25 Easter Dinner Ideas That Are Better Than Ham

If you're tired of making the same main dish year after year, consider these showstopping alternatives, instead.

March 24, 2023

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Our Best Easter Mains, Minus the Ham

Ham often gets all the glory on Easter Sunday—but it’s only one of the many mains worthy of being the centerpiece of your holiday meal. Sure, it’s versatile and easy to pair with all sorts of sweet glazes and fragrant spices but so is pork loin. And, yes, it’s impressive when you bring the whole roast to the table but no more so than Easter lamb. Trust us, the list of alternative mains that can anchor your Easter dinner goes on and on. So, whether you’re stuck in a rut and looking to change things up or in need of a vegan or vegetarian option, these impressive main dish ideas are sure to come in handy—starting with Ina’s foolproof lamb. With just 5 ingredients (plus salt and pepper), she turns the roast into a showstopping main that easily serves 10. Best of all, it pairs perfectly with all your favorite Easter sides.

Get the Recipe: Herb-Roasted Lamb

Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetable Gravy

There’s no reason you can’t dress up a whole chicken for Easter. This simple recipe combines lemon and fennel for a flavor that’s bright and aromatic—and completely different from what you’d make for a regular Sunday dinner.

Get the Recipe: Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetable Gravy

Portobello Mushroom Lasagna

It’s hard not to fall in love with the flavors of this hearty vegetarian main. It makes an ideal centerpiece for your Easter table too, since the rich, creamy sauce pairs perfectly with many of the spring veggies that are traditional for this holiday.

Get the Recipe: Portobello Mushroom Lasagna

Maple Pork Roast with Blue Cheese Crust

Pork loin makes for an impressive main when infused with the flavors of maple syrup, Dijon mustard, garlic and rosemary. A blue cheese crust is the perfect finish, adding a nice, salty bite.

Get the Recipe: Maple Pork Roast with Blue Cheese Crust

Mustard-Roasted Fish

It may be one of the easiest main dishes you could make, but this roasted fish is incredibly chic. Crème fraîche, capers and shallots are the key to the almost-effortless mustard sauce, which bakes to the perfect creamy consistency after just a few minutes in the oven atop the fish.

Get the Recipe: Mustard-Roasted Fish

Pizza Rustica

Pizza rustica (also known as pizzagaina) is traditionally served on Easter and for good reason—it is a showstopper and perfect to dish up on a special occasion. Although it takes a little bit of work to prepare, you can make it a day ahead and bring to room temperature before putting it on your holiday table.

Get the Recipe: Pizza Rustica

Pan-Roasted Double-Cut Lamb Chops

If you always gravitate towards ham because you're intimidated by lamb, this recipe will change all that. Ask your butcher to trim and French the racks of lamb for you and all you’ll have to do before you rub them with the marinade is cut them into chops. The cooking process is simple (sear them in an oven-safe skillet before transferring them to the oven to finish roasting) but guaranteed to impress.

Get the Recipe: Pan-Roasted Double-Cut Lamb Chops

Roasted Sweet Vidalia Pork Loin

Trisha’s pork loin makes good use of pantry staples like onions, apple and dried spices to produce a holiday-worthy roast that’s lovely alongside all your favorite Easter carrot and potato sides.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Sweet Vidalia Pork Loin

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Dill Salad

The benefit of roasting the salmon in the oven for a longer period of time? It have a stunning bright orange color and a luscious texture.

Get the Recipe: Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Dill Salad

Lemon-Rosemary Roast Leg of Lamb

We’ve taken the classic approach of studding the lamb with garlic and coating it in a generously seasoned rub. Giving it time to soak up all the flavors is key—so avoid the temptation to rush the process. Once roasted it will have a crispy exterior and be tender, juicy and flavorful on the inside.

Get the Recipe: Lemon-Rosemary Roast Leg of Lamb

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

If you need a vegetarian main, look no further than these sweet-and-salty cauliflower steaks. They’re dressed with a mixture of toasted pine nuts and golden raisins, which instantly elevates an otherwise everyday dish. And, if you’re cooking for anyone following a vegan diet you can easily substitute a plant-based butter for equally delicious results.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

Matcha Roast Chicken with Leeks

The herbal, grassy undertones of matcha tea pair perfectly with fragrant leeks in this juicy, one-pan roast chicken. Stuff the mixture under the chicken's skin for a deliciously crackly and crisp finish.

