Low-Carb Pan de Muerto: A Delicious Mexican Tradition


November and the Day of the Dead festivities are approaching and Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead)  is being sold in bakeries and stores. Although it is delicious and traditional, the amount of sugar it contains means people with diabetes do not get to eat it.

Pan de Muerto is a Mexican tradition with an origin that dates back to the time of the Conquest.

The circular shape of the Pan de Muerto represents the cycle of life and death. The center of the bread symbolizes the skull of the deceased and the crossed strips symbolize the bones, although it is also said that they are the tears of the deceased.

Currently, there are many ways to prepare Pan de Muerto depending on the region, and it can be covered in sugar or filled with chocolate or pastry cream. In other places, like Oaxaca, they decorate them with alfeñique. The common denominator in all of them is that they contain a large amount of sugar. However, we have great news for you. You can easily prepare your Pan de Muerto without sugar; here is the recipe:


  • One cup of almond flour
  • Two eggs
  • Two tablespoons of butter
  • Two tablespoons of cream cheese
  • Two teaspoons of baking powder
  • One tablespoon of Monk Fruit sweetener
  • Orange zest
  • One pinch of salt

To decorate:


  • Sift all the ingredients twice.
  • Add the cream cheese and butter.
  • Stir the eggs with the orange zest.
  • Mix all the ingredients to form a compact dough.
  • Divide the dough into five parts.
  • Coat your hands with oil to prevent the dough from sticking and form three balls with three of the previously separated parts. Place them on a greased baking sheet or lined with parchment paper and flatten them a little.
  • Divide the remaining dough into 15 parts. Use three of them to make small balls that will go in the center of each bread and 12 to make the bones that go on the Pan de Muerto arranging four on each bread to form an X.
  • Preheat the oven to 320 ºF (160ºC).
  • Bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes checking that it does not burn but making sure it is not raw either.
  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  • Glaze each bread with the melted butter.
  • Sprinkle with Monk Fruit powdered sugar or sifted sweetener.


Nutritional info

Servings per recipe: three breads.

Serving size: one bread.

Each portion has:

  • Calories: 372 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Fat: 31.3 g
  • Protein: 14 g
  • Sodium: 79 mg

Living with diabetes does not mean you should lose your traditions and not enjoy delicious foods that, aside from tasting good, bring back memories of family reunions.


WRITTEN BY Eugenia Araiza, CDE Nutritionist, POSTED 11/02/20, UPDATED 01/18/23

Eugenia has a degree in nutrition, she is a diabetes educator and a health coach. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 16. She is the creator of Healthy Diabetes. Eugenia really enjoys studying and helping others to manage their different types of diabetes as well as updating her nutrition practice. She especially enjoys writing about the impact diabetes has on her life. She lives surrounded by the love of her family, who are Luis Felipe, who lives with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) type diabetes and her teenage son.