20 Christmas Side Dishes You Need for Your Holiday Spread

Make your spread extra special with these crave-worthy holiday sides! Slather popovers in butter, scoop up vegetable casseroles, and don't forget the cranberry sauce.

Christmas side dishes

The prime rib roast or a spiral-cut ham may take center stage at your holiday table, but the Christmas side dishes are what most of us remember when we sit down with friends and family in our own home or gathered in theirs.

Is stuffing your favorite holiday side dish? It’s mine—but a Sausage, Sage, and Cornbread Stuffing could very well become my new favorite. Some folks may not be too keen on canned cranberry sauce, but do try this homemade Cranberry Sauce. I’ll put money on the table that you’ll find yourself some converts. Maybe even add yourself among them. And for something a little over-the-top, how about Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes to set at both ends of the table?

 Planning, preparing, and cooking a holiday meal can become overwhelming, but most of these Christmas side dishes lend themselves to making ahead, which allows you to also enjoy your time with your friends and family, in addition to cooking for them.

 While getting back together with ones you love this year, let us focus on making your time in the kitchen easier and full of flavorful dishes everyone will enjoy.

  • Cranberry Sauce

    How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
    Elise Bauer

    The wonderful tartness of a homemade cranberry sauce is unlike anything from a can. The deep, red color and rich, thick consistency are just what your holiday meal needs. You may need to make a double batch.

  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes

    A bowl of roasted garlic mashed potatoes topped with a pat of butter.
    Cambrea Bakes

    Roast some garlic and ensure your overflowing bowl of mashed potatoes is spotless when you—or hopefully, someone else—is clearing the table. The garlic gives a slight sweetness and an extra layer of roasted flavor to the potatoes. Be sure to warm the butter and cream and mash the potatoes when they’re hot for the perfect mashed potatoes. It might even be the dish that outshines the stuffing this year.

  • Homemade Gravy

    How to Make Gravy
    Elise Bauer

    A good gravy is even better when it’s this easy to make. In the time it takes to call everyone in for dinner, you’ll have this silky pan-drippings gravy finished. The only thing left to do will be to carve the roast. Make sure you keep a little extra in the kitchen, just for you.

  • Popovers

    The best popover recipe baked in a muffin tin.
    Sally Vargas

    Flavored with herbs, cheese, or kept plain, these tender and crunchy popovers can be made a day ahead and quickly reheated to save you both time and oven space. And if there are any leftovers, dole out a bit of fig jam overtop the next morning to enjoy with your morning coffee.

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  • Green Bean Casserole

    Classic Green Bean Casserole
    Megan Keno

    The best part about this dish? You can make the mushroom and green bean mixture a day ahead if you need. This is bound to be one of those recipes handed down, across, and over to all of your family members and guests.

  • Sausage, Sage, and Cornbread Stuffing

    Gluten Free Cornbread Sausage Stuffing Recipe
    Elizabeth Stark

    Here’s a gluten-free stuffing that’s both traditional and flavorful, and can be made several days ahead. Fair warning though: Keep it under lock and key because it will be hard to resist eating until the big day. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you could make your own Italian sausage. Or even swap it out with a traditional breakfast sausage.

  • Cider Vinaigrette Roasted Root Vegetables

    Cider Roasted Root Vegetables
    Elise Bauer

    Turn on the oven, cut the vegetables, season, and spread them on a pan. Yes, that’s it—and it truly tastes like you’ve done so much more.

  • Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes

    Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes
    Elise Bauer

    If you need an alternative to traditional mashed potatoes, settle in with the bourbon, brown sugar, and vanilla. These ingredients benefit from their complementary flavor profiles, almost like savory baking spices. And stick with the bourbon—other spirits don’t possess the same roundness of flavor that bourbon does. And if you have any bourbon leftover, you couldn’t choose a better after-dinner drink than an Old Fashioned.

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  • Roasted Broccolini with Creamy Mustard Sauce

    Roasted Broccolini with Creamy Mustard Sauce
    Trent Lanz

    Crispy florets and a bright, piquant sauce make for a fitting accompaniment to the starchy potato dishes on the table. The vibrant greens will make you feel healthy—because it is—and if you want to swap out the cashews for almonds or walnuts, go right ahead!

  • Creamed Spinach

    A skillet with Homemade Creamed Spinach and a serving spoon set on a wood table.
    Sally Vargas

    Creamy greens are impossible to resist. Add a touch of nutmeg, and it’ll bring back memories of when your Gran made it. This version becomes even more interesting with a dollop of mustard to round out the rich flavors. And there’s the added convenience of using either fresh or frozen spinach.

  • Lion House Rolls

    Utah's famous lion house rolls on a baking sheet with a jar of melted butter to the left.
    Cindy Rahe

    Now, who doesn’t want layers of cloud-like, buttery rolls just waiting to be unfurled at the holiday table? You’ll surprise yourself on how easy these are to make, and you’ll no longer wait for a special occasion to make them again. Rolls are convenient to make because while the dough is rising, other dishes can be prepared in the meantime.

  • Maple Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash and Brussels Sprouts

    Maple Glazed Delicata Squash and Brussels Sprouts
    Elise Bauer

    Smooth, creamy squash and charred sprout leaves cannot get any better than this, can it? Well, not until you add little pops of pomegranate seed sweetness. A bit of maple syrup with apple cider vinegar for balance, and you’re all set for a new staple at your holiday table. Substitute acorn or butternut squash, if that’s what you have on hand. And some woodsy herbs like rosemary or sage will provide a base note of flavor.

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  • Braised Red Cabbage with Chestnuts

    Braised Red Cabbage with Chestnuts
    Elise Bauer

    Bacon, onion, apples, and chestnuts? All such good friends, and oh my, do they provide a wonderful balance of flavors together. And if you decide to set it alongside a prime rib roast, you and your guests will be pleased with your efforts.

  • Potatoes Au Gratin

    Au Gratin Potatoes baked in a casserole dish until golden brown.
    Sally Vargas

    A traditional go-to dish, there’s so much simple pleasure in this dish. But if you’d like, swap out the gruyere for a sharp cheddar or smoky gouda. And a little bit of rosemary added along with the thyme will broaden the flavor of herbs throughout. And by blanching the potatoes in the cream, you cut down on preparing the sauce and you’re halfway to a finished dish.

  • Green Beans with Almonds and Thyme

    Green Beans with Almonds and Thyme
    Elise Bauer

    A standby dish that is quick and varied in textures. The earthy flavor green beans pairs well with additions like bacon and sautéed shallