Southern Living has put together these delicious Easter lunch menus featuring traditional recipes such as asparagus amandine, lemon-coconut cake, and classic Easter ham.
Menus by Mary Allen Perry
Celebrate Easter with one of our creative and delicious menus. You will find all your favorite Easter recipes included in this selection, from glazed hams, deviled eggs, and pretty green salads. If you are hosting a formal Easter Sunday dinner, we have the perfect lineup of tasty dishes that will impress your guests. Or choose a hearty breakfast casserole, break out the champagne flutes, and gather family and friends for a mid-morning brunch. If the weather promises to be nice, pull the picnic tables together for a casual potluck gathering. Our Easter menus are loaded with recipes that are easy to assemble and transport to the party. Whether you need a menu for a small party of 4 or large gathering of more than 20 guests, you will find a host of ideas in this Easter menu collection.
1 of 13Photo: Van Chaplin
Southern Style Easter Lunch Menus
Entertaining family and friends at Easter has never been so easy. Set up the sideboard with crystal and silver or simply dust off the patio chairs and get ready for some backyard fun. These carefree easter lunch menus and spring brunch recipes offer something for everyone – from a traditional Family Easter Lunch in the Dining Room to an Outdoor Tea and Easter Egg Hunt. The recipes are all about fresh seasonal flavor and the supermarkets are loaded with bargains. Stick with a single lunch menu or browse through them all and put together your own collection of recipes. Many have components that can be prepared ahead on Saturday, so there’s no last minute scrambling before the guests arrive.
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Formal Family Easter Dinner
Plum preserves spiked with fresh citrus, ginger, and crushed red pepper update the traditional baked ham. A creamy casserole of scalloped potatoes and tender Asparagus Amandine round out this family-pleasing menu. Sliced strawberries and spiced pecans make colorful Baby Blue Salad a perennial holiday favorite. Warm, fluffy rolls straight from the oven are a must-have on Easter Sunday, and our make-ahead Refrigerator Yeast Rolls take the stress out of holiday cooking. And of course we wouldn’t even think about having Easter without a coconut cake! The best part about this layered delicacy is the unexpected twist of tangy lemon filling.
3 of 13Photo: Beth Dreiling; Styling Lisa Powell Bailey
Formal Easter Dinner for Four
No one will ever guess this elegant menu is so simple to fix. Much of the prep work can be done ahead—such as marinating the lamb and shrimp, or baking the shortbread cookies. Two racks of lamb make a wow-worthy, sophisticated entrée for Easter, particularly when hosting a small gathering. Thin strips of cucumber shape the festive little baskets for Bacon-Blue Cheese Salads. It’s a fun idea that we use for other special meals as well. Easy Three Seed Pan Rolls are equally impressive, and get a quick start from frozen roll dough. Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbet made with fresh ingredients is the perfect sweet ending to a festive meal.
Gather family and friends for an afternoon of fun for kids and adults alike. Consider serving an assortment of colorful fruit-flavored iced teas, such as Blueberry-Lemon Iced Tea, Governor’s Mansion Summer Peach Tea Punch, or Citrus Iced Tea. Make tea sandwiches up to a day in advance. To prevent the bread from drying out, arrange sandwiches in a single layer in an airtight container, and cover loosely with a sheet of wax paper. Place a damp kitchen towel over the wax paper; cover and refrigerate. Brownies and bars baked in a 13- x 9-inch pan can be cut into 48 bite-size (1-inch) squares.
The great thing about Easter is that it doesn’t have to be celebrated with a formal menu. If you’re planning on hosting a more low-key affair on Easter Sunday, these casual dishes will allow you to make everything ahead, so all that’s left to do is sit back and chill! Kick things off with refreshing Shrimp Shooters appetizer or a crunchy Green Bean, Walnut, and Feta Salad. Just make sure to save some room for the Banana Pudding Pie. With just a few tweaks to the classics, you can bring warm-weather favorites to the table in no time and in style.