Get the Recipe: Matcha Roast Chicken with Leeks

Deviled Crabs

Deviled crabs are a quintessential Gullah dish similar to crab cakes—and perfect for elevating your Easter menu. Kardea likes to serve hers in cleaned crab shells for a pretty presentation. If your local fishmonger doesn’t have them you can bake the deviled crab in small, ovenproof dishes, instead.

Get the Recipe: Deviled Crabs

Garlic Roast Beef

This simple roast is perfect for any time of year. The key to evenly cooked meat is to cinch the larger end of the roast with twine so that both ends of the beef are the same thickness. You can ask your butcher to tie it for you to save time, too.

Get the Recipe: Garlic Roast Beef

Carrot Wellington

Katie replaces beef with carrots for a vegetarian take on the classic Wellington. Best of all, the mushroom filling ensures this version is every bit as savory and flavorful as the original.

Get the Recipe: Carrot Wellington

Panko-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Ina uses just a handful of simple ingredients (like garlic, fresh herbs and goat cheese) to make a crispy-crusted roast that will elicit as many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as a glazed ham when it comes to the table.

Get the Recipe: Panko-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Gluten-Free Fish Piccata

Finally! Here is all the flavor of a piccata sauce for fish without the flour. Tart and briny from the addition of capers and whole slices of lemon, this sauce will brighten up any mild white filet—making it fit for a special, holiday meal.

Get the Recipe: Gluten-Free Fish Piccata

Pork Wellington with Cherry Port Sauce

If you ask us, ham makes a great holiday main because it’s often coated in a glaze, resulting in the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. That’s the idea behind this alternative main, where the pork tenderloin is dressed with a cherry sauce. The addition of buttery puff pastry takes the whole dish over the top—making it a showstopping choice for a special occasion.

Get the Recipe: Pork Wellington with Cherry Port Sauce

Lamb Chops with Mint Pesto

With all the cooking you have to do for Easter dinner, we’re sure you could use a shortcut somewhere. Why not swap your traditional ham for an easy main that’s ready in 30 minutes? Kardea’s Easter-worthy chops are just that—and dressed in a spring-y, herb pesto, too!

Get the Recipe: Lamb Chops with Mint Pesto

Raviolo al' Uovo

There’s no denying that this main dish takes extra time and effort—but it’s just the thing to change up your Easter dinner menu if you’re tired of cooking a large roast. Each guest is served one, large raviolo that’s holding the best surprise: a rich, golden, runny egg yolk nestled into a filling of ricotta cheese!

Get the Recipe: Raviolo al' Uovo

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Pork loin has a mild flavor, making it the perfect blank canvas for all your favorite flavors and seasonings. Here, Valerie coats in a sweet-and-tangy rub of brown sugar, Dijon mustard and cayenne before wrapping the whole thing in smoky bacon and roasting it in the oven. The result? A crowd-pleasing main dish you’re sure to make again.

Get the Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Baked Salmon with Honey Mustard Sauce

Salmon makes an excellent choice for any spring dinner—it cooks quickly, pairs nicely with seasonal vegetables and always seems to impress.

Get the Recipe: Baked Salmon with Honey Mustard Sauce

Vegetarian Whole Stuffed Cabbage

This hearty and satisfying stuffed cabbage is sure to please vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Layers of mushrooms, brown rice, marinara sauce and cabbage combine in a large-format version of cabbage rolls, without the need to fill and roll individual leaves. At the table, it slices up perfectly into a main dish showstopper.

Get the Recipe: Vegetarian Whole Stuffed Cabbage

Crispy Roasted Porchetta

It may be tempting to skip the step of toasting and grinding the fennel seeds and peppercorns for this recipe but we assure you, it’s the secret to incredible flavor.

Get the Recipe: Crispy Roasted Porchetta

Salmon Scampi

This beautiful piece of fish gets its extra-crispy topping from seasoned pine nuts, garlic, parsley—and crushed rice cereal! This side of salmon is every bit as rich and flavorful as a traditional scampi but offers a more impressive presentation.

Get the Recipe: Salmon Scampi

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