Easter Foods

Hot Cross Buns

There are some special foods eaten at Easter time, one of the most famous are Hot Cross Buns. These are often eaten in the U.K. on Good Friday. These are yeast dough buns with currants and raisins in them.

Hot cross buns

It's thought that they might have been created in the mid 1300s when a monk at St Albans Abbey, called Thomas Rodcliffe, made 'Alban Buns', which had a similar recipe to hot cross buns, and gave them to the poor on Good Friday. In 1952, the London Clerk of Markets banned the sale of spiced breads (like hot cross buns) apart from at burials and on Good Friday and Christmas.

The first record of them is from 'Poor Robin's Almanac' in 1733 wth a London street cry (to sell them) of "Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs. With one or two a penny hot cross buns". The nursery rhyme 'Hot Cross Buns' (which includes 'One a penny, two a penny, hot cross-buns') was first published in the London Chronicle in 1767.

An old superstition says that Hot Cross Buns baked on Good Friday won't go go bad or mouldy for the next year! Another says that if you hang one in the kitchen it will protect against fire and that any bread baked that year won't burn (but you have to replace the bun every year)!

Simnel Cake

Another food eaten in the U.K. at Easter time is Simnel Cake. This is a rich fruit cake covered with a layer of Marzipan. There are 11 marzipan balls put around the top of the cake that represent the 11 faithful disciples of Jesus. The cake is also has a layer of Marzipan in the middle of it!

Simnel cake

It is traditionally eaten on Mothering Sunday in the U.K. which is always on the middle Sunday of Lent. Simnel Cakes were first made by servant girls and maids to take home to their mothers on Mothering Sunday.


Pancakes are eaten on Shrove Tuesday, traditionally to use up all the fatty foods before Lent. In Denmark they eat 'Shrovetide Buns'.

Other Easter Foods

In Italy, salty Pretzels are traditionally eaten at Easter time. In Russia, little pancakes called 'Blini's' topped with anchovies and a mixture of cream, soft cream, dried fruit and orange peel called 'Paska' are eaten.

A traditional Greek Easter cake is made with Oranges and Almonds in it. It is eaten with a spicy orange sauce poured over it. In Greece, Easter breakfast might even be lamb soup!

In Ethiopia Easter breakfast, to celebrate the end of Lent, is often 'dabo' sour-dough bread. It is traditional that the bread is cut by a priest or by the head man in the family. The main Easter meal is eaten in the afternoon. The meal normally consists of a sour dough pancake called 'injera' and it is eaten with a mutton or lamb stew called 'beg wot'.

And, of course, there are Easter Eggs!!!