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Traditional Easter Breads Around the World – 10+ Easter Bread Recipes

Celebrating Easter wouldn’t be the same without the appearance of freshly baked Easter breads. For many, it’s a non-negotiable part of the holiday festivities.

Though holiday traditions vary regionally, one thing everyone can agree on is serving their own traditional Easter bread for the holiday.

Easter breads, like Easter lilies, decorated eggs, the Easter bunny, and dogwood trees, are one of the symbols of Easter.

If you’re interested in holiday symbolism, make sure to check out our posts to learn more about the symbols of your favorite holidays: Thanksgiving, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

A text overlay above a blue background with Italian Easter breads on the right side that reads "Easter breads from around the world, get the recipes at Always the Holidays" and the words for various traditional Easter breads including osterbrot, tsoureki, pane di pasqua, choereg, kozunak, paska, hot cross buns, cozonac, babka and kulich.

What are traditional Easter breads?

Easter breads are a special type of bread served during the Easter holiday season. Easter bread recipes, ingredients and appearance and vary from country to country.

Some Easter breads are braided, and some are in a boule (ball) shape. Some are topped with slivered almonds, while other are drizzled with an icing glaze.

Text that reads "Easter Pastry" around various Easter breads, including kulich (Russian Easter bread), pane di pasqua (Italian Easter bread) and tsoureki (Greek Easter bread) and hot cross buns, along with other symbols of Easter.

Certain varieties of Easter breads have dyed Easter eggs baked into the dough, and others omit this detail.

All Easter breads have spices baked into the dough, though the particular spices vary regionally. Many have dried fruits like raisins (or even rum-soaked raisins) baked into them.

What is the meaning of Easter bread?

While the various Easter breads have their differences, they are all used to celebrate the Easter holiday and symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter breads like hot cross buns (England) and Osterbrot (Germany) have cross symbols either etched into or piped onto the bread. This cross represents Jesus’s crucifixion.

Pane di Pasqua, which comes from Italy, is formed in a circular shape with a hole in the middle. This gives the bread the appearance of a crown which represents Jesus’s crown of thorns.

A pane di pasqua (Italian Easter bread) with dyed Eggs in it on a wooden cutting board, on top of a white wooden background with other pastel Easter eggs arranged around it.

Several Easter breads like Choereg (Armenia), Tsoureki (Greece) and Kozunak (Bulgaria) are made from a three stranded braid. This braid represents the holy trinity.

Other Easter breads like Pane di Pasqua (Italy) and Tsoureki (Greece) have dyed eggs baked into the dough. These eggs symbolize the fertility and rebirth of spring, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The meaning of Easter bread is directly related to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, which is why these breads are served during the holiday season.

When should you eat Easter bread?

If you’re wondering when to eat these Easter breads, you can look to their etymology for a clue. Germany’s Osterbrot literally translates from German to mean Easter (Oster) bread (brot).

Similar to how king cake is only meant to be eaten during Mardi Gras, many of these Easter breads are meant to only be consumed during the holiday season.

A basket of fresh baked Easter bread in the shape of bunny rabbits in a white serving tray on a doily, with robins egg candies arranged around the tray.

When to eat these Easter breads varies by country. These Easter breads are usually enjoyed on Christian feast days like Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Some Easter breads like Cozonac (Romania), Kozunak (Bulgaria) and Choereg (Armenia) are also eaten during Christmas celebrations.

What are the different breads for Easter?

There are many traditional Easter breads from around the world. We’ve listed a few below.

A handmade chocolate babka (Polish Easter bread) on parchment paper on top of a wooden cutting board.

If we missed the Easter bread you enjoy during the holiday season please leave us a comment. We would love to add it to the list!

  • England – hot cross buns
  • Italy – Pane di Pasqua
  • Greece – Tsoureki
  • Romania – Cozonac
  • Bulgaria – Kozunak
  • Armenia – Choereg
  • Ukraine – Paska
  • Poland – Babka
  • Russia – Kulich
  • Germany – Osterbrot
  • Portugal – Folar da Pascoa
  • Czechia – Mazanec 


Easter bread recipes

If you’d like to make one of these traditional Easter bread recipes yourself, check out the links below.

Traditional Easter Breads Around the World - 10+ Easter Bread Recipes

Expand your Easter celebrations this year to include one of these traditional Easter bread recipes from around the world!

National bread days

If you love sweet and savory breads as much as we do, you’ll be excited to know there are several national days of the year dedicated to bread of all kinds!

National days of the year are a fun way to celebrate odd and unusual foods, animals and items that you come into contact with. Be sure to check out my national day’s guide for more fun days to celebrate.

Various types of bread for National Bread Day, including but not limited to French baguettes, sourdough loaves, and boules.

Here are all of the national bread days throughout the year in chronological order:

  • January 6 is National Shortbread Day
  • February 23 is National Banana Bread Day
  • March 31 is National French Bread Day
  • April 1 is National Baked Sourdough Bread Day
  • April 10 is National Cinnamon Crescent Day
  • June 5 is National Gingerbread Day
  • September 11 is National Hot Cross Bun Day
  • September 16 is National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day
  • October 4 is National Cinnamon Roll Day
  • October’s last Friday marks National Breadstick Day
  • October 30 is Pumpkin Bread Day
  • November 11 is National Homemade Bread Day
  • December 22 is National Date Nut Bread Day (also on September 8)

In 1987, Ronald Reagan proclaimed that November become National Family Bread Baking Month. Try celebrating these national bread days by making some bread recipes of your own! 

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Looking for more Easter content?

If you enjoyed learning about Easter breads, and getting these Easter bread recipes, be sure to check out some of our other Easter themed posts!

Three bird's nest cupcakes for Easter on a white plate with Easter grass behind them, tiny pink plastic Easter eggs in the front, and purple Easter bunny picks sticking out of the cupcakes which are decorated with brown frosting in swirls to look like a bird's nest and pastel robins egg candies in each of the nests made of icing.

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Would you like a reminder of this post with bread recipes for Easter? Just pin this image to one of your Easter boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

Three Italian Easter breads (pane di pasqua) on a white background surrounded by yellow tulips, pastel pink Easter eggs, and tiny white robin's egg candies with a text overlay above it that reads "Easter breads from around the world, get the recipes at Always the Holidays"..

Jess author photoAbout the author

Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics. Find out more about Jess here.

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