Whether you’ve hosted the Passover seder countless times or this is your first, you know that preparing to host a traditional meal comes with many ingredients, many steps and many instructions.

I cooked and prepared the Passover seder for the first time last year and, while I would consider it a success for a first-timer, my type-A tendencies have me approaching this year with a methodical plan. I’ve always found that the most stress-free way to approach hosting and entertaining is to create a detailed checklist (Who doesn’t love checking off items?!) and a calendar that starts as soon as the invitations have gone out the door.

Sure, the true stress-free way to host a seder might be to invite everyone over for a potluck and call it a day, but there’s something so gratifying about creating an evening full of community, tradition, meaning, warmth––all topped off with a delicious menu that you’ve cooked with care.

So whether you can rattle off each component of the seder plate effortlessly or you’ve found yourself standing in the produce aisle trying to remember what exactly a bitter herb is, this is your comprehensive Passover prep checklist. I’ve provided you with timelines, ingredient lists and recipe suggestions that are tasty and filling without being too complicated.

ONE MONTH BEFORE

Invite friends, family and anyone that may need a place to celebrate Passover. Extend the invite to Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike!

TWO WEEKS BEFORE

Take inventory of your supplies for the seder, including:

▢ Copies of the Haggadah
▢ Seder plate
▢ Kiddush cup
▢ Wine glasses
▢ Afikoman holder
▢ Candlesticks and candles
▢ Pillows for chairs to encourage lounging
▢ Tablecloth and napkins
▢ Dishware, glassware and flatware for each guest

ONE WEEK BEFORE

Follow up on invitations to get a firm headcount for the seder.

FIVE DAYS BEFORE

Make a grocery run for the following ingredients (this serves 4–6 people; scale up or down as needed):

▢ 5-pound brisket
▢ 1 whole chicken
▢ 1 dozen eggs

▢ 4 garlic cloves
▢ 5 large onions
▢ 4 stalks celery
▢ 4 parsnips
▢ 3 medium apples
▢ 1 sprig fresh thyme
▢ 1 sprig fresh rosemary
▢ 1 bunch parsley
▢ 1 bunch dill
▢ 12–15 carrots
▢ 3 medium apples
▢ 2 oranges
▢ 5–6 radishes
▢ 1 pound broccoli
▢ 2 lemons
▢ 1 bag baby arugula

▢ Vegetable oil
▢ Horseradish
▢ 1 10-ounce can tomatoes
▢ Red cooking wine
▢ Bay leaf
▢ Ginger
▢ Nutmeg
▢ Cinnamon
▢ Walnuts
▢ Sliced almonds
▢ Matzah meal
▢ Almond milk
▢ Semisweet chocolate chips
▢ Cocoa powder
▢ Agar flakes
▢ Kosher-for-Passover capers

TWO DAYS BEFORE

Prepare the following dishes and refrigerate:

Chicken Soup and Matzah Balls
Haroset

THE DAY BEFORE

Prepare the following dishes:

Joan Nathan’s Brisket
Cocoa-Dusted Dark Chocolate Truffles

MORNING OF

Set the table and pull out all serving dishes. (Hint: Leave a sticky note in each serving dish to indicate where each dish will go! It makes it easier on you and easier for your guests to help you out when you’re putting everything on the table.)

THREE HOURS BEFORE

Prepare the following dishes:

Orange and Arugula Salad (leave out the cheese)
Charred Broccoli with Capers and Lemon

ONE HOUR BEFORE

Bring out the wine.

Prepare your seder plate.

Plate any room temperature dishes and warm hot dishes.

Take a deep breath and relax before your guests arrive!