I think the side dishes served with traditional holiday meals are often more important than the main dish, particularly at Easter. It’s probably because I didn’t enjoy ham when I was a kid. Every year, there would be a large ham that my mom would lovingly prepare, and I’d ignore it and fill up on mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls.
I’ve since learned to enjoy ham, but I still put a lot of thought into the side dishes that I serve when I host Easter dinner. Of course, not everyone serves ham on the holiday. Lamb and prime rib are also popular main dishes for Easter dinner, and they deserve well-thought-out sides, too. These 18 classic sides will help round out your Easter dinner menu, whether you’re serving ham, lamb, or prime rib.
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
I can’t imagine a holiday meal without mashed potatoes. Make these perfect mashed potatoes with Yukon gold potatoes and lots of butter and cream, and they’ll go with anything you serve on Easter. If you want to get a jump on cooking and make your potatoes ahead of time, try this make-ahead mashed potatoes recipe instead.
Quick and Easy Asparagus
No vegetable says “spring is here” like asparagus. It’s a must-have for many at Easter. A quick and easy way of preparing the spears is to blanch them and then toss with freshly grated Parm, olive oil, and lemon zest. This recipe takes just 20 minutes to prepare so you can do it while the main course is resting.
Parker House Rolls
This is the ultimate dinner roll recipe for any holiday table. The rolls are tender and buttery with a hint of sweetness. They may also be one of the few things a picky kid at the table will eat!
Why not give deviled eggs side dish status? Guests will gobble up these simple eggs that have a bit of kick from Tabasco. They look pretty with the filling piped in and a sprinkling of paprika on top.
Scalloped Potatoes With Caramelized Onions and Gruyere
Bake thinly sliced potatoes with caramelized onion, herbs, and Gruyere, and Parmesan. Chicken stocks stands in for the cream for a slightly lighter dish, delicious side for any rich Easter dinner. Pro tip: Use a shallow casserole dish so the casserole bakes quicker.
Spring Vegetable Salad with Mint Pesto
The flavor of mint complements lamb very well, and this salad full of spring vegetables tossed with mint pesto could be the perfect side salad if you’re serving lamb for Easter. Green beans, snap peas, radishes, and shelled peas form the base of the salad. Sprinkle with almonds, feta, and mint leaves before serving.
Classic Glazed Carrots
It must have something to do with the bunny, but I’ve always associated carrots with Easter even though they’re a fall vegetable. Glazed carrots are a simple side for Easter dinner. Make them on the stovetop, cooked in butter, stock, and a little sugar.
Rice pilaf is a tasty alternative for those who don’t enjoy potatoes, and this side will work especially well if you’re serving prime rib. Brown rice, onion, and celery while stock is heating, add seasoning, then combine with the stock. Cook until the rice is soft and fluffy.
Shaved Vegetable Salad
Full of radishes, asparagus, fennel, and carrots, this crunchy salad is finished with with citrus honey vinaigrette and topped with Parmesan and walnuts. Do most of the work ahead of time, and then combine the vegetables, vinaigrette, and toppings right before serving.
Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
Green bean casserole is a classic, and this recipe is an elevated version with everything made from scratch, including the fried onion topping. Make this dish ahead of time and refrigerate it—with the fried onions stored separately—and pop it in the oven to bake about a half hour before serving. If you have no room in the oven, try this slow cooker version.
Yorkshire pudding—a bread-ish side that’s like a cross between a soufflé and a cheese puff (without the cheese)—is frequently served with prime rib. Traditionally it’s made in the pan with drippings from the beef, but you can also make it popover style using a muffin tin. Make sure to leave enough time for the batter to rest. It needs to sit an hour before it’s used.
Cook this simple side dish in bacon fat and sesame oil for a super flavorful vegetable side. Great for ham, sauté fresh collard greens with onion and garlic.
Simple Peas and Onions
Peas (fresh or frozen), chopped onion, butter, and chicken stock—it doesn’t get much simpler than those few ingredients to make a side dish that goes with any Easter dinner. Cooks in just 15 minutes!
Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese
Kids love mac and cheese. Adults love it, too. Serve these noodles in a creamy cheese sauce topped with a breadcrumb topping, and everyone will be happy.
Cheesy Baked Cauliflower
For a lower-carb cheesy, baked side, try giving cauliflower the mac and cheese treatment. Cover tender, bite-sized florets with a decadent cheese sauce, packed with cheddar and Monterey jack and bake. Adding crumbled bacon and chives is optional.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
This recipe will make anyone a Brussels sprouts fan. Simply roast the “little balls of goodness” (as one of my friends likes to call them) with olive oil, garlic, lemon, and Parmesan cheese. Then watch them disappear from everyone’s plates.
French Green Beans with Butter and Herbs
Fancy up your green bean side dish by using French green beans—a long slender version that may be sold under the name haricots verts—and sauté the with butter, herbs, and onions. It’s not much more work than plain ol’ green beans, but the few extra steps are worth it.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potato casserole isn’t just for Thanksgiving. It’s a welcomed side at any holiday meal. Puree cooked sweet potatoes and mix them with eggs, milk, maple syrup, and seasonings. Bake with a pecan topping. My favorite thing about sweet potato casserole? Heating up to eat for breakfast the next morning.