A variety of Day of the Dead Breads
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4.75 from 4 votes

Day of the Dead Bread

Day of the Dead Bread or "Pan de Muertos" is a delicious, light, sweet bread made to celebrate Day of the Dead or "Dia de los Muertos."  This traditional bread has strips of bread on top representing "bones."  A must make for this highly celebrated day in memory of our loved ones.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 makes 4 loaves
Calories: 435kcal
Author: Mexican Appetizers and More



  • 1 cup orange zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  • 5 Cups all purpose white flour sifted
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 zest of one orange


  • Using a grater, grate (zest) orange peel and set orange zest aside.

Making Dough

  • In a saucepan over medium heat add milk, butter and water until butter melts.
  • Sift 5 cups of flour into a bowl (this helps in removing the clumps from flour).  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl add one cup of the sifted flour, yeast, sugar and salt. 
  • Pour the milk mixture to the bowl of one cup of flour and mix well.  Add zest of orange.
  • Add eggs one at a time mixing as you go with a spoon.    
  • Keep mixing while you slowly add one cup at a time of flour.
    The dough will be sticky at first, continue until dough is smooth.

Allow Dough to Rise

  • Once dough comes well together, transfer dough to a lightly floured board and knead for 10 minutes.
  • Place dough in a greased bowl (spread bowl with a little bit of oil or butter).
  • Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rise double in size. Place dough in a warm area for at least an 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Now your dough is ready to form.

Forming Breads and Cooking

  • Remove from bowl and place back on a lightly floured board. Flatten dough with hands and cut into 4 pieces.
  • Shape 3 of the pieces into round buns.
  • Use the fourth bun to form "bones."  Cut 7 strips from this bun (dough).
  • You can just place strips crisscrossed on top of buns in the form of a cross or can roll dough between fingers to form "bones."
  • Use the last strip to form 3 small balls and center on top of each bread.  Refer to pictures.
  • Let rise for another 20 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 350. Cook loaves for 30 to 40 minutes.Note: Could make a 4th loaf if you exclude making the strips and balls.


  • While loaves are baking, prepare orange glaze. Zest the second orange and juice orange.
  • Add juice, zest and sugar in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat for 2 to 4 minutes until sugar dissolves.
  • When breads are done, glaze loaves with a brush.Time to enjoy this delicious bread!

Decorating Loaves

  • You can also decorate your breads with colored sprinkles and sugar (while glazed bread is still warm)
  • You can also add icing or confectioners sugar when bread has cooled.


Serving: 8g | Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 331mg | Potassium: 174mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 4mg