Day of the Dead

Celebrating The Day of the Dead has a long history in Mexican Tradition.  The Day of the dead is celebrated on November 2nd. Sometime one hears reference to “the days of the Dead” which refers to the Days of October 31 – November 2.  October 31 is Halloween or All Hallows eve. November 1 is “el Dia de los innnocentes” or the day of the children and All Saints Day.  November second is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead.

What is the Dia de Muertos?

Dia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—is a holiday celebrated on November 1. Although marked throughout Latin America, Dia de los Muertos is most strongly associated with Mexico, where the tradition originated

How do they celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico?

Altars are usually decorated with flowers, candles, pan de muerto, ceramic skulls, and Celebrating The Day of the Dead has a long history in Mexican Tradition.  The Day of the dead is celebrated on November 2nd. Sometime one hears reference to “the days of the Dead” which refers to the Days of October 31 – November 2.  October 31 is Halloween or All Hallows eve. November 1 is “el Dia de los innnocentes” or the day of the children and All Saints Day.  November second is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead.


What is the Mexican sugar skull?

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday, celebrated on the 1st and 2nd November in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saint’s Day and All Hollow’s Day. The festivities start at midnight on the 31st October. Sugar skulls are often used to decorate the gravestones of the deceased.

How do you celebrate the Day of the Dead?

Dia de los Muertos is a celebration, and music is an important part of the joyous atmosphere. Family members often clean and decorate the graves of loved ones onDia de los Muertos. In addition to celebrations, the dead are honored on Dia de los Muertos with ofrendas—small, personal altars honoring one person.

What is the Dia de Muertos?

Dia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—is a holiday celebrated on November 1. Although marked throughout Latin America, Dia de los Muertos is most strongly associated with Mexico, where the tradition originated.

Why is it called a sugar skull?

The festivities start at midnight on the 31st October. Sugar skulls are often used to decorate the gravestones of the deceased. The reason they are calledsugar skulls” is because the authentic sugar skulls were made out of clay molded sugar, decorated with feathers, colored beads, foils and icing.

How was the Day of the Dead started?

It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least 3,000 years. A ritual the Spaniards would try unsuccessfully to eradicate. A ritual known today as Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in Mexico and certain parts of the United States, including metro Phoenix.

 Who celebrates Day of the Dead in the world?

Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Mexico and the Catholic world… Italy, Spain, South America and the Philippines all celebrate All Souls and All Saints Dayon November 1st and 2nd.

What happened on the day of the dead?

The Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, is a holiday celebrated in central and southern Mexico. It is a festive celebration of the lives of loved ones who have passed away.

What is the Day of the Dead altar?

These altars in homes and around tombstones are for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a tradition on Nov. 1 and 2originating in central Mexico. Altar: Altarsare used to welcome the ancestors’ spirits into the home.

What items are placed on the ofrenda?

Most ofrendas contain three levels or tiers: on the topmost tier are placed photographs of the deceased and/or images of various saints which are positioned in a retablo which forms the back of the altar; on the second tier are placed food items including such things as mole, candy, pan dulce, and especially a …

Dia de los Muertos – It sounds so mysterious, Mexico’s celebration for when dead relatives, both young and old, are allowed to return to the mortal world for two days to visit loved ones. Spirits coming down and walking among the living, sampling earthly treats and joining in the festival … it sounds like a merry version of our Halloween holiday.

But instead of scary goblins and blood curdling shrieks, the people in Mexico welcome the spirits of their families with the delicious smell of food in the air, tasty candies decorated like skulls, and lighted candles to guide them home again. Gravestones are decorated, and the whole family will gather in the graveyard to await and pay respects to the deceased.

Follow the links below to learn all about this unique Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos. For the truly adventurous there is information on how to arrange tours to the more colorful events in Mexico and to take part in the celebrations.

Day of the Dead face painting: Meaning, history, how to transform yourself

What colors, symbols mean

Dia de los Muertos is known for its vibrant colors. Here are meanings behind some of the colors and symbols you’d see on Dia de los Muertos, according to Annalisa Rios.

Yellow – Represents the sun and unity, because under the sun, we’re all the same.

White – Using this color in decorations represents spirit, hope and purity.

Red – Represents blood and life.

Purple – For this holiday, purple represents mourning, grief and suffering.

