When I was growing up, we had ham for Easter dinner every. single. year. So, I've decided to post about Easter Dinner ideas that aren't ham.
This year, the coronavirus and vaccine waiting list means that we'll have having a virtual dinner with extended family and an in-person dinner for only us and the kids. Exactly like we did last year.
How are you celebrating?
I grew up eating ham for Easter. Always.
The ham of my youth was always accompanied by such calorie-bomb side dishes as cheesy potatoes or pasta salad.
My mom liked to order a ham from Honeybaked Hams for the occasion.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against ham.
In fact, Phil sometimes smokes a ham for dinner, which is always delicious—then I use up the leftovers in soup.
If, after reading this, you opt for a ham Easter dinner, I won't judge you. In fact, I've even got a perfect recipe for using up the leftovers.
These Easter dinner ideas (with the possible exception of the duck) are very easy to make, but oh-so-impressive and yummy.
My Favorite Easter Dinner Ideas (that aren't ham)
This recipe makes a delicious Easter Dinner for 2, but can be scaled up to larger roasts to feed a bigger crowd—especially if you serve it with a selection of side dishes (below, pictured here with Skin-On Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish).
The leftovers make the most awesome prime rib sandwiches you've ever tasted.
This easy Beef tenderloin recipeis in tight competition with the prime rib roast I just showed you.
The presentation of a whole beef tenderloin roast is impressive. That's second only to how great it tastes, particularly paired with the creamy, delectable green peppercorn sauce.
Luscious, herb-roasted Cornish Game Hens, cooked in the same pot with a delicious, double-mushroom barley pilaf.
This dish is easily scalable from 2 diner to 6. This dish makes for an impressive presentation right in the pan! What's not to love?
Roast lamb is an extremely common Easter dinner entree in the UK—in fact, the Brits almost need a roundup like this one, but named "Easter Dinner Ideas that aren't LAMB."
The same is not true here in the U.S.
This roast leg of lamb is an incredibly easy, yet impressive and delicious choice for your Easter dinner.
A bone-in leg, like what I have in the image above, makes for a fantastic presentation at the table, but you can use a boneless lamb leg instead.
This basic recipe makes a super-easy, delicious Easter meal for 2. However, this is easily scalable to as many as 8.
The fact that the side dish bakes right in the same tray as the lamb means that not only are the potatoes infused with juices from the lamb, but cleanup is also a breeze.
This is a Frank family favorite for special-occasion dinners.
The fact that it's cooked in one pan makes cleanup a cinch.
It's also very impressive if you bring the pan to the table for serving.
This dish has citrus notes and wonderful, savory flavors.
This is an easy, nearly foolproof main dish.
It turns out reliably juicy and delicious.
The roast is cut into gigantic chops that are more than enough for one person (I usually eat half of one).
Perfumed with herbs from the inside and finished with a tangy sauce.
Perfect for feeding a small gathering.
This turkey recipe turns out perfectly juicy every time thanks to a wine-and-butter-soaked cheesecloth that keeps the turkey from drying during the roasting time.
An absolute must for Thanksgiving...but we eat it for Easter and "half-Thanksgiving" too.
Easter side dishes
Macaroni and cheese is a must on many dinner tables in the South.
This version is done all in one pot in about 15 minutes flat. It's creamy and decadent, with far less cleanup than traditional mac and cheese.
The noodles cook right in the sauce, so there's no need to drain.
The starch from the pasta helps thicken the sauce, so it's rich and creamy, without a roux!
Incredibly easy to put together, with less mayo than traditional coleslaw—but tons of flavor.
This is always a potluck favorite!
I like to make it the night before so the flavors in the dressing get even better.
Great for busy weeknights or big events where you want to work ahead as much as possible.
Peeling and pre-soaking ahead of time removes a lot of the hands-on work from go-time.
This our absolute must-have side-dish for Date Night Prime Rib Roast.
The subtle horseradish perfectly accents the richness of the beef.
Creamy and delicious, but with more texture and color than standard mashed potatoes.
This recipe makes a lovely side dish for any spring meal, or a light meal by itself.
Vibrant and fresh, the dish is done in less than 30 minutes.
Made with orzo pasta/risoni instead of the barley used for authentic orzotto, so it's much faster to make!
This is a vintage recipe that has been a fixture on the Thanksgiving/Christmas Day table for decades.
Perfect for any festive occasion involving turkey, duck, or Cornish game hens.
Either use it to stuff your bird, or bake it separately for a fantastic side.
This is made with homemade cream of mushroom soup and fresh green beans.
The soup is so good, it can be eaten on its own.
This is served with thin-sliced red onion, blue cheese crumbles, and balsamic vinaigrette.
It’s wonderful as an accompaniment for roasted meat and steaks—or on its own for a light lunch.
A delicious spin on the traditional mayo-based potato salad recipe, complete with flavoring hacks to make sure that the potatoes are well-seasoned.
Using up Easter leftovers...
My favorite part about holiday dinners may just be what we do with the leftovers. Check out these delicious ideas!
If you DO decide to make ham for Easter, I won't judge you. In fact, I even have a recipe for you (Orange Bourbon Glazed Ham). Make sure to choose a bone-in ham so that you can use the bone and leftover meat to make THIS soup.
Comfort food at its easiest! I always make a huge batch of this soup, since it freezes really well.
An easy enchiladas recipe with even easier chilaquile and casserole-style options.
Enchiladas are such a great way to use up leftover meat. You can also substitute chicken or turkey!
This is my most popular leftover turkey recipe.
Creamy, decadent, and irresistible.
Meal-prep the vegetables and garnishes. The sauce can be made in advance.
Assembling the enchiladas is a fun activity to do with kids, or with your "Friendsgiving" or holiday dinner guests.
Pure, delicious comfort food. It’s fast, easy, and the perfect way to use up turkey or chicken leftovers.
All made in the same pot for easy clean-up!
A delicious, fun way to use up leftover ham and pork.
These quesadillas are ooey gooey, melty delicious, with a wonderful tang from dill pickle and mustard.
Cubano sandwiches transformed into quesadillas!
If you made duck for your holiday dinner, make stock with the carcass and any leftover meat for this delicious Vietnamese soup.
ENTREE (choose one; link below)
- Prime Rib
- Meyer Lemon Chicken
- Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork
- Roast Leg of Lamb
- Roast Rack of Lamb-Potato Traybake
- Herbed Roast Duck
- Classic Roast Turkey
- One-Pot Cornish Game Hens with Mushroom Barley Pilaf
- Easy Roast Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce
SIDE DISHES (choose as many as you like! Links below)
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Skin-On Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish
- Creamy One-Pot Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
- Asparagus Orzotto
- Easy Sausage Stuffing
- Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole
- Arugula-Shaved-Fennel Salad
- Easy, Zippy Coleslaw
- Traditional Potato Salad
USE UP THOSE LEFTOVERS (links below)
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Don't miss a thing!
Countdown to Thanksgiving: a Work-Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Plan. A guide to help you strategize your Thanksgiving Dinner while staying sane—complete with shopping list and meal plan printables.
Recipes for Using up Leftovers: these recipe ideas deliciously help keep your family AND pocketbook happy! My favorite strategies to keep those leftovers from going to waste.