Enjoy these Day of The Dead recipes! From classics like the aromatic Pan de Muerto to cute sugar calaveritas, these recipes are a celebration of flavors, culture, and the connections that span beyond this world.

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a vibrant and heartfelt celebration in Mexico that beautifully intertwines remembrance and culinary delight.

As we honor our departed loved ones and create a bridge between the living and the deceased, let’s explore some mouthwatering Day of the Dead recipes that bring tradition and flavor to the festivities!

1. Pan de Muerto

Pan de Muerto sweet bread is a central element of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico and is often placed on altars as an offering to honor deceased loved ones. Bread of the Dead (as it’s known in English) is adorned with strips of dough shaped into bones and skulls, representing the circle of life and death.

2. Pumpkin Empanadas

Pumpkin empanadas or empanadas de calabaza feature a filling made from pumpkin puree, sweetened and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and other warm spices. The pumpkin filling is enclosed in a pastry shell, which can be made from a dough similar to pie crust or puff pastry.

3. Camote

In Mexican cuisine, camote —a Spanish word for sweet potato, is used in a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet. It can be roasted, boiled, mashed, or fried.

In this traditional recipe, camotes are simmered in a decadent piloncillo syrup and served as breakfast, dessert, or snack during Día de Muertos season.

4. Candied Pumpkin

Known in Mexico as Calabaza en Tacha this is a traditional dish made from pumpkin or squash that’s cooked in a sweet syrup until it becomes tender and caramelized. It is rich in flavor and has a comforting, warm sweetness, making it one of the most popular Day of the Dead recipes.

5. Champurrado

Champurrado is a thick drink made of corn masa, chocolate, and piloncillo. It has a sweet and slightly bitter taste with hints of cinnamon and is perfect to serve along with tamales.

6. Corn Atole

Atole de elote (corn atole) is often served during Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. This warm and comforting drink is made from masa blended with sweet corn, water, or milk, and sweetened with sugar.

7. Tamales Oaxaqueños

This flavourful tamales recipe is made with chicken and mole and wrapped in banana leaves.

These soft mole tamales are a traditional dish from Oaxaca where they are commonly prepared and enjoyed as part of the offerings placed on altars to honor deceased loved ones.

8. Cochinita Pibil

Slow-cooked pork marinated in achiote and spices —a hearty nod to the unity of tradition and taste. Cochinita Pibil is served during Hanal Pixán, a traditional Mayan term that refers to the Day of the Dead celebrations in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The term translates to “food for the souls” in English, reflecting the central role of food in these celebrations.

9. Chicken Tamales Verdes

When it comes to Day of the Dead recipes, tamales verdes are on my top list. Made with tender chicken simmered in a flavorful green salsa, this tamales dish is considered a way to nourish and welcome the spirits of absent loved ones.

10. Enmoladas

Enmoladas are a delicious variation of the popular dish enchiladas. In this version, the tortillas are filled with shredded chicken and then smothered in mole, a rich and flavorful sauce made from a blend of chiles, chocolate, spices, and other ingredients.

11. Calaveritas

Decorative yet delectable, calaveritas de azúcar, or sugar skulls, are an edible art form adorning Day of the Dead altars.

Beautifully decorated, sugar skulls are an integral part of the festive altars, and crafting these ornate treats brings creative joy to the festivities.

12. Skull Sugar Cookies

Modern Day of the Dead Recipes

Modern interpretations of Day of the Dead recipes continue to honor tradition while embracing contemporary culinary creativity. Check out these recipes for Dia de Muertos with a fun and tasty twist:


What is the traditional food for Day of the Dead?

While specific foods can vary by region and family tradition, some common traditional foods associated with the Day of the Dead include Pan de muerto, calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), atole, mole, tamales, candied pumpkin, and seasonal fresh fruit.

What do they drink on the Day of the Dead?

In addition to atole or other sweet and warm beverages, drinks like tequila or mezcal can be offered to the spirits.

Can you eat the food from an ofrenda?

Yes and no. The food placed on an ofrenda during the Day of the Dead is primarily intended as symbolic offerings for the spirits of departed loved ones. While it’s possible to eat the food, it’s often done after the festivities are over, as families share and consume the offerings as a way to remember and connect with their ancestors. The timing, intent, cultural respect, and hygiene considerations all play a role in whether or not the food from an ofrenda is consumed by the living.

Pan de muerto in a table decorated with marigold paper flowers, candles, and ceramic festive skulls.

As we wrap up our culinary journey through these Day of the Dead recipes, it’s clear that food is more than just sustenance —it’s a bridge that connects generations, cultures, and hearts.

As the candles flicker and the marigolds bloom, may these dishes not only fill our bellies but also warm our spirits with the knowledge that the past is never truly gone. So here’s to the memories, the flavors, and the stories —cheers to a Día de Los Muertos that’s alive with love, connection, and the joy of good food.

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One Comment

  1. I’m absolutely loving this 12 Days of the Dead recipe roundup! Each recipe captures the essence of Dia de los Muertos beautifully. The flavors are spot-on, the instructions are easy to follow, and the results are incredible. Thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes!