31 Easter Dinner Ideas That Aren’t Ham or Lamb

updated Mar 8, 2024
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Overhead shot of beef Wellington on a platter, two slices cut crosswise and laid flat to show interior
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

When it comes time to plan your Easter menu, a glazed ham or a big roast leg of lamb is the default. These dishes are classics for sure, but they’re far from the only options, especially if, like mine, your celebration will be on the small side this year. But what to make?

Pork tenderloin or pork chops can be easily dressed up with a sauce or simple glaze. The same goes for chicken breast, which can be stuffed, doused with a lemony sauce, or cooked with a medley of spring veggies, to bring a little something extra to your holiday spread.

Slow-roasted salmon or poached fish is also a good choice. It’s packed with flavor and nearly foolproof to make without overcooking. (Yes, really!) And when it comes to meat-free mains, a sunny lemony pasta loaded with fresh spring vegetables is all but a guaranteed hit.

If you want something different, we’ve come up with 31 recipes for Easter dinner that aren’t ham or lamb.

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Beef Wellington

A showstopper Easter dinner entrée of beef tenderloin wrapped in mushroom paste and crispy, buttery puff pastry.

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Salmon Piccata

If chicken piccata is your go-to order at your favorite Italian-American restaurant, you’ll love this simple salmon version. Salmon fillets are cooked in a butter lemon-caper sauce in this easy-yet-elevated Easter dinner.

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Prime Rib

Partner this special-occasion cut of beef with good wine, a swipe of homemade horseradish cream, and a platter of golden roasted potatoes and you’re on your way to a delicious Easter meal.

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Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Apples and Cabbage

This roast chicken recipe features apples, savory chicken with crisp skin, and browned cabbage deeply flavored with all the juices from the chicken.

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Slow-Cooker Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

The slow-cooker yields tender, fall-off-the-bone beef short ribs swimming in a savory broth, made deeper and richer thanks to several glugs of Cabernet. Serve with creamy polenta for an Easter dinner everyone will love.

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Asparagus Salad

This vibrant Easter salad takes full advantage of sweet spring asparagus. It’s a celebration of the season’s bounty: crisp asparagus, sweet green peas, tender leeks, and lots of fresh herbs.

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Chateaubriand

This impossibly tender, center-piece cut of beef tenderloin is the Easter dinner of your dreams.

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Lemony Ricotta Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Burst Tomatoes

This vibrant pasta dish is packed with bursting cherry tomatoes and tender asparagus, and tossed in a bright, lemony ricotta sauce.

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Slow-Cooker Beef Brisket

The beef brisket that makes the whole house smell like a cozy day perfect for snuggling on the couch.

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Buttermilk-Poached Salmon

If you think salmon is difficult to prepare, you’ve probably never tried poaching it before. We’re here to change that with this easy salmon recipe.

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Pasta al Limone

This vibrant and creamy pasta recipe is bursting with fresh lemon flavor.

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Zuni Cafe Roasted Chicken

If you're leaning towards roast chicken on Easter, you cannot go wrong with this herb-packed rendition from Zuni Cafe. Take advantage of all the drippings and toss them with a salad of toasted bread and fresh greens, just like they do at the restaurant.

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White Lasagna

Unlike lasagnas made with marinara, you won’t find a drop of red sauce in sight. Here you get layers of hearty pasta, ricotta, mozzarella, Italian sausage crumbles, and an entire pound of fresh spinach.

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Beef Bourguignon

Ultra-tender chunks of beef chuck roast, seared vegetables, and a rich, velvety red wine sauce make this French stew ultra-cozy for Easter dinner.

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Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Meyer Lemon, Spinach, and Hazelnuts

If you're goal is a meat-free meal that's easy, yet irresistibly delicious, this creamy spring pasta is a good idea. If you can find Meyer lemon, it makes a difference; the delicate floral, sweet notes helps puts this dish on another level.

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English Sunday Roast

Make a traditional Sunday roast for Easter, with rosemary roasted beef, carrots and parsnips, crispy potatoes, creamy horseradish sauce, and warm gravy. Serve with perfect, pillowy Yorkshire pudding.

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Spanakopita Stuffed Shells

A brightened-up version of the classic comfort food, featuring the flavors of Greek spanakopita: spinach, feta cheese, fresh dill, and lots of lemon.

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Instant Pot Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

Cook up tender chunks of beef chuck, carrots, and potatoes in a rich gravy in less than hour with an Instant Pot.

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Spaghetti with Crispy Pancetta, Peas, and Burrata

This fast and fancy spring dinner is what happens when pantry staples meet fresh indulgence, with creamy burrata leading the charge.

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Juicy and Tender Roasted Pork Loin

If you prefer to skip ham and lamb on Easter, a juicy pork loin roast is a nice alternative when you need a main to feed a crowd.

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Cioppino (Seafood Stew)

Cioppino is a big seafood stew of briny abundance, best shared among a crowd of people. Serve with crusty sourdough bread for dipping in the rich broth.

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Spinach Pasta

This creamy, cheesy pasta dish features a silky sauce that’s just thick enough to coat the noodles and wilted spinach leaves. The key to its robust flavor is using a good-quality chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano.

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Seafood Lasagna

The perfect make-ahead meal for when you're craving seafood and lasagna for Easter.

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Crispy Skillet Salmon with Mustardy Cabbage

Crispy-skinned salmon fillets sit on top of a bed of savory sautéed cabbage in this easy skillet dinner.

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Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is quintessential comfort food for so many people. Nothing’s cozier than a warm, savory filling encased in a buttery, flaky pie crust.

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Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragù

A cozy recipe for creamy polenta topped with a savory vegetarian mushroom ragu.

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Crab-Stuffed Salmon

This restaurant-worthy dish takes under 40 minutes to put together.

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Parmesan Risotto with Roasted Shrimp

This creamy risotto with salty Parmesan and sweet roasted shrimp feels appropriately fancy.

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Pizza Rustica

This double-crusted deep dish pie is filled with an egg and ricotta mixture that has been studded with some of Italy’s finest cured meats and cheeses.

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Pork Crown Roast

Standing tall like a crown, this roast is an impressive choice for Easter dinner. It delivers juicy, tender pork chops for a crowd using our foolproof oven method of roasting the meat first at a higher temperature to achieve a golden crust, then finishing at a lower temperature to cook it evenly throughout.

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