After slicing into a rich, herby rack of lamb, biting into a buttery popover or taking one more piece of sweet-glazed ham, it's time to end the holiday on a sweet note. Our best Easter desserts include a super moist olive oil cake, an Easter bunny layer cake and a coconut-lime cheesecake that will transport your tastebuds to the tropics. These luscious cakes and playful pastries come from some of the most talented chefs and bakers in the game, and you can bet that they're the epitome of spring. Think: luscious lemon, sweet coconut and spicy cinnamon.
We intentionally selected some recipes that can be baked in advance in order to save prep time on Easter Sunday. That way, you don't need to worry about oven space or dirtying even more dishes. Most of these recipes can be baked a day or two ahead — how sweet is that? Be sure to take a peek in your pantry before pre-heating the oven to make sure you have all of the ingredients you need to execute these festive confections.
All of these desserts are crowd-friendly, so it's up to you to decide if you want to serve individual desserts or one big-batch cake that everyone can dig into.
From cute Easter cookie recipes to buttery bars to decadent puddings to fruit-forward tortes, this comprehensive list of the best Easter desserts will wow everyone … yes, even the Easter bunny. Be sure to keep some to-go containers at the ready, as everyone will want to bring home leftovers.
Easter cakes (and cupcakes)
This is a recipe that Lidia Bastianich's grandmother used to make. It's simple, delicious and can be dressed up in any number of ways — including with poached or sautéed fruit.
"This is my dad's favorite recipe, and it's easy to see why: It's full of flavor like a carrot cake, has a tight crumb like a pound cake, and it comes together quickly and easily," says Vallery Lomas.
Sweet layers of strawberry jam and soft whipped cream in between layers of zesty orange blossom sponge cake layers are a refreshing flavor combination. Top this layer cake with citrus to amp up the tangy element or with juicy berries for a strawberry shortcake-inspired bite.
This impressive and adorable dessert is sure to wow kids and grown-ups alike. It may seem intimidating, but the recipe offers straightforward directions that will allow any home baker to master the cake's decorative interior.
This recipe is a deconstruction of the Almond Joy, reassembled in the best possible way. One bite of this cake, coated in a decadent chocolate fudge sauce and adorned in almonds, and you’ll be hooked. It’s the fabulous little candy all grown up.
Serve this gently spiced dessert with walnuts, raisins, coconut and pineapple — or keep it simple with only shredded carrots in the batter. Either way, it's a guaranteed treat, especially when each slice gets a generous layer of cream cheese frosting.
This cake is so good it will beckon you in the middle of the night. Almost all the alcohol gets cooked out of the wine, but you can swap it for orange juice and omit the bourbon from the whipped cream if you want a completely booze-free version.
Making a show-stopping dessert for Easter doesn't have to be hard. With just a few store-bought goodies like jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallows, Sandra Lee transforms pre-made cakes into adorable, kid-friendly desserts.
"This cake is a tribute to good ol'-fashioned gooey rolls: soft and full like fluffy pillows, piping hot out of the oven, entwined with ribbons of spiced cinnamon sugar, sticky with dripping cream cheese icing," says Jocelyn Delk Adams. "If ever one could capture the magic and decadence of cinnamon rolls in a cake, without the intimidating yeast, I think I have."
"This recipe is something I remember my mom making when I was a kid. It's made with some "unusual" ingredients and reminds me of a very '70s-style recipe. Yes, pistachio is in the name, but it's a totally light and sweet cake-like dessert that I find refreshing as well. Perfect for spring," says TODAY's Dylan Dreyer.
Hosting Easter takes a lot of planning and hard work. Once you've tackled the menu for Easter brunch or dinner, why not make dessert the simple part? A box of yellow cake mix is the secret behind this incredibly easy coffee cake that's sure to become your holiday hero.
Pre-made cookies and store-bought ice cream make a lovely and refreshing dessert. Assemble it ahead of time and let it chill in the freezer until you're ready to dig in.
All you need is coconut, food coloring and marshmallow bunnies to turn a batch of basic chocolate cupcakes into these adorable Easter treats.
With the oven likely filled with ham, roast asparagus and everything else, turn to this no-bake cake. Featuring fresh fruits, rich golden cookies and homemade coconut whipped cream, this make-ahead icebox cake is the perfect dessert for spring.
Both the cake and the frosting are incredibly simple recipes, which are easy enough for anyone to make for a special occasion. And, let's not forget, it's a pleasure to eat.
This moist, wonderfully spiced carrot cake makes it easy for everyone to enjoy a rich dessert, whether they're vegan or gluten-free. Decorated with gorgeous floral frosting, it will become a go-to confection for all the carrot cake lovers out there.
If baking a lamb cake isn't already an Easter tradition in your household, it's sure to become one.
Look no further for the perfect Easter dessert than this party-worthy, no-fuss recipe. It has a crispy, chocolaty cookie base, delicious mousse filling and sweet raspberry topping.
The trick to an utterly delicious macaroon base is to combine the coconut with melted marshmallows before baking. Since marshmallows are a great setting agent, you can use them for the filling, too. The zesty lime curd adds just the right amount of tanginess to create a perfectly balanced dessert.
Everyone loves the Easter bunny! How about a bunch of little Easter bunnies you can eat? Yes, please! This recipe cuts corners with store-bought cupcakes so all you need to do is decorate. It's a kid-friendly project that that can be eaten while hunting for Easter eggs.
