Easter Recipes and Their Stories

Easter Recipes and Their Stories
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Easter Recipes and Their Stories

Check out this slideshow for our favorite Easter recipes and the story behind some of the most common dishes.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Hard-boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs became associated with Easter because during Lent, people traditionally avoided eating eggs. In an effort to preserve them, they would hard-boil them and eat a couple on Easter day. Eggs are also closely tied in with this spring holiday as they represent fertility.

Image Credit: Corbis

Gorgeous Easter Eggs

Try these amazing DIY egg decorating ideas!

Get Inspired: 9 Gorgeous Easter Eggs

And when you are done admiring them, learn the best way to peel a hard-boiled egg with our favorite tips.


Ham became popular among early Christians as part of their unifying tradition as some other religions do not eat pork or ham. Beyond that, pigs were considered lucky and thus ham became important as a symbol of luck.

Image Credit: Jupiter Images

Chili-Brined Fresh Ham

For a great Easter ham, try this chili-brined version. Learn to brine fresh ham in a chili-spiked liquid with this delicious holiday-ready recipe. The pork skin turns wonderfully crackly in the oven.

Get the Recipe: Chili-Brined Fresh Ham

Pineapple & Ham Bread Soufflé

For a fresh twist on your Easter ham, try this bread pudding-soufflé hybrid. This dish gets its inspiration from a rich, pineapple soufflé traditionally served as an accompaniment to baked ham. We turned it into a main dish, putting the ham straight into the soufflé. Then, we improved the nutritional profile by omitting heavy cream and butter and choosing whole-wheat bread over white. For the best texture and flavor, look for soft whole-wheat sandwich bread without any added malt or molasses. Be sure to use canned, not fresh pineapple—fresh pineapple makes the soufflé too wet.

Get the Recipe: Pineapple & Ham Bread Soufflé


At its very basis, lamb is intrinsically tied to Easter as Jesus is also known as the "Lamb of God." According to The Kitchen Project, around Easter it was thought to be especially lucky to come across a lamb, the most wholesome of all animals.

For centuries, whole roast lamb was the centerpiece of the Pope's Easter dinner, and thus the tradition of eating lamb for Easter spread around the world.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Greek-Style Leg of Lamb

For a delicious lamb dish, we recommend this classic recipe which features lemon, dill, oregano and onion.

Get the Recipe: Greek-Style Leg of Lamb

Lamb Chops with Frizzled Herbs

Also try adorning lamb with fried herbs like rosemary, parsley and sage.

Get the Recipe: Lamb Chops with Frizzled Herbs

Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus

This tender braised leg of lamb is a beautiful addition to an Easter table. Plus, you can sandwich any extra meat and meat juices with pickled vegetables and focaccia for lunch.

Get the Recipe: Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus

Hot Cross Buns and Breads

Traditionally served on Good Friday in England, hot cross buns have a long history that dates back to the ancient Egyptians and Grecians who decorated their buns with ox horns to represent protection and rebirth. According to The Food Timeline, Christians adopted this tradition and the ox-horn branding became a simple cross.

Breads of Easter are often prepared in symbolic shapes and are traditionally made with egg.

Image Credit: Harrison Eastwood/Getty Images

Rosemary-Potato Focaccia Rolls

Vary the toppings on these delectable rolls for your Easter table.

Get the Recipe: Rosemary-Potato Focaccia Rolls

Truffled Garlic Egg Brioches

This bread and egg combination is a lovely addition to your Easter spread. There’s a whisper of earthiness that comes from the garlic and the texture of the eggs!

Get the Recipe: Truffled Garlic Egg Brioches


Traditionally, pretzels can be made without eggs or butter and were thus popular during Lent. On Easter, it became customary to fill the holes in pretzels with two hard-boiled eggs. Eventually, people began using a basket to hold hard-boiled eggs instead of pretzels.

Image Credit: Jupiter Images

Soft Pretzels

While these soft pretzels are best served fresh, they are still delightful the next day if you just rub them with a bit of water and re-bake them for a few minutes.

Get the Recipe: Soft Pretzels

Chocolate Pretzel Rings

For a fun Easter-themed dessert, try these chocolate pretzel rings. Use pastel-colored chocolates or egg-shaped chocolates to top the pretzels for a truly festive flair.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Pretzel Rings

Poppy Seed Baked Goods

Like eggs, seeds, most notably poppy seeds, also symbolize the Easter and spring themes of birth, rebirth and fertility.

Image Credit: Jupiter Images

Sweet Poppy Seed Scroll Loaf (Croatian Makovnjaca)

Easter is here and it’s time for poppy seeds. This loaf, in particular springs to mind.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Poppy Seed Scroll Loaf (Croatian Makovnjaca)

Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake

A lovely cake that screams spring, we love this lemon-poppy seed cake to end an Easter meal. Just let the sweet lemon glaze run over the warm cake and you've got perfection.

Get the Recipe: Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon-Curd Cakes with Poppy Seeds

For an adventurous take on poppy seed eats, try these lemon-curd cakes. The lovely cakes have a tender, cakey layer on the bottom, a luscious curd-like layer on top and poppy-seed crème fraîche to finish the whole thing off.

Get the Recipe: Lemon-Curd Cakes with Poppy Seeds


Like breads, cakes are often formed in meaningful and symbolic shapes for the holiday and represent fertility. These types of indulgences (made with butter and eggs) are also classically avoided during Lent, and thus enjoyed at the end of that time period. Plus, how better to end a holiday meal than with a magnificent cake!

Madeira Cake

This beautiful, dense buttery cake is a teatime classic, similar to the Easter Simnel cake which is also eaten with tea.

Get the Recipe: Madeira Cake

Carrot Cake Easter Bunny Cake

This fun cake strays a bit from tradition but remains within the spirit of the holiday. This particular carrot cake is extremely moist and doesn't call for shredding any carrots!

Get the Recipe: Carrot Cake Easter Bunny Cake


By now, you may have accepted your yearly Easter dinner of ham or lamb, plentiful breads and rolls and celebratory cakes and Easter eggs without giving much thought as to why families across the country and many around the world come back to these very same items year after year. While each family inevitably has their own twist and their own food customs, we explore some of the most common Easter food traditions and how they came to be.

From Easter eggs, which represent fertility, to pretzels, which served as the original "Easter baskets," learn the meaning behind each Easter favorite and some great recipes to amp up your Easter dinner this year.

Check out the slideshow above for our favorite Easter recipes and the story behind some of the most common dishes.

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