Pan de Muerto recipe

Learn how to make a delicious Pan de muerto

Pan de Muerto (Bread of dead) is a traditional sweet bread that is present in every year’s Dia de Muertos.

People in México usually go to the shop or supermarket and get one (or more) there. There is no need to bake your own. They are quite inexpensive and tasty. Of course here in Northern Ireland, there are not many bakeries that sell pan de muerto, so tough. Make it yourself.

As every bread, kneading can be an exhausting job so I decided to use my bread machine to do the job. But keep an eye on it or it will end like my loaf of pan de muerto!

Pan de Muerto


  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 5 ½ tablespoons unsalted softened butter, cut into small pieces
  • Freshly grated orange zest from 1/3 of a navel orange
  • 1 Tablespoon of orange juice
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast


  1. As your first layer, place these liquid ingredients in the bottom of your bread machine baking pan: milk, butter, orange zest, orange juice and eggs.
  2. Add the sugar and salt.
  3. Then the plain flour.
  4. Finally, sprinkle yeast all over the top
  5. Let the machine work the dough setting it up for white bread. Every machine is different so keep a close eye on it and remove it just before it is going to bake it. It should let it rise twice.
  6. Make round loaves and keep a bit to make the bones and the skull.
  7. Cover the bread with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let it rise in a warm spot for 45 mins.
  8. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  9. Put the loaves in the oven and bake for 20 minutes
  10. When the bread is ready and cool enough to handle but still warm smear some butter all over the top.
  11. Sprinkle sugar to coat all the surface.
  12. Let it cool and enjoy with a delicious hot chocolate Abuelita

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