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Pan de muerto with sugar on top and day of the dead decorations
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5 from 4 votes

Authentic Pan de Muerto Recipe

Learn how to make this delicious and authentic "pan de muerto" recipe so that you can celebrate the day of the dead this year with your family and friends. 
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: bread, Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: pan de muerto
Servings: 20 Pieces of Bread
Calories: 267kcal


  • 4 Cups Bread Flour
  • 3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Milk Lukewarm
  • 1/4 Cup Orange Juice
  • 3 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
  • Zest from one orange
  • 1.5 Sticks Butter
  • 3 Eggs Room Temperature
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tbsp Orange Blossom Water Optional
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Melted Butter For coating bread after it bakes.
  • 1 Cup White Sugar For coating bread after it bakes.


  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the milk, the yeast, 2 tablespoons of flour, and 1 tablespoon of sugar and then cover it and let it rest in a warm place for about 10 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients, including the orange zest. Then add the butter and the eggs (one by one) as you mix it all together with a stand mixer or a hand mixer. Add the vanilla, orange juice, and orange blossom water (if using).
  • At this point, add the mixture that you set aside, which should be activated and ready to use.
  • Continue mixing until a slightly elastic dough is formed. It should not be very sticky. This can take up to 20 minutes depending on the temperature where you live.
  • Place the dough in a pre-greased bowl and cover with a paper towel or slightly damp towel. Make sure to roll the dough around so that it has some of the oil on all sides so it doesn't dry out as it rises. Let rise for one hour in a warm place.
    Pan de muerto dough before being cooked
  • After the dough has doubled in size, cut it into 4 equal-sized pieces. Take three of them, and form three smooth balls of equal size and place them on a pre-greased baking sheet. Cut the last piece into three equal pieces, forming the "bones" that you will then add on top of each piece of bread. See image.
    Pan de muerto dough before cooking it
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C) and bake for 45 minutes, or until the bread is cooked through.
  • Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter before rolling and coating each piece with white sugar.
    pan de muerto para dia de los muertos
  • Serve hot and enjoy!


Serving: 1Piece of Bread | Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
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