The Best Dia de Los Muertos Food for Your Day of the Dead Celebration

Updated: Nov. 07, 2023

Celebrating the Day of the Dead with your family this year? Cook up these tasty recipes for Dia de los Muertos food that everyone will love.

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Pan De Muerto Bread Of The Dead
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Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead)

This delectably sweet bread is a quintessential part of Dia de los Muertos. Flavored with anise and orange, pan de muerto is baked during the days and weeks leading up to the holiday. Its unique shape represents the bones of the dead while the ball, which crowns the loaf, represents the tears shed for those who’ve passed. There are many variations to the recipe, but one of our favorites comes courtesy of Nibbles & Feasts.

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Chicken Tamales
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Tamales

Tamales are another staple of Dia de los Muertos celebrations. Like the ritual of making pan de muertos, gathering family around to prepare tamales as ofrendas is customary during the days before Dia de los Muertos. They can be sweet or savory. While this dish takes time to make, making tamales is pretty straightforward, so you can get everyone involved in the fun.

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Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
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Tortilla Soup

This warming tortilla soup will banish the cold from your bones in a flash. It’s spicy, hearty comfort food you can make ahead and freeze or whip up fresh on the day. Take this recipe to the next level by adding a few slices of fresh avocado.

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Beef Flautas
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Beef Flautas

This fulfilling finger food wraps seasoned meat in a flour tortilla before frying them for a crunchy delight. Top them with sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes and queso fresco for a flavorful bite.

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Easy Chicken Enchiladas
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Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are fantastic to serve if you’re entertaining a large group. These mouth-watering chicken enchiladas are super quick and easy to prepare, so they’re ideal if you have a few unexpected guests knock on your door. Of course, you don’t need to limit yourself to chicken. There are dozens of ways to make enchiladas at home!

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Easy Pork Pozole
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Pozole

Who doesn’t love a flavorful hearty stew? Pozole is packed with classic Mexican flavors like cumin, garlic, jalapeno, lime and cayenne pepper, which are surefire crowd-pleasers. This delicious pork pozole recipe is simple to make but one dish you’ll definitely want to make ahead. Our version cooks for six hours!

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Carne Adovada Sopes
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Sopes

Sopes are a Mexican street snack that double as a killer appetizer for your Dia de los Muertos celebration. For the most flavorful carne adovada sopes, be sure to give the meat ample time to marinate. Don’t forget to set out toppings! Fresh homemade guacamole, cheese and refried beans are a few of our top picks.

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Mole Poblano
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Mole Poblano

This rich, wonderfully complex mole sauce is worth the effort to make. It seamlessly brings together chili, spices, dried fruits, chocolate, seeds and more. There are dozens upon dozens of variations of mole but they have one unifying feature—they’re all delicious! Serve this sauce with meat dishes.

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Agua de Jamaica
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Agua de Jamaica

For a light, refreshing non-alcoholic drink to serve up at your festivities, look no further than agua de jamaica. This popular agua fresca is made from hibiscus flowers and has a flavor reminiscent of cranberry juice. It’s a stellar sipper to cool down your taste buds after taking a bite of some of the spicier fare on your plate.

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Mexican mezcal or mescal shot with chili pepper and orange
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Mezcal

Looking for a stronger tipple? Pick up a bottle of mezcal and serve it lightly chilled. Mezcal is tequila’s grassy, smoky cousin and bottles of the spirit are often left on Day of the Dead altars. You can also use mezcal as a substitute in your favorite tequila cocktails if you’re not one for straight spirits.

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Horchata
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Horchata

Like agua de jamaica, horchata is one of the most popular aguas frescas in Mexico. This version is made with rice and almonds and has a lovely creamy texture to it. Plus, this horchata has just the right amount of sweetness. If you’re expecting a large group, be sure to make an extra-large batch—your guests will definitely want seconds.

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Mexican Hot Chocolate
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Mexican Hot Chocolate

By the time November rolls around, there’s a distinct chill in the air. A Mexican hot chocolate is perfect for fending off the cold. Bringing together the irresistible flavors of cinnamon and cocoa, this hot chocolate is always a hit. If you’re ready to take it to the next level, add a pinch of chili powder to the mix.

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Candied Pumpkin
Courtesy Dora's Table

Calabaza en Tacha

Calabaza en Tacha, or candied pumpkin, may just be the perfect autumn sweet. Dora’s Table slowly simmers her version in a rich syrup made from piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar), cinnamon and orange zest. It’s a phenomenal dish to make not only for Day of the Dead, but all throughout the season.

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Cinnamon-Spiced Pumpkin Flan
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Caramel Flan

Your Dia de los Muertos celebration isn’t complete without this creamy caramel flan. This smooth, creamy dessert is deceptively light given its luxurious texture and is easier to make than you might think.

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Day Of The Dead Cookies
Day of the Dead Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Day of the Dead Cookies

Brightly colored Day of the Dead cookies are excellent treats to put on the table if you’d like to keep dessert on the simple side. If you’re looking to involve your kids in the festivities, decorating these cookies is a fun way to flex their creative muscles. (These are our top tips for baking with kids.)

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Conchas
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Conchas

These sweet bread rolls are topped with a crunchy, sugary topping giving this treat a shell-shaped look. Traditionally eaten as a breakfast or snack, conchas can also be used as a colorful dessert to end the night’s celebrations.

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Classic Tres Leches Cake
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Tres Leches Cake

What’s a Mexican celebration without the creamy, classical tres leches cake? This moist cake uses heavy whipping cream, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk for a light and airy dessert.

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homemade sugar skulls for day of the dead decorated with royal icing
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Sugar Skulls

Perhaps the most iconic Dia de los Muertos sweet, Mexican sugar skulls are surprisingly easy to make and are another great way to get your kids to lend a hand in the kitchen. The Other Side of the Tortilla uses royal icing to decorate her eye-catching treats.

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