IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

49 Easter dinner ideas for a fresh spring feast

Bring on spring's bright green bounty with these holiday-ready recipes.
/ Source: TODAY

If you celebrate Easter, then you know that the holiday is one of the most delicious feasts during the entire year. Whether your centerpiece is a full rack of lamb served with mint jelly on the side or a honey-glazed ham with pineapple, Easter dinner is always a crowd-pleaser, thanks, in part, to where the holiday falls in the solar calendar — either on the cusp of spring or shortly after it begins. By the time mid-winter rolls around with its cold temperatures and indoor activities, we begin dreaming about spring. We want to feast on the bounty of the season ahead: asparagus, peas and all the greens and herbs. We can just smell the fresh tulips and daffodils and begin planning events where we can entertain outdoors again.

This year, Easter occurs after the spring equinox on Sunday, April 9. The days will be longer, the weather will begin to warm and whether Easter turns out to have the chill of a damp day or all sunny skies, Easter dinner is an opportunity to make everyone at the table feel rejuvenated and hopeful.

To make menu planning as easy as it exciting, here are some of our favorite recipes for Easter supper. Bake a sweet glazed ham or a herby roast lamb. Serve a show stopping vegetarian entrée, such as risotto or pasta filled with al dente green vegetables. When it comes to side dishes and salads, look to recipes that feature fresh produce and herbs from the spring harvest, from crisp asparagus to colorful greens, plus some cozy classics like scalloped potatoes and creamed spinach.

Spring sides, salads and starters

Pommes Chef Anne

This four-ingredient recipe relies on one essential kitchen tool — a mandoline. Don’t be scared; otherwise you might drive yourself to the brink attempting to get your potatoes cut evenly and thinly enough using just a knife. The thin textural and shingled layering is worth every slice.

Dare to impress with this stunner, in which you’ll pack sweet Vidalia onions with a creamy, indulgent potato gratin. It’s two sides in one and we couldn’t be happier about it.

This veggie-packed appetizer is light, fresh, flavorful and will leave everyone going in for seconds.

Spring Rice Pilaf with Tzatziki Sauce

Bright enough to serve for any spring celebration or Easter brunch, this rice dish is crisp and cozy. The zesty tzatziki sauce adds creaminess to the rice and seasonal vegetables.

This vibrant salad that masters the ideal balance of sweet and acidic flavors. Want to know the secret for obtaining vivid, crunchy vegetables? Quickly soak them in an ice water bath as soon as they're done cooking, which helps preserve their color.

If you like Sunny Anderson’s Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Thyme, then you’ll love this cheesy, creamy twist. Roasted potatoes are mashed with cream, butter, cream cheese, a cheddar-pepper jack blend and Parmesan. The mixture is transferred to ramekins, baked and topped with crispy bacon and fresh scallions just before serving.

A lighter salad is a must-have at a big feast and there's nothing more apt for Easter than this one, which features peppery arugula, sweet spring carrots and plump tomatoes. The protein-rich grain in the dish makes it a great for vegetarian or vegan diners.

This easy recipe rolls all the best ingredients — fresh herbs, eggs and asparagus — into one satisfying bite.

When it comes to entertaining around the holidays, we’ll take any and every shortcut that we can. You can still get the crowd-pleasing comfort of a scalloped potato recipe, but in this version, you’ll layer everything into a slow cooker about five hours before go-time. Then, just pop the top and serve.

Potato Salad with Ramp Dressing

This German-style potato salad gets a little zing from whole grain mustard and ramps. Bonus: Without any mayo, this makes for a perfect Easter picnic side dish (no fridge required!).

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Add a nourishing and vibrantly colored carrot soup to your Easter spread. It's also packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which will help balance out the indulgent dishes on the table.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

These smaller, slender potatoes cook quickly and pair perfectly with Easter ham, lamb and more.

Scalloped Potatoes

There's truly nothing more comforting than thinly sliced potatoes baked between layers of crisp breadcrumbs and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Spring Pasta Salad with Shrimp

This pasta salad side dish is light, fresh and perfect for spring. An elegant take on the summer picnic staple, this version has peas, shaved sharp cheese and chilled shrimp.

Creamy sweet potatoes are topped with a classic crumble in this casserole. Missing the crunch of pecans or walnuts? No problem — just add them to the topping mixture along with flour, sugar, oats and spices.

Buttermilk Biscuits

The perfect biscuit recipe should produce light, flaky and buttery biscuits, and you can bet Ina Garten’s recipe delivers. Her tip: Grate your butter, just like you would a block of cheese, which helps it incorporate it into the dough more quickly and evenly — both of which are crucial to scoring the perfect texture.

These carrots are delicious served warm or at room temperature, so they’re ideal for Easter buffets or potlucks, where they can sit out on the table for while you prepare everything else.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

There’s a reason that we still joke about sneaking veggies into your kids’ food by covering them in cheese: It works! In Siri Daly’s recipe, she adds an entire bag of puréed cauliflower into the bechamel sauce, packing in a secret nutritious punch.

If you’re struggling to decide what to bring to an Easter potluck, consider this: A protein-packed, plant-based salad, which leans on lentils. The wholesome grain is dressed up with fennel, celery leaves, mint and oregano for a bright side dish.

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s roasted sweet potatoes come with a pop of color and flavor in the form of fresh pomegranate seeds, grated ginger and shallots. If you’re looking for a fun way to reintroduce a classic side dish, this recipe makes it easy.

Kimchi Creamed Spinach

In this take on a classic side, kimchi gets added to the mix for a sour and spicy crunch — a wonderful contrast to the creamy spinach.

