When the air is filled with the enticing aroma of freshly baked Paska, I know the joyous season is near and it’s time to prepare delicious Ukrainian Easter food.
For me, every step of the process, from working with my grandma to make paska bread to decorating pysanky eggs, is filled with love and nostalgia.
Ukrainian tradition includes prepping a basket of food which is blessed by a priest and taken home to share with family and friends on Easter morning to “break-fast”.
I really like all the traditional dishes shared around the Easter table and I hope you get a chance to try some of them next Easter.
8 Traditional Ukrainian Easter Food Options
Paska, a dense and sweet bread decorated with elaborate braids and symbolic embellishments, is the centerpiece of Ukrainian Easter celebrations.
As a representation of Christ’s resurrection, this joyful bread has profound cultural importance.
Although almonds and candied fruits are not typical of traditional cuisine, they can be included in modern paska along with other traditional components such as flour, milk, cream, yeast, eggs, sugar, oil, and raisins.
Modern paska is most often topped with a white glaze (made of egg whites and sugar) and sprinkles. More traditional decorations are made of dough and applied to the top, such as crosses, flowers, etc.
It is common practice in the western parts of Ukraine to make a homemade cheese dish during Easter, called “syrna paska” or “cheese paska”.
It’s similar to cheesecake, and often made with raisins. The cheese filling is usually made with a combination of farmer’s cheese (or cottage cheese) and heavy cream (or sour cream).
I love eating cheese paska for Easter brunch because it’s a delightful sweet treat that’s light and soft.
I also love candied fruits whether they’re added to traditional Easter bread or cheese paska.
You can check out more traditional recipes for breakfast in Ukraine here!
The “pysanky,” or Easter eggs, are a fascinating blend of folk art and cultural heritage. Every egg has its own special tale to tell, embellished with symbolic designs and bright hues.
Pysanky are traditionally made using a wax-resist technique, which entails drawing elaborate designs on the eggs with beeswax and then dipping them in a succession of dye baths.
This hypnotic swirl of colors and symbols captures the spirit of Easter—a time of rebirth and optimism.
Soft or hard-boiled eggs are often simply painted with special dyes as well.
My grandmother always uses yellow onion skins to tint the eggs; she boils the skins in water and then soaks the eggs in the hot liquid to achieve an amber hue.
Ukrainian Easter tables aren’t complete without the aromatic kovbasa, a typical homemade sausage.
Kovbasa is a classic in Ukrainian cuisine made from a combination of seasoned meats. It’s often roasted and stored in a pot or jar with lard.
This Ukrainian sausage is an integral part of the Easter basket and festive table.
Although ham likely did not originate in Ukraine, it has grown to be a popular part of Easter feasts all around the nation.
The blend of traditional Ukrainian Easter food with modern influences is well showcased in its inclusion in the Easter feast.
Ukrainian Easter dinners aren’t complete without the sweet and twisted bread known as babka.
Rolling out the dough—enriched with sugar, eggs, and butter—with layers of chocolate, cinnamon, or dried fruits makes for a textural and flavorful whirlwind.
This Ukrainian bread is also featured in my guide to Ukrainian desserts.
Ukrainian Easter dishes often feature horseradish for an extra spicy kick. This spicy root, when grated and combined with beetroot, becomes a delicious condiment to serve with Easter meats.
As a warm and filling Easter meal, holubtsi (stuffed cabbage rolls) are a staple on Ukrainian tables.
This meal captures the spirit of home cooking by encasing rice, ground pork, and aromatic spices in cabbage leaves.
Holubtsi are served on many holidays, but I love them most at Easter because I can eat them with beet horseradish (for me, it’s the ultimate Easter condiment). And they just taste extra festive.
If you’re looking for some drinks to serve at Easter, I suggest checking out my blog post on Ukrainian drinks!
Ukrainian Easter Food FAQs
The Easter meal in Ukraine traditionally features paska (sweet yeast bread) and a selection of Easter eggs, or pysanky, which are beautifully decorated with traditional symbols and colors.
Other common items on the Easter table in Ukraine include cheese paska, kovbasa (sausage), ham, holubtsi (stuffed cabbage rolls) and more.
Ukrainian Easter festivities kick off with the Great Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and reflection leading up to Easter Sunday.
On the eve of Easter, Ukrainian people attend the midnight church service, bringing with them baskets filled with Paska, eggs, and other traditional foods for a special blessing with holy water.
After the church service, families gather for a festive meal, exchange Easter eggs, and enjoy the company of loved ones. The celebrations continue for three days.
The traditional Easter greeting in Ukraine is “Khrystos voskres!” (Christ is risen!), to which the response is “Voistynu voskres!” (Indeed, He is risen!).
Curious about other holiday dishes? Check out my guide to Ukrainian recipes for Christmas.
To discover more unusual and quirky ideas, try out these weird Ukrainian dishes and let me know what you think!
A Local’s Guide to Ukrainian Easter Food (8 Ideas)
- Paska (Easter Bread)
- Cheese Paska
- Easter Eggs
- Holubtsi (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)