How to Celebrate Easter Away From Home

Follow these tips and tricks for an egg-cellent Easter — no matter where you are!

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Easter ham on a platter, Easter side dishes in storage containers, and Easter eggs in a basket
Photo: Tyrel Stendahl/Dotdash-Meredith

Easter is one of the major holidays that many families love to celebrate together. Whether that means at your own home, at a loved ones' home, or even on at a vacation destination. Traveling during Easter has become a common practice, especially if Easter falls in late April (like it does this year) when it will likely be warmer in many U.S. regions. Plus, the kids already have school off, so it's almost a no-brainer to take advantage of that free time.

But even if you're traveling away from home, you probably still want to make Easter Sunday a special day for you and your family. The good news is, you don't have to be in your home or even in a vacation rental with a big kitchen to celebrate the springtime holiday. If you're planning an Easter away from home this year, follow this guide for tips and tricks to have the best holiday possible.

From what to make ahead of time and bring with you to how to use store-bought ingredients, here's everything you need to know to make your vacation Easter celebration feel like home away from home.

Prep Ahead of Time

If you're driving to your destination, you can prep so much beforehand, like Easter dishes, treats, and even Easter baskets. The only thing that may limit you is your kitchen space at your hotel or rental, so make sure you check your amenities before you make an entire ham without somewhere to store it.

If you're flying to your destination, the things you can prep beforehand may be more limited. Remember, TSA only allows liquids up to 3.4 ounces to be carried through the security checkpoint — this includes foods like canned food, creamy dips or spreads, jams or jellies, gravy, salad dressing, and syrup. If you want to bring those liquid-based foods, either transfer them to a smaller 3.4-ounce container or pack them in your checked bag.

If you want to prep your main dish ahead of time, or simply bring it with you, you can bring cooked or frozen ham, fresh meat or seafood, and frozen food through security as well. Just know that if you're packing your cold foods with an ice pack, the ice pack needs to be completely frozen when going through TSA, if it's even a little melted, the agent will throw it away. You can also pack your cold or frozen foods in up to five pounds of dry ice in both a carry-on or check bag, as long as it's properly packaged and marked.

Keep in mind that all carry-on items need to fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you on the airplane. So choose your baggage wisely because if you're bringing a lot of food you're probably better off checking a bag. For more information, visit TSA's website to learn more about what foods are and aren't allowed in your luggage.

What to Prep Beforehand

Once you know what you can and cannot pack, you can start thinking about your menu. There are quite a few dishes you can make before your trip and take with you, as long as you have the correct tools to keep them cold while traveling and reheat them once you're there.

  • Ham: The beauty of ham is that you most oftentimes buy it pre-cooked. So all you need to do is reheat it to an internal temperature of 140°F. You can also enjoy pre-cooked ham cold.
  • Lamb: Leg and shoulder cuts of lamb can be cooked ahead of time and then reheated when ready to serve.
  • Mac and cheese: Mac and cheese can be assembled about two days beforehand, stored in the fridge, and then baked when ready to serve.
  • Green bean casserole: Green bean casserole can be assembled without the onions, refrigerated, and baked when ready to serve.
  • Potatoes: Mashed potatoes can be made completely in advance and reheated in a microwave with extra butter. If you're making roasted potatoes, you can boil them in advance and store them in the fridge or freezer with some oil.
  • Vegetables: You can chop your veggies ahead of time, as well as par-cook or blanch them ahead of time, if needed.
  • Pasta salads: You can make pasta salad or macaroni salad a few days in advance as it can stay fresh for three to five days in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Eggs: Deviled eggs will stay fresh for two to four days in the fridge. Egg salad will last about five days in the fridge. Hard-boiled eggs (including dyed eggs) will last about seven days in the fridge. While pickled eggs can last up to four months in the fridge.
  • Dinner rolls: Dinner rolls can last five to seven days at room temperature. For longer storage, you can freeze your dinner rolls and thaw them when you're ready to serve them.

Pro tip: If you can, bring a slow cooker or Instant Pot with you on your vacation. That way you can easily make things like ham, pork tenderloin, potatoes, risotto, or mac and cheese all without an oven.

Don't Forget The Sweets

Easter dinner may be important to some people, but others are just there for the chocolate bunnies and delicious carrot cake. So, when in doubt about your Easter celebration, stock up on candy and desserts.

