There’s something special about this time of year. When the days get longer and the flowers start blooming, we know spring is finally here – and summer’s also not far too away.

Whether you’re planning a big Easter dinner with family or friends or just fancy doing some seasonal baking, this time of year is also a wonderful time to get creative in the kitchen. And, while Easter may be synonymous with chocolate, there’s far more to Easter baking than sweet treats!

If you’re keen to try some new baking recipes this Easter, here are 10 recipes to get you inspired.

1. Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

Let’s start with one of the most traditional Easter treats around: hot cross buns. These sweet and sticky spiced buns have become a symbol of Easter, and many of us enjoy slathering them with butter and savouring the tastes and textures of the chewy dough, plump raisins, and zesty spices.

But the humble hot cross bun also has a very interesting history. Traditionally eaten on Good Friday to commemorate the Crucifixion, these buns were essentially banned for more than 100 years by Elizabeth I, who, in 1592, forbade them to be eaten except at Christmas, Easter, and at burials.

The ban was lifted in the 1700s, and hot cross buns rocketed in popularity. They were typically sold by street criers for a ‘ha’penny’ (this is where the famous nursery rhyme comes from!) and today, they’re just as popular, with more than 20 million being sold in the UK over Easter weekend alone.

Making your own hot cross buns from scratch is easier than you think – and as an added bonus it’ll flood your home with mouthwatering aromas. You could try this classic recipe by RecipeTin Eats or keep things vegan with this recipe from BBC Good Food. For a gluten-free alternative, Tesco’s recipe is also a safe bet.

2. Easter biscuits

Easter biscuits

Another classic Easter recipe is Easter biscuits. Dusted in sugar, these large shortbread-type biscuits are lightly spiced, dotted with succulent currants, and have a deliciously satisfying crunch.

Easter biscuits originated in the West Country, and in Somerset, it’s a local tradition to flavour the biscuits with cassia oil (a cinnamon extract), which was thought to have been used to embalm Jesus’ body.

Easter biscuits were traditionally given as gifts on Easter Sunday, and they make lovely personal gifts if you’re visiting friends or family. They also make a welcome change from all the chocolate flavours that are so prevalent at this time of year! Plus, they’re quick and easy to make and store in a tin for up to two weeks.

To make traditional Easter biscuits, you might want to try this recipe from Only Crumbs Remain. Or, for plant-based biscuits, why not use this vegan recipe from Domestic Gothess? If you follow a gluten-free diet, we’d recommend making My Gluten-Free Guide’s version.

3. Torta pasqualina

Torta pasqualina

If you fancy baking something with a more international flavour (and if you prefer savoury to sweet), why not bake an Italian pie that’s traditionally eaten at Easter, known as torta pasqualina?

Originating in northwest Italy, this beautiful pie makes the perfect vegetarian main for your Easter lunch.

Historically, the pie was made with 33 layers of very thin pastry – one layer for each year of Jesus’ life – although these days, puff pastry is more commonly used. The pie is filled with spinach, ricotta cheese, and whole baked eggs, which should be visible when you cut the pie.

Torta pasqualina is meant to be served cold, so it’s great to have in the fridge over the Easter weekend in case any hungry friends drop by! You can use other leafy greens like chard, kale, and collard greens instead of spinach if you prefer.

To make authentic Italian torta pasqualina, why not have a go at this recipe from Great Italian Chefs? As an alternative, Great British Chefs do a gluten-free version and this vegan torta pasqualina by A Veg Taste From A to Z also looks tasty.

4. Simnel cake

Simnel cake

Fruitcake might be more commonly associated with Christmas, but it also has strong ties to Easter. Simnel cake is a sweeter, lighter version of the traditional fruitcake, and this delicious treat has been a British springtime tradition since medieval times.

Simnel cakes are associated with Mother’s Day (also known as Simnel Sunday), when domestic staff were given the day off to visit their mothers and baked a cake to take along as a gift. The cake is topped with 11 marzipan balls, which represent Jesus’ apostles – minus Judas!

Simnel cake is made with flour, sugar, butter, eggs, spices, dried fruit, zest, and candied peel, and has two layers of marzipan; one inside the cake and one covering it. There are regional variations of the cake, too, with Bury and Shrewsbury most famously having their own specific recipes.

If you’d like to make simnel cake, you could try this classic recipe from BBC Good Food. Alternatively, you might want to make this gluten-free, egg-free version from The Guardian, which has all the taste of marzipan without any of the allergens.

5. Asparagus and pea quiche

Asparagus and pea quiche

If you’re looking for a veggie main for your Easter lunch and don’t fancy torta pasqualina, why not make an asparagus and pea quiche?

Asparagus has got to be the most iconic of all the spring vegetables, and when paired with seasonal peas and crisp pastry, it makes the perfect lunch.

One of the best things about this dish is that there are so many variations of it and it can be tailored to your own taste preferences and dietary requirements.

If you fancy making a traditional quiche, this recipe by Domestic Gothess combines asparagus and peas with a creamy, wobbly egg filling, salty feta cheese, and a tasty parmesan pastry. Or, if you’re trying to cut down on carbs, why not make this crustless quiche by Tesco?

