20 Southern-Inspired Easter Dinner Ideas

Jess Richardson | Apr 17, 2019 Food & Party
20 Southern-Inspired Easter Dinner Ideas
Image: iStock


Folks from the American South know that Easter is extra special below the Mason-Dixon line. The communitywide egg hunts, the food, the gatherings, and, most importantly, the church hats -- my goodness, the church hats! Anyone who is overly impressed by the hats of the Kentucky Derby has never experienced the true glory of hats at a Southern church at Easter time. And whether or not families are religious or even of Christian origin, Easter is a wonderful time for communities in the South to come together and enjoy traditions that make the region unique. That said, even though we love celebrating all parts of the US every day of the year, there are some things the South does especially right. (Check out these 22 Southern baby names parents will love, for instance.) And the truth is, food is among those things the South absolutely nails.

Not everything has to be perfectly homemade around Easter, especially for families hosting a lot of friends and familiy. Though they may not be especially Southern, these 20 easy Easter appetizers will make life much easier -- and are going to be just as appreciated as more complex dishes. However, there is one Easter tradition that everyone can get into, and that Easter isn't really the holiday without: egg hunts. We've got a ton of ways to help make Easter egg hunts even better this year, including ways to dip and dye Easter eggs, which is helpful for anyone trying to find a super-creative way to make Easter eggs even cooler-looking this year, and some must-haves for an Easter egg hunt, which is a useful checklist. And if mistakes are made, it's helpful to remember that nobody is perfect. Check out these Easter egg fails that will make parents feel better about their own failures.

  • Southern-Style Deviled Eggs

    Southern-Style Deviled Eggs

    What makes deviled eggs Southern-style? Pickle juice! A splash of pickle juice is a classic Southern tradition. Top with chopped cornichon pickles, crumbled bacon, or some chopped scallion.  

  • Pimento Cheese

    Pimento Cheese

    Pimento cheese and crackers are a staple for putting out as an appetizer before a meal is served (or for simply serving at a cocktail hour). This recipe calls for several spices, but feel free to only add the ones the family likes.

  • Perfect Sweet Tea

    Perfect Sweet Tea

    A meal isn't even really a meal in the South without a glass or three of perfect sweet tea. If it's Southern enough, it'll taste so sweet it'll make teeth hurt a little bit. It's not dentist-approved, but definitely Southern lady-approved.

  • Coca-Cola Glazed Ham

    Coca-Cola Glazed Ham

    Coca-Cola glazed ham is just as easy (and delicious) as it sounds. With just five ingredients -- a nice bone-in ham, brown sugar, dijon mustard, a can of Coke, and an orange -- this is one of the simplest, most Southern recipes ever.

  • Pineapple Casserole

    Pineapple Casserole

    This is the casserole everybody's grandma brought to potlucks and covered-dish luncheons, and we'll be darned if she wasn't absolutely correct. Some families call it pineapple casserole, others scalloped pineapple or baked pineapple -- either way, it involves cheddar cheese and Ritz crackers, and it's excellent.

  • Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Praline Topping

    Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Praline Topping

    It's an absolutely classic holiday treat for any holiday in the South: sweet potato casserole with pecan praline topping. For added sweetness, throw some mini-marshmallows on top and stick it under the broiler for a minute or two, until they get golden brown.

  • Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

    Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

    There's macaroni and cheese made by Northerners, and then there's this Southern baked macaroni and cheese recipe. It is exceptional, full of smoked cheddar that forms a perfect crust on top.

  • Southern Broccoli Casserole

    Southern Broccoli Casserole

    This Southern broccoli casserole is a meatless recipe, but it's worth making it with leftover bits of ham or chicken after Easter or as a vegetarian recipe as is for Easter supper itself. This uses lots of delicious, melty cheese -- and is topped with Ritz crackers.  

  • Southern Collard Greens With Ham Hocks

    Southern Collard Greens With Ham Hocks

    There are few Southern dishes more classic and beloved than Southern collard greens with ham hocks. Sure, collards can be made vegetarian, but so long as everyone attending eats meat, we don't see any reason to stray from the absolute Southern classic.

  • Glazed Carrots Recipe

    Glazed Carrots Recipe
    This glazed carrots recipe is so incredibly easy -- it takes just a few ingredients and very little time -- but that doesn't mean it's not exceptional. Add these sweet carrots to an Easter menu for a delicious, seasonal treat. 
  • Southern Style Green Beans

    Southern Style Green Beans

    As with many Southern-style treats, Southern-style green beans is specific to the Dirty South because of its prodigious use of bacon. We can't say it's a healthy option for every day, but it's a tasty option for a holiday such as Easter, for sure.

  • Skillet Asparagus

    Skillet Asparagus

    Cooking asparagus in a cast iron skillet, as in this skillet asparagus recipe, really concentrates that bright asparagus flavor. It also adds a nice sear, and serving in the skillet adds a touch of country home style.

  • Southern Potato Salad

    Southern Potato Salad

    Creamy and mustard-y, this Southern potato salad recipe uses sweet pickle relish, onion, celery, and hard-boiled eggs -- not to mention plenty of mayo -- to make a perfect base for this classic Easter (and picnic) staple. 

  • Southern Scalloped Potatoes

    Southern Scalloped Potatoes

    Creamy Southern scalloped potatoes are basically just potatoes au gratin with a little extra spice from dried mustard, smoked paprika, and a variety of delicious cheeses, including smoked gouda. 

  • Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

    Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

    This Southern cornbread dressing recipe is as good for Easter as it is for Thanksgiving. Some folks call it "stuffing," some "dressing," but so long as it's made with cornbread, it's one of our favorite things. 

  • Cornbread Salad

    Cornbread Salad

    Leftover cornbread isn't just good for dressing, though. Cornbread salad is a classic favorite dish and a delicious way to use leftover cornbread. It's just right for bringing to a church luncheon or serving at Easter dinner.

  • Southern-Style Butter Yeast Rolls

    Southern-Style Butter Yeast Rolls

    These Southern-style butter yeast rolls are secretly every kid's favorite part of an Easter dinner, no matter what. Forget the ham or the vegetables. Just pass the hot baked rolls, please -- and the butter, too.  

  • Southern Coconut Cake

    Southern Coconut Cake

    There's nothing more Easter-y in the deep South than this Southern coconut cake. It's just not Easter in many parts of the South unless a cake very like this one is being made. (Some folks like it with pineapple, but this is the original version.) 

  • Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

    Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

    There is nothing better than a well-made classic lemon meringue pie. It's the perfect balance of flavors: Tart against sweet flavors, bright against creamy flavors, fluffy against a jelly texture. It's so nicely light after a big meal. 

  • Easter Resurrection Rolls

    Easter Resurrection Rolls

    For more religious families, these Easter resurrection rolls are a classic Southern tradition. Parents show their kids how to bake the marshmallow inside the roll, then reveal how it disappears once it's baked -- an allegory for the holiday. 

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