Mississippi native (and only female Iron Chef) Cat Cora made her favorite Easter dishes reflecting her Greek heritage for this menu. Enjoy the flavors of a classic Greek Easter with her perfectly delicious holiday recipes. Start with a salty Feta Spread served with crostini or pita chips. The main dishes are filled with fresh Mediterranean flavors: roasted lamb, lemon-roasted potatoes, and flavorful oregano green beans. Not a fan of lamb? For a variation on Cat’s Greek feast, substitute a Boston Butt for the lamb, using the same lemon-and-oregano rub.The savory flavors of roasted pork pair just as scrumptiously with the green beans and potatoes.
This easy make-ahead menu brings together familiar ingredients in fresh new ways, from a sweet and tangy twist on traditional poppy seed dressing to a sophisticated version of lemon icebox pie. After church, slip the chicken on the grill and the cheesy pasta in the oven. (Pencil-thin spears of asparagus roast in 10 minutes tops, and can scoot in the oven when the pasta comes out.) Put the finishing touches on the citrusy tart, toss the spinach and strawberry-filled salad, and pour the iced tea. And there you have it, Easter dinner made easier thanks to some preplanning and simple prep work.
It’s all too easy to forget about breakfast when preparing your holiday dinner menu. Welcome your guests on Easter morning with a buffet spread worthy of a king, featuring leisurely make-ahead dishes. Festive champagne flutes filled with fruit juice and a quick-to-fix Baked Grits and Greens casserole spooned into colorful ramekins add the finishing touches, making it easier for your guests to help themselves to a heaping plate of goodness. Lightly spiced with the rich, moist flavor of carrot cake, these Morning Glory Muffins are worth waking up early for and pair perfectly with softened cream cheese and pear preserves.
Here’s a simple-to-fix menu that never fails to please. Perfectly roasted chickens bake vertically over opened cans of ginger ale. In the hot oven, the ginger ale steams, keeping the chicken moist. This easy roasting method allows fat to drip through and around the chickens, giving them a rich roasted flavor and beautiful golden brown color. The chicken broth ties all the flavors together in this light, crunchy Asparagus Pasta with Toasted Pecans, and a cast-iron muffin pan helps these Spoon Rolls come to a wonderful crisp. Chocolate lovers, rejoice! There’s a decadent surprise waiting for you at the end.
Set up a dining table on the porch or under a shady tree in the backyard and celebrate the day with this elegant but easy menu. Make the rolls up to a month ahead, and freeze. Up to a day ahead, prepare and chill the soup, and salad dressing; caramelize the onions for the pudding, and make the pastry cream for the tarts. Bake the tart shells up to a day ahead as well, but store at room temp – ready to assemble and chill on Easter morning. Sweet Onion Pudding can be assembled and baked in the oven while the lamb is on the grill.
photo: Coconut Cream Tarts with Macadamia Nut Crusts
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Serves 6 to 8
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day—that’s why it’s important to have tried-and-true brunch recipes ready on the fly, allowing you more time to put a delicious spin on new favorites. You’ll begin the morning with Brunch Eggs baked in a casserole dish. They’re an easier alternative to Eggs Benedict. Arugula adds a peppery bite to the sweet citrus and avocado in New Ambrosia With Buttermilk-Coconut Dressing, but the recipe is equally good when prepared with other salad greens. By the time the glazed Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls are passed around, everyone will be pleased and full.
photo: New Ambrosia With Buttermilk-Coconut Dressing
12 of 13Photo: Iain Bagwell
Easy Afternoon Easter Party
Hosting a full-on Easter party can turn you into a basket case. Instead, opt for this easy-yet-elegant Easter party menu where adults can graze and relax as kids enjoy the fun. There aren’t any rules when it comes to the food, but it’s best to keep things simple with this menu filled with dainty yet delicious sandwiches, easy side salads, and kid-friendly snacks. But if you must get in on the festivities, try your hand at hosting an afternoon tea party for grown-ups. Trust us, nothing goes together better than a cool drink and yummy sandwich on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
This easy and elegant menu keeps things classic, but with an extra helping of flavor and color. Make your Easter celebration truly special with a Spiral-Cut Holiday Ham. This meaty main is already fully-cooked, leaving you with more time on your hands to whip up one of our three homemade glazes instead of using the sugary store-bought packet. The velvety-smooth Carrot-Ginger Puree can be made up to three days in advance. Hot Potato Salad will make a wonderful addition to your Easter spread, combining the flavor you’ve come to love in traditional potato salad with a warm and cheesy twist.