Alternatively, if you’re watching your cholesterol or you don’t eat eggs, you could try making this vegan pea and asparagus quiche by Use Your Noodles, which is beautifully decorated with spring flowers.

6. Carrot cake

Carrot cake

While carrot cake isn’t really a traditional Easter treat, it’s a popular choice for this time of year, especially in the US – partly due to its connections with the Easter bunny! But while it makes the perfect Easter dessert, carrot cake is so delicious that you don’t need an excuse to make it.

Carrot cake first became popular in the Middle Ages – mainly because sugar was expensive and carrot acted as a good sweetener. Then, due to rationing, its popularity skyrocketed again during WW2 and since then it’s been one of the nation’s favourite cakes.

Moist, light, topped with nuts and with a luscious cream filling, carrot cake is also incredibly easy to make. Aside from being a beautiful dessert, it’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up – especially served with a cup of tea.

If you’re in the mood for a carrot cake this Easter, why not try our own delicious carrot recipe? Or, for a gluten-free alternative, this recipe from Jamie Oliver is quick and easy. To make a fully plant-based version, Loving It Vegan’s recipe is a great option too.

7. Easter bread

Easter bread

If you prefer bread to cakes, you might want to try making some Easter bread. Traditionally eaten in Italy and Greece, Easter bread is made with sweet, soft brioche dough that’s formed into wreaths and braided together, and the zingy flavours of citrus and star anise add a fresh, spring-time flavour.

Hard-boiled eggs are dyed bright colours and baked into the bread, and to add even more festivity, colourful sprinkles are scattered over the top. You can eat Easter bread as a snack (it’s lovely with a cup of coffee!) but it also makes a great starter or side for your Easter lunch.

To make authentic Italian Easter bread, why not have a go at this classic recipe from An Italian In My Kitchen? Or, if you’d prefer to make a milder-tasting bread without the spices and citrus, you could try this version from Delish. You can also make gluten-free Easter bread using Faithfully Gluten Free’s recipe.

8. Savoury hot cross buns

Savoury hot cross buns

If you love hot cross buns but are watching your sugar intake – or you just fancy making an alternative version of these quintessentially Easter treats – why not make savoury hot cross buns this year?

Perfect for breakfast, lunch or a quick snack, savoury hot cross buns also make seriously great sandwiches.

If you love cheese, why not make Tesco’s triple cheese hot cross buns? The sultanas are swapped for cheddar, parmesan and feta, which are baked into the buns, and fresh chives inject extra flavour. Or for some heat, why not try these chilli and cheese hot cross buns by Delicious?Or to make them meaty, these cheddar, sage, and bacon hot cross buns from The Kate Tin look delicious!

If you’re not sure hot cross buns should be savoury, just check out these hot cross bun sandwich recipes from Woman and Home; from brie, sweet chutney, and red onion hot cross buns to porchetta and tomato, these buns are more versatile than you might think!

9. Chocolate nests

Chocolate nests

Chocolate nests are one of the simplest yet most delicious Easter treats around. You only need three ingredients to make a chocolate nest – cornflakes, chocolate and mini eggs – yet there’s something incredibly moreish about these delightfully crunchy snacks.

If you have grandchildren, making and decorating chocolate nests is a really enjoyable Easter activity and a great way for kids to get involved in the kitchen. These three-ingredient chocolate nests by BBC Good Food are especially easy to make.

While cornflakes are most commonly used in chocolate nests, shredded wheat also works well, and looks even more ‘nest-like’ – just check out these shredded wheat chocolate nests by Jane’s Patisserie.

If you want, you can even make a giant chocolate nest, like this one by Good Housekeeping, which makes the perfect no-bake Easter dessert for all the family.

10. Spring galette

Spring galette

Another dish that makes a great vegetarian main for Easter lunch – or a great-looking side – is a spring galette. Lighter than a quiche and loaded with fresh seasonal veggies, the galette can be baked in advance and reheated, so it’s perfect if you’re planning a big spread.

Though it’s really easy to prepare, a spring galette is wonderfully flavoursome; the crispy, flaky, buttery pastry is wrapped around tender asparagus and leeks and tangy cheese. You can add as many other vegetables as you like – this recipe from Serious Eats includes mushrooms, which gives the galette an earthier flavour.

Alternatively, this galette recipe by My Recipes contains artichoke hearts and peas, and this version by Marilena’s Kitchen adds bacon for a more indulgent twist. Or, if you want to keep things vegan, check out Cilantro and Citronella’s recipe.

Final thoughts…

Whether you’re looking to bake some treats for loved ones or are looking for inspiration for Easter lunch, there’s much more to Easter food than chocolate.

From traditional treats like hot cross buns and simnel cake to savoury dishes that are perfect for impressing guests, Easter is a great time to get creative in the kitchen.

If you have a sweet tooth, Easter provides you with the perfect excuse to bake a cake – and if you prefer savoury food, the delicious fresh produce that’s in season at this time of year means you’ll be spoilt for choice.

For more cooking and baking ideas and inspiration, why not head over to the food and drink section of our site?