The Ten Best Panaderías in Los Angeles to Get Your Pan De Muerto For Dia De Los Muertos
Los Angeles has the best pan de muerto scene in the country, from a sourdough variation to others that have been passed down through generations. Here are ten panaderías around L.A. where you can find the fluffy, gently spiced, sugar-dusted seasonal pan dulce that is as delicious as it is important to the Dia de Muertos Mexican tradition.
5:36 PM PDT on October 17, 2023
These are the best pan de muertos in Los Angeles.
Every year, we get a full day to celebrate and honor our loved ones who have passed on, but for many, the month leading up to Dia de Muertos is also pan de muerto season.
In Los Angeles, many have started baking, eating, and filling their ofrendas (altars) with family portraits, aromatic cempasúchil, personal items, and of course, pan de muerto.
It’s a tradition to provide your ancestors with certain offerings, usually things that they enjoyed when they were alive. Like for example, a cold Modelo, mole, and aromatic pan de muerto, the sweet and tender bread covered in sugar or sesame seeds.
It’s called pan de muerto (bread of the dead) because of the skeleton-like shape of the pieces of dough gently draped over the bread. Some bakeries make different variations, flavors, and sizes. Some come shaped in perfect circles and others are more oval in shape, and decorated with fun colors and sugar. Others have created versions of their own by turning them into cookies or cupcakes.
While many bakeries are already starting to sell the famous bread, something just hits differently when you taste a recipe that, in many cases, has been passed down from generation to generation. We’re talking about your local family-owned panaderías, the ones your mom would take you to that you're now taking your family to. Those bakeries that have been open for so long that the warm smell of their pan baking is engraved in your memory.
Here are ten family-owned panaderías that serve some of the best pan de muerto in Los Angeles. Made by the community for the community.
This family-owned bakery in Venice doubles as a restaurant, serving both freshly baked pan and delicious Mexican, Cuban, and Salvadoran food. Although it may be famous for its super chilaquiles divorciados, in the month of October people flock for their freshly baked pan de muerto.
As people try and find the best panecito to eat and enjoy, they are also looking for the best bread to adorn their altars with. Here you will find a variety of pan de muerto, from the traditional, sugar-coated bread to another favorite, pan de muerto sprinkled with sesame seeds.
At Venice Bakery, you will also find sugar skulls, dia de los muertos cookies, and their colorful loaves of bread decorated with icing. They are the perfect offerings for your loved ones.
10943 Venice Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90034
Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - "Venice/Midvale (westbound)" or "Venice/Girard (eastbound)."
The pan de muerto at Gusto in Long Beach is a three-day process. The dough is first made, then fermented with a sourdough culture made from Valle de Guadalupe grape yeast, and finally baked before being dusted with a crunchy sugar mixture made from vanilla beans and burnt corn husks. To add to its true artisan allure, the egg yolk-enriched dough is made from local fresh eggs sourced from the La Bahn ranch egg stand at the Tuesday Torrance Farmers Market. Arturo Enciso, Gusto's self-taught panadero, also omits cinnamon from his dough, opting instead for orange zest and fennel. It sells out every day because it's so uniquely delicious, so get there early to avoid pan de muerto heartbreak. They will have them on the menu until November 5th.
2710 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814. Closest transit lines: Long Beach Transit Line 151 - "4th/Temple", Long Beach Transit Lines 91, 92, 93, and 94 - "7th/Temple."
Walking into Panadería La Chapala in East Los Angeles, you are automatically welcomed by the smell of its warm, sweet, and savory bread. This community staple is family-run and has been baking bread since 1996. Daniela de La Torre, daughter of La Chapala’s owner, told us she was just four years old when her father opened La Chapala in East Los.
Their recipes go back three generations. Her grandfather started the first bakery back in Mexico, then her father brought the recipes with him to Los Angeles, and now it’s her turn.
Inside, you’ll find that both sides of the bakery are filled with different types of pan dulce. It’s pan heaven. However, to the left of the bakery, you will find their seasonal pan de muerto, which comes in many different sizes.
For reference, the pan de muerto pictured here is considered their small-sized variety, and if you can’t tell... there is nothing small about them. As for their flavor, it's as big as the bread.
They offer two options: the traditional sugar ones and the ajonjoli (sesame) ones.
What sets their bread apart from others is the hint of citrus that they add, De La Torres tells us. “Our bread is definitely one of a kind because our recipes go all the way back to my grandpa.”
2472 W Whittier Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640
Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 18 - "Whittier/Garfield" or Bus Line 66 - "Olympic/Garfield."
Los Angelitos Bakery in Huntington Park has grabbed the hearts and antojos (cravings) of its community with its warm and sweet pan dulce. Their pan de muerto is no exception.
Like many on this list, the bakery is family-owned, beginning with a father and son who migrated from Cuba to Los Angeles seeking refuge. Opening its doors in 1992, Los Angelitos has done an incredible job creating some of the best pan dulce around.
