Day of The Dead Cookies (Galletas de Pan de Muerto)

If you want to enjoy a sweet treat on Dia de Los Muertos but don’t want to bake pan de muerto, then make these adorable Day of the Dead cookies. This galletas de pan de muerto are shaped just like the pan dulce and also have the same delicious orange flavor.

Day of the Dead cookies shaped and flavored just like pan de muerto sitting on a dark table.

Day of The Dead Cookies

Most Day of the Dead cookies you’ll typically find are the ones shaped like calaveritas or sugar skulls. They are gorgeous but let’s face it one needs to be talented at decorating sugar cookies, plus dedicate quite a bit of time to the project.

Well amigos, I’ve got an alternative for you!

The traditional Dia de Los Muertos dessert is pan de muerto – have you seen my vegan Day of The Dead bread recipe yet?

Pan de muerto is a seasonal treat not to be missed. The only downside is that it does take a bit of time to make – I mean totally worth the time and effort, but I do understand not everyone can dedicated the time needed.

So mis queridos amigos, these cookies are just the solution!

A small Day of The Dead cookie shaped like pan de muerto inside a tiny plate.

Galletas de Pan de Muerto

Galletas in Spanish means cookies, and pan de muerto translates to bread of the dead.

There’s a lot of history and cultural importance begin this flavorful bread. A Dia de Muertos without pan de muerto just isn’t the same. Actually all the weeks leading up to the holiday just isn’t the same without indulging in at least a few pan de muerto rolls or loafs.

Last year amongst the Mexican food vloggers I started seeing these adorable Day of the Dead cookies shaped just like pan de muerto. I knew I had to make them immediately.

This recipe I’m sharing with you today is a mixture of many different sources online, and the results are insanely delicious!

A small basket lined with purple papel picado and miniature pan de muerto cookies laying on top of it.

Are These Mexican Cookies Vegan?

Yes, there are no animal products in these festive vegan Mexican cookies. Trust me amigos, no one can tell the difference.

In our home I’m the only vegan and I’ve shared these cookies with 6 meat-eaters and not one of them could tell these cookies were vegan. They were all surprised when I told them there was no dairy or eggs in these. Needless to say the cookies didn’t last, we quickly gobbled them up.

If you would rather make these a vegetarian cookie then make sure to read the notes below. It’s quite easy to do. Also if you want to bake a batch of vegan and one vegetarian for your family, that’s totally doable too.

Day of the Dead Bread on a plate places on an altar.

More Vegan Dia de Los Muertos Recipes

Ingredients in small bowls to make Day of the Dead cookies.

Day of The Dead Cookie Ingredients

These are pretty standard cookie ingredients and you’ll be able find them at nearly all grocery stores. Check my notes about the orange blossom water, just in case.

  • Vegan Butter: I used Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan Butter, salted and made with cashews. It’s the only butter I’ve been able to test these cookies with.
  • Cane Sugar: To make these cookies vegan use either unrefined cane sugar or vegan white sugar.  
  • Aquafaba: This is broth that you find in canned chickpeas. We’re using it to replace egg. 
  • Orange Blossom Water or esencia de azahar (this is the brand I use)*
  • Orange Zest: This is the grated peel from an orange.
  • All Purpose Flour: This is just your standard white wheat flour, try to use an extra fine ground if possible, to give you a light and airy bread.
  • Salt
  • Soy Milk: Unsweetened and unflavored, I used Silk brand.
  • Cinnamon and Sugar: To coat the cookies
A bottle of Mexican esencia de azahar or orange blossom flavoring.

Ingredient Notes

You can get orange blossom water or esencia de azahar from Mexican grocery stores or Middle Easter markets, of course there’s also on Amazon . Where ever you purchase it just make sure it’s food grade.

If you don’t have access to the orange blossom water then you can substitute with orange juice or vanilla extract. However, it will give you a different flavor. 

How to Make These Cookies Vegetarian

To make vegetarian galletas de pan de muerto you’re simply going to swap out the plant-based dairy products and the vegan egg.

Instead of the vegan butter you can use regular salted or unsalted butter.

Replace the aquafaba with one whole egg.

The soymilk you can replace with your choice of dairy-based milk.

One small Dia de Los Muertos cookie on a decorative plate.

How to Make Galletas de Pan de Muerto

This recipe is so easy to make and won’t take you long. Please see the recipe card below for more details.

Creaming butter and sugar to make Mexican cookies.

Step 1: In a medium-large bowl cream the slightly softened vegan butter with the sugar until well combined and creamy and airy.

Adding vegan egg, orange zest to mixture.

Step 2: Next add the aquafaba, orange blossom water, and orange zest. Beat until well combined. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl if needed.

Adding dry ingredients to wet cookie ingredients.

Step 3: Add the flour then the salt. Beat until you have course and damp crumbs. Use the spatula to help scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Gathering cookie dough crumbs to make Mexican shortbread cookies.

Step 4: Use the spatula to help gather the dough to the center of the bowl. Now use your hands to bring it together to form a ball. Make sure there aren’t any pieces of unmixed flour in the dough.