Pink – The bubbly color signifies happiness.

Marigolds – People spread petals from these round, yellow-orange flowers to guide spirits of loved ones to the celebration.

Ofrendas – Altars that are festively adorned with decorations, candles, food and photographs.

Calavera – Sugar skulls that are created to resemble the deceased.

How to Paint a Sugar Skull… On Your Face!


– Black eyeliner pencil

– MAC Chromaline Pods (we used Hi-Def Cyan, Rich Purple, Primary Yellow, Black Black, and Landscape Green)

– Kryolan Shadow Palette

– MAC Glitter Pigments (we used Crystalled Blue, Crystalled Orange, Crystalled Green, and Crystalled Pink)

– GOSH Eyeliners (we used Purple Satin, Hot Flamingo, and Intense Blue)

– Your regular “dress-up” makeup (for the non-skull half of your face)

– brushes

– sponge brushes

After each step, always set the color with a matching powder. This will ensure nothing smudges!

. Start with a clean face. Apply normal makeup to half of your face.

2. Paint a white line down the middle of your face.

3. Fill in the entire white side with white face makeup or face paint.

4. Apply blue eyeshadow to the eyelid.

5. Use the blue paint pod and tiny brush to draw the shape of a flower around the whole eye. Fill in with paint and set with shadow.

6. Outline the flower petals with blue liner pen.

7. Use a black eyeliner pencil to draw a circle around the edge of the flower.

8. Fill in the flower and set with black shadow.

9. Creepy!

10. Using paint paint, draw a flower on your forehead on the unpainted side of your face.

11. Add a yellow dot in the middle.

12. Add green leaves!

13. Use black eyeliner to outline the petals, leaves, and yellow center of the flower.

14. Draw on a spiderweb using black eyeliner right in the middle of your forehead. Set with shadow.

15. For the eyebrow, draw a swirling brow above the blue flower and set with shadow.

16. Outline the lips using black liner.

17. Continue with the liner to create a skeleton-like line extending from the mouth to the ear.

18. Add a purple flower (with yellow center) to the chin.

How To Do Day Of The Dead / Dia De Los Muertos Makeup

Day of the Dead Cookies Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 2 hours + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 ounces almond paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages (12 ounces each) white Wilton candy melts
  • Red Wilton candy melts, melted
  • Decorations of your choice: jumbo sprinkles, peppermint candies, candy-coated sunflower kernels, Skittles, Twizzlers Rainbow Twists and Good & Plenty candies
  • Black paste food coloring


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy; add almond paste. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut out with a floured 5-in. skull-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 375° for 7-9 minutes or until firm. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. In a large, shallow microwave-safe dish, melt white candy melts according to package directions. Dip top side of each cookie into coating, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed paper. Immediately place a few drops of melted red candy melts on cheeks of skull; swirl with a toothpick.
  5. Add decorations as desired. Tint remaining white coating black; pipe on eyes and mouth. Let stand until set. Yield: 1 dozen

How To Make Calaveras For Dia De Los Muertos: Sugar Skulls


Ingredients for sugar skulls / calavera:

  • 6- cups granulated sugar
  • 6 – teaspoons meringue powder
  • 6 – teaspoons water

That amount made 5 large skulls total. A little bigger then my clinched fist.

Ingredients for royal icing:

  • 4 – cups powdered sugar
  • 3 – tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 – tablespoons warm water

Other supplies you may use:

  • colored foil paper
  • sequins
  • beads
  • soda pop tops
  • seeds
  • feathers


  1. First mix granulated sugar and meringue powder together.
  2. Then slowly drizzle with water. The mixture should feel like beach sand.
  3. Firmly pack sugar into mold, making sure there are no bubbles.
  4. Scrape the back of the sugar mold with a knife for an even surface.
  5. Invert the sugar mold onto a hard surface.
  6. Let the skulls dry for 8 hours.
  7. Once the skulls are hard enough to touch, use a spoon and scoop out the middle, it should still be soft enough to scoop. Leave a 1/2 inch thick wall around the edge. (I made more calaveras with the extra sugar)
  8. Allow the hollowed skulls to dry for an additional 15 hours or overnight.
  9. Make royal icing: Mix powdered sugar, meringue powder, and warm water together. A thick paste will form. According to the amount of colors you’d like to use, divide the icing into that amount of separate bowls and color with concentrated paste food coloring of your choice. Then place each color in it’s own disposable piping bag fitted with a decorative metal tip.
  10. Then using a white royal icing trace along the lines of the two pieces of skull that come together. Make sure no to pipe the neck with royal icing.
  11. Align the two pieces together and allow to dry before decorating.
  12. Decorate the face as you desire. Some calavera have decorative eyes, and other use an inside down heart for the nose.
  13. Enjoy!

