4 Traditional British Foods To Eat This Easter

April 17, 2019

Easter is my least favourite holiday. I hate chocolate, I worship no one and vomit at the sight of bunnies. But, there is one part of this Christian holiday that I enjoy- Easter food.

“But if no chocolate eggs, what is Easter food?” I hear you cry. Well, my poor uninformed foodie here’s a little list of traditional British Easter foods that have been concocted by hungry people during their annual 40-day fast.

Hot Crossed Buns

Ok, so these warm, crisp bundles of doughy joy are for Good Friday rather than Easter but they deserve a mention.

At their core, they are basically teacakes with a flour cross plastered on the top. They’re usually jammed with raisins and are traditionally made dairy-free due to milk being forbidden during Lent. 

Throughout time, many superstitions have surrounded the humble hot cross bun. People used to say that sharing a bun with a friend on Good Friday will ensure a friendship that lasts all year. And in the 18th century, some considered them lucky charms and hung them in ships or their own kitchens to protect from disaster. I’m not sure if year-old hot cross buns will bring in good luck, but I can guarantee it will bring in flies. 

The Art & History Of The Sunday Roast

Roast Lamb

Like Christmas, British people eat a variation of a Sunday Roast on Easter and Lamb is the signature meat. Roast Lamb has been the centrepiece at Easter for quite some time.

Many think the origins began because a roast lamb was originally a Jewish tradition during Passover. Historians say, that when Christianity became a new religion, many Jews converted and didn’t want to part with their tradition of eating lamb, so they kept it. Now Atheists, like me, carry on the tradition of eating lamb on this day because life is hard and everyone needs a treat.


For me, chocolate eggs are the worst. When I was younger, every egg I received, I stored away. I always hoped that one day, I’d wake up in the mood for chocolate, and there, conveniently in the bottom of my cupboard would lay the chocolate eggs, sparkling in their foil wrappers. But the reality was, that day never came. Every year the chocolate would turn a speckled white and I’d have to throw them away. It would take a lot of therapy to get over the smell.

Chocolate eggs made their debut in the Victorian era when a company called Fry & Sons produced the first chocolate egg. They chose the shape of an egg because eggs were already associated with Easter. And they were probably too lazy to make a chocolate shaped rabbit.

It wasn’t long before rivals Cadburys produced their own Easter chocolate treats. But as time drew on, the simple chocolate egg became a permanent feature of Easter.

Before chocolate factories, the norm was just eggs. In the Christian religion, eggs are given up for Lent. So when Lent came to a tasty end on an Easter Sunday morning, people would have a vast number of uneaten eggs from their consistently fertile chickens. In a time sans fridges and freezers, people would hard boil their eggs to make them last longer or they’d decorate them to give them some sort of purpose in this world. Now, I just eat multiple egg mayo sandwiches and pray that my bowels be kind.

British Easter Food Simnel Cake
Photo Source: Lakeland.co.uk

Simnel Cake

The often forgotten Simnel is a fruit cake covered in yellow dread aka Marzipan. On top, it’s decorated with 11 marzipan balls, each representing Jesus’ disciples (minus bad boy Judas). Sometimes, people mix in a drop of brandy if they’re feeling edgy.

Around the 1930s, it was said that the cake was invented during an old British couple’s domestic; Simon and Nelly couldn’t decide what cake to make for their children. Nelly wanted to use her Lenten dough while Simon wanted to use left-over Christmas mincemeat. Unable to reach a conclusion, they decided throwing furniture around would help their partner see things more clearly. Although it sounds like an argument for the police to handle, in the 1930s it would have probably been classed as ‘tiff’.

Thankfully, the dramatic couple calmed down or got tired and they eventually reached a compromise. The story goes that a broken stool was used to boil the pudding, a broken broomstick fired up the oven and eggs that had been smashed were used to glaze the pastry. They dubbed their unsanitary cake the Simnel cake. It’s unclear whether more furniture was damaged in discussions of the cake-naming.

Do you have your own Easter food traditions? I’d love to hear them and maybe steal recipes if they sound yum.

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