All the best Day of the Dead recipes, from sugar skulls to empanadas

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with recipes both modern and traditional

One of the biggest fall holidays comes just a few days after Halloween, and it’s celebrated across the United States, Mexico and Latin America. Día de los Muertos, observed on Nov. 2 and better-known as the Day of the Dead, is a time to honor loved ones who have passed. Food is a staple at any Day of the Dead gathering, which is why we’ve put together a full collection of our favorite traditional and modern recipes just in time for the big day.

Nov. 2, also known as All Souls’ Day, is when those of Mexican and Latin American descent celebrate the Day of the Dead. Unlike the American holiday of Halloween, this 3,000-year-old Aztec ritual is a way to celebrate and remember those special loved ones who have left this Earth. During this holiday, souls are welcomed to visit the families they left behind, while during Halloween, masks and scary costumes are worn to ward off evil spirits. Colorful altars are decorated with fresh flowers and bright tapestries as well as a feast of traditional foods. Here are some typical (and more modernized) dishes you might see at a Día de los Muertos celebration.

1. Marigold-infused tequila

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with recipes both modern and traditional
Image: Sweet Life

Marigolds are said to lead the souls of the dead to their graves, and this marigold-infused tequila is a great drink to celebrate with on this day.

More: Let’s pretend tequila is the new green juice

2. The Weeping Woman martini

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with recipes both modern and traditional
Image: Muy Bueno Cookbook

Also known in Spanish as “la Llorona,” a Mexican folktale used as a bedtime story for children, is inspired by the Day of the Dead celebrations.

3. Café de olla atole

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with recipes both modern and traditional
Image: Nibbles and Feasts

“Atole,” a corn-based drink, is usually drunk during this holiday. We’re loving the addition of coffee in this café de olla atole.

4. Mexican hot chocolate

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with recipes both modern and traditional
Image: Muy Bueno Cookbook

Mexican hot chocolate, also known as “champurrado,” is famous for its thick consistency thanks to Mexican chocolate and “piloncillo” sugar, or really dark brown cane sugar.

5. Ecuadorian spiced purple corn fruit drink

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with recipes both modern and traditional
Image: Laylita’s Recipes

Also known as “colada morada,” this corn-based drink is sweetened with the addition of fresh berries.

More: 21 ways to love Mexican food that have nothing to do with tacos

6. Atole de vainilla

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with recipes both modern and traditional
Image: The Other Side of the Tortilla

Another version of “atole,” the corn-based drink, is this atole de vainilla that is brightened up with the inclusion of Mexican vanilla beans — some of the best vanilla in the world.

7. Marigold muerte drink

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with recipes both modern and traditional
Image: Muy Bueno Cookbook

You can purchase dried or fresh marigold at your local flower shop to make this marigold muerte drink to celebrate your loved ones.

8. Ecuadorian bread figures

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with recipes both modern and traditional
Image: Laylita’s Recipes

In Spanish, these are called “guaguas de pan” and are traditional in Ecuador during the Day of the Dead celebrations.

Next up: DIY sugar skull cake pops

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