How to make sugar skull-inspired cake pops

Once the cake and frosting are well mixed, form a ball with the dough on top of a cake pop stick. You can also use a cute, decorative ice pop stick or straw instead of a cake pop stick — whatever you have around.

Squeeze this “dough” with your hands to get it to hold well to the stick. This is where you would be finished with a regular cake pop, but since we are making skeletons, you’ll start to form that dough (while it’s on the stick) into the shape of a skeleton. Form a circular head and then a square jaw to get the general shape of a skull.

Now it’s time to melt some white chocolate and dip the skulls into it. White chocolate can be a bit touchy and tends to harden a lot more quickly than dark or milk chocolate. However, if you use a high-quality white chocolate and are patient, it can make some beautiful skeleton cake pops.

I separated the white chocolate into 2 batches, melting 1 cup at a time. I used vegetable oil to thin out the chocolate, but you can also use shortening. I have had the most success in melting white chocolate in the microwave. That said, it can burn and get ruined very easily. If you are patient and stir it frequently, you can avoid it burning. I like to microwave it for 30 seconds and then stir for at least 30 seconds. A lot of melting will happen outside of the microwave; it just requires patience for that melting to happen.

If it starts to harden while you are dipping, then just microwave it for another 5 to 10 seconds, and add a little bit more vegetable oil if needed.

Dip the cake pop into the white chocolate, and coat it until the whole thing is covered. Then tap the cake pop against the edge of the bowl to remove any excess white chocolate.

Place the cake pop onto a sheet of parchment paper to dry before decorating it.

Day of the Dead drink: Alcoholic & non alcoholic drinks!

Inspired by Day of the Dead we’ve put together some party drink recipes. These include Raspberry MojitosJuan CollinsTequila Sunrise & a yummy Spicy Mulled Wine, perfect to offer party guests on their arrival.
These day of the dead drinks are our non-alcoholic offerings. They include the refreshing Agua Menta Naranja and delicious Mexican Lemonade with cilantro and chile peppers for those who are brave enough!

Setting up a party bar – El Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead drinks!

Decorate with a skull garland or papel picado

Stock your bar with:
plenty of glasses
coloured straws
a bucket of ice
Cocktail recipes (laminated if you’re feeling uber efficient!)
Spirits and mixers (if it is a b.y.o.b. party you could let guests
know which cocktails you have in mind).

A few cocktail terms and techniques:

To Muddle:
In cocktail terms, muddling is the crushing of fruit or herbs, to allow the flavours to be released. You can use a a pestle or even the end of a rolling pin. Push down with a twisting action.

To rim:
To salt a glass, cut a piece of lime and rub it along the rim. Next pour a 1/4 inch of kosher salt (or a 50:50 mix of salt and fine sugar) on to a saucer or plate large enough to accommodate the entire rim of your glass. Dip the rim of the glass in the salt, twirling it around so that the salt sticks on the entire rim.

Crushed Ice

Some of these recipes call for crushed ice. Here’s how to make it:
Either crush the cubed ice in a blender or fill a bag with cubed ice and bash with a rolling pin. Display on your bar in an ice bucket with lid.

 Traditional Day of the Dead Recipes for Celebrating Día de los Muertos!


