15+ Make-Ahead Recipes for Your Easiest Easter Yet
In some parts of the country, Easter brunch or dinner is a culinary affair on the level of Thanksgiving or Christmas. Keep your Easter preparations more relaxed this year with these easy make-ahead dishes. From roasted lamb and deviled eggs to strawberry cake and green bean casserole, we've got your Easter menu planning covered.
Roasted Leg of Lamb with Lemon-Herb Salt
A perfectly roasted leg of lamb is the ideal centerpiece for an elegant Easter dinner, but it's also a deceptively simple dish. Season the meat with a flavorful mix of fresh lemon zest and herbs, then let chill overnight, or up to 24 hours. The day of, allow a little less than three hours for the lamb to come to room temperature, roast, and rest. Want to prepare this dish even further ahead? Just use your oven to reheat the meat and juices in a roasting pan until warm.
Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
Bright pink strawberry cake is the ultimate springtime dessert, and sure to dress up any Easter table. Fresh strawberries add fabulous flavor and color to both the cake and homemade buttercream frosting.
Basic Deviled Eggs
The filling for Southern-style basic deviled eggs is nothing more than egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard and sweet pickle relish. For perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs, use your Instant Pot. No pressure cooker, but still have trouble peeling your eggs? Here's a trick: Once cool, crack the eggs and place in cold water for 10 minutes, then try peeling them. The peels almost always come off much easier.
All the Green Things Salad
This salad is absolutely chock-full of lovely green spring produce, with textures ranging from crunchy to creamy. You can make the zippy lemon dressing and blanch, drain, and chill the peas and asparagus up to 2 days ahead, but combine all the elements shortly before serving to preserve the color of the avocado and the crunch of the greens. Delicate pea tendrils or shoots would be spectacular here, but watercress makes a delicious peppery substitute. Though you may be tempted to use only one herb, we urge you to use both: The parsley adds a burst of freshness, and the mint contributes deep herbal goodness.
Two-Toned Scalloped Potatoes
Using both sweet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes gives classic, comforting scalloped potatoes a delicious upgrade. Perfect for family gatherings and holiday dinners at any point in the year, this impressive potato side dish delivers creamy richness, robust savory flavor, and a delightful crunch with a herby panko-pecan topping. You can assemble the dish (minus the topping) ahead of time and refrigerate up to 12 hours before you’re ready to bake.
Classic Green Bean Casserole
This homemade green bean casserole is a classic Easter side dish, and doesn't rely on canned cream soups. Making your own cream base is easier than you may think! To make this casserole ahead of time, prepare until ready to bake, then cover and refrigerate for up to three days. Add 10 minutes to the bake time if using a chilled casserole.
3-Ingredient S'mores Peepza
Peeps, Nutella, and a refrigerated pizza crust come together for a jaw-dropping pastel masterpiece.
Strawberry-Pretzel Icebox Pie
Give yourself more time to enjoy Easter baskets and morning egg hunts with this make-ahead breakfast casserole. Bake the day before, then reheat for an uber-simple, yet hearty breakfast or brunch.
Slow-Cooker Spiral Ham
This feast-worthy spiral-cut ham couldn’t be easier to make. And if you’re sick of overly sweet glazes, you’re in luck—this ham recipe incorporates the drippings for a sauce that is savory and salty too. If your ham doesn’t fit in the slow cooker, just trim off the top until it does, then toss those trimmings down in the slow cooker. You’ll need a turkey baster to evenly distribute the juices, so don’t settle for a spoon.
Best Carrot Cake
Truly our best-ever carrot cake recipe, make this classic favorite for a crowd and you might not have any leftovers to bring home. For more flavor, try toasting the nuts and coconut before adding them to the batter. It's important to cool the cakes completely before frosting; otherwise, the frosting will melt. To cool them quickly, simply place in the freezer on wire racks, checking frequently.
Easter Candy Snack Cake
Dotted with pastel Easter candies and drizzled with white chocolate, this easy snack cake is the perfect, simple treat to whip up for an Easter celebration. In fact, the buttery dessert caught our test kitchen crew completely off-guard; it may appear “cute” and unassuming, but rest assured, this snack cake is no joke in terms of being addictively delicious. It’s not a cake you’ll be able to have “just a little piece” of.
Mini Cheese Grits Casseroles
This make-ahead recipe is ideal for a brunch or holiday breakfast. Prepare the grits the night prior to serving, and then bake the casseroles before everyone arrives. Ramekins in pastel hues help dress up this recipe for your Easter table. Plus, the single-serving portions feel more formal than a regular casserole dish. If you don’t have 8-ounce ramekins, our recipe can be made in a 2-quart baking dish (increase the baking time to about 50 to 55 minutes). The key to creamy, lump-free grits is to stir or whisk the grits while you are slowly pouring them into the water. Stir occasionally until the grits are tender. Make sure the pot of grits does not start popping or bubbling, and reduce heat to low
Braided Lemon Bread
The perfect recipe for spring. This slightly sweet, lemony, and tender braided bread lands somewhere between brioche and challah. Serve the impressive poppy seed-studded loaf with dinner, use it to for sandwiches, or make an unconventional French toast.
Overnight Peaches-and-Cream French Toast
We altered this traditional casserole to balance out the sweetness, allowing the pineapple and cheese to really shine. The intense flavor makes it an ideal side dish for baked ham.
Italian Easter Bread
Our Italian Easter Bread is the perfect centerpiece for your Easter brunch. The bread is sweet, almost like challah or a sweet roll dough without cinnamon, while the orange glaze adds some bright flavor. Meanwhile, the dyed eggs add pops of color and will impress both kids and adults. The key here is dyeing the eggs raw and letting them cook while in the oven—for a softer egg, crack them soon after baking. You could also make the bread without the eggs, and bake it into a simple braid. It’d also make some killer French toast. This bread works great for breakfast, but we also like it served with charcuterie, especially with the eggs.