Pan de Muerto


Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you’re having a good weekend! Back when I was in college almost 11 years ago, I was required to do a presentation. I chose to do one about Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I spoke about the festivities and baked Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) from scratch. I used a recipe similar to the one I’m sharing. I couldn’t find the one I used. Pan de Muerto is a round loaf of bread that represents bones and skulls. The bread is left on top of grave sites or altars (ofrendas) to celebrate the departed on November 1st and 2nd.

I’m sharing Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack’s recipe from her blog, Muy Bueno. Yvette is a blogger and author originally from El Paso. She made the bread from scratch to honor her grandmother. She currently resides in Colorado. I have an upcoming interview with her here on Life of an El Paso Woman. Please stay tuned and enjoy this recipe and original artwork by Andre.

Pan de Muerto Recipe

1 stick of butter
½ cup milk
½ cup water
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole anise seed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange extract
Zest of one orange
4 eggs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Warm butter, milk, and water; until butter has melted in small saucepan on top of oven.

Combine ½ cup of flour, yeast, salt, anise seed, and sugar in bowl. Slowly beat in  warm milk, orange extract, and orange zest until well mixed. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Slowly add in 1 cup of flour. Continue adding additional flour until the dough is soft but not sticky.

Turn the dough out and knead for at least 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a large ball and cut into four pieces.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet and place three dough balls on it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in warm place until doubled in size, for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Save the fourth dough ball to make bones on top of the loaves. Refrigerate the dough to slow down the rising process.

Bake bread for 25 to 30 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when cooked.

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small pot. Brush the melted butter on the bread and sprinkle sugar over it when the bread is finished.

Let the bread cool and enjoy with hot cocoa or coffee.

Recipe adapted from:


  1. […] Last year my WP son, Oy 30 did a good post explaining Day of the Dead and some of the traditions that go along with it. It begins on Oct. 31 at midnight and goes on through Nov. 2 in several parts of Mexico. Although it wasn’t widely celebrated in the U.S., the celebrations are beginning to pop up more every year. The rituals derived from Colombia around 2000-3000 years ago. You can check out Antonio’s post here. I did a separate post of a Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) recipe last year.  Feel free to check it out here. […]


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