Potato Pan De Muerto:

Ingredients for Potato Pan De Muerto:

  • 1 – package active yeast
  • 1/2 – cup luke warm water
  • 1 – teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – cup sugar
  • 1 – cup mashed Idaho potatoes ( leftovers work best)
  • 1/2 – cup butter (softened)
  • 2 – eggs (beaten)
  • 3 – cups bread flour plus more for kneading
  • olive oil
  • Egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water whisked together)


  1. Add yeast and water to a mixer, and allow yeast to activate for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour salt and sugar to the yeast mixture. Give it a good mix.
  3. Spoon in the mashed potatoes and break them up with a spoon if you need to. Then add in the butter and eggs. Mix to combine to hook attachment.
  4. Add in the bread flour, one cup at a time until the dough comes together and no longer sticks to the mixer about 5 minutes.
  5. Generously flour a clean work surface then knead dough until smooth.
  6. Grease a bowl with a little bit of olive oil. Place dough in greased bowl and turn it once inside to ensure the entire dough is well greased.
  7. Cover dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 2 hours.
  8. Remove towel and punch down the dough.
  9. Generously flour a clean work surface then knead dough again until smooth.
  10. Grease two 8 -inch cake pans and set to the side.
  11. Divide the dough into equal 3 parts.
  12. Place two of the parts in each cake pan, and reserve the additional part for decorating.
  13. Allow the dough to sit for an additional hour before decorating.
  14. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  15. With the extra part, roll the dough out to make bone decorations for the top of the loaf.
  16. Brush the top of the loaf with egg wash.
  17. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  18. Enjoy!

Tortillas de Cempazuchitl | Marigold Tortillas

Makes 16, 6-inch tortillas


  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups fresh edible marigold petals

In a large mixing bowl, combine corn flour, water and salt.  Mix with hands until smooth.  If dough sticks to hands, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

Heat a comal or skillet over low-medium heat.

Divide dough into 16 separate equal portions and roll each portion into a ball.

Using a tortilla press, flatten each masa ball between to plastic sheets.  Open the press and evenly distribute marigold petals on the pressed tortilla.  Press the tortilla again gently enough to embed flower petals into the masa.

Place tortilla on hot comal and cook for approximately 1 minute on each side.

Keep tortillas warm in a tortilla warmer or wrapped in a tea towel.


Ingredients for Molletes

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 10 small molletes (lard or sweet bread rolls, you can find them in Latino food stores)
  • 2 cups of vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • red sugar for garnish

Ingredients for Custard or Manjar

  • 2 ¼ cups of whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Ingredients for Syrup

  • 2 cup panela or raw sugar
  • 3 cups of water
  • ½ cup rum
  • zest from one lime
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • raisins


  • In a sauce pan over medium heat bring 2 cups of milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt to a boil.
  • While milk is heating up mix together cornstarch and ¼ cup cold milk in a bowl.
  • Once milk has reached the boiling point reduce heat.
  • Take ½ cup of the hot milk and add to the cornstarch, mixing well.
  • Pour cornstarch and milk mix back into saucepan and heat stirring constantly until custard thickens.
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla mixing well.
  • Let cool.
  • To make the syrup place the panela or raw sugar, water, lime zest, allspice, cloves, cinnamon stick and rum in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat.
  • While the syrup is heating up cut off the top of each of the molletes (rolls).
  • Remove some of the bread creating a cavity in the center of each mollete.
  • Place 3-4 raisins inside each mollete .
  • Fill with custard and place the lid on, pressing lightly to close it .
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Add the yolks, flour and sugar and beat for 2 more minutes.
  • Heat up the oil in a large pan.
  • Dip the stuffed molletes into the egg mixture and carefully place in hot oil.
  • Fry for a minute or less on each side until golden.
  • Remove from pan and place on a colander, place colander over sink and pour boiling water over them.
  • Pat them dry to remove excess water.
  • Place the molletes in the syrup and cook over low heat until they are soft.
  • Serve warm or cold.

Fiambre Recipe

This recipe is needs to be prepared 2-3 days ahead of time. For best results enlist family members in the process, there is a lot of cutting and slicing so make the preparation as well as the meal a family event. When I was I kid I loved putting the fiambre together in layers and decorating the top making faces and fun designs with the chiles, radish roses, baby corn and long slices of cheeses.



Feel free to add or leave out any ingredients you don’t care for, but my advice is leave everything in because once mixed even the things you wouldn’t normally eat by themselves give the dish the overall flavor (like cecina or cow’s tongue) so try to be a little adventurous here!


