The 7 most useful make-ahead recipes for Easter

Give yourself time to have fun over the bank holidays with our seven most useful make-ahead recipes for Easter. However much we love cooking, no ones wants to spend too much time in the kitchen when guests arrive and the festivities begin. Get a head start on these seven crowdpleasing dishes – including a sumptuous ragù for pasta, scene-stealing crispy potatoes and sweet bake to slice and share – so you can enjoy a long spring weekend of feasting alongside your friends and family.

The 7 most useful make-ahead recipes for Easter

1. The veg-based side dish

Baked chicory with ham
Slightly bitter white chicory, grown in the dark as a ‘forced’ salad vegetable, is at its peak in early spring. Here, it’s wrapped in ham and cooked under a cosy blanket of cream, gruyère and parmesan. It makes a great side for roasts or can star in a veg-led dinner.
How to make ahead: Complete step 1 up to 3 days ahead and keep the chicory covered in the fridge before finishing the recipe.

Baked chicory with ham 7 most useful make-ahead recipes for Easter


2. The veggie starter

Pea soup with dill and wasabi crème fraîche
This fresh soup sings of spring – with a lick of wasabi heat for added sophistication. The addition of wasabi peas is optional here, but they do add a good crunch against the velvety soup, along with an extra spike of heat.
How to make ahead: Make up to 3 days ahead but don’t add the crème fraîche until you reheat the soup so it doesn’t split.

Two bowls of pea soup 7 most useful make-ahead recipes for Easter


3. The potato side dish

Pommes anna with lemon and sage
Pommes anna is a dish of thinly sliced potatoes baked in layers, similar to dauphinois. There’s no cream added, though. Instead, the potatoes are cooked in butter enriched with the wonderful flavours of sage, garlic and lemon. Perfect served with all types of meat, fish and vegetables.
How to make ahead: Cover the tray with foil and cook at 170°C fan/gas 5 for 35 minutes. Cool, then chill for up to 3 days. To serve, cook at the same temperature without the foil for 15 minutes until golden and heated through.

Pommes anna with sage make-ahead recipes


4. The nibble and dip

Polenta chips with salsa verde
Crunchy on the outside but soft and creamy in the middle, these polenta fries are served with a tangy salsa verde and mayonnaise for dipping.
How to make ahead: Make up to the end of step 3, then cover and chill for up to 2 days. You can also fry the chips ahead of time, cool and chill for 24 hours, then reheat in a 160°C fan/gas 4 oven for 5 minutes.

Polenta chips with salsa verde


5. The meaty slow braise

Pork stifado
Stifado is a classic Greek stew, originally made with rabbit, but often now using pork or beef. The addition of warming spices gives it an Easter flavour. Here the spinach is added at the end, so if making ahead, omit it until you reheat for serving.
How to make ahead: Make up to the end of step 3, then cool, cover and chill for up to 3 days or freeze. Continue from step 4 (defrost the stew first if frozen) when you’re ready to serve.

Pork stifado make-ahead Easter recipes


6. The lazy brunch treat

Hot cross banana Easter bread
Banana bread meets hot cross buns in this wonderful Easter tea bread. A brioche-style dough is layered with a spiced almond and banana paste, then plaited and gently folded into a loaf tin. Serve as it is or with freshly sliced mango, greek yogurt and a little honey.
How to make ahead: The loaf will keep well for several days, wrapped in foil in an airtight container. You can toast slices under a hot grill.

Hot cross banana bread make-ahead Easter recipes


7. The posh pasta main

Lamb ragù
Slow-cooked lamb shoulder makes the perfect base for a rich and meaty sauce for pasta. It can be made a couple of days ahead, letting the flavours meld. The boned shoulder is cooked as a whole piece, then shredded into the rich sauce.
How to make ahead: Cool, cover and freeze after adding the olives, capers and parsley.

Lamb ragù make-ahead Easter recipes

Looking for inspiration for your Easter weekend feasting? Browse our Easter lunch or Easter roast collections.

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