Pan de Muertos (Mexican Bread of the Dead)


This pan de muerto is a version of the bread made for the November 2 celebration known as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico. You can also mold the bread into different shapes like angels and animals.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 10 mins
1 large round loaf



  • ¼ cup milk

  • ¼ cup margarine

  • ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • 2 teaspoons anise seed

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest


  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • ¼ cup orange juice

  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar


  1. Make bread: Heat milk and margarine in a medium saucepan over low heat until margarine melts. Remove from heat and add warm water. Mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).

  2. Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, anise seed, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in warm milk mixture, then add eggs and orange zest; beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup flour and continue adding more flour until dough is soft.

  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

  4. Punch dough down and shape into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet; loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until just about doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool slightly before brushing with glaze.

  7. Make glaze: Combine 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush glaze over top of warm bread. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.


You may substitute 1/2 teaspoon anise extract for the anise seeds.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

208 Calories
5g Fat
36g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 208
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 156mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 4mg 19%
Calcium 21mg 2%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 80mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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