  • ½ lb asparagus
  • 6 beets, sliced or julienned
  • 6 carrots, sliced or julienned
  • 4 cups green beans
  • 1 cauliflower, cut in sections
  • 1 cabbage, cut in fine long pieces
  • 1 lb Brussels sprout
  • 2 cups corn (shelled)
  • 25 pacayas (found fresh in Latino markets, or use canned)
  • 1 jar heart of palm
  • 1 jar of pickled baby corn
  • 1 jar of pickled baby onions
  • 1/2 lb red beans (canned)
  • 1/2 lb white beans (canned)
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 4 cups green peas
  • 1 lb fava beans (fresh)
  • 1/lb capers
  • ¼ lb green olives
  • ¼ lb black olives
  • 1 can of pimentos
  • 1-2 heads of lettuce
  • radish roses for garnish


  • ½ lb butifarra (sausage made with anis and other spices)
  • ½ lb cecina (dried smoked and salted beef)
  • 1 lb chicken (cooked, removed from bone in long strips)
  • 1 lb chorizo Colorado (red chorizo sausage, sliced)
  • 1 lb black chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb yellow chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 lb hot dog, cooked and sliced
  • 1 lb ham, cut in long strips
  • ½ lb longaniza (sausage with mint and chile, can use itialian sausage)
  • 1 lb mortadella, cut in large cubes
  • 1 lb salami, cut in large cubes
  • 1 lb hot dog, cut lengthwise
  • ½ lb salted cow tongue


  • 2 eggs (hard boiled)
  • 1/2 lb yellow or American chees (cut into strips)
  • hard boiled eggs (two hard boiled)
  • queso fresco (1 small)
  • ½ lb Zacapa cheese (can use good parmesan)


  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 springs of thyme
  • 1 spring of oregano
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 1 pint olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons mustard (I like using dark grainy mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg


2 Days Before Serving

Each vegetable group will be cooked separately; don’t try to save time by mixing them. Boil the beets until just cooked, but still firm. Boil carrots and green beans together until just done. Boil cauliflower and cabbage. Boil peas, fava beans, and corn.

Boil the chicken and parsley adding salt and pepper to taste . Skim off the fat once it has cooled. To save time you can buy cooked chicken and use store bought broth. Shred the cooked chicken and store. Mix the broth in a blender with vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper to taste, Worcestershire, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, nutmeg. Simmer for ten minutes then chill overnight.

1 Day Before

Boil the chorizos with butifarras the day before you will be serving the fiambre. Combine all veggies and pour the chicken broth mixture over it. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Early in the Day

The day you wish to serve the fiambre, place a lettuce leaf on a plate, arrange a layer of the veggie mixture and then add a layer of the meats and cheeses. Repeat at least once and decorate with pimientos, sliced cheese, asparagus, baby corn, radishes, olives, and boiled eggs. Serve chilled.

Safety notes:

Make sure you use care in handling and storing all of these ingredients. I find it easier to cut everything up and store separately in ziplock bags. Washed and cut up vegetables can be refrigerated together, but meats and cheeses should be kept separate.

Serves: A small army

Calories: Calculating that would take more than it takes to prepare it

Estimated prep time: Days (if you take into account shopping for ingredients more like a week)

Atole de vainilla

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 3 cups (4 servings)


  • 3-4 ounces piloncillo
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • ½ cup Maseca
  • 1 Mexican vanilla bean, cut in half and both pieces split lengthwise* (see notes below for substitution)
  • 1 Mexican cinnamon stick


  1. In a saucepan over low heat, combine piloncillo and water and stir occasionally until piloncillo is completely melted.
  2. Whisk in milk, Maseca and vanilla bean until Maseca is dissolved and incorporated with the piloncillo mixture.
  3. Submerge a Mexican cinnamon stick. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue stirring frequently for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve and serve in mugs.


To substitute real Mexican vanilla bean, you can use a Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean, or bottled pure Mexican vanilla extract. I like the Nielsen-Massey brand extract.

To substitute for real vanilla bean, use one tablespoon of vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract. If substituting pure vanilla extract, add that to the saucepan in the last five minutes of cooking and whisk to incorporate.

*Gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly recipe.

