31 Traditional Easter Foods From Around the World

Explore Delicious International Recipes to Add to Your Easter Dinner

Neapolitan Grain Pie

zzayko/Getty Images 

Beyond colorful hard-boiled eggs, there are many delicacies that factor into the traditional Easter meals enjoyed around the world. The foods vary by country and region and include sweet breads and pastries, meat and egg dishes, and plenty of cakes and cookies.

The recipes are often quite indulgent, featuring the foods that were forbidden during Lent. You're sure to find inspiration for your dinner in the dishes that grace Easter tables in Poland, Italy, Lithuania, Greece, and England.

  • 01 of 31

    Roasted Lamb

    Roast Leg of Lamb
    Diana Miller / Getty Images

    Lamb is the one food that is common in the Easter celebrations of many cultures.

    The roasted lamb dinner that many eat on Easter Sunday actually predates Easter—it is derived from the first Passover Seder of the Jewish people. The sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs in hopes that the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring no harm. 

    As Hebrews converted to Christianity, they naturally brought their traditions with them. The Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God as well, so it was natural for the traditions to merge.

  • 02 of 31

    Jajka Faszerowany

    Polish Stuffed Eggs
    Barbara Rolek

    In Poland, the Easter brunch buffet table is plentiful, showcasing some of the country's best dishes. One of the staples you will find is jajka faszerowany.

    These are stuffed eggs that are similar to deviled eggs, except they're broiled with a breadcrumb topping. They have a delicious filling of ham, cheese, sour cream, and mustard and they're hard to resist.

  • 03 of 31

    Żurek

    Zurek- Polish Ryemeal soup
    KLMircea / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    The Polish Easter brunch also typically includes a ryemeal soup known as żurek. The base is żur, fermented rye flour which would be started the week leading up to the holiday. In the soup and alongside it, will be biała kiełbasa, or Polish sausage, made from the family's own recipe.

  • 04 of 31

    White Borscht Soup

    Polish white borscht
    Dobromila / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0

    A white borscht soup, called either biały barszcz or żurek wielkanocny, is also a Polish tradition. These recipes are passed down through generations, so each is unique. Typically, you will find potatoes, garlic, sour cream, kielbasa, eggs, and rye bread.

    Continue to 5 of 31 below.
  • 05 of 31

    Braised Red Cabbage

    Braised Red Cabbage
    Brian Yarvin / Getty Images

    Braised red cabbage may be the easiest food on the Polish dinner table. Known as czerwona kapusta zasmażana, it often accompanies the main dish, which can be almost any meat.

    Popular entree choices include roast leg of lamb, roast suckling pig, baked ham, and roasted turkey. You are likely to find a potato dish and horseradish on the table as well.

  • 06 of 31

    Chalka

    Chalka
    Leah Maroney

    Chałka is a braided egg bread that is very popular in Poland. It's rather fun to make and it is slightly sweet and dotted with raisins. Any leftovers make a great bread pudding the next day.

  • 07 of 31

    Lamb Cake

    Lamb cake and mold
    Barbara Rolek

    The adorable lamb cake is not just an American tradition, it is part of the Polish Easter table as well. You will need a lamb-shaped mold but can use a simple pound cake mix. It uses a cream cheese frosting and is adorned with raisins along with green "grass" made of coconut flakes.

  • 08 of 31

    Babka Wielkanocna

    Traditional Polish Babka
    Barbara Rolek

    Babka wielkanocna is a yeasty cake with 15 eggs. It is a true representation of the celebration of rich foods after the Lenten fast. While there are many recipes for babka enjoyed throughout Eastern European countries, you cannot go wrong with this traditional Polish recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 31 below.
  • 09 of 31

    Mazurek Królewski

    Flaky Polish Royal "Mazurek"
    Barbara Rolek

    Another sweet treat for a Polish Easter dessert is mazurek królewski. This flat pastry is relatively easy to make and it's very delicious. It is often topped with almond paste and apricot, cherry, or raspberry preserves. You can even add dried fruit and nuts if you like. 

  • 10 of 31

    Brodetto Pasquale

    Lamb and Asparagus Frittata
    Harald Walker/Stocksy United

    Eggs and lamb are two important and symbolic foods at Easter for the Italians. There are some dishes that incorporate both. One of the best-known and most-loved is Brodetto pasquale, a lamb frittata with asparagus. It makes perfect use of the early spring vegetable.

