Traditional Passover Recipes for Your Seder Menu

Matzo Ball Soup
Mizina/Getty Images

Planning and cooking for a Passover Seder (or two) is a big undertaking. Not only are lots of familiar ingredients off limits, but it's not unusual to be cooking for a crowd. And because a lot of the Haggadah is read before the actual festive meal rolls around, your guests are bound to be hungry. To make life a little easier, we've pulled together a collection of Seder-worthy recipes you can mix and match to create your ideal menu. There are lots of vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and nut-free options, to help accommodate guests with special dietary needs. And best of all, several recipes can be made ahead, to help minimize last minute prep. 

  • 01 of 19

    Charoset (Pareve)

    IraqiCharoset.JPG
    Miri Rotkovitz

    Before the festive meal gets underway, there are several symbolic foods served at the Passover seder, including matzo, maror (bitter herbs), and karpas (a spring green, often parsley). But charoset may be the most interesting, culinarily speaking. Recipes for the fruit and nut mixture reflect the diversity of Jewish diaspora cuisine, so serving an international version alongside a family favorite is great way to inspire discussion about Jewish traditions around the world. Bonus: the leftovers make a great condiment throughout the week!

  • 02 of 19

    Matzo Ball Soup (Meat)

    Matzo Ball Soup
    Melanie Acevedo/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    Matzo ball soup is a classic seder starter. In this version, which features a homemade chicken broth, whipped egg whites are folded into the matzo ball batter to lighten their texture. 

  • 03 of 19

    No-Chicken Matzo Ball Soup (Pareve)

    No-Chicken Matzo Ball Soup
    Mizina/Getty Images

    If you need a vegetarian matzo ball soup, look no further than this deliciously savory recipe. The secret to the homemade broth? In addition to the usual roundup of vegetables and herbs, mushrooms add a fabulous umami quality to the soup (and no, it doesn't end up tasting mushroomy at all!). 

  • 04 of 19

    Caramelized Onion, Fennel, and Mushroom Soup (Meat or Pareve)

    Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Soup
    Miri Rotkovitz

    If you want to keep the soup course light so that your guests will have plenty of room for the feast ahead, consider this elegant, broth-based caramelized onion, fennel, and mushroom Soup from cookbook author Kim Kushner. Incidentally, the fennel in this recipe is the vegetable, not the spice, so it's fine for Passover even for those who avoid kitniyot

    Continue to 5 of 19 below.
  • 05 of 19

    Gefilte Fish (Pareve)

    Gefilte fish
    Ulrich Kerth/Getty Images

    Gefilte fish is a popular Seder meal starter in Ashkenazi households. You can try your hand at making the minced fish patties from scratch with this step-by-step tutorial. Or, skip the fuss, and doctor jarred gefilte fish with this recipe for baked gefilte fish loaf.

  • 06 of 19

    Lemon-Garlic Baked Salmon (Pareve)

    Simple salmon fillets.

     The Spruce

    If you don't care for gefilte fish, or want an easy starter or entree option for pescatarians, try this simple lemon-garlic baked salmon fillet. The recipe quantities serve 8 to 10, but are easily doubled. 

  • 07 of 19

    Easy Sweet and Sour Brisket (Meat)

    Brisket
    David Bishop Inc. / Getty Images

    This sweet and sour brisket recipe is super simple, and can not only be made a day or two ahead to minimize last-minute meal prep, it's actually better for it. The fuss-free preparation is a boon too: simply marinate the meat overnight in a mixture of jarred sauerkraut, canned tomatoes, and brown sugar, then cook low and slow until the the meat is tender. 

  • 08 of 19

    Chicken With Prunes and Potatoes (Meat)

    Chicken with Prune Tsimmes
    Miri Rotkovitz

    If you want to preserve precious oven space, you can braise this chicken with prunes and potatoes on the stovetop. (If you've got a large enough Dutch oven, you can increase the recipe quantities.) Another advantage of serving chicken on the bone? It's less prone to drying out than boneless, skinless chicken breasts. 

    Continue to 9 of 19 below.
  • 09 of 19

    Persian Roast Chicken (Meat)

    Roast-Chicken-Getty-Joanne-Schmaltz.jpg
    Joanne Schmaltz/Getty Images

    If your Seder is on the smaller side and you want to minimize leftovers, consider this Persian roast chicken (you can double the recipe quantities and roast a couple of chickens side by side in a large roasting pan if you're serving 8 to 10). This is also a great recipe for family meals or Shabbat or Yom Tov dinners later in the week. 

