For many people, the arrival of Easter is a sign that spring is finally here. It’s a time of new life and new beginnings, from the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, to the delicious chocolate eggs given as gifts to friends and family. Children have traditionally decorated eggs or decorated Easter bonnets with flowers, chicks and rabbits to represent new spring life, and these days decorating some cute Easter treats with your kids can be a great way to keep them entertained.
Easter also marks the end of lent, when Christians fast or give up certain foods for forty days. With the fast over, Easter is a time to celebrate with loved ones, and to enjoy a well-earned holiday feast. If you’re looking to hold a festive feast of your own, we’ve gathered together some of our favourite recipes for a relaxed Easter brunch - some of them traditional and others that could just be traditions in the making.
The secret to a great Easter brunch is to keep it light and fresh - the sort of food you could imagine eating outside in the spring sunshine. For a classically elegant appetiser, try some smoked salmon and dill on toast. Simple but luxurious, with a fresh, delicate flavour, this is the quintessential finger food, and it doesn’t keep you tied to the kitchen when you should be enjoying the party. Cucumber sandwiches are another great choice. A must at garden parties or served beside your afternoon cup of tea, their delicate flavour and refined appearance also makes them perfect for Easter celebrations. And if you can’t wait to welcome the warmer weather, this Sicilian orange salad conjures up images of the sunny orange groves of Sicily to chase away those post-winter blues.
Great Easter food celebrates the produce of the season. Think tender spring vegetables and new potatoes, fresh from the garden. Our recipe for saffron potatoes and green bean salad pays homage to the first produce of the year with a simple cocktail of baby potatoes and crunchy beans with a herb marinade. Or, for a celebration of spring with a more Italian flavour, try some risi e bisi, a traditional Venetian dish made from risotto rice, peas and diced pancetta.
Ham is another classic Easter ingredient, particularly in North America. Traditionally, hams were cured over winter, making them ready just in time for Easter celebrations in the spring. Our smoked ham roast, covered with a delicious honey and marmalade glaze, is perfect for any celebration, and tastes great served with new potatoes and thyme.
If you’re looking for something a bit more informal, or if you have ham leftover from your roast the following day, there are plenty of other tasty ham dishes for you to try. We love this ham and cheese brunch bake from Delish - the ultimate breakfast comfort food made from perfectly seasoned eggs, cheese and ham on crusty bread, all baked in the oven until golden. Quiches also taste great with ham, and make for a light but satisfying brunch dish. Our recipe for quiche Lorraine has a rich filling made from gruyère cheese, ham, eggs and cream, with a perfectly baked golden pastry crust. Or why not go bite-size with these mini quiches with peas and ham?
Quiches are a great choice for Easter brunch, and if you’re careful, you can keep the eggshells for decorating with the kids. All you need to do is make a hole at each end of your egg with a needle, making sure you pierce the yolk, then place a straw over one end of the hole and blow. The edible part of the egg should come out through the opposite hole, leaving the shell unharmed. For more quiche inspiration, check out our recipe for mini-quiche with broccoli, which works well as a vegetarian alternative to our pea and ham quiches. Or try this Italian-inspired recipe for ricotta and asparagus quiche, made with tender spring asparagus, creamy ricotta and Parmesan.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to making quiche. Eggs are the perfect breakfast food - just add your favourite ingredients for a tasty omelet or frittata. We love this recipe for breakfast strata from Delish, a hearty baked omelette made with Italian sausage, Fontina cheese, spinach, tomatoes and mushroom, and this simple baked omelette roll from Taste of Home. For something a little lighter, try our asparagus frittata with chives, seasoned with basil and a hint of chilli.
You can’t go wrong with Spanish tortilla, and this recipe from Delish serves up a delicious twist on an old favourite, with a hint of rosemary to complement the potatoes, and a sour cream and chive sauce. Our own recipe for egg and bacon pie is made using just three ingredients, making it another great option for a quick and tasty brunch, while our egg salad with pitta bread is the perfect combination of creamy egg mayonnaise and sweet crunchy vegetables if you’re looking for a sandwich with a touch of class.
For dessert, get creative with some cute Easter decorations. Kids will love helping out with these Easter marzipan cupcakes, topped with a simple royal icing and adorable marzipan carrots. Our Easter chocolate cupcakes are a must for chocoholics, with a light chocolate sponge, chocolate frosting and a flaked chocolate nest filled with colourful chocolate eggs. And it’s not just cupcakes that can benefit from a bit of Easter magic - these Easter Bunny waffles from Fork and Beans are almost too cute to eat, and they’re made using lots of fresh healthy fruit, too, with banana and blueberry eyes, a raspberry nose, and even a strawberry bow tie.
There are some sweet recipes that are just perfect for brunch whatever the occasion, and waffles or pancakes are always a crowd pleaser. For more waffle inspiration, from savoury chorizo waffles, to sweet chocolate chip waffles or a classic Belgian waffle, take a look at our collection of waffle recipes you can make at home. Another classic, our pancakes with blueberries are made with blueberries cooked into the batter, and topped with extra fresh blueberries.
Bread made with sweetened dough is another Easter tradition, and this delicious monkey bread recipe from The Kitchen Magpie, while not technically an Easter dish, fits right in with the sweet dough theme. Made with crunchy pecans and sweet raisins and glazed with sugar and cinnamon, this recipe is half hot cross bun, half pecan danish, and all delicious. For a more traditional Easter bread, try our recipe for Italian scarcella, a plaited ring of sweetened bread with a whole egg baked inside, given as a gift to bring good luck and prosperity. These days, many people bake chocolate eggs into the dough instead, and if you have a sweet tooth, you’re sure to enjoy this recipe for Italian Easter bread, or chocolate scarcella, from Garlic Girl.
For more Easter inspiration, from festive recipes and decorations to fun activities to enjoy with the family, take a look at our ultimate guide to Easter celebrations.