia de los Muertos and Dia de los Inocentes takes place on November first and second. It may sound scary and dark, but Dia de los Muertos is actually a joyous holiday meant to celebrate and remember lost loved ones. Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead), is an orange bread dusted with sugar, traditionally made on the two days of celebrations. Now you can be a part of the holidays with this tasty recipe.



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ tsp yeast
  • ⅔ unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar 
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp Orange Blossom Water


  • ¼ cup  melted unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar


  1. Heat milk in a microwave for ten seconds or until warm.The milk should be warm, not hot. Then mix in yeast and let sit for five minutes.
  2. On a clean surface, shape flour into a small mountain. Then, create a hole in the middle. Add the salt and sugar to the flour well. Then, add eggs, half of the butter, the milk mixture, and orange blossom water.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together by hand, gently.
  4. Add the rest of the butter and mix well.
  5. Knead the dough. It will be sticky, but as you knead it will stop sticking. The consistency might feel off at first, but it will get better as you go. Do not add flour.
  6. To test if the dough is ready, hold a thin piece of dough up to a window. If you can see sunlight through the dough, and the dough does not rip, it is ready
  7. Transfer the dough into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave dough to rest in a warm environment for 30 minutes 
  8. Transfer the dough to a clean surface and, using a bench scraper, cut into six pieces. 
  9. Cut each piece into three pieces. One large, one medium, one small.
  10. Shape the large piece into a smooth ball. 
  11. Take the medium piece and cut it into two halves. Roll each half into a long strip. While rolling, spread your fingers out to give strip indents.
  12. Shape the small piece into a smooth ball.
  13. Lay the strips across the large ball in a crisscross, using water as glue.
  14. Place the now-crisscrossed large balls and the small balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, or a silicone mat. Brush the crisscrossed buns with water and let the whole tray rest in a warm environment for 15-20 minutes.
  15. Bake at 355℉ for 15 minutes.
  16. Let bread cool for two minutes and then brush with butter and coat with the sugar.
  17. Serve and enjoy!