Use this Easter Dinner Planner to organize your Easter Sunday celebration weeks in advance. It has a day-by-day to do list for Easter week so you can’t forget a thing! Printable Easter Dinner Planner included to hang on your refrigerator.
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The Easter Bunny is coming soon! Depending up the size of your Easter dinner/brunch there could be a good deal of preparation, especially if you are hosting out-of-town guests too. If it’s your first time hosting, it can be incredibly stressful. But, I’m going to help you keep your anxiety levels down.
Enjoying Easter dinner becomes almost impossible if you are not organized and don’t plan ahead. Procrastinating can cause a lot of stress! This detailed Easter Dinner Planner will help you be prepared and less stressed out!
“Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today!”-author unknown, but very WISE
This is TRUE! You know your big cooler that your husband takes fishing, smells like the “catch of the day” until Easter Sunday unless you clean it a week or two before. This’ll give you enough time to bleach it or buy a new one, if need be.
This Easter Dinner Planner will get you thinking as to what you need to do so you can start:
- planning your menu
- making lists
- setting up (tables, chairs, etc.)
- organizing your home
You’ll be R-E-A-D-Y rather than trying to keep up with a ticking clock with a long list of things to do. Tick-tock, tick-tock!
Now let’s get to the big question! Are you making ham or turkey?
A Honey Glazed Spiral Cut Ham or a Hickory Smoked Spiral Cut Ham is a GREAT and EASY option for Easter because it can be used for brunch or dinner. Obviously, it already being sliced helps with the time it takes to serve it.
For brunch, you can serve it with Egg Salad with Djon Mustard, Ham, Egg and Gouda Breakfast Muffins or Easter Deviled Eggs Peeps Easily just to name a few suggestions. It’s also so good with Creamy Dill Red Skin Potato Salad or Broccoli Slaw with Craisins and Pecans.
For dinner, you can serve it with Green Bean Casserole (nearly from scratch) or Honey Ginger Glazed Roasted Carrots, or Slow Cooker Creamed Corn with Bacon. Make some Cornbread with Whole Kernel Corn to go with it!
Save the ham bone to make Ham Potato and White Bean Soup! You can just freeze the bone for later use.
Don’t Have Enough Oven Space?
If you don’t have enough oven space, this affordable 22 qt. Stainless Steel Oster Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid is perfect for small kitchens with one oven! It could be a lifesaver!
Not everyone likes ham so let’s talk turkey.
It’s best to thaw your frozen turkey in a refrigerator. Here’s a frozen turkey thawing guide:
- 4 lbs. – up to 24 hours
- 8 lbs.- up to 48 hours
- 12 lbs. up to 72 hours
- 24 lbs. up to 6 days
Forgot to Thaw the Turkey?
Did you forget to thaw the turkey? Oops. It happens. Put the frozen turkey in a large container filled with enough lukewarm water to almost cover the turkey. Change the water every two hours. It will take several hours to thaw depending on turkey size. Then, store it in refrigerator until ready to season.
NOTE: This is not the recommended turkey thawing on the package but, this will work in a pinch because any bacteria that accumulates will cook off in the oven unless the turkey has salmonella, which you can’t control.
If you’ve never brined a turkey, give it a try. It’s not different than marinating a steak except you may have to cook the brine first and let it cool as with my Apple Cider Vinegar Cranberry Brown Sugar Turkey Brine + VIDEO. However, my Citrus Turkey Brine with Apple Cider Vinegar + VIDEO which makes enough for a 20 lb. whole turkey!
This brine recipe gives the turkey a remarkable flavor! Let it brine for 8-12 hours. If you’re unsure if your turkey thawed, brining it will finish the job.
Use a turkey brine bag. It’s thicker than a roaster bag. Put the turkey and brine in the brine bag and then put it in a roaster pan (just in case the bag leaks) to brine in your refrigerator, a cooler with ice or outside, if it is cold enough.
Read the turkey package. Some turkeys have added salt. Therefore, you may want to adjust the salt in the brine recipe.
Prepping the Turkey
If you don’t want to brine the turkey, inject the turkey with seasonings instead. Use a meat thermometer to check when the turkey is done roasting. It is recommended to let the turkey rest covered once removed from the oven so the juices become more savory.
The resting time can be from 30 to 90 min. It will still be hot to serve. During the turkey resting time, you can bake your side dishes or reheat them if you only have one oven.
Basting the Turkey
I only baste the covered, brined turkey hourly because the more you baste it, the more heat will come out of the oven and it will take much longer to roast. If you plan to baste every 15 minutes, plan to roast it at least one hour longer.
Oven temps vary so, keep that in mind when cooking according to package directions and add some extra time.
Need More White Meat?
Make Slow Cooker Turkey Breast (pictured above) and save oven space for your sides. Use an insulated slow cooker carrier to bring extra white meat to your mother’s or mother-in-law’s to keep it warm and avoid spills in your car. I have one and it sure comes in handy.
If you don’t already have a Multi-Function Cooker, consider getting one.
I use my Instant Pot weekly! It too can save you oven space and counter space by offering multi functions. I’ve made ricotta cheese and steel cut oats in 10 minutes! I’ve made a whole chicken it it in half the time it’d take in the oven.
