Beginner’s Guide to Easter
April 3, 2023
8 min. read
Easter is less than one week away. Hopefully, by now, you’ve decided the basics of your holiday celebration such as when you’ll be eating and what you’ll be serving for the main course. But, since you’re reading this, chances are you may still be looking for some last minute tips or advice.
Well…you’ve come to the right place!
Scroll through our Beginner’s Guide to Easter for quick-tips on everything from format and décor, to an extensive list of recipes to choose from as you plan your Easter Celebration!
Easter gatherings can look very different from one individual to the next. So, if you’re still in the planning phase, consider your answers to the following topics and let that guide your next steps.
Will this gathering be limited to your immediate household or will it include extended family or friends? Make a list of possible attendees and send out physical or virtual invitations asking for an RSVP. Once you know who will be attending your gathering, tally up the total guest list. You will be referring back to this number when deciding on place settings and food portions.
What time would you like to be sitting down to enjoy your Easter meal? Many people choose to serve a mid-morning or early afternoon Easter brunch, after returning from an early morning church service, for instance. Whether you choose a brunch, a lunch, or a dinner will likely determine your menu choices.
Do you prefer a formal, dress-up occasion where everyone arrives in their Sunday best? Or will your gathering be more of a casual, “come as you are” party? Make sure to let guests know the appropriate dress code, accordingly.
Tip: For a quick refresher on proper table-setting technique and dining etiquette, check out our Table Etiquette blog.
Your answer to the above “etiquette” section will also help you decide your party decorations and table settings. For a more formal celebration, you might consider bringing out your best fine china and drinkware; for a casual event, decide if your regular dinnerware or even fancy plasticware will suffice.
To further liven up the atmosphere, you might enjoy decorating your house with festive, celebratory elements such as:
- Fresh flowers (e.g., lilies, daisies, tulips, or daffodils)
- Seasonal wreath
- Pastel colored tablecloth and/or runner
- Easter basket(s) filled with fake grass, eggs, candies, and/or chocolate
- Religious themed decorations
Tip: For a complete list of holiday party décor and table essentials, see our Beginner’s Guide to Thanksgiving.
Although the food is typically the main attraction of most holiday gatherings, you may want to plan additional games and activities, especially if you will have extended family and friends or young children at your event. Consider some of the below activities:
- Attend a church service
- Dye Easter eggs
- Have an Easter egg hunt
- Play yard games or team sports
- Have fun with seasonal crafts and other activities
We’ll get to planning the menu in a moment; but, in the meantime, consider your guest count and keep in mind these quantity guidelines for the primary elements of the meal:
- Main Dish (e.g., ham): ½ lb. per person
- Side Dishes: +1 side (or double the portion size) for every additional 2-4 guests
- (e.g., 4 guests = 2 sides; 6 guests = 3 sides; 8-10 guests = 4 sides; 12-16 guests = 5 sides)
- Dessert: +1 dessert for every additional 4 guests
- (e.g., 4 guests = 1 small dessert or 8-12 single serve desserts; 6 guests = 1 medium dessert or 12-18 single serve desserts; 8-10 guests = 1 large dessert and/or 16-24 single serve desserts; 12-16 guests = 2 large desserts and/or 24-36 single serve desserts)
- Drinks: 2-3 servings per person; make sure to include a variety of options
Tip: For specific serving suggestions, read How To Cook For Any Size Dinner Party from Tasting Table.
Now for the fun part—choosing the menu! With your preferred meal (brunch, lunch, or dinner) in mind, scan through the popular dish recommendations below and choose: one appetizer (optional), one main, two or more sides (depending on your guest count), one dinner roll option, and one or more dessert (depending on your guest count).
Appetizers – Choose one. Serve 1 hour before main meal.
- Deviled eggs or Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches: Serve up some traditional deviled eggs (colorful dye, optional) or turn your hard boiled eggs into a fancy egg salad mixed with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, pickles, capers, and fresh herbs.
- Pickled eggs or Pickled Egg Salad and Ham Crostini: Pickled eggs, especially the red beet-colored ones, make a wonderful Easter side dish or starter! You can also use them as a twist on traditional egg salad.
- Savory Cheesy Bread: This cheesy appetizer uses Martin’s Hoagie Rolls, topped with a savory ham salad flavored with onions, garlic, and chives, sweet paprika, and a blanket of fresh grated cheese, to create a simple and delicious snack!
- Charcuterie Board: A classic option for any group gathering, arrange an assortment of meats and cheeses, with various accompaniments, and let your guests graze at their leisure.
Main Course – Choose one
- Traditional Easter Ham: You can’t go wrong with a classic roast! We love a traditional pineapple juice and brown sugar glazed ham dotted with cloves. Tip: Choose a ham that accommodates about one half-pound of meat per person, and plan to cook it for about 15 minutes per pound.
Featured Recipe: How to Cook an Easter Ham (Simple)
- 1 Boneless Fully Cooked Ham (About 8 lbs.)
