The Best Dia de Los Muertos Food for Your Day of the Dead Celebration
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.
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.
This rich, wonderfully complex 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.
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 and while tamales take time to make, the process is pretty straightforward so you can get everyone involved in the tamale-making fun.
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.
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.
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.
Enchiladas are fantastic to serve up 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!
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 a taking a bite of some of the spicier fare on your plate.
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.
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!)
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 and 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.
Cinnamon-Spiced Pumpkin Flan
Put a seasonal twist on another classic Dia de los Muertos sweet with this cinnamon-spiced pumpkin flan. This smooth, creamy dessert is deceptively light given its luxurious texture and a clever way to make the most out of pumpkin season.
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.)
Sopes are a Mexican street snack which double as a killer appetizer for your Dia de los Muertos fiesta. 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.