Wrapping Mexican cookie dough in plastic wrap to refrigerate.

Step 5: Wrap the cookie dough ball in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.

Step 6: Line a cookie sheet with baking paper (parchment paper) then set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.

Shaping cookie dough to form pan de muerto cookies.

Step 7: Place the chilled dough on your work surface. Use a one tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out some cookie dough. Shape the dough into a small ball. Remove two small pieces to form two logs, then grab a smaller piece and make a small ball with it.

Shaping pan de muerto cookies.

Step 8: Use your finger to lightly coat the cookie dough ball with a little bit of soy milk. Roll out the two logs to form the “bones or huesitos” then lay them crisscrossed on top of the cookie ball. Where the join dap a little milk and press the small ball into it.

Mexican Day of The Dead cookies on a cookie sheet ready to go in the oven.

Step 9: Place the shaped cookies on the cookie sheet and repeat until all of the cookie dough has been used up.

Baked pan de muerto cookies cooling on a cookie sheet.

Step 10: Bake in the center of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Start keeping a closer eye after 10 minutes. The cookies should be slightly golden brown on the bottom and on top.

Mexican Day of The Dead cookies decorated with sugar and cinnamon.

Step 11: Cool on a cooling rack and once at room temperature brush with melted vegan butter then coat with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

How to Serve Day of The Dead Cookies

Serve these cookies with hot chocolate or coffee or as a simple dessert.

You can also use them to decorate your Day of The Dead altar and eat them later.

A close up view of a Dia de Los Muertos cookies sliced in half.

What do Pan de Muerto Cookies Taste Like

It’s going to blow your mind just how much these cookies taste like pan de muerto!

Pan de muerto cookies taste and smell slightly floral with a prominent orange flavor. These are the authentic and traditional flavors and scents of Day of The Dead bread.

The cookies are delicate and crumbly, they’re just sweet enough and have just a touch of Mexican canela or cinnamon flavor.

How to Store

These cookies will keep fresh for about 4 days in a closed container.

If you live in a hot and humid place like I do, you can put them in the refrigerator then leave out to come to room temperature before serving.

A close up view of a Dia de Los Muertos cookies sliced in half.

Pan de Muerto Cookies Recipe

Ok amigos, below is the printable recipe card – which you can also bookmark to your favorite recipes.

I truly hope you make these cookies because they embody the amazing scents and flavors of Dia de Muertos.

Do leave me a comment letting me know how you liked them!

A small Day of The Dead cookie shaped like pan de muerto inside a tiny plate.

Mexican Day of The Dead Cookies

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
This crumbly, decadent, Mexican shortbread cookies are inspired by pan de muerto or Day of the Dead bread. These cookies have the same orange zest and orange blossom water flavors and are shaped the same way too. Don't miss out on these vegan Dia de Los Muertos cookies!
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Print Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican, Vegan Mexican Recipe
Servings 26 cookies
Calories 105 kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • hand mixer
  • cookie sheet
  • baking paper aka parchment paper
  • pastry brush

Ingredients
  

  • 10 Tablespoons vegan butter it’s 150 grams at room temperature
  • ½ cup cane sugar it’s 100 grams
  • 3 Tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or esencia de azahar
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 2.5 cup all purpose flour it’s 335g and try to use extra fine flour
  • ¼ cup soy milk unsweetened Silk brand
  • ¼ to ½ cup cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon Mexican canela or Ceylon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan butter melted

Instructions
 

  • Place the butter and half cup of sugar in a medium-large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the aguafaba, orange blossom water, and orange zest. Beat until well combined.
  • Next pour in the flour and salt. Mix until well combined and you have course, crumbly crumbs. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and incorporate ingredients better. Making sure there's no unmixed flour.
  • Use the spatula to help gather the dough then use your hands to form a ball shape with the dough.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.
  • Unwrap the cookie dough and place on your work surface. Scoop or measure out one tablespoon of the cookie dough and shape into a ball. Then remove two small pieces to form two logs, then grab a smaller piece and make a small ball with it.
  • Use your finger to lightly coat the larger cookie ball with a little bit of soy milk. Roll out the small logs to form the “bones or huesitos” then lay them crisscross over the larger ball. In the center were the two logs join, press it down then add a little bit of soymilk, next place the tiny ball in here and lightly press it down. Place the cookie on the cookie sheet.
  • Repeat making the cookies until you run out of cookie dough. I ended up with 26 cookies.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. At the 10 minute mark you’ll need to keep a close eye on them. They should turn slightly golden brown but still be light color.
  • Place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. In a small bowl combine the cinnamon with remaining sugar until well combined.
  • Once cookies have cooled brush with melted butter then dip into the sugar mixture making sure to evenly coat the surface. Serve as desired and enjoy!

Notes

For the vegan butter I used Miyoko’s Creamery European Style Salted Plant Milk Vegan Butter.
Aquafaba is the water or brine from canned chickpeas. 

Nutrition

Serving: 26servingsCalories: 105kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 43mgPotassium: 19mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 257IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicanmademeatless!

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Have a beautiful holiday amigos!

One Day of the Dead bread on a table with small Day of the Dead cookies.

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