  • 10 of 19

    Quinoa With Arugula, Butternut Squash, and Citrus Vinaigrette (Pareve)

    Quinoa Butternut Squash Arugula Salad
    Miri Rotkovitz

    Though it's enjoyed like a grain, quinoa is technically a pseudocereal, and may be used during Passover. This festive recipe for quinoa with arugula, butternut squash, and citrus vinaigrette was created with vegetarian and vegan Seder guests in mind -- it pairs well with other sides, and is substantial enough to build a meal around. 

  • 11 of 19

    Purple Cabbage, Carrot, and Mandarin Salad (Pareve)

    Purple Cabbage and Mandarin Salad
    Miri Rotkovitz

    This colorful purple cabbage, carrot, and mandarin salad from Susie Fishbein's Passover by Design is a crunchy, multi-textured counterpoint to roasted or braised meats or poultry. It pairs well with other veggie sides, too. 

  • 12 of 19

    Herb Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (Pareve)

    Herb-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
    Inti St. Clair / Getty Images

    Passover is also known as Chag Ha'Aviv, or "the Holiday of Spring," so why not pay homage to the new season by roasting fingerling potatoes with fresh herbs? If you can't find fingerlings, small new potatoes will work beautifully, too. And on a grain-free menu (matzo-excepted, of course), they make a satisfying, gluten-free side dish, and welcome vegetarian addition to the meal. 

    Continue to 13 of 19 below.
  • 13 of 19

    Roasted Broccoli With Ginger (Pareve)

    Ginger Roasted Broccoli
    Miri Rotkovitz

    Broccoli is always a crowd-pleaser, so why not dress is up a little for the Seder? This roasted broccoli with ginger is delicious warm or cool, which makes it a forgiving choice when the evening's timeline can vary and there's a lot of food to get out on the table. 

  • 14 of 19

    Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Beets (Parve)

    Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Beets
    Miri Rotkovitz

    A little sweet, a little savory, and gorgeously hued, these roasted sweet potatoes and beets make a festive addition to the Passover table.

  • 15 of 19

    Olive Oil Lemon Curd (Pareve)

    Olive Oil Lemon Curd
    Miri Rotkovitz

    After a big, multicourse meal, light desserts and smaller sweets are ideal. Serve this olive oil lemon curd with fresh berries, meringues, or cookies. Or dollop some alongside the sponge cake your great aunt always brings to the Seder. 

  • 16 of 19

    Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies (Pareve)

    Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Batke/Getty Images

    Ground hazelnuts and hand-chopped dark chocolate elevate these hazelnut chocolate chip cookies from "Passover good" to just plain delicious. (Yes, you can use chocolate chips as a time saver. And yes, you may want to hoard Passover cake meal so you can make them year-round.) 

    Continue to 17 of 19 below.
  • 17 of 19

    Coffee Meringues (Pareve)

    Coffee Meringues
    Crystal Cartier / Getty Images

    Instant-coffee folded into vanilla meringue, infuses these light, gluten-free, nut-free sweets with lovely flavor. You can make them a few days ahead, to reduce last-minute prep. 

  • 18 of 19

    Flourless Chocolate Cake

    Flourless Chocolate Cake
    Miri Rotkovitz

    Want a more formal dessert to go with that cookie platter? This flourless chocolate cake is surprisingly low-fuss: since it's made with oil instead of butter or margarine, you can mix it easily by hand. And unlike most Passover cake recipes, it uses only four eggs -- and you don't have to separate them. Best of all, this allergy-friendly recipe is intensely chocolatey, yet not too sweet. In other words, perfect with coffee as a satisfying finish to a fabulous meal. 

  • 19 of 19

    Wine

    Selection of Kosher Wines
    Miri Rotkovitz

    Wine is a big part of the Seder -- it's traditional to drink four cups throughout the evening. So it's well worthwhile to select bottles you and your guests will enjoy. And that doesn't have to be a super-expensive proposition, as you'll see from this evolving roundup of great -- and affordable -- kosher wines.

    But keep in mind that while there's a tradition to drink wine, some guests prefer grape juice for medical or other reasons. Make it available on the table, so that anyone who needs it can choose the beverage that works best for them - without having to disclose a medical condition or feel like they're imposing.