Cheese and Roasted Peppers Tamales / Tamales de Rajas Con Queso

he Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is fast approaching, and families all throughout Mexico will be cooking the favorite foods of their lost loved ones. The will either take the food with them to the graveyard when visiting their lost family members, or place it on altars built at home for them. On of the most common things people cook are tamales, like these Tamales de Rajas. The mellow flavor of the Queso Fresco makes a perfect match with the spiciness and smoky flavor of the roasted Poblano peppers. Not everyone fills them with Poblano peppers, though, as some cooks use Serrano or jalapeño peppers. I used Queso Fresco in this recipe, but you can use pretty much any of the other Mexican Cheeses. The key ingredient is the cheese.
Mexico has a vast variety of tamales, and the different fillings and ways of preparing the corn dough (masa) make each tamal special. In Central Mexico, cooks use a special corn masa (dough) to prepare these tamales. The corn dough is usually processed at local establishments called “Molinos de Nixtamal”, where they grind the corn into a coarse texture. Tamales made using this coarse dough are really light and fluffy. For all of you living outside Mexico, you can still use Corn Flour for Tamales, since it also has a coarse texture. You will love these tamales for breakfast, lunch or dinner, they’re perfect at any time of day.



  • 2/3 cups of Lard*
  • 2 cups corn flour for Tamales
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cup warm chicken broth
  • Salt to taste


  • 3 Poblano Peppers
  • 1 Queso fresco or Queso Ranchero
  • 1 1/4 cup of Salsa**
  • 16 Corn Husks, plus extra to tie the tamales and for the steaming pot.

How to Make an Easy Homemade Salsa

Ingredients for 1 1/2 cups:

  • 1 large tomato or 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeño pepper or 2 serrano peppers, stemmed
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of white chopped onion
  • Water (enough to cover the tomatoes and peppers)
  • Salt to taste

1. Boil the tomato and  peppers until tender (about 12-15 minutes).

2.Drain the water. Place the tomato and chili peppers in a food processor or blender with the garlic clove and onion. Process until smooth.

3. Place the sauce into a bowl or dish. Season with salt. If you want a thinner salsa add some of the water in which the tomato was cooked.


4. Stir well to get an even texture.
Notes: This salsa will last about 3 days in the refrigerator and will freeze well. Warm before serving again.

Extra salsa and Mexican Cream to drizzle your tamales.


* I’ve made these tamales using vegetable oil instead of lard, and they still come out really great. Just make sure your broth is full of flavor since the lard gives lots of flavor to the dough and without it, it’ll taste plain.
** You can also use Salsa Verde. Make extra salsa for serving along with the tamales when ready.
1. Roast the Poblano peppers, either in your broiler or on a stove top flame.  Place inside a plastic bag for 3 minutes to steam.
2. Gently remove skins and seeds from the Poblanos ,with your hands then cut them into strips.
3. Place corn husks in a large stock pot filled with hot water to soften. Once softened, drain them and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, beat the lard until it’s fully, about 6 minutes. After beating the lard, add the corn flour for tamales along with the baking power. Mix well using an spatula.
5. Pour the warm chicken broth and mix well until you form a soft dough. Keep mixing for about 5-6 minutes. The dough has to be soft and fluffy. Season with salt.
6. Chop the Queso Fresco (cheese) into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl.
7. Gather the dough, salsa, cheese, peppers strips, and corn husks to assemble the tamales. Place a steamer in a large stock pot or line with aluminum foil at the bottom. Cover the rack with corn husks. Fill with hot water just bellow the steamer rack. Place a small coin at the bottom of the pot, that way if the pot needs more water, the coin will rattle and make noise. When adding more water to the pot, make sure to add it as close to the wall of the pot as possible.
8. To form the tamales, using a large spoon, spread about 3 tablespoons of corn dough. Then add 1 tablespoon of salsa. Top with some pieces of Queso Fresco and  Poblano Peppers strips.
9. Fold the right side of the corn husk to the center of the Tamal and do the same with the left side. Fold over the narrow end of the husk towards the center and tie the tamal using a thin strip of corn husk. Repeat this process to from all the tamales.
10. Place the tamales inside the already-prepared steamer and cook for 60 to 65 minutes. Check steamer occasionally and add hot water as needed.
11. To check if the tamales are ready, remove one using kitchen tongs and place on a plate. Let it rest for 5 minutes. If the husk doesn’t stick to the tamal when removed, then your tamales are ready.
Serve with red or green salsa.