  • 11 of 31

    Italian Wedding Soup

    Italian Wedding Soup (Minestra Maritata)
    Sarah Bossert/Getty Images

    Italian wedding soup (minestra maritata) or minestra di Pasqua (a traditional Easter soup made with pork, beef, and kale) are commonly served at the holiday meal. These are the perfect complement for lamb, which is almost always the main dish. It's also common to find at least one side dish that includes artichokes.

  • 12 of 31

    Neapolitan Grain Pie

    Neapolitan Grain Pie
    zzayko/Getty Images

    An Italian dessert may include a colomba di Pasqua (translated to "Easter dove"), a sweet yeast cake shaped as a dove. Another popular option is the Neapolitan grain pie (Pastiera Napoletana). This is a ricotta cake flavored with orange-flower water that is very tempting.

    Continue to 13 of 31 below.
  • 13 of 31

    Vedarai

    Lithuanian Potato Sausage (Vedarai)
    Eddie Gerald/Getty Images

    After church on Easter morning, Lithuanian families return home to enjoy a special breakfast along with the foods from their blessed food basket. The family either shares an egg as a sign of unity or each enjoys a hard-boiled egg to symbolize rebirth.

    The main meal is dinner, complete with several traditional dishes. The entree is either a roast pig, chicken, ham, or lamb and you will most certainly find vedarai. This is a type of sausage made of potatoes. It may either be meatless or contain bacon, depending on the family's recipe.

  • 14 of 31

    Cepelinai

    potato-meat dumplings
    Tobin / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    An Easter dinner in Lithuania will also often include cepelinai. These delicious dumplings are also called zeppelins as they are shaped much like the famous airships. The potato dumplings are very hearty and often filled with meat or cheese.

  • 15 of 31

    Kugelis

    Lithuanian Kugelis
    Flickr CC 2.0

    Potatoes are a big part of the Lithuanian diet and make another appearance in kugelis. This is a savory potato pudding that is a very traditional side dish.

    It is also thought of as the national dish of the country, so few Easter dinners will be found without it. To accompany it, you'll also find several salads and many dishes that include mushrooms.

  • 16 of 31

    Velykos Pyragas

    Christmas stollen with fruits and nuts
    Anshu / Getty Images

    With dinner, Lithuanians also serve a semi-sweet yeast bread with white raisins called velykos pyragas. This may be one of the best fruit cakes you'll try. It includes a variety of glaceed fruit, walnuts, and a delicious cinnamon-sugar filling.

    Continue to 17 of 31 below.
  • 17 of 31

    Paska

    Pashka (quark dessert, Poland) with crystallised orange zest
    Foodcollection / Getty Images

    Desserts abound at a Lithuanian Easter celebration. You will likely see paska, a molded cheese delicacy. It's no ordinary cheese, either. The dry curd is sweetened, includes heavy cream and almonds, and is adorned with fruits and candies.

    The word paska literally meaning "Easter" so you will hear it often in Eastern Europe. A number of treats take on the name as well, and in Ukraine, it refers to a lovely sweet bread

  • 18 of 31

    Aguonu Sausainiukai

    Aguonu Sausainiukai
    Foodcollection / Getty Images

    Another time-honored sweet in Lithuania is aguonu sausainiukaiThese are traditional poppy seed cookies. The recipe is as easy as any other drop cookie and they're often dusted with confectioners' sugar.

  • 19 of 31

    Tsoureki

    Greek Easter bread with eggs
    Jupiterimages / Getty Images

    Although Greek Orthodox Easter falls on a different day than the Catholic Easter holiday, the food traditions include many delicious delicacies. The Greek Easter feast actually begins after the midnight church service, but the main event is held on Easter Sunday.

    On every Greek household table, you will find lamb, red eggs, and tsourekiThis is an orange and spice-scented braided bread with a red egg nestled on top.

  • 20 of 31

    Tiropitas

    Greek Phyllo Cheese Triangles
    Lynn Livanos Athan

    While the lamb is cooking, it's customary for Greeks to snack on a variety of cheese pastries. Tiropitas are among the favorites. These delicious little morsels are triangles made with phyllo and filled with four different ​types of cheese.