This dish definitely scratches the itch for mashed potatoes, but the cauliflower and yogurt make it feel a little bit lighter.

Simple Spring Asparagus

You don't need to do much to make spring's darling vegetable shine. Adding lemon juice right before serving really makes the asparagus pop.

Giada's Grilled Melon Salad and Asparagus

This recipe declares that spring is here! It is fresh and colorful, making it just as pretty to look at as it is delicious to eat.

Roasted Asparagus with Almonds

This quick and easy recipe adds a hint of garlic and nuttiness, whilethe full, fresh flavor of the asparagus shines through.

Easter entrees

This powerhouse one-pan dish is so easy to prep that you'll have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. It's perfect to serve before a beautiful Easter dessert or as an easy, family-friendly entrée.

Lamb and Squash Stew

Lamb usually makes its way onto the Easter table in the form of a showstopping roast, but this cozy recipe is a set-it-and-forget-it dish that's so much easier to prepare..

Upgrade a traditional roast lamb with fresh herbs and tangy yogurt for your Easter table. While the lamb roasts, you can make the two side sauces.

Awaken your taste buds with this spin on traditional roast ham. The glaze is sweet, slightly tangy and filled with warm spices like anise and cinnamon. It pairs beautifully with an array of side dishes, so it's easy to plan the menu.

Risi e Bisi (Italian-Style Rice and Peas)

This Northern Italian dish is a celebration of spring. Incredibly simple but bursting with fresh flavor (as many Italian dishes go), this risotto is tender, creamy and a wonderful homage to Venetian cuisine.

Giada's Amalfi Lemon Chicken

Lemon-forward? Check. Crispy chicken skin? The delicious smell of fresh herbs as the bird roasts? Easy enough to make on a busy holiday? Check, check and check again. This recipe ticks all the boxes.

Cooking lamb for a crowd is nothing short of intimidating — that is, until now. You can cook the meat, potatoes and vegetables all in one pan, which means less cleanup. The end result is a balanced, tender, earthy roast cooked to perfection.

It’s hard to believe that just six ingredients could make such a knockout roast. The marmalade is citrusy and sweet, which balanced with peppery Sriracha and sharp ginger.

Spring Vegetable Pasta Casserole

Whether Easter Sunday is sunny and gorgeous or it's cold and damp and you're craving comfort food, this spring vegetable baked penne is sure to satisfy! Creamy ricotta mixed with tender spinach, zucchini and spring onions creates a luxurious casserole that's rich with greens.

The bracing acidity from the lemons and bright brininess of the olives and capers makes this a standout dish. It's perfect for a casual weeknight dinner but special enough to serve for Easter dinner.

Holiday Prime Rib Roast

This standing rib roast recipe will impress without the stress! Just make this easy prime rib recipe for Easter that will have guests coming back for seconds, thirds and even next-day leftovers.

The seasonal fava beans, savory pancetta and freshly grated cheese make this risotto the perfect entrée for an Easter celebration.

"I really love lamb and braised meat in general, so this is a favorite," Al Roker says. "This slow-cooker meal is one I make for my family on Sundays. It's perfect because you can prep in the morning, spend time with the family and then have a finished meal waiting for you eight hours later."

Cola Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze and Jezebel Sauce

Here, spiral cut ham is marinated in a sweet brown cola, zesty orange and spicy mustard. Served with a vibrant yellow marmalade-based sauce, it will quickly become a holiday favorite.

Five 5-Ingredient-or-Less Ham Glazes

You get the ham, Sunny Anderson will provide the glazes. Here, the celebrity chef whips up five different glazes made with five ingredients or less to suit whatever flavor profile you're hoping to achieve.

A casserole is always a solid choice for entertaining a crowd. This one features spaghetti (though most pasta shapes will work well), diced ham, Italian seasoning and a melty mixture of mozzarella, Parmesan and cream.

Slow-Cooker Glazed Ham

Serving a ham for your Easter buffet doesn't have to be hard work. Use your slow cooker to do the heavy lifting. This so-simple method ensures a centerpiece dish that's tender and full of flavor — never dry or overcooked. Topped with a sweetly spiced mustard glaze, every slice is dressed to impress.

This tart is surprisingly quick to put together, even though the rows of asparagus lining the creamy filling look elegant. The bright flavors from the lemon and herbs complement the tanginess form the goat cheese, making this tart light but satisfying.

A springy vegetarian option with fragrant pine nuts and sweet peas is a versatile main that folks can enjoy in addition to roast meats (or without any at all).

Use shelf-stable staples to throw together a glaze for a sweet, smoky ham. Sandra Lee whips up a fabulous recipe with some sugar, pineapple preserves and a can of cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving — it brightens everything up for a little extra tanginess.

Spring Vegetable Stew with Parmigiano

Filled with fresh vegetables, this satisfying stew is an easy way to utilize spring produce. It's a perfect centerpiece when you're looking for a lighter option that still keeps you cozy on chilly spring days.

A whole chicken (or two) roasted with spring vegetables and fava beans is a nourishing centerpiece for an Easter dinner. Whether you keep things simple and serve it with some crusty French bread or decide to add more side dishes, this is a tried-and-true crowd pleaser. Oh, and did we mention it only takes 15 minutes to prepare?

This recipe has all the flavor and comfort of traditional chicken piccata, but it's a whole lot lighter.

Springtime Pasta Bake

Even as spring peaks, we're always in search of delicious comfort food, and this dish fits the bill. It's packed with asparagus, zucchini, basil and tomatoes. The result is a colorful, cozy casserole that the whole family with love.