Easter means a lot of things: fluffy white bunnies, newborn chicks, egg hunts, and pastel candies popping up in the grocery aisles. But like all major holidays, it also means food, and a lot of it. These are the 10 essential traditional Easter dinner menu ideas that must be on our table to give us all the hippity hoppity feels. Oh, and by “dinner,” we obviously mean an obscenely early one around 2 in the afternoon. Why is it that holidays mean everyone suddenly wants to have a giant meal right in the middle of the day?
But we digress. Easter foods are made up of much more than plasticky chocolate bunnies and the indestructible Peep. Read on for the foods that, ahem, rise to the occasion…
Number one on the Easter necessity list is eggs. Of course, we don’t care all too much about the painted ones—we care more about the kind you fry, beat and boil! And there’s nothing more traditional than a good deviled egg. (Is that an oxymoron...?) Go the eggs-tra mile and add an accent of beet horseradish on top of them or mix sriracha into the yolks for a fiery kick. Finishing with a bourbon smoked paprika, instead of plain paprika or cayenne, will establish you as a true egg master. And pro hosting tip: boil your eggs the night before and prep in the morning. Set them out before people arrive – it'll ward those off hungry kitchen wanderers that stress you out in the kitchen.
Parker House Rolls
Let’s get this bread, fam. But literally. We know it might be cliché, but is there anything so soul-satisfying and homey as fresh-baked bread? Flaky Parker House Rolls are a simple make and pack in as much butter as possible into a roll. Now, we are going to blow your mind. Right before popping into the oven, brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with a crunchy finishing salt for more texture and taste. At the table, replace the slab of cold butter with white truffle olive oil. Halleloo, you’ll thank us later.
Ok, when it comes to Easter dinner traditions, there are two camps: lamb vs. ham. Lamb is considered more classic since it predates Easter, stemming from the Passover seder. (We’ll give ham its moment in the next blurb.) When it comes to traditional lamb, you might be having traumatic flashbacks to that neon green jar that only surfaced once a year. And sure, you can have that mint jelly set out for the one relative who can’t live without it. For the rest? A whole grain mustard with a lot of kick will do the trick. Tin Mustard’s version is so good that we’ve dubbed it the vegan caviar, each bite packed with several seeds ready to pop. It’s a game-changer.
Easter doesn’t just mean any ol’ ham. It must be spiral-cut and it must be glazed. Most hams come pre-cooked and smoked, so it’s much more foolproof compared to serving lamb. Now, a homemade glaze doesn’t have to be intimidating. You just need a touch of quality honey or high quality maple syrup, some sugar, and spices. Good mustard, if you’re feeling fancy. Whisk everything together and brush liberally on your ham as it warms up in the oven. And we mean liberally. Really ham it up.
Peas and Carrots
Mind your peas & carrots, people. We can’t quite say why they are considered a traditional Easter side dish… maybe it’s a rabbits thing? But whatever the reason, please, don’t go wandering down the frozen food aisle looking for the plastic bag. This year, try something out of the box—or out of the jar. Snappy pickled peas and carrots by Unbound Pickling are brined in a mix of ginger, mint, allspice, coriander and red pepper flakes. Served alongside the rich deviled eggs, they’ll be in perfect harmony. Hop to it.
Another necessary Easter side dish that begs a question… scalloped or au gratin? Yes, there is a difference. If you finish your potatoes with grated cheese on top, they become au gratin. And we hope you do, because we can’t imagine anything better than potatoes topped with black truffle cheddar cheese by Plymouth Artisan Cheese. (To be honest, we might even forget the potatoes and just eat it by the slice with the aforementioned Parker house rolls.)
Hot Cross Buns
Dating back to the 12th Century, these sweet breads are packed with dried fruits (such as cranberries and blueberries, and even orange peel) and necessarily crossed with an icing cross. (That’s how they got their name.) Believe it or not, people used to bake them on Good Friday and hang them in their homes to ward off evil spirits... We’re not quite sure how effective bread was for that, but they are pretty darn delicious.
We abide by the obvious fact that carrot cake is much, much healthier than regular cake because there’s a serving of vegetables in it….despite the layers of cream cheese frosting and candied pecans. But luckily, we found a super light (both physically and calorically) version, thanks to the folks at Wondermade. Their carrot cake marshmallows are made with actual carrots and pack all the flavor of a slice. Plus, they’re less dense a dessert… well, at least a little. Depends if we eat the whole box.
Lemon Curd and Meringue
We think of lemons as year-round fruits, but they actually ripen in the winter. As the ground thawed and Peter Cottontail came hippity hopping down the bunny trail, people were left with a surplus of citrus. Cue the lemon curd. With cloud-like meringues and a zesty tea, it’s just the thing to lift Easter dinner up and make guests feel like they can rise out of their seats.
Ok, we bashed Easter candy a bit in the beginning. But who are we kidding, no Easter would be complete without a visit from the Easter bunny and his basket of goodies. A fan of Peeps? We found the best. Handmade, all-natural duckies by Zoe’s Chocolate Co. say "quack" instead of "peep," but they're also real marshmallow (unlike those other birds in the drugstore aisle), complete with notes of rich honey and real vanilla. As for your chocolate fix, an Easter egg chocolate pops by New York’s oldest chocolatier will have you denouncing the name of Cadbury. Place a basket of these treats by the door, so your dinner guests won’t leave empty-handed. You’ll be crowned the Easter host...savior.
With these 10 traditional Easter foods on your holiday menu, you’ll be sure to satisfy every-bunny’s cravings. So hop to it, get shoppin’, and get cookin’! And for any other Easter gift needs, check out our pre-packed Easter boxes. It'll save you the trouble of assembling it yourself. Let US be your Easter bunny!