Foods to Celebrate Dia de los Muertos

A variety of sugar skulls on display.
The Color Purple 2023

Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a holiday celebrated in many countries throughout Latin America, but it is mostly associated with Mexico. The purpose of this holiday is to commemorate the deceased. People celebrate their deceased family members with parades, altars, and feasts. It is believed that the souls of the dead return and walk the earth during this holiday, so families prepare the dead’s favorite foods and reminisce in order to honor them.

In order to honor their deceased relatives, people celebrating Dia de los Muertos build altars decorated with sugar skull candies, flowers, photographs, and a variety of foods and drinks. There are many exciting foods prepared for this holiday, so let’s take a quick look at the treats that can be found.

Tamales are made with a cornmeal dough and filled with your favorite toppings—like chicken or beans, and wrapped in a corn husk.

Pan de muerto is a sweet roll, often decorated with a crossbone design. This is a delicious dessert-y bread flavored with anise and orange zest.

Horchata is a type of rice milk, flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. A nice cold refreshing drink on a warm day!

Agua de Jamaica is a kind of hibiscus flower punch. This is another fantastic refreshing drink!

Sopapillas are light fried pastries, often sprinkled with powdered sugar. These airy pastries are great on their own, or served with honey!

Mexican hot chocolate is made with cinnamon and ancho chiles. This spicy chocolate drink is a fantastic treat to warm up with on a cold night.

Calabaza en tacha, or candied pumpkins, are another fun treat, and Mexican pumpkins are grown specifically to make these candies. For this recipe, pieces of pumpkins are soaked in a sauce made of sugar, cinnamon, and orange juice.

I definitely recommend sampling these incredible foods and drinks whenever the opportunity arises. Pan de muerto is one of my favorite treats to make and share with friends around this time of year!


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