The Passover Seder Plate - Learn What it is and How to Set One

It's the centerpiece of every Passover table telling the story of Exodus and rebirth.

By Emily Cowan April 20, 2024
The highlight of Passover is the first seder held on the first night of this 8-day long Jewish holiday - some families also hold a second seder on night two. On the family's table you'll find a seder plate, to be featured throughout the meal. Many families have a special plate they use each year, they typically have spaces, indents, bowls or cut-outs for each of the special symbolic food items.

Did you know that eggs are more than just a tasty food, they are also an important symbol for many cultures - especially during spring? In the Jewish tradition, a hard-boiled egg is one of six key components of the Seder Plate - the centerpiece of Passovers' ceremonial meal. The Passover Seder is a time for Jews to retell the story of their Exodus from slavery in Egypt during the time of Moses and each item on the seder plate is used for this purpose.

There are a few newer variations on some of the traditional items plus some extra optional items your family can choose to include:

Here's a tour of the traditional Passover Seder Plate and each item's role in the story:
Maror and Chazeret
  • A bitter herb, many use grated horseradish on top of romaine lettuce to represent the bitterness of life as a Jewish slave in Egypt.
  • Typically a green vegetable like parsley (or sometimes an onion or boiled potato) is dipped in salt water and eaten as a symbol of the tears shed by Jewish slaves.
  • A mixture of chopped apples, nuts, and red wine - charoset stands for the bricks and mortar Jewish slaves used to build the pyramids of the Egyptian kings.


  • A roasted shank bone (frequently the bone of a lamb or some use a chicken neck) represents the sacred burnt offering at the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. A vegetarian alternative is to use a roasted beet.
  •  A roasted or hard-boiled egg is a symbol of mourning, representing the sorrow of the Temple's destruction. The roundness of the egg also represents the cycle of life and hope for a new beginning.
Additional items needed for the seder:
Salt Water
  • You will find several small bowls of salt water on the table for dipping during the reading of the Haggadah - the salt water symbolize the tears shed.
  • On a separate plate will be three pieces of matzah stacked to represent the bread that did not have time to rise as the Jews fled Egypt. The middle piece is broken in two and the larger half the "afikomen" is hidden for the children of the house to find toward the end of the meal. The Seder cannot conclude without it, so kids are often in a position to bargain for an extra treat before they agree to give it back! 

More helpful resources:

Here's a fun song if you want to include the kids in preparing the Seder plate:

Shopping for Kosher foods, Jewish items and gifts:

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