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Our Easter Tradition (AKA The Easiest Easter Party Meal That We Look Forward To All Year That Pleases The Whole Crowd)

This year we MIGHT be able to have a little Easter gathering at our house – the sod is going in as I write this and while the work won’t be done (and our driveway is painfully broken up, waiting to be redone) I’m hoping to execute my favorite Easter tradition – a ham, mustard, and pickle sandwich bar. I have no pictures of this tradition but will be sure to document it this year. We started this in LA years ago and it was SUCH a crowd pleaser, so easy, relatively affordable, kids loved it, adults loved it, and I don’t think I can ever look back. Here’s what you’ll need:

The Universal Power of The Humble Hawaiian Rolls

Y’all I didn’t know these existed until 9 years ago when we started doing sliders for kids’ parties, and my goodness the sweetness of these rolls combined with the saltiness of the ham is incredible. Last year I got pretzel rolls, too, just to give variety but everyone gobbles up the Hawaiian rolls first. So soft and sweet – don’t bother getting the healthier options. 

Honey Baked Ham

You’ll likely need to order ahead, but this is the only time of year that we really indulge in ham (and if you are vegetarian this sandwich totally still works with multiple slices of cheese). They usually pre-score it for you, but if not you cut about 1/2 of it for your guests in sizes that would fit the sandwich and lay it out on a platter (you’ll have leftovers so try to give it away to guests at the end because you won’t want to eat ham for 6 months after this day).

Lots Of Cheeses

You can get a cheese variety of course, but we have found that swiss or provolone works best here. Please tell me I’m wrong in the comments and suggest another cheese that works with ham because I’m certainly open. The sharper the better and of course supporting local farms feels nice if you can:) 

Many The Mustards! 

In order to fully indulge in this sandwich bar we need many types of mustard (this is where the cost can add up if you aren’t careful, but we are a mustard family so we’ll go through them). Sure, you might be fine with just yellow – but let yourself live out all your condiment fantasies on this glorious day. Obviously dijon, spicy dijon, stone ground, etc.

Classic + Artisanal Pickles

Whatever you do, do NOT think you are above bread and butter sweet pickles. It’s my humble opinion that these are the best, despite their basic reputation. However, this is your chance to indulge in all your pickle dreams and support some local pickle makers and impress your friends (if they are into pickles – this will not impress them if they are not into pickles). Dill, spicy, sweet, relish, etc. My LA team loves Kaylin + Kaylin pickles (they swear by the honey mustard flavor) and I might have them ship a jar to me. Heck, with enough time I might even make my own. Yes, you can try relish, but for me, I love a sweet pickle SO MUCH in this sandwich that I dabble in dill but only momentarily before I head back to sweet. 


Last year I got horseradish and fried onions (from a can) which I enjoyed. You could also go for capers or literally anything canned from the condiment aisle. You can even get a variety of chips and put chips in your sandwich (if you have never done this might I suggest you stop denying yourself the deliciousness of the internal sandwich chip? Salt and vinegar, ruffled Lays, and classic salt & pepper are all good options). Lastly, we love mayo a lot but this more popular condiment takes a back seat on this day. Feel free to go full “Starke” (my maiden name) and indulge in some Miracle Whip or make your own aioli (which I just started doing and is delicious) should you want to offer something a little less artery-clogging. 🙂 

That’s about it. We usually do bunny pancakes in the morning and Brian makes deviled eggs while I make a huge delicious salad because I love combining it with a cold crunch. Then in the afternoon when we invite folks over we’ll put all the above ingredients out on platters, on the island, or dining table. Please save yourself a big headache – don’t decant or label the mustards. Just shove a knife in each jar and line them up next to each other on a table. Part of the charm of this grab-and-hang meal is its ease and casualness. This is obviously not best for a sit-down meal, it’s more for a party atmosphere. Let the kids help themselves (what’s the worst that could happen? Yes, they might just eat roll after roll but it’s Easter and they are going to have a sugar hangover regardless :)). So pop some white wine or local IPAs and indulge in what will be a joyous and gut-busting Easter day. 🙂 

Opening Image Credits: Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | Styled by Julie Rose and Velinda Hellen | From: Need Some At-Home Easter Brunch Inspo?? Our Never Before Seen Easter Shoot From Last Year Has You Covered

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1 year ago

I love this idea! And love the adorable bunny pancakes 🙂

1 year ago

What a great idea! My family would LOVE this. I’ve got to put a shout-out to a great pickle/condiments company, Bubbies–their dill relish is wonderful, and Emily, you would love their bread and butter chips.

1 year ago
Reply to  Colleen

and Bubbies brine is the best for a pickleback!

Lauren H
1 year ago

Such a sweet post and so approachable! More of this please. The unstyled photos of the bunny pancakes are great too.

1 year ago

We love sharp white or sharp orange cheddar and ham.

Also, this eliminates some of the ease, but there is a recipe for melting 1 stick of butter butter, quarter cup brown sugar, adding 2 t. each of ground mustard, minced onion and poppyseeds, 1 T. Worcestershire and pouring over top a tray of assembled meat and cheese sammies on Hawaiian rolls and briefly baking at 350 til cheese melts. It is heavenly.

The honey baked ham + mustard options with your sammies probably includes most of those ingredients, so the pour over would work for someone who only has access to grocery store deli ham.

I love this sandwich bar idea. Brilliant. Thanks.

Shannon L.
1 year ago
Reply to  J

I second that this recipe is heavenly, but I leave put the sugar and use the same honey baked ham!

Going to the Easter morning church service is a must for me, and then usually the menu ends up being BBQ-ish for us in Houston. Deviled eggs too!!

1 year ago

This is so fun, thank you for the idea and the encouragement to keep it fun and casual. Happy Easter everyone!

1 year ago

I imagine this tradition is shared by many, but this post is nearly identical to one in Allison Roman’s newsletter (Holiday Ham Party).

1 year ago
Reply to  OnePotatoTwo

Does/should anyone have a patent on the idea of “easy ham sandwiches”?

1 year ago
Reply to  OnePotatoTwo

Just what I was thinking—love that two of my favorites are on the same wavelength!! Alison has a video too if you want to see it in action. (A sandwich bar like this was my family’s lunch MO every summer weekend growing up, with lots of condiments and add-ons like pickles and chips, and friends/cousins/other littles bouncing in and out… so fun, and sounds extra delicious with actual ham instead of deli meat!)

Mary B.
1 year ago

This is a fantastic idea! We are traveling this year, but I am storing this one away for future Easters (and maybe other holidays/gatherings too!) Sounds like my favorite way to entertain – easy and without fuss!

Cici Haus
1 year ago

I love this idea! How fun – and would work for us since our kitchen will be torn apart over Easter!

Cris S.
1 year ago

Every family is different, but instead of giving away the left over ham we split the meat from the picked over ham bone in half and one half-ish goes in the soup pot with the bone and makes amazing ham and bean soup (one of the few bean recipes my daughter liked because that type of soup was described in the Laura Ingels Wilder books) and the other half-ish gets chopped and most goes into Martha Stewart’s Mac and Cheese recipe. I say ‘ish’ because I always hold a bit back to chop up fine for ham spread/dip on crackers for the next day. Hmmmm. No wonder my husband won’t let me switch to lamb for Easter dinner.

E E Deere
1 year ago

Oh, Bubbies! The champion of all pickles, and their bread and butter pickles are great. Good idea.
In the PNW: maybe a nice sharp aged Tillamook cheddar, or Beecher’s cheese which has a gruyere/cheddar vibe.

1 year ago

Love this idea! I was going to chime in and say “but what about deviled eggs?!” but I see you’ve got that covered And the leftover ham hock makes for great split pea soup.
Ditto other posters on Bubbies pickles! The best.

1 year ago

Love this! Our preschooler LOVES mustard, so I think this would be a hit at our house.

Roberta Davis
1 year ago

Sounds like a nice way to enjoy Easter!

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago

So. Well. Written! Yaaay!🤗

As a vegetarian since I was 7 (my parents realised it was for real eventually!), I suggest thinly sliced Haloumi cheese?? (maybe get this done at place-of-purchase coz it’s not easy to slice really thinly)
You cook it in an un-lidded pan, until golden on both sides.
No oil/butter needed-use a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron pan.
Haloumi is salty, and strong like ham. So the flavour combination would be so fantastic!!!

I love the casual nature of this gathering.
No stuffy formality.
Love the bunny pancakes.🐇

1 year ago

What a great idea for a party! Easy and fun and delicious.

Annie K.
1 year ago

Yummmmy in my tuuuuuuummmmy!

1 year ago

I’ve always agreed with the old saying that “eternity is two people and a ham” so having company to help eat the Easter ham is a good thing. I like this buffet of sandwich makings idea, but I’d add potato salad and/or coleslaw to the mix of offerings. If you don’t want to make the coleslaw yourself, KFC makes good slaw that is always fresh.

1 year ago

The stack of Tony’s Chocalonely bars in the checkout has me yearning….. I live in Canada, I haven’t been able to find them here – correction, they are available on Canadian Amazon, at about $12 a bar. Lol!!!! I had my first one at the JFK Airport in New York and fell in looooove. Is $12 too much to spend? Lol!!!

1 year ago

I could definitely eat an atheist vegan version of that sandwich.

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago
Reply to  Marisa

Try the Haloumi. 😜

1 year ago

If you want to try your hand at making your own pickles, a company local to me makes pickle kits that are super tasty!

1 year ago

Love the idea of an unfussy holiday meal like this.

Mary C
1 year ago

We do this along with cheesy hash browns in the crockpot. My mom came from a family of 7 and all had spouses and kids. My grandma would have ham and potato salad every Christmas Eve,. That way as people went in and out all night, they could serve themselves when they were hungry.

1 year ago

I do this too (honey bake sandwich bar) but not necessarily for Easter.
On Easter we do the bunny thing but with a roll of sugar cookie dough and decorating the bunnies is a contest tge kids do while the Easter bunny is hiding the eggs in the yard.

1 year ago

This is so fun! Emily, would you mind sharing the salad recipe you make to go with this? I’d love to have the perfect complement!

1 year ago

love this. best sandwich potato chip is japaleno! spice and crunch in one.

1 year ago

Grillo’s Pickles are even better than Bubbie’s in my opinion!