10 Easter recipes from around the world

Posted by Sarah Duff on 29 March 2012

Many countries around the world celebrate Easter with delicious food such as hot cross buns, roast lamb and sweet breads. This Easter, why not try out a traditional dish from Europe, Ecuador or the US?



The tradition of eating hot cross buns at Easter is supposed to have derived from ancient Anglo-Saxons in England who baked small cakes to honour Eostre, the goddess of spring. These cakes turned into sweet buns when England converted to Christianity. Hot cross buns, which are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, are supposed to be shared – this means you’ll cement your friendship.

Other countries also have a tradition of serving sweet cakes around Easter: Poland has baba, Czech Republic has babobka, and people in Greece and Portugal serve round loaves marked with a cross and piled with Easter eggs.

 Hot cross bun recipe

Roast lamb is served in England and in European countries on Easter Sunday, a tradition that comes from the first Passover in Jewish history. A sacrificial lamb was eaten at Passover to in the hopes that the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring no harm.

Nigel Slater’s grilled lamb with feta and lemon recipe

Simnel cake goes back to Medieval times, and at Easter is topped eleven marzipan balls to represent the eleven apostles of Christ, minus Judas.

Easter simnel cake recipe

Italians serve Sweet rice pie (torta di riso) is for Easter Sunday pudding, which is made from eggs, rice, citrus and ricotta cheese. Pizza Rustica is a traditional Italian Easter savoury pie with a ricotta base which is filled with dried meats and cheeses.

Italian Easter sweet rice pie recipe

Pizza rustica recipe

Pinza, a sweet bread, is found in Austria, Germany and Slovenia.  It’s typically cut into three sections, which represent the Holy Trinity, and is often decorated with a red egg in the middle.

Pinza recipe

Pasha, a sweet curd cheese dessert, is served at Easter time in both Russia and Finland.

Pasha recipe


United States of America

In the US, ham is traditionally served at Easter. In the days before fridges, animals were slaughtered in autumn and pork was cured for spring. Because the curing process took several months, the first cured hams were only ready around Easter time.

Cola-glazed pineapple ham recipe




Fanesca is a special soup served only during the week leading up to Easter in Ecuador. It’s made with 12 different beans and grains to represent the 12 disciples.

Fanesca recipe


South Africa

Traditionally Cape Malay pickled fish is eaten on Good Friday in South Africa, alongside hot cross buns (how’s that for a combination?).

Recipe for Cape Malay pickled fish


Chocolate Easter eggs have become synonymous with Easter all over the world. Wherever you are, take part in global tradition by making your own delicious Easter eggs at home with this easy recipe.


What are your favourite Easter recipes?

 Photo by horrigans.

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