Get the printable planner below the menu ideas.
The Less Stress Easter Dinner Planner
3-4 weeks before
- If your carpets need cleaning, now is the time to make the appointment.
- Think about how many people you’ll be hosting, if you will have a sit down dinner or buffet, what food your guests will like to eat and make a budget.
- Invite guests, keep track of RSVPs and what guests are bringing with Evite, Facebook Event, or Sign Up Genius which, is especially helpful if you are hosting a large crowd.
- Find out how many kids are coming so you can be prepared with juice, toys, activities, and a kids’ table, and possibly a kids’ menu if applicable.
- Plan your menu around what your guests have offered to bring, if you know yet. Keep in mind how much oven space you have and that it may be helpful if someone brings a side dish made in their own oven.
- Think about a delicious menu that is all-encompassing one or two meats, three or four sides (two starches and two non-starch vegetables) brown gravy, appetizers, dinner rolls, dessert variety, beverages, condiments, etc.
- Decide what beverages you’ll serve-both alcoholic , non-alcoholic (include coffee, tea, creamer) and kids’ drinks.
- If you will be hosting out-of-town guests, make a list of what you’ll be serving them for breakfast and lunch on Easter Day and add it to your grocery list.
- Write out a first draft menu including beverages.
- Order your lamb or ham if you wish to have a specific fresh Honey Baked Ham or similar.
- Decide what tableware you’ll use-table cloths, napkins, centerpieces, candles.
- Make a grocery list categorized by grocery section i.e. dairy, produce, meat, bakery, etc.
- Make a list of supplies for other retail stores i.e. Party City, Target, Costco Inc.
2-3 weeks before
- Confirm RSVPs and contact people from which you have not received an RSVP.
- Peruse the recipes you will be making, check your pantry and add the ingredients you need to your grocery list.
- Wash table cloths, your good dishes, serving platters, wine glasses, coolers, if needed.
- Think about table set up and your table scape. If you need to rent/borrow tables and chairs, do it now.
- If you are having a buffet-style dinner, think about where and how you’ll set up the food. If you are hosting an Easter Egg Hunt, find out how many kids are participating for each age group. Add candy, plastic eggs, plastic bags for collecting eggs to store lists or delegate this task.
- Finalize menu and store lists.
1 week before
- Any planning items that have not been done prior to now, do it!
- Peruse your recipes and make sure you have all of the ingredients you need.
- Buy non-perishable groceries, candy and plastic eggs for Easter Egg Hunt, and beverages.
- Fill plastic eggs with candy and hide them from your kids and yourself!
- Ensure you have all ingredients (perishable and non-perishable) for your menu, including all beverages.
- Clean your house and set up bedrooms (clean sheets, make room in closets and/or dresser drawers, activities for kids) for out-of-town guests if applicable.
- Clean any tables, chairs that you’ll be using.
- Think about any ingredients you forgot and buy what you still need.
- Make the desserts.
- Clean your powder room, vacuum and dust any rooms where most of your guests will be congregating.
- If there is anything else you can do on Friday that will alleviate the work for you on Saturday or Sunday, do it. Don’t procrastinate.
- If you are planning to brine meat or need to prepare/marinate the main course meat, now is the time.
- Make or prepare appetizers, cover, and store them in a second refrigerator, if you have one.
- Wash and cut up vegetables you’ll be using for side dishes.
- Prepare and cook side dishes if they can be made ahead.
- Move furniture out of high traffic areas
- Set up tables and chairs
- Remove extraneous small appliances and kitchen items from your counter tops to make extra space.
- Ask a family member to decorate and help set the tables.
- If you are holding an Easter Egg Hunt, ask someone to hide the eggs and give bags to kids.
- Have someone buy or bring ice if you need it.
- Chill white wine and/or beer and set up your bar.
- Set the table(s) with table cloths, silverware, napkins, centerpieces, and light candles.
- Bake or cook the main dish and side dishes .
- Make the gravy from the meat pan drippings, if you are making your own gravy.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help setting up, cooking, cleaning up afterward. Your closest family members will not mind helping a gracious host. Smile, take breaks and have a wonderful Easter!
Easter Dinner Planner PDF (free printable planner checklist ) with sample menu allows you to start planning your Easter Dinner up to four weeks in advance.
TIP: Print the Easter Dinner Planner checklist and attach it to your refrigerator until Easter!
Sample Easter Dinner Menu
Herb Stuffing, Italian Easter Pie
Italian Easter Bread, Dinner rolls & butter
Wine, Watermelon Pineapple Mojitos and/or beer
Sweet Tea, Lemonade, Soft Drinks, Water
Fresh fruit, fruit salad or fruit mold
This “Easter Bunny Butt Cake will steal the show at Easter Brunch” as featured for five years in a row in Country Living 11 Adorable Easter Bunny Cakes That Will Steal the Show at Easter Brunch.
Easter Sunday is a time to celebrate the holiday and enjoy being with treasured family and friends. If you would rather be socializing instead of stressing about last-minute hosting tasks, then use this The Easter Dinner Planner PDF each week and the days preceding Easter so you can enjoy your family time with less stress!
See more Easter recipes!
NOTE: This post was updated on December 28, 2021.