Mexican Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto)

Sweet Orange Glaze Loaf
Sweet Orange Glaze Loaf
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4 ounces Butter at room temperature
¾ cup Sugar
3 tsp Star Anise
1 tsp Salt
6 cups All-purpose flour or white bread, divided
4 Large eggs at room temperature
1 cups warm Water not to exceed 110 °F
2 tbsp Orange zest
2 (¼-ounce) packets Active dry yeast
For the Orange Glaze(optional):
¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup Orange juice

Nutritional information

  • For the Orange Glaze(optional):

Mexican Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto)


You’re probably wondering why we have named this recipe Mexican Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto) because as the name suggests, traditionally this round, sweet bread loaf is enjoyed in Mexico on this special celebration, falling in November.

Made with a light dough from butter, sugar, aniseed, salt, flour, eggs, warm water, orange zest and yeast, it’s the bone-like pattern shaped and draped over the top that represents bones and tears on this specific day!

To make Mexican Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto), you will need the following ingredients:

Ingridiens for Mexican Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto)

Steps to make Mexican Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto)


Combine batter ingredients


In the bowl of a stand mixer, with an electric beater, combine 4 ounces of butter with ¾ cup of sugar, 3 teaspoon of whole aniseed, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ cup of the flour.


Add wet ingredients and flour


In a separate small bowl, whisk 4 large eggs, with 1 cup of warm water, and 2 tablespoons of orange zest until combined then pour into the stand mixer bowl along with another ½ cup of flour. Mix until well combined.


Add yeast and flour


Finally, add 2 packets of dry yeast and another ½ cup of flour, then mix until combined.


Add remaining flour


Gradually add the remaining flour while mixing, until the dough begins to stick.


Knead and Rise


Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 1 minute. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm space for about 1 hour 30 minutes to rise until doubled in volume. Separate about 1/4 of the dough and use it to make bone shapes to drape across the loaf.


Prepare loaf


Separate ¼ of the risen dough and roll into bone shapes for draping over the top of the loaf. Shape the remaining dough in round, semi-sphere, flat bottomed bread and gently press the bone draping over and into the loaf.


Second rise


Set aside for another hour to rise.


Preheat oven


Preheat the oven to 350 °F.




Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes until golden. If baking smaller loaves, they may take about 30 minutes to bake.


Prepare glaze


In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk ¼ cup sugar with ¼ cup of orange juice until combined then bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes until thickened into a glaze.




Brush the prepared glaze over the top of the loaf, while it’s still warm and sprinkle with some white sugar.

Whether it is November or not, this Mexican Day of the Dead Bread is phenomenal. Soft enough to be torn with your hands, and enjoyed by the fistfuls! Do you love it? Let us know! Get dressed up and snap some pictures then tag us online using the hashtag #cookmerecipes!

Dasha is an enthusiastic and cheerful mom. She knows as well as any parent that children can be really picky when it comes to food. And she’s had plenty of experience trying to cook meals that are both tasty and nutritious, and able to satisfy the tastes of a fussy kid right away! To save you some precious time, Dasha is going to share with you all the tricks she learned the hard way, so you don’t have to! She has a wealth of recipes for quick and easy meals for kids and families on a budget.

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Recipe Reviews

Average Rating:
Total Reviews: 21
Emalyn Senkus

This is delicious!

Laniyah Dupras

Added a bit more sugar to mine.

Toni Sorelle

I accidently added a little bit more orange juice but it still was yummy.

Ali Bunfill

Way too orangey for my tastebuds but my kids actually enjoyed it so I guess I'll keep it bookmarked just incase they start begging again.

Yazmin Masinter

Really hard to make this and shape everything so It's not my personal favorite but I'll try to make it agian when dia de los muertos comes.

Ivana Canidate

Not sure what the point of the design is so I didn't do it but made it like a normal loaf instead, tasted great.

Rylynn Chandi

Cut some orange slices and ad them to the top too for an EXTRA look.

Jazmyn Venetz

Phenomenal recipe It's my first time ever making something Mexican since I'm from Greece and usually try to stick to what I know but this is something I've wanted to try since I first laid eyes on it and let me tell's worth baking for sure not only does it look and taste amazing but your house will smell amazing for days after baking this day of the dead bread, 5 stars all the way from me.

Kayleen Feezel

Brought some into work on the day of the dead and everyone wanted to know what they were eating haha.

Mayah Onusko

It's a simple bread but it does taste good.

Aarya Najafi

Had mine with some blueberry jam.

Palmer Bunnag

Fluffy and delicious exactly what I expected when I read the description and good with some whipped cream too.

Agnes Tappa

Takes a really long time to make this that's about the only thing I didn't like.

Reece Barty

I really liked the churro apple pie more but this is also a decent Mexican dessert.

Skylynn Onasch

Not that sweet sadly but I still enjoyed it very much and so did my abuela she wants to make it again but with some chocolate chips inside.

Samiya Alires

Normally I wouldn't go for things like this but it wasn't too bad.

Emiliana Borroel

Freaking nailed it on the first try!! The bread is so soft and great with tea omg.

Asha Shomer

If you want something easy then I suggest the vegan banana bread, this is kinda hard to make but if you do end up making it you won't regret it the flavor is really good and so is the texture.

Audree Savich

Never thought i'd try to make something out of my comfort zone but this just looks too good to pass up.

Aiyanna Nau

Mexican day of the dead is literally my favorite me and the kids always have tacos and put on our candy skull paint, can't wait to try this out when it comes back around.


Well done! Verified!

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