- 1 Tablespoon Whole Cloves
- 2 Cans (20 Ounces) Sliced Pineapple
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- Maraschino Cherries
- Martin’s Sweet Party Potato Rolls
- Preheat oven to 350°. Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Score the surface of ham, making diamond shapes ½” deep.
- Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Pour juice over the scored ham. Rub brown sugar over ham until it is fully coated; insert a clove into each diamond shape.
- Secure pineapple slices and cherries on top and sides of ham with toothpicks.
- Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes per pound (about 2 hours for an 8-lb. ham) or until a thermometer reads 140°.
- Serve, with preferred side dishes such as warmed Martin’s Sweet Party Potato Rolls.
View Full Recipe: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/simple-easter-ham
Bonus: Watch a step-by-step tutorial for this recipe, below!
- Crown Roast of Pork or Lamb: This show-stopper of a dish is a great option for a formal dinner or a more experienced cook looking to show off their culinary skills!
Side Dish (Fruits/Veggies) – Choose one or more
- Steamed asparagus: A tried-and-true favorite.
- Glazed carrots: Toss cooked carrots in a simple butter-and-brown-sugar glaze.
- Ambrosia salad: Combine shredded coconut, mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, and maraschino cherries with whipped cream, vanilla yogurt, and mini marshmallows for a fun and colorful fruit salad!
- Carrots, Green Beans, & Pearl Onions with Seasoned Croutons: A fresh and colorful assortment of mixed veggies with an added crunch!
- Green Bean Casserole: A holiday classic; fresh green beans baked in a homemade mushroom gravy, topped with a breadcrumb and fried onion topping.
- Brussels Sprouts Casserole: Mix things up with this easy casserole of shredded Brussels sprouts, a simple cheese sauce, and a crispy toast topping.
- Baked Pineapple Casserole: This sweet, fruity baked casserole is a perfect pairing for that savory Easter ham!
Side Dish (Starches) – Choose one or more
- Scalloped or Au Gratin Potatoes: Thinly sliced potatoes, coated in a creamy sauce and baked to perfection; a classic Easter side.
- Cheddar Herb Stuffing: Use Martin’s Potatobred Stuffing Cubes to make this spring herb-infused savory stuffing dish.
- Ham Mac and Cheese Muffins: Use trimmings from your Easter ham to make these amazing single-serve mac and cheese cups!
- Grandma’s Corn Pudding: This southern-style recipe is one part cream corn, one part bread pudding, equal parts delicious!
Side Dish (Other) – Choose one or more (optional)
- Spring Panzanella Salad: Brighten up the dinner table with this light and refreshing spring salad topped with tarragon pesto and a lemon vinaigrette.
- Strawberry Fields Chopped Salad Crouton Cups: Serve individually portioned salads with this classic fruit and veggie mashup topped with goat cheese, bacon, pecans, and a homemade apple cider vinaigrette.
Dinner (& Party!) Rolls – Choose one
- Fruit-Glazed Rolls: Martin’s Sweet Party Potato Rolls freshly warmed and glazed with a trio of fruit compound butters for a sweet, springy twist!
Featured Recipe: Party Roll Glaze Trio (Sweet)
- 2 Packs Martin’s Sweet Party Potato Rolls
- Blackberry Compound Butter, prepared
- Strawberry Compound Butter, prepared
- Lemon Compound Butter, prepared
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare Blackberry Butter, Strawberry Butter, and Lemon Butter according to individual recipes.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of fruit compound butter on top of Martin’s Sweet Party Potato Rolls, alternating between the three flavors. Bake rolls at 350 degrees for 2-5 minutes or until rolls are warm and butter is shiny.
View Full Recipe: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/fruit-glazed-party-rolls-trio
Tip: You can also serve these compound butters as a trio of spreads to use atop slightly baked Martin’s Sweet Dinner or Sweet Party Potato Rolls!
- Resurrection Rolls: Use marshmallows and sweet spices along with Martin’s Sweet Dinner Potato Rolls to perform this meaningful (and tasty) demonstration!
- Hot Cross Buns: Add an icing cross to your lightly glazed Martin’s Sweet Dinner Potato Rolls to create this classic Easter side (cinnamon and currants, optional).
Dessert – Choose one or more
- Easter Bird Nests: Create these cute mini bird nests using baked French toast Dinner Roll bowls, cheesecake filling, coconut flakes, shaped marshmallows, and Easter egg candies!
- Carrot Cake Bread Pudding Cupcakes: Serve your traditional carrot cake in the form of individual sized bread pudding cupcakes for a fun and simple twist.
- Hummingbird Bread Pudding: These springy treats use Martin’s Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Potato Bread along with flavors of banana, pineapple, coconut, and pecans for a tasty and tropical explosion.
For more recipe ideas, including how to use up leftover ham, visit our Easter Recipes Archive.
And there you have it! Now that you’ve planned your Easter menu, make sure to head to the store to gather all your necessary ingredients. Don’t forget to pick up a pack of Martin’s Sweet Dinner or Sweet Party Potato Rolls while you’re there!
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