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Southern Hot Cross Buns

Kate Williams

Southern Hot Cross Buns

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17 recipes to create an unforgettable Easter brunch spread

Here at Southern Kitchen, we’re all about living our best brunch life (seriously — we even built a brunch board!). For many Southerners, Easter Sunday is a kind of brunch Olympics featuring beloved baked goods, egg dishes and of course a glorious ham.  

Whether you're planning on attending a brunch or hosting one, there are several recipes that should certainly be on the table. While this list features a lot of traditional Easter brunch fare (hello hot cross buns), there are also some dishes on here that are a little more daring in all the right ways. Under no circumstances should you feel beholden to tradition. All is fair in love and brunch.

Check out some of our favorite recipes below.

Southern Hot Cross Buns
Add in some Southern sweetness with this twist on traditional hot cross buns. A splash of bourbon gives the dough a deep, sweet flavor that tastes even better when baked in a good hand-forged roasting pan.
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Classic Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
If you're looking for the perfect biscuit, look no further than these classic, buttery, buttermilk biscuits. For the best results, seek out White Lily self-rising flour; its low protein content will help produce the lightest, fluffiest biscuits. If you can't find it, you can substitute your favorite self-rising flour, but be aware that your results may vary.
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Sausage Sawmill Gravy for Biscuits
When it comes to biscuits and gravy, what takes a dish from good to unforgettable is that sauce — and our sausage gravy does just that. We’ve upped the gravy ante by making a few key ingredient choices, like using half and half instead of traditional milk, so we can get the most bang for our buck. We recommend spooning this over some homemade biscuits.
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Buttermilk Pancakes
This is a great all-purpose pancake recipe. You can customize it to your liking by adding fruit or nuts to the batter either before or during the cooking process — just be sure not to overwork the batter so that you keep your pancakes light and fluffy. 
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Stuffed French Toast with Strawberries
This dish pairs some of the spring season's best fruit with a classic breakfast dish. Strawberry stuffed French toast is sure to make a splash on your brunch table when you set it out in front of guests. This recipe calls for fresh strawberries and day old bread to help make magic. 
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Anne Byrn's Make-Ahead Breakfast Strata
Fair warning: This meal does require a bit of prep the day before, but all you need to do the morning of is pop this dish in the oven to get nice and toasty. The results of your make-ahead planning — a gooey and golden combination of cheese, egg, ham, and vegetables — will make your future self all the more grateful.
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Citrus and Fennel Salad
This refreshing salad will add a bit of brightness to your brunch table with crunchy shaved fennel and tart-sweet citrus. If you have guests who are heat-adverse, stop slicing the jalapeño before you reach the seeds or more fiery part of the membrane of the chile, or just omit the pepper altogether.
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Buttermilk Waffles
A cast iron waffle iron will make the difference between good and great waffles by giving them a crisp exterior with a soft interior. Try topping your crispy waffles with some fresh fruit or honey-fermented blueberries
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Asparagus with Crispy Poached Eggs and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
A warm bacon vinaigrette perfectly contrasts the rich egg yolk and tender-crisp asparagus in this elevated brunch offering. This recipe may involve a little more timing and planning than others, but the results — from the perfectly blanched asparagus to the golden poached eggs — are so worth it.
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Country Ham Quiche
Nothing says brunch better than a homemade quiche — throw in some sweet and savory country ham and you’ve got a thoroughly Southern meal fit for any spread. We’re all about the fillings in this recipe, so don’t fret about making a crust from scratch. Frozen will work just fine. 
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Country Ham and Broccoli Frittata
Not quite a quiche and less mess than an omelet, this one-pan wonder is super customizable — use any leftover protein and veggies you might have already on hand to create a no-fuss, satisfying brunch main. Try some crumbled, pre-cooked bacon paired with peppers, or red onions, tomatoes and broccoli for a loaded veggie version.  
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Classic Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs are a Southern essential. Whether you’re hosting a summer cookout, elegant cocktail party or in this case Easter brunch, these deviled eggs will be a huge hit with your guests. You can add additional garnishes or flavor combinations, but this recipe is the basic foundation for perfect deviled eggs.
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“Pissed Off” Potatoes
These "pissed" potatoes, a play on the Spanish dish patatas bravas, are the perfect crisp, hearty side dish to some quick scrambled eggs or as a satisfying meal all their own. Tossed in an addictive spicy tomato and mayonnaise sauce, we recommend doubling up on the sauce recipe to use on just about anything — smeared onto your next grilled cheese or as a dip for some grilled chicken — for a creamy kick of heat. 
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Virginia Willis' Bourbon Baked Ham 
Get ready to blow your guests' minds with this sweet and savory baked ham recipe by Virginia Willis. Amp up the flavor of this Southern classic with bourbon, honey, orange juice and mustard. When shopping for a ham, look for one labeled “fully cooked,” “ready-to-eat” or “heat-and-serve.” Also known as “city ham,” these hams are wet-cured, meaning that they are submerged in or injected with brine, then smoked and sold fully cooked to be glazed and warmed at home. 
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Lamb Shoulder Chops with Garlic and Rosemary
Shoulder chops are a fantastic way to enjoy lamb without breaking the bank. While there is a small amount of connective tissue in the shoulder, the flavor is incredible. Marinating the meat with rosemary and garlic complements the natural flavor of the lamb. 
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Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
Fewer breakfast foods are more inherently comforting than homemade cinnamon rolls. The process is relatively easy; however, it’s crucial to allow the dough enough time to proof so the yeast can work its magic. To speed up the process, place a kitchen towel under the bowl of dough and place it on top of a heated oven or a heating pad.
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Country Ham and Peach Bites
These country ham and peach bites transform five simple ingredients into something sublime. The salty, buttery nature of country ham is a delicious foil to the fragrant peach and basil. Infusing the honey with red pepper flakes adds zing and rounds out the flavors. These one bite wonders are great with cocktails and will rev up your appetite for the main course.
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Interested in even more Easter brunch recipes? We've got you covered.

Photos (Classic Buttermilk Biscuits, Sausage Sawmill Gravy for Biscuits, Stuffed French Toast, Citrus and Fennel Salad, Buttermilk Waffles, Asparagus with Crispy Poached Eggs and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, Country Ham and Broccoli Frittata, Classic Deviled Eggs, “Pissed Off” Potatoes, Lamb Shoulder Chops, Cinnamon Rolls): Ramona King 
Photo: (Anne Byrn's Make-Ahead Breakfast Strata): Danielle Atkins 
Photo: (Virginia Willis' Bourbon Baked Ham): Virginia Willis
Photo (Country Ham and Peach Bites): Lisa Lotts


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Dena Rayess is a recipe editor and cookbook author based in San Francisco. She enjoys exploring new foodways in and around the Bay Area and beyond, and has been known to whip up a mean house cocktail at dinner parties.

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