52 Side Dishes for a Traditional (or Nontraditional!) Easter
Whether or not you eat ham, you'll need other stuff on the table.
Main dishes tend to steal the show when it comes to the Easter table—be it the classic honey-glazed ham or an impressive leg of lamb. But with this spring’s festivities affected by the pandemic for the second year in a row, some traditions may have shifted. Regardless of what your Easter (or Passover) looks like, or how many you’re feeding, this year, the holiday provides an opportunity to appreciate spring’s bounty. And really, I’ll take any excuse to celebrate and cook for those I love.
Consider this a master list of both traditional and nontraditional side dishes for Easter, some old standbys and others that are sure to become instant classics. There’s something on here for the whole family, from your vegan sister to gluten-free aunt to picky cousins. Here are over 50 recipes that put side dishes in the limelight, so you’re guaranteed to have your best Easter spread yet.
1. Martha Stewart's Macaroni & Cheese
When isn’t it a good time to serve macaroni and cheese? Put this side dish near the kids’ table and you’ll be considered hostess of the year by the little ones.
2. Blistered Green Beans & Sweet Potatoes With Tahini
This hearty, colorful side dish rings in at under $10, which is a huge plus if you’re trying to host Easter dinner on a budget.
3. Scalloped Potatoes in Cast Iron
These scalloped potatoes are creamy, cheesy, and crispy, all in one convenient skillet. Recipe developer Josh Cohen prefers using Yukon Golds for their creamy texture and sturdiness, which hold up well under the weight of a luxurious cream sauce.
4. Minty Pea Purée on Toast
What’s better than minty, garlicky peas in springtime? Minty, garlicky peas...on toasted rustic bread, sliced into perfect triangles.
5. Fluffy, Buttery Dinner Rolls
Set the bar high for your Easter meal with these perfectly golden brown, super-buttery rolls.
6. Black Pepper Popovers With Chives & Parmesan
If baking rolls from scratch feels a little too daunting, try popovers. They’re deceptively simple, and this recipe has extra spring flair thanks to chives and Parmesan.
7. Roasted Feta With Thyme Honey
I want this baked feta on my table for any and all occasions. It’s sweet and salty, warm and comforting, and my favorite way to kick off any meal.
8. Virginia Willis' Deviled Eggs
The Easter table wouldn’t be complete without deviled eggs. Not only can these be made ahead, they’re arguably better that way. I like to prep the filling the night before and store it in a zip-top bag. When I’m ready to serve, I just snip the tip of the bag’s edge to turn it into a piping bag to quickly fill the eggs!
9. Honey-Glazed Brioche Hot Cross Buns
If you’re an Easter traditionalist, your table’s not complete without hot cross buns. These start with a brioche base and end with a honey glaze.
10. Easter Bread
Another traditional dish from Eastern European Easter tables, especially in Greece and Italy. It’s a sweet yeasted dough, similar to challah, brioche, or Japanese shokupan, but with colorful dyed eggs braided right in! It also doubles as an impressive centerpiece on your Easter table.
11. Sweet Pea Hummus
Half chickpea, half pea, 100 percent delicious. Serve with radishes, baby carrots, and endive, and this springy dip is sure to whet your family’s appetite.
12. Shaved Asparagus Salad With Feta & Peas
Shaving asparagus into ribbons transforms them into crunchy vessels for salad dressing and fun mix-ins like briny feta, fresh mint, and peas. Make this salad right before serving to ensure it doesn’t get soggy.
13. Radish, Snap Pea & Burrata Salad
Another simple salad that tastes like so much more than the sum of its parts. Sweet snap peas, peppery radishes, and creamy burrata come together in perfect harmony with a little squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil.
14. Sweet Potatoes Roasted in Coconut Oil
Sweet potatoes can feel more apt for fall dinners, but what makes them decidedly right for Easter is the inclusion of coconut oil, which the spuds are tossed with and then roasted. Build even more flavor with a combination of chili, cumin, cinnamon, and shredded coconut.
15. No-Yeast, No-Rise, Fastest-Ever Dinner Rolls
Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: You’re nearly ready to head out the door and you just remembered that you promised to bring dinner rolls. Been there, done that. Thankfully, this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it recipe comes together in just half an hour. No one will even be upset if you’re a few minutes late if you come bearing fresh out of the oven rolls.
16. Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad With Red Onion, Lemon & Pecorino
This simple Brussels sprouts salad provides the perfect acidic contrast to the richer dishes on your Easter table.
17. Carrot Avocado Salad
One of my favorite salads from ABC Kitchen in NYC by way of Serious Eats, it’s a master class in balance: sweet roasted carrots, cool avocado, toasty sesame seeds, and a citrus dressing to tie it all together.
18. Northern Spy's Kale Salad
A classic kale salad that is endlessly adaptable to seasonal produce, tastes better when made ahead of time, and is beloved by all? This one ticks all the boxes.
19. Citrus Salad With Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates
Bring some color (other than green) to your table with this citrus salad. It shows off the best end-of-season citrus and, thanks to the additions of goat cheese and balsamic vinegar, is savory enough to sit on your dinner table, though if you want it for dessert I wouldn’t blame you.
20. Fergus Henderson's Red Salad
If you typically add pickled cabbage or a similar vinegar-based salad to your Easter table, try this colorful recipe from British culinary pioneer Fergus Henderson.
21. Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread
If you're looking for something a little less fussy or different from dinner rolls, make cornbread! The rich, moist batter comes together with just six ingredients, and bakes in 25 minutes.
22. Romaine & Avocado Salad With Anchovy Garlic Vinaigrette
When in doubt, keep it simple with this romaine salad that’s dressed in a punchy vinaigrette bolstered by lots of garlic and anchovy (the picky eaters at the table don’t need to know what’s in it.)
23. Skillet Scallions From Edna Lewis
Take scallions from decorative garnish to the main attraction with Southern cooking powerhouse Edna Lewis’ genius technique for sautéing them in butter, then steaming until tender and sweet.
24. Absurdly Addictive Asparagus
You don’t have to take it from me, but 300 glowing reviews kind of speak for themselves—this asparagus rocks. Perfectly balanced with fatty pancetta, zippy orange zest, and crunchy pine nuts, yes, they are totally addictive.
25. Lemon-Mint Peas With Burrata & Breadcrumbs
While this recipe was originally written for frozen peas, it’s the perfect vehicle for fresh spring peas. Check your local farmers market if you can’t find any at the grocery store.
26. Miso Butter Onions
If it's chilly on Easter Sunday, add this recipe to the menu. As one reviewer says of this Yotam Ottolenghi dish, “They feel like a wonderful warm hug during the cold winter months.” Enough said.
27. "Pot-Stuck" Brussels Sprouts
Blanching Brussels sprouts before roasting ensures they can get crispy and crunchy, yet totally cooked through.
28. Roasted Carrots With Carrot Top Pesto & Burrata
Carrots get roasted simply and quickly on high heat, then their frilly tops (totally edible, if you didn’t already get the memo!) are blended into a fresh, verdant pesto. The whole dish is crowned with a ball of creamy burrata cheese.
Popovers are the perfect side dish for an Easter brunch. They’re more brunch-y than dinner rolls and ideal for piling on scrambled eggs and hash browns, or smearing with strawberry-rhubarb jam.
30. Paper-Thin Asparagus With Butter & Soy Sauce
Shoutout to Eric Kim for adapting this recipe from a passage in James Beard’s memoir. This dish is simple and satisfying, and endlessly adaptable for whichever green spring veggies you can find, from asparagus to snap peas, haricots verts, or fava beans.
31. Roasted Spring Root Vegetables With Horseradish-Thyme Butter
A simple butter sauce with horseradish, sherry vinegar, and thyme transforms this dish from run-of-the-mill roasted veggies to a zippy side welcome on any dinner table.
32. Laurie Colwin's Creamed Spinach
This creamed spinach doesn’t actually contain any cream, but rather evaporated milk (though regular milk or cream can work in a pinch), and according to author Laurie Colwin, the first time she tasted this recipe, “It was so good it made me want to sit up and beg like a dog.”
33. Michel Richard's Glazed & Glistening Haricots Verts
Once you master this genius technique for green beans, you can adapt it to any flavor combinations you like. I love adding herbs like tarragon or sage, and topping with toasted nuts like slivered almonds or chopped hazelnuts.
