30 Easter Dinner Ideas That Aren't Ham
Ham may be synonymous with Easter dinner for many families, but it's not the only main dish that's worthy of your time and the center of the table on this special holiday. In fact, for many families, ham is a dish of a bygone era, left behind to make way for new family classics like sides of salmon, lamb chops, and even pasta. This year, whether you can't find ham at the store or just want to change things up, consider one of these Easter dinner ideas that aren't ham.
Cedar Planked Salmon
Salmon filets are a presentation-worthy Easter dinner idea. It's just as beautiful as it is delicious, too. This version uses a tangy marinade of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and fresh ginger to infuse the fish with flavor.
Chef John's Grilled Lamb with Mint Orange Sauce
Lamb is almost as common at Easter as ham, and outside the U.S., it's often the preferred Easter dinner main. This version boasts loads more flavor than you might expect. "Using a blend of Mediterranean herbs and spices and a touch of cinnamon, these tender grilled lamb chops are served with orange and fresh mint sauce," writes recipe creator Chef John.
Sheet Pan Easter Dinner
Not only is this Easter dinner idea a special main dish (rack of lamb), the recipe is for the whole meal. That's right — this is a sheet pan Easter dinner that makes your main dish and sides in one appliance with one pan. Now, what will you make for dessert with all that extra time?
White Cheese Chicken Lasagna
Your idea of an Easter dinner might not include pasta, but it should. These dishes are easy to prepare and often provide enough servings in one recipe to feed a large family. For a springtime take on the classic baked lasagna, opt for this one with its creamy white sauce and tender spinach.
Juicy Roasted Chicken
Easter dinner ideas don't have to be complicated, like racks of lamb or sides of salmon. The humble roasted chicken will be welcome on your holiday table. "I never have had a chicken this juicy before; this little trick works and makes the people eating it go silent," writes recipe creator ROBINROCKINGBIRD.
Puff Pastry Chicken Pot Pie
"What's better than a chicken pot pie? A chicken pot pie topped with a flaky puff pastry!" says recipe creator Yoly. You could amp up this Easter dinner idea by using puff pastry cut-outs for a take on a decorated pie crust.
Spring Vegetable Tart
"This spring vegetable tart only looks hard to make and would be a perfect centerpiece for any special occasion," writes Chef John. "Just put it out on the table a little bit early so everyone can get their Instagramming in."
If your Easter table is just a handful of people, you may want to keep the menu more simple and special. Replace a meaty Easter dinner main with this light, fresh spring pasta.
Chili Pepper, Corn, and Bacon Quiche
Even if you're eating an evening Easter dinner instead of an afternoon brunch, a quiche is an excellent Easter menu idea. It can be elevated with sides, like salad, roasted vegetables, and whole grains so it's rich and filling.
Pork Tenderloin Diablo
Mustard may be classic with pork, but this sauce is on another level: Mustard, horseradish, and cayenne pepper combine for one unique and stand-out sauce for a classic Easter dinner idea.
Mint Crusted Rack of Lamb
Lamb has a subtle gamey flavor, more so than beef. The crust on this rack of lamb is made with bright, herbaceous ingredients like mint, garlic, and Dijon mustard. That helps form a nice contrast to the meat's flavor.
Air-Fried Sesame-Crusted Cod with Snap Peas
Fish may not be in your regular recipe rotation, but it should be on your list of Easter dinner ideas this year. That's because it's quick-cooking and goes beautifully with a host of side dishes. This recipe, made with meaty but mild cod, is cooked in the air fryer so it stays succulent and juicy. The peas are a fresh, spring side, so you can leave the dish like this, or add a few other things to round out the plate.
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
There's no meat here — and absolutely no one will care. This rich pastry is stuffed with spinach, creamy ricotta, tangy feta, and tender onions for a meatless Easter dinner that's truly special.
Green onions and dill add loads of flavor to this delicate fish dish. But a coating of sour cream infused with these herbs keeps the fish moist and tender while cooking.
Beef Stroganoff III
Elevate a weeknight dinner to a Easter dinner feature with a deeply indulgent sauce. "This is some of the best beef stroganoff ever! I used sirloin instead of chuck roast," writes reviewer Jillian.
Shrimp Francese over Linguine
While this might seem like a weeknight dinner, it can be dressed up for an Easter special. A light but rich butter-wine sauce coats the pasta and shrimp. This Easter dinner idea is especially nice if you have a small crowd for your holiday meal and you want to keep things simple but upscale.
Garlic Herb Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Grilling elevates a simple pork tenderloin to a special dinner choice for the Easter table. Bonus points: the ingredient list is short and simple, and because it's grilled, that's one less dish you have to make space for in your oven.
Salmon with Lemon and Dill
"This is a wonderful (and easy) recipe I got from my Aunt," writes recipe creator Michelle Ramey. "The flavors of lemon and dill really complement the fish. I like to use wild Alaskan salmon for this recipe, but any salmon will work."
Garlic Prime Rib
Be prepared for a standing ovation — and requests for this Easter dinner idea year after year. "I've never been so sure that a recipe deserved five stars," writes reviewer dani. "This is the absolute perfect prime rib."
Roast Chicken with Rosemary
Simplicity reigns. Though cooking a whole chicken may seem intimidating, it's one of the easiest proteins you can make for a holiday feast. With well-reviewed recipes like this one, you can trust the process.
Chef John's Pizza Rustica
A classic Easter dish, pizza rustica is a bit like a meat-filled quiche meets savory cheesecake. Yes, there's smoked ham in here, but you don't have to buy the whole ham to make it; just pick up a bit from your butcher. In fact, Chef John says you can use any meats you want, like coppa, prosciutto, or gabagool.
Chef John's Asparagus Tart
The most complicated part of this recipe is deciding what to serve with it. Frozen puff pastry bakes until crisp and delicately flaky. The toppings are open to interpretation.
Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks
Lamb shanks are slowly simmered until perfectly tender and juicy, with warm and invigorating ingredients like tomatoes, rosemary, garlic, and red wine. You can serve this with any starchy side, but you'll be a true hero if you serve it with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
Flank Steak Pinwheels
"The combination of the marinade, spinach, onion and feta make this a delicious and impressive flank steak recipe that is always a huge hit for guests!" writes recipe creator Linda.
Chef John's Pasta Primavera
The dish itself may be simple, but there's nothing light about its status as an Easter dinner centerpiece. Pull from your local farmers' market for the freshest peas and asparagus. Bonus: it's a meatless main if not everyone at your Easter table eats meat.
Hearty Vegetable Lasagna
Mushrooms, green peppers, and onions fill the layers of lasagna with vegetables. Creamy ricotta cheese and mozzarella make it ultra rich. Everyone will walk away from their Easter dinner happy as can be.
Duck Breasts with Raspberry Sauce
This duck recipe for an Easter dinner is easier than a confit or roasted duck, and it takes less than an hour, so it can come together quickly after church.
Capers and Halibut
"This is a very easy seared halibut with a buttery wine and caper sauce! It takes hardly any time at all to make, but it is sure to leave a lasting impression," writes recipe creator Barbara Tantrum.
Asparagus and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Take advantage of crisp asparagus that's in season during the Easter holiday timeframe, and tuck it into chicken breasts with creamy mozzarella. It might be so simple you'll think it's just too basic for a special occasion like an Easter dinner, but it's visually very impressive.
Roasted Pork Loin
Pork loin is succulent and tender. This roasted pork loin recipe keeps things basic — so you can make the sides a bit more fancy, if you wish.