Cakes, cookies, and pies can all be made ahead of time and either stored in the fridge or freezer. Plus, most of these desserts will travel well, as long as you don't squish anything. If you're worried about the dessert decoration, you can always bring your supplies with you and decorate your cakes or cupcakes at your hotel or rental.

Candies like Peeps, chocolate bunnies, M&M's, jelly beans, and Reese's eggs won't take up much room in your suitcase, so they're an easy sweet to pack for your trip. Plus, if you have kids, you can throw in some plastic eggs and have a small Easter egg hunt right in your hotel room.

Use Store-Bought Ingredients

No matter what anyone says, using store-bought ingredients is not cheating! It's just a genius shortcut.

When it comes to Easter meals away from home, take advantage of store-bought items like reheat-and-eat mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, pasta, or even chicken. You can also grab a pre-made charcuterie board or dessert so you'll have a whole course ready to go without having to do any of the work.

A good rule of thumb when looking for easy meal swaps is the deli and bakery will be your best friend. Pick up things like dinner rolls, salads, macaroni salad, pasta salad, potato salad, and cookies. Truthfully, most people won't even be able to tell the difference and it will make your life so much easier.

Order Your Meal Online

If you're looking for an incredibly easy option, leave the meal planning up to the professionals and order your Easter meal online. Simply ship your fresh meat and seafood or pre-cooked meals directly to your hotel or rental so all you'll have to do is heat them up and set the table.


Duroc Boneless Country Ham
Omaha Steaks

Omaha Steak's Duroc Boneless Country Ham is hickory smoked for up to eight hours and packed with juicy flavor. It arrives frozen, so it will need at least 26 hours to thaw and can be eaten with or without reheating. The boneless ham is available in two sizes, 2.5 pounds and 5 pounds.


rack of lamb

Rastelli's lamb arrives as a rack ready to roast in the oven. The Australian grass-fed lamb is best seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper and served as individual chops. Each rack is 24 to 26 ounces.


piece of salmon
Honolulu Fish Company

Whether you're looking for salmon, seabass, or sushi, the Honolulu Fish Company will ship their fresh seafood directly to your door. HFC's Hawaiian fish arrives with the skin and trim removed within 48 hours of placing an order.


Three-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes
Hickory Farms

Hickory Farms offers a few side options for your Easter table. You can order scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, and Parmesan creamed spinach that all serve six people.


Complete Easter Ham Dinner
Williams Sonoma

Let Williams Sonoma take care of your whole Easter feast with their dinner package. The meal kit has everything you need for the perfect dinner, including Kurobuta boneless ham, zucchini and corn casserole, herbed scalloped potatoes, and rainbow carrots with lemon. The only thing you need to supply is the drinks and desserts.


Easter Speckled Carrot Layer Cake

If you're looking for high-quality desserts, Goldbelly is a great option for Easter delivery. They have tons of Easter-themed desserts to choose from, like carrot cake from Duff Goldman, traditional Colomba from Olivieri 1882, chocolate bunnies from Jacques Torres Chocolate, and cheesecakes from Junior's Cheesecake. Each item ships fresh directly from top bakeries and restaurants across the U.S.


Classic Brunch Meal
Harry & David

If you're skipping dinner this year and only want an Easter brunch, you can grab this meal kit from Harry & David. The food comes pre-cooked, all you need to do is reheat it and serve! The meal includes sundried tomato and feta quiche, crab cakes, hickory-smoked bacon, cinnamon swirl, and Bloody Mary drink mix.

Easter Baskets

Williams Sonoma & Pottery Barn Kids Beatrix Potter Large Filled Easter Basket
Williams Sonoma

Delivery doesn't stop at just Easter foods. You can get pre-made Easter baskets delivered directly to your door too. It might not be as quick as if the Easter bunny delivered it himself, but it sure is an easy option. Williams Sonoma has dozens of options to choose from, including baskets for kids, baskets filled with kitchen supplies, and DIY baskets that you can stuff with whatever you want.

Keep It Simple

Overhead shot of Easter eggs dyed blue

The most important thing to remember when celebrating Easter away from home is to keep it simple. The holiday is more about who you're spending it with rather than what meals you're eating or what the Easter bunny left.

Scale down your traditional Easter feast to fit your family's needs. Besides, no one wants to lug Easter leftovers back with them so there's no need to go crazy with the amount of food. Maybe opt for a brunch or an Easter lunch where you offer one main dish, two sides, and a dessert.

Don't sweat the small stuff, your family is more likely to remember your family vacation rather than the meal they ate, so relax and have fun!


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