Like a cloud floating through the sky on a beautiful spring day, this chocolate-coconut cake is a fluffy dream. On the inside are two dense layers of chocolate cake, surrounded by a white marshmallow frosting and shredded coconut.
A lemony confection, this cake says goodbye to winter and welcomes spring with open arms. It's easy to throw together when you're crunched for time, but the end result looks so impressive.
This cake captures the vibrant colors and fresh flavors of spring in every sweet bite. The festive flowers and lemon-scented cake frosting deliver a bright, citrusy confection.
This one bowl, one-layer carrot cake is the perfect "mix-and-bake" dessert for novices and skilled bakers alike. It's packed full of flavor from cozy spices like cinnamon and vanilla, which are irresistible year-round.
Easter cookies, pastries, pies and other confections
This easy-to-assemble recipe is adaptable based on what fruit is in season. It's a light, bright, perfectly portioned way to end a meal.
Martha Stewart combines baking and crafts with these cute cookies. Have little ones help decorate the treats with sanding sugar, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips and candy. Then share them with your peeps after Easter dinner.
An orange zest, vanilla and cardamom glaze add incredible fragrant flavor to this celebratory bread that is a staple on many Easter tables. The sprinkles on top also add a colorful, festive flair.
They may look deceptively simple, but the classic combination of a buttery base with a sweet glaze makes these cookies absolutely irresistible. Be sure to use pure vanilla extract and pop the cookies into the fridge for a quick chill before baking — both are the trick to sweet, perfectly-shaped cookies.
The torte happily lives up to its billing as one of The New York Times archives' most requested recipes. With deep wells of slackened, sugar-glazed plums, it may very well be a nearly perfect recipe. There are only eight ingredients, all of which you probably already have in your kitchen.
Duff Goldman swears by this versatile recipe and it's the one he uses for the blondies at all of his bakeries. They're buttery, sweet and made from just seven easy-to-find ingredients.
These nests are a fun and easy project for both kids and adults. The classic combo of peanut butter and chocolate can't be beat, while the salt from the pretzels amplifies both.
Meringue clouds are light as air but adding raspberry takes them to another level. The berries help balance the meringue from tasting too sweet.
Light and fluffy, these gluten-free treats are a mashup of buttery snowballs and coconut macaroons. They’re sweetened with honey and applesauce and can be dipped in dark chocolate or rolled in shredded coconut.
Lemon is a classic flavor featured in many Easter desserts, including these citrusy delights. Instead of fresh zest or juice, the recipe uses lemon extract to dial up the flavor of the chewy white chocolate-studded sugar cookies.
These soft cookie sandwiches are packed with all the same flavors as a slice of cream cheese-frosted carrot cake in an easy handheld package that's perfect for Easter Sunday.
Christina Tosi’s multilayer “snaps” are well worth the effort. Featuring a crisp cookie base, chewy homemade caramel, white chocolate coating and crushed freeze-dried strawberries, they’re delightfully crunchy and decadent.
Recreate Missouri’s famous gooey butter cake in cookie form using this indulgent recipe. Salted butter helps balance out the richness to form the perfect chewy bite.
Jocelyn Delk Adams loves serving flowerpot brownies for Easter because they are a sweet and festive way to end the meal. They also double as décor on the holiday table, cutting your to-do list in half!
These uniquely flavored, elegant cookies are astonishingly simple to make and taste truly special. And you can make the dough well in advance and freeze it — win-win!
One of the best things about spring is having nature's pastel colors bloom back to life. These cereal treats include several of them in one easy-to-make dessert.
Key lime pies are an iconic American dessert, but they're not always easy to make. They've got to be decadent but light, cool and creamy … and this checks all the boxes.
As its name suggests, these cookies pack plenty of crunch, thanks to a combination of rolled oats, cornflakes and shredded coconut. Cool completely, then spread a layer of the chocolate-cream cheese filling to form little sandwiches that your Easter guests won’t be able to resist.
Along with the holiday rack of lamb, eggs and spring vegetables, add a box of puff pastry to your shopping cart. The versatile dough is the key to this chef-approved recipe for easy French palmiers. Simply sprinkle on sugar, fold and roll into the cookies’ signature scroll shape.
This pudding is incredibly easy and perfect for any event, from Easter brunch to al fresco dinners during summer. It's stunning when presented in a footed-glass trifle dish, so everyone can see the lovely layers. The best part? It can be made ahead and refrigerated — and it may taste even more delicious the next day.
This traditional Neapolitan-style Easter dessert is the perfect marriage between cheesecake and rice pudding. It's a wonderful choice for those who want to balance out the other saccharine offerings on the table.
It just wouldn't be spring baking season without strawberries and rhubarb. Siri Daly combines the two classic ingredients in this easy, seasonal dessert. She tops the sweet and tart fruits with toasty oats and warm cinnamon to add a perfectly crisp topping.
For those who love a bit of tartness in their sweets, Key lime pie is a timeless favorite. Jocelyn Delk Adams shares how to make it with a homemade graham cracker crust and raspberry jam, which brings the confection from fine to fabulous.
Bread pudding is one of our favorite desserts to make because it's not overly sweet. Once you have the basic recipe, you can change the fruits and flavorings based on whatever you have on hand.
During spring and summer, you can bet on an abundance of fresh fruit. Instead of letting extra stone fruits and berries go to waste, put them to use in this delicious tart. The flavors will blend together seamlessly and guests will definitely be impressed.
Start your Easter morning with a slice of sweet bread dipped into coffee or served with chamomile tea late at night.