34. Braised Leeks
Here’s a perfect recipe if you find plump, in-season leeks at the farmers' market. Braise them until tender and sweet, and these alliums may become the unexpected star of your Easter table.
35. Beets With Almonds & Horseradish Crème Fraîche
As author Jody Williams (of famed NYC restaurant Buvette) writes, “The almonds enhance the beets’ earthiness, and the bracing, creamy horseradish dressing offers not just richness but also a bit of a bite.” All I know is that this is the kind of dish that feels restaurant-quality with only home-cook effort required.
36. Persian-ish Rice From Samin Nosrat
Samin Nosrat’s take on tahdig is your introduction to crispy-edged, golden rice. If you’re feeling confident, flip it in front of your family at the table for maximum effect.
37. Maria Speck's Shortcut Polenta
Creamy polenta is one of my favorite accompaniments for rich meats and bright spring veggies, and this genius technique makes perfect polenta not only achievable, but easy. You’ll see.
38. White Bean With Cucumber & Sumac Salad
Creamy white beans, crunchy cucumbers, and floral sumac make for a fresh salad that won’t distract from the main event, but rather complement it.
39. Olive Oil–Braised Chickpeas From Joy the Baker
Though known for her sweets, Joy the Baker’s easy savory recipe yields chickpeas so flavorful, tender, and complex, no one will suspect the beans came from a can.
40. Freekeh Salad With Fennel & Mint
Add this herby grain salad to your spread for a bright contrast to richer dishes like braised meats and creamy pastas.
41. Spring Vegetarian Cassoulet
This veggie-forward take on French cassoulet makes for a hearty side or doubles as a main for any vegetarians at your Easter table.
42. Brussels Sprouts With Bacon
No matter how Brussels sprouts are prepared—shredded for a salad, shredded and sauteed, or halved and roasted—they will always, always be better with bacon. Food Editor Emma Laperruque made a few flavorful additions (looking at you maple syrup, cider vinegar, and red pepper flakes) to create possibly the best ever Brussels sprouts recipe. Not that we’re biased.
43. Radish Couscous
Reviewer caninechef writes, “I found this recipe about a month ago and have eaten more radishes since then than in the previous 5 years.” Need I say more?
44. Barbara Kafka’s Creamy Lemon Pasta
Barbara Kafka’s perfect pasta lives in permanent rotation at my dinner table. The only risk with adding this to your menu is it may steal the show from the mains—a risk I’m typically willing to take.
45. Sweet & Smoky Roasted Carrots
Is it really Easter brunch if you aren’t serving carrots? They’re mixed in a combination of honey, vinegar, cumin, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika and then roasted until tender and browned. Dorie Greenspan serves them over a bed of Greek yogurt, so obviously I will do the same.
46. Crisp-Smashed Yellow Potatoes With Sour Cream & Vinegar Dill Sauce
Here’s my platonic ideal for potatoes: creamy centers, and bristled, crunchy edges. But it’s actually the tangy sour cream and dill sauce that takes these taters from good to great.
47. Lemon-Dill Orzo Pasta Salad With Cucumbers, Olives & Feta
This orzo salad is packed with salty feta, briny olives, and grassy dill, and tastes particularly good when paired with lamb.
48. Diane Morgan's Classic Mashed Potatoes
If you want mashed potatoes on your Easter table, look no further than Diane Morgan’s simple yet effective recipe. Her technique yields the creamiest, smoothest potatoes possible.
49. Stovetop Green Bean 'Casserole'
Every holiday dinner spread—from Easter to Mother’s Day to Thanksgiving—is practically begging for green bean casserole. It’s a classic side dish for a reason and this minimalist recipe is so easy to make.
50. Salt & Vinegar Mashed Potatoes
Looking for a creative spin on the old holiday table standby? This recipe brings together the best of mashed potatoes and potato chips, more specifically the puckering-yet-addictive salt and vinegar ones.
51. Pantry Pasta With Anchovies, Olives & Capers
If you want to throw together another dish for your Easter table without having to add an extra trip to the grocery store, pull this pantry pasta out of your back pocket.
52. Pasta With Spring Vegetables, Bathed in Cream
Here’s a pasta recipe “bathed in cream” that’s also done in one pot (yes!) and chock-full of spring herbs, peas, and Parmesan (yes please!), but let’s be real—you were sold at “bathed in cream,” right?
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