They offer the traditional sugar-dusted and sesame-coated breads in three different sizes, and you can also customize your pan. Maybe you had a family member who loved a certain color? At Los Angelitos, they can customize the color of the sugar to your liking. Because honoring our loved ones who have passed means making sure every detail is as they would have liked it.
The Angelitos family takes Dia De Los Muertos seriously, from their bread to their altars. When you walk in, you will see their ofrenda (altar) already set up. Family portraits are adorned with some of their favorite things, like a cold Modelo and, of course, their pan de muerto. Their altar also includes a past employee who became like family during her time at the bakery.
And if you feel like you’ve had your fill of pan de muerto and are still in the mood to celebrate, Los Angelitos also offers pan de muerto cookies.
“It’s an honor when people choose our bread as an offering to their ancestors and loved ones,” said Deanna Ductoc.
2881 E Florence Ave. Huntington Park, CA 90255
Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 111 and 251 - "Florence/Mountain View", Bus Lines 102 and 611 - "Florence/Seville", Bus Line 60 - "Pacific/Florence."
Looking for the right pan de muerto to eat and honor your loved ones is not an easy task. You don’t just grab any ol’ bread. You will find some of the freshest pan de muerto in Los Angeles at La Monarca's multiple locations. When many other Mexican bakeries made a habit of using vegetable shortenings and margarine, this local panadería chain started by two Regios from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, pioneered only using the best ingredients for all of its bread, with no preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors added or used.
Although they pride themselves in serving the community, you may see some celebrities like Jessica Alba indulging in some pan and a cafecito. Enjoy some of Monarca's pan de muerto with any of their drinks, be it their ice horchata de olla or their chocolatito.
For more information on the closest Monarca near you, follow them on Instagram @lamonarcabakery.
We can’t possibly talk about iconic, family-owned panaderías in Los Angeles without mentioning this community gem, Panadería El Aguila. The bakery has been in the Casillas/Flores family since 1973. That’s 50 years of tradition and decades-old recipes.
Trust us, you can taste the love in just one bite of their bread. Like many panaderías, their owners go back three generations, so you know the dedication and pride that goes into each recipe and loaf, including their seasonal pan de muerto, is 100% pure.
5028 Huntington Dr. S Los Angeles, CA 90032
Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 78 and 179 - "Huntington/Portola (eastbound)" or "Huntington/Tampico (westbound)", Bus Line 665 - "Huntington/Eastern."
At La Flor De Yucatán Bakery, you will find recipes specializing in Yucatán-style dishes, including tamales, cochinita pibil, and their bread. And, of course, during the dia de los Muertos festivities, you will find the Burgo family baking pan de muerto, both the traditional sesame bread and the sugar-coated pan.
If you want to try something unique, they also create different shapes of pan de muerto and offer perfectly moist pan de muerto cupcakes. Like the rest of these bakeries, La Flor has been around for years, 60 be exact, offering their Mayan food and pastries.
1800 Hoover St. Los Angeles, CA 90006
Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 2 and 603 - "Hoover/18th", Bus Line 33 - "Venice/Hoover", Bus Line 35 - "Washington/Hoover (eastbound)" or "Washington/Bonnie Brae (westbound)."
La Joya Poblana puts the flavors of Puebla, Mexico, into the form of delicious pan dulce. The family-owned bakery sells a little of everything, from produce to tantalizing breads and pastries. One of their specialties is a sesame pan de muerto, a simple, straightforward recipe that has captivated the hearts and tastebuds of their community.
4425 Avalon Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90011
Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 51 and 105 - "Avalon/Vernon."
You know a panadería will have great bread when its recipes have survived in East Los Angeles, since 1971 to be exact. At La Favorita Bakery, the secret to their success is family recipes originating in Mexico City and surviving for the past three generations.
It started with their grandfather, Jesus Beltran, a.k.a. "Don Chuy,” was passed on to his son Don Jorge, and the family tradition continues with the Beltran grandchildren. Their family practice of baking pan dulce was brought to Boyle Heights in 1971.
Ask any of them; they will guarantee freshly baked bread throughout the day. And when it comes to their pan de muerto, you can’t go wrong with any options. Expect a soft, fluffy, and light pan de muerto with just the right sweetness. A perfect bread that’s good enough for you and for the altar.
4149 Tweedy Blvd # C, South Gate, CA 90280
Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 117 - "Tweedy/San Vincente" or Bus Line 251 - "California/Tweedy."
Pacific French Bakery is known for many things. But their long lines and delicious pastries are the key components to locating great pan de muerto.
The bakery was established in 1986 and started as a small, family-owned French bakery specializing only in French bread, rolls, and baguettes. But like many small businesses, they evolved. Eighteen years later, the business expanded and started catering more towards what their community prefers.
The owners pride themselves in allowing the public to enjoy fine quality bread without high prices. Its pan de muerto is a must-try, not just for yourself to enjoy with coffee or hot chocolate but as an offering for your departed loved ones.
4462 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023
Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 66 - "Olympic/Augusta (westbound)" or "Olympic/Marianna (eastbound)."
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