Easter breads figure prominently in many cultures’ celebrations and are often the centrepiece of a festive Easter breakfast or dinner table. In my kitchen, Easter is the time where fresh, seasonal and local Scottish produce can take centre stage again. The herbs in my allotment tend to have sprung back to life and the rhubarb is back to its vigorous growth. Easter is also a great opportunity to get creative with bread, to get back to colourful and beautifully decorative sweet and savoury bakes. Here is my personal selection of the best Easter bread recipes I’ve tried and tested over the years or developed myself.
While the breads in this list are designed for Easter celebrations, they are equally good any other time of the year!
Best Easter bread recipes: sweet
These sweet Easter bread recipes all have one thing in common. They are based on heavily enriched doughs (eggs, butter, milk) and are abundantly laden with luxurious ingredients such as dried fruit and precious spices.
- Hot cross buns
The UK’s very own spiced fruit buns marked with sweet icing. Use Andrew Whitley’s recipe for the real deal although I only use 1/2 the raisin quantity and 1/3 of the crystallised ginger. A beautiful recipe for delicious Easter buns!
This Romanian Easter recipe baked in a spring form will produce a deliciously soft braided bread circle with a beautiful cheesecake-like filling. Follow this recipe by Roxana’s Home Baking.
One of the most impressive sweet Easter breads, this tall and cylindrical Russian Easter bread rises high and golden and is decoratively topped with white icing. You’ll need a panettone-style baking mould to get the desired shape; here’s an authentic recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen. I like to make my Kulich extra special by topping the icing with freshly plucked edible flower petals from the garden.
A typical Austrian Easter bread from the Southern region of Styria. Wonderfully different based on the anise-wine flavour. Works equally well with afternoon tea and cold cuts of ham.
- Easter bread wreath
A simple Easter bread wreath, made special by the generous use pistachio kernels for dough and topping.
Best Easter bread recipes: savoury
Easter breads don’t have to be sweet. Savoury Easter breads are perhaps lesser known but I promise you, they will deliver on taste and celebratory effect just as much as the sweet bread recipes.
A delicious Spanish Easter bread with a ham, chorizo sausage and hard-boiled egg filling. Very moreish. Use this well-researched Hornazo recipe by Ruchik Randhap.
Cheese-filled Easter pastries from Cyprus. I don’t usually like to refer to Paul Hollywood recipes when it comes to bread baking, but on this occasion I will because this recipe for flaounes works very well indeed.
- Torta Pasqualina
This is more pie than bread but I feel it deserves a mention nonetheless. I love the taste of spring this Italian pie from Liguria evokes. Make your own pastry dough with this recipe for torta pasqualina by David Tanis instead of using shop-bought puff or filo. I use Swiss chard for the greens which I prefer to spinach and usually add fresh herbs such as parsley and dill.
Another Italian bread, this time from the Southern city of Naples. Filled with Italian cheeses, ham, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, olives and oregano, this bread is stuffed to the brim with Italian goodness. Recipe for Casatiello Napoletano here. Prepare a day ahead to increase scrumptiousness.