Recipe: Pan de Muerto

Food & Living
"Recipe: Pan de Muerto"

This Mexican sweet bread is a staple for any Day of the Dead celebration. Traditionally, the round loaf is decorated with strips of dough layered on top to resemble bones. Once prepared, you’ll find pan de muerto is a popular decoration for altars created for the departed, at parties and graveyards. Want to bake your own piece of soft and sugary goodness? You can make your own pan de muerto with this recipe.


Recipe Serves: 10
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Stand Time: 2 Hours 30 min


  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup water (about 125°)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Country Crock® Spread
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds o anise seed
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. colored sugar o granulated sugar



  1. Combine yeast with warm water in medium bowl and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk, whole eggs and Country Crock® Spread; set aside.
  2. Sift flour, sugar and salt in large mixing bowl. Stir in fennel seeds. Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Stir yeast mixture into flour mixture with a wooden spoon until dough forms. Add a little more flour if the dough is too wet or a little more milk if it is too dry.
  3. Knead on lightly floured surface until dough is smooth but slightly sticky, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to large, lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray baking sheet with no-stick spray. Knead dough on lightly floured surface 3 minutes. Cut about 1/5 of the dough off; reserve. Shape remaining dough into a round loaf on prepared baking sheet. Roll reserved dough into a thick rope, then cut into 5 portions. Roll one portion into a ball and arrange it on top of the round loaf. Roll remaining 4 balls into ropes with knobby ends resembling ”bones”. Arrange ”bones” around loaf. Cover loosely and let it rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  5. Beat egg white with water, then brush loaf with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 35 minutes or until top is lightly golden brown. Remove to wire rack and cool.