    Continue to 21 of 31 below.
  • 21 of 31

    Kalitsounia

    Crete cheese pies
    Nancy Gaifyllia

    Kalitsounia is a sweeter cheese pastry that is enjoyed most often on the Greek island of Crete. They use a rolled dough that includes yogurt and brandy. The filling is a soft mizithra cheese, cinnamon, and orange peel and they are beyond delicious.

  • 22 of 31

    Tzatziki

    Tzatziki in a bowl
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Along with the pastries, Greeks enjoy more savory mezethes (appetizers). These often include olives, feta dip, and tzatziki.

    The tzatziki is a staple in Greece and one of the country's most famous condiments. It is a cucumber dip made with sour cream and yogurt with a hint of garlic. Not only does it made a great dip for warm pita triangles, it can also adorn grilled meats and vegetables.

  • 23 of 31

    Dolmathakia me Kima

    Stuffed Grape-Vine Leaves served as appetizer
    gulfimages / Getty Images

    Dolmathakia me kima is Greece's other famous mezethes. These are stuffed grape leaves and they're irresistible. The filling combines rice, dill, mint, and either beef or lamb. It's hard to find a Greek celebration any time of year that doesn't include them.

  • 24 of 31

    Aavgolemono

    White Bowl of Avgolemono Soup
    Poppy Barach / Getty Images

    In Greece, the main course can begin with avgolemono. This is a quintessential Greek chicken soup that you'll also often find at restaurants. It is made with orzo and a lemon-egg mixture that is quite unique. It can also be served as a sauce for the stuffed grape leaves.

    Continue to 25 of 31 below.
  • 25 of 31

    Patates sto Fourno

    Potatoes roasted with garlic and thyme
    Philip Wilkins / Getty Images

    A popular side dish to lamb in Greece is patates sto fourno. The oven-roasted potatoes are very easy and seasoned quite simply with lemon and oregano.

  • 26 of 31

    Spanakopita

    Plated veggie pastry on white plate
    Jonathan Bielaski/Light Imaging / Getty Images

    Possibly the most iconic dish from Greece is spanakopita. It's a spinach pie with cheese and layers of phyllo and it's on nearly every dinner table. One taste and you'll discover why it's so popular.

  • 27 of 31

    Galaktoboureko

    Greek Galaktoboureko
    Lynn Livanos Athan

    The Greek Easter has no shortage of dessert options, either. Galaktoboureko is a favorite addition. It is a delicious custard pie made with flaky phyllo and drenched in a citrus-flavored syrup.

  • 28 of 31

    Koulourakia

    Greek Butter Cookies With Sesame (Koulourakia)
    Lynn Livanos Athan

    Koulourakia are butter cookies with sesame seeds. They're quite fun to make because you can twist, braid, or shape them into an "S." You will often find them served with other desserts and strong Greek coffee as well as one of the famous Greek wines such as raki.

    Continue to 29 of 31 below.
  • 29 of 31

    Hot Cross Buns

    Hot cross buns
    Debby Lewis-Harrison / Getty Images

    It seems that almost every country celebrating Easter has its own special Easter bread or cake. And yet, hot cross buns are a favorite in many areas but especially in Britain. These individual yeast buns are spiced and filled with dried fruit. The lemon icing is drizzled in the form of a cross along the top. 

    The tradition supposedly derived from ancient Anglo-Saxons who baked small wheat cakes in honor of the springtime goddess, Eostre. After converting to Christianity, the church substituted those with sweetbreads blessed by the church.

  • 30 of 31

    Leg of Lamb

    Roast Leg of Lamb
    Elaine Lemm

    An Easter lunch is the traditional meal in Britain. The main course typically features a delicious leg of lamb. It will often be served with a gravy as well as a fresh mint sauce.

    Typical British sides will feature spring vegetables such as cabbage and a recipe that utilizes the prized Jersey royal potatoes.

  • 31 of 31

    Simnel Cake

    Simnel Cake
    joy skipper/Getty Images

    A classic British cake for Easter is the simnel cake. It signals the end of Lent as it is filled with ingredients—spices, fruits, and marzipan—that were forbidden during the fast.

    As if that isn't decadent enough, chocolate often makes an appearance in both egg-form as well as dessert treats. This can include anything from a chocolate cake to chocolate mousse.