Spicy Mexican Hot Mexican Chocolate


3 cups low-fat milk
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Abuelita Mexican chocolate
3/4 teaspoon ground ancho chiles
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half


Bring first 7 ingredients and pinch of salt to simmer in medium saucepan, whisking often. Add cinnamon sticks. Cover; remove from heat and let steep 5 minutes. Bring to simmer, whisking.

Conchas / Pan Dulce / Pan de Huevo

YIELD: 12 servings

Conchas (shells) are a Mexican pastry that is famous for its shape of a shell. The pastry contains a sugar shell pattern on the top. This is one of the most famous Mexican pastries recognized in the United States. It is also referred to as “pan de huevo”.




  • 1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • ½ warm water
  • ½ cup warm evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flower
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extra
  1. In a large bowl stir together yeast and the warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk, the 1/3 cup sugar, the melted butter, egg, and salt. Stir in 2 cups of the flour. Gradually stir in another 2 cups flour and the ½ teaspoon cinnamon to make a dough.
  2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl; turn to coat surface of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 to 1 ¼ hours).
  3. Meanwhile, for topping, in a medium bowl beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the 2/3 cup sugar, beating until well mixed. Stir in the 1 cup flour, the teaspoons cinnamon, and the vanilla.
  4. Punch down the dough. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 12 portions. Shape each portion into a smooth ball. Place balls about 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press down on balls slightly. Divide topping into 12 balls; pat each ball flat. Place one round of topping on each dough ball.
  5. Using a sharp paring knife, cut grooves on a scallop shell. Cover rolls and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 45 minutes).
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls for 18 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from baking sheets. Cool on wire racks. Serve warm or cool

Calabaza en Tacha (Candied Pumpkin)


  • 4-to 5-pound pumpkin
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves


  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 ounces piloncillo or 1 cup packed dark brown sugar


  • Sweet condensed milk
  1. Rinse off the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap. Using a serrated knife cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the pumpkin seeds. Scrape out the stringy layer (pulp) with a spoon. Discard seeds and pulp. Cut pumpkin into 3- to 4-inch slices leaving the skin on.
  2. In a large pot, steam the pumpkin in water, cinnamon, and cloves making sure to keep the lid on tight, for 20 to 40 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender. The pumpkin is ready when your fork slides easily into the flesh.
  3. In a small saucepan place water, cinnamon stick, and piloncillo on a very low heat until the piloncillo melts. Be sure to stir frequently.
  4. Serve slices of pumpkin with syrup and drizzle with sweet condensed milk.

Jalapeño and Cactus Tamales
Makes 24

40 corn husks, soaked in water for at least an hour
2 cups masa harina flour
2 cups hot water
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups pickled cactus, finely diced
1 (7-ounce) can La Morena Pickled Jalapeño peppers, drained, stems removed and finely diced to include carrots

In a large mixing bowl, combine masa harina flour, water, shortening, bouillon and baking powder.  Knead with hands until thoroughly mixed.  Add cactus, jalapeños and carrots and stir until all ingredients are combined.  Masa should be smooth and not stick to hands.

Drain corn husks.  Hold corn husk with pointy side towards you.  Scoop 1/4 cup of masa mixture on corn husk and spread with a spoon; Leaving a 1-inch border on the sides.  Fold one side of the corn husk over mixture then fold the other side, overlapping. Fold the pointed side up and turn over to keep it from unfolding.  Repeat with remaining husks and masa.

Arrange tamales upright in a steamer.    Fill with hot water right below the rack and heat over medium-high heat.  Cover top of tamales with a layer of remaining husks and a damp towel; cover with lid, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, adding water as needed.  Steam for 1 hour or until when tested, corn husks unwraps and masa separates easily form dough.

Enfrijoladas de Pollo or Chicken Enfrijoladas for Cinco de Mayo
Enfrijoladas are similar to enchiladas, but instead of a chile sauce beans are used to coat the tortillas. Make these chicken filled enfrijoladas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
Author: &Nancy Lopez-McHugh
Recipe type: breakfast, lunch, dinner, Chicken, Beans
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
Chicken Filling & Sauce Ingredients:
  • 500 gm or 2 chicken thighs, boiled and broth reserved
  • ¾ cup reserved chicken or bean broth
  • 420g or 13/4 cups cooked beans or leftover mashed
  • 10-12 corn tortillas (don’t use flour)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • splash of vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp chipotle sauce or 1 whole chipotle pepper, optional
  • salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
Additional ingredients and optional toppings
  • Mexican queso fresco or cotija cheese or feta cheese*
  • finely chopped and/or sliced onion
  • Mexican crema or sour cream,
  • avocado slices
  • jalapenos or homemade Mexican salsa
  1. Boil the chicken, allowed to cool and reserved broth. Once it has cooled enough to handle remove skin, and shred meat off the bones. (You can also use leftover roasted chicken, or chicken breasts if desired.)
  2. Heat oil, saute onion and garlic until soft, then add the beans and chipotle sauce, cook for a coulple of minutes. Then blend with ¾ cup broth, but add a little at a time so the bean puree doesn’t become to thin and watery. It should be a creamy sauce thick enough to coat each tortilla. Pour the bean puree back into pot/pan.
  3. Heat the tortillas on a griddle or microwave(a few at a time) just to soften. Dip each tortilla into bean sauce, just like in the photos. Place on a plate and add a bit of the cooked chicken onto one half. Or for vegetarian version fill only with cheese and onion. Fold each filled tortilla in half, into a half moon shape, and repeat for each enfrijolada you’d like to prepare. Top with cheese, onion, jalapenos, or any of the other suggested toppings.

Tequila-Infused Peach Sangria

YIELD: 4 to 6 servings

This pitcher is the ultimate refreshing drink with sweet peaches and the unexpected flavor of basil leaves, which all add up to a delicious summer sangria that will brighten up any fiesta. The secret to this sangria is the peach infused tequila; it adds fruity flavor to a refreshing drink that begs to be shared.


2 peaches, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups tequila blanco, recommend Don Julio
2 bottles dry white wine, chilled
Basil leaves
Ice cubes


In a mason jar, combine peaches, sugar, and tequila. Cover, shake, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To serve, fill pitcher with basil leaves. Pour wine into pitcher. Add tequila mixture; stir. Serve over ice.


                               Mole Poblano
24 to 25 servingsAdapted from Sor Andrea de la Asunción from the Santa Rosa Convent

  • 1/2 cup lard vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
  • 3 ounces chiles anchos about 6 or 7, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 ounces chiles pasillas about 12 or 13, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 ounces chiles mulatos about 6, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/3 ounces dried chipotle chiles about 4, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 white onion about 1/2 pound, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons raw almonds with skin
  • 3 tablespoons raw shelled peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup reserved chile seeds
  • 5 whole cloves stemmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 stick true or ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 pound roma tomatoes about 2 , charred or roaste
  • 1/3 pound tomatillos about 2, husked, rinsed, charred/roasted
  • 2 corn tortillas sliced into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 bolillo telera or baguette, about 2 ounces, thickly sliced (if it is a couple days old, better)
  • 6 ounces Mexican style chocolate or bittersweet chocolate
  • 5 cups chicken broth plus 4 more to dilute later on
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds toasted, to sprinkle at the end
To Prepare

  • In a large extended casserole dish set over medium high heat, add 1/2 cup lard, oil, or vegetable shortening. Once hot, about 2 minutes later, add the chiles in 2 or 3 batches and saute, stirring often, and being careful not to let them completely burn. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a mixing bowl as you move along.
  • In the same oil, add chopped onion and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until they soften and release their aroma. Stir in the almonds, peanuts, raisins and pumpkin seeds, and let them cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the sesame seeds, reserved chile seeds, stemmed cloves, anise seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, ground allspice, thyme and marjoram. Stir frequently and let it all cook for 3 to 4 more minutes, stirring often. Make room again, and add the tortilla and bread pieces along with the tomatoes and tomatillos. Let it all cook for a couple minutes.
  • Incorporate the already sauteed chiles and pour in the chicken broth. Stir and once it comes to a simmer, add the chocolate pieces and the salt. Mix well, and let it simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let the mix rest for 1/2 hour, so the chiles can completely soften.
  • In batches, puree the mixture in the blender or food processor until smooth. You can store this mole, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a month, or freeze it for up to a year.
  • When ready to eat, dilute a cup of mole with 1/2 cup chicken broth in a saucepan and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve over cooked chicken or turkey and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds on top.