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Food

Easy Time-Saving Tips for Classic Easter Dishes

For families juggling the pressures of work, school or other commitments, putting together an Easter meal can feel like a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be this way. This year, let your Easter brunch or dinner be a source of joy – not stress – with these time-saving ideas.

Around the world, Easter is associated with a variety of diverse traditions: Bermudan kite flying, Polish butter lambs and, of course, Easter egg hunts. Easter is a time to celebrate with loved ones, but the fast pace of contemporary life can often make this holiday feel unnecessarily stressful.

Stop letting time-consuming traditional recipes hold you back

Traditional Easter dishes, such as roasted lamb and honey-baked ham, are an essential part of the holiday for many families. Unfortunately, these recipes also require hours of preparation time that can steal away meaningful family moments. So unless your holiday survival plan involves avoiding your in-laws by barricading yourself in the kitchen, you may want to think about whether all of that effort is really worth it.

If cooking for Easter is starting to feel like a dreaded chore, then consider making some tweaks to your holiday traditions. Think about using efficient cooking methods, time-saving shortcuts and savvy task delegation to avoid a meltdown in the kitchen and actually enjoy your holiday.

Welcome efficiency in planning Easter dinner

Did you know that 78% of Americans who celebrate Easter recently reported that they find hosting a large dinner in their homes to be stressful? According to this survey by the New York Post, the Easter menu was a significant source of the respondents’ stress. Hosts reported worrying about preparing the correct amount of food, estimating how long cooking would take and whether their guests would like the dishes served.

Embrace these shortcuts to cut stress

Make a sweet potato casserole just as creamy and sweet as the traditional version with only 5 minutes of prep when you use canned yams. There’s no need to peel or boil your sweet potatoes. This fluffy casserole can be prepped the day before.

Skip the classics and eat rotisserie chicken instead. Once everyone gets over the initial shock of no Easter lamb or ham, they’ll remember that rotisserie chicken, with its crispy exterior and perfectly tender meat, is just as delicious as classic Easter main dishes. You won’t have to worry about overcooking, undercooking or any cooking: just pick it up from your grocery store and you’re ready to dine.

Use frozen ingredients that require little prep. Classic side dishes like funeral potatoes can be made using frozen hash browns and canned soup for an easy and convenient side dish. Want to save even more time? Prep this cheesy side the night before.

Balancing tradition and time

If you’re not ready to let go of your cherished Easter traditions just yet, there are still some ways to save time in the kitchen.

Make dishes in advance

If possible, try to get some tasks out of the way before your big celebration, so that the day itself is less overwhelming. Think about setting the table, preparing soups and chopping ingredients in advance. It takes some extra planning, but you’ll thank your past self for it.

Simplify, simplify, simplify

When Henry David Thoreau spoke these words, he probably wasn’t thinking about hosting Easter celebrations. Nonetheless, his advice not to let life be “frittered away by detail” holds true for many different situations, especially in the kitchen. For example, you don’t need elaborate sauces to create a mouthwatering Easter ham: this no-fuss glaze, which requires just three ingredients, is an easy way to add a burst of flavor to your dinner table.

Don’t let holiday celebrations break the bank

With rising food costs, it’s no surprise that Easter spending hit a record $24 billion in 2023. Some expenses are unavoidable, but it’s difficult to truly relax and enjoy time with your family if you’re stressed about your latest grocery bill. This Easter, consider reducing costs by implementing a meal planning template that will help you make the most of bulk buying and sales flyers.

Let teamwork make the dream work

Creating holiday magic takes a lot of effort, and you shouldn’t have to do it all by yourself. Don’t be shy to politely ask for help when it comes to picking up dessert, bringing salads or taking on other delegate-able tasks this Easter. If your kids are old enough, they should also be able to help out with some of the behind-the-scenes work required to create a successful holiday meal.

Practical tips for a stress-free Easter

At first, it can feel scary to depart from time-honored holiday traditions. But would you rather spend your Easter holiday scrubbing pots and pans, or hanging out with your family?

Shelby Stover (PN), the nutritional coach and self-described “lazy foodie” behind the blog Fit as a Mama Bear, clearly loves food, but she prioritizes spending time with her family during the holidays. “It used to be overwhelming to have everything ready on time. I was spending three to four hours in the kitchen,” she explains. But she wasn’t ready to give up on the big day entirely. “Easter is one of my favorite holidays and the only one I host.”

Eventually, Shelby found a way to make Easter traditions work for her, instead of the other way around. “I have now mastered how to make most of the dishes in advance so that my kitchen time during the day is cut down to roughly 90 minutes which leaves me more time to spend with family.”

What’s your favorite tip for a stress-free Easter? Let us know in the comments.


Samantha Erb

Samantha Erb is the owner ofEveryday Family Cooking, a food website focused on providing simple meals with few ingredients that still pack on the flavor. She is also an air fryer expert and the writer behind the cookbook Delicious Air Fryer Recipes.

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