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6 Delicious Classic Christmas Ham Side Dishes

Most people would agree that Christmas dinner spread just wouldn’t be the same without a glazed ham. No matter which Christmas ham recipe you go for, your household will be thrilled with it, especially so if you serve it with innovative, delicious side dishes.

Each of these unique recipes will complement your main course splendidly. Whether you favor colorful vegetables, humble and comforting potatoes, or fragrant grains, here are 6 Christmas ham side dishes that will transform your ham into an exceptional holiday feast.

Vegetable Sides

Roasted Vegetables


  • 2 lb (900 g) any vegetables
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 °F. Meanwhile, prep your vegetables.
  2. Peel the vegetables if desired, then cut into equal pieces to ensure they cook evenly.
  3. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl, add oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Add more oil as needed (for example, if the vegetables don’t seem evenly coated).
  4. Arrange the vegetables on a baking sheet in one layer with a little space in between.
  5. Roast until tender. Softer vegetables, like green beans and cauliflower, for 10 to 20 minutes; harder vegetables, like winter squash and potatoes, for about half an hour. The cooking time will also depend on the size of the pieces: larger bits will cook longer than smaller ones. Check and stir the vegetables every 10 to 15 minutes.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower


  • 3 lb (1 ⅓ kg) cauliflower
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  1. To begin with, finely chop cauliflower.
  2. Next, melt unsalted butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and sauté, frequently stirring, for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking liquid and drain the cauliflower.
  5. Put the cauliflower and reserved cooking liquid back in the pot. Mash and serve immediately.

Potato Sides

Dauphinoise Potatoes


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz (225 g) Gruyere cheese
  • 2 ½ lb (1 ⅛ kg) Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Coat a baking dish with butter.
  2. Grate cheese on the coarse side of the grater.
  3. Peel potatoes, slice them into quarter-inch-thick rounds, and pop them into a large pot.
  4. Mince garlic cloves and add them to the pot along with heavy cream, milk, kosher salt, ground black pepper, nutmeg, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Continue simmering, frequently stirring, until just tender, about 6 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the pot and discard them.
  5. Arrange half of the potatoes in an even layer inside the prepared baking dish. Top with half of the grated cheese. Pop the remaining potatoes on top of the cheese in an even layer. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes, stopping just below the topmost layer. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

Garlicky Parmesan Sweet Potatoes


  • 2 lb (900 g)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup Parmesan


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
  2. Combine potatoes, oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix.
  3. Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Roast for 15 minutes before flipping the potatoes over and cooking until tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Set the oven to broil. Sprinkle the potatoes with garlic and half of the cheese and toss to coat. Top with the remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese has melted, about a minute.

Grain and Pilaf Sides

Herb Couscous


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ⅔ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 2 cups couscous
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add minced garlic and almonds and sauté until the nuts are lightly toasted, a couple of minutes. Top with paprika and sauté for a few more seconds.
  2. Add water, stir, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in couscous and salt. Cover and let sit until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Wild Rice Pilaf


  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 lb (1 ⅓ kg) butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsbp butter
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ⅔ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
  2. Rinse rice, then transfer it to a large pot. Cover with water and add ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, roast the squash.
  3. Wash and peel butternut squash before cutting it into half-inch pieces.
  4. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt; mix. Roast, occasionally stirring, until tender, about half an hour.
  5. Drain rice.
  6. Place dried cranberries in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside for 5 minutes to plump, then drain.
  7. Return the pot used to cook the rice to the stove and melt butter over moderate heat. Add finely chopped shallot and thyme and sauté until translucent, a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the rice. Add the squash, cranberries, toasted pecans, and parsley.

Which of these Christmas ham side dishes are you most excited to try? Please tell us in the comments, as we would love to know. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!


I am an English major with a love of languages and fiction, and with an incurable travel bug. In my free time, I read fantasy, drink copious amounts of coffee, and like to go see movies. Culinary art means everything to me. My main hypostasis is the taster, though. The music school has taught me to appreciate the symphony of airy meringues, to create harmonious overtures of light snacks, hard rock of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill. Choir classes have accustomed me to hear and feel the people nearby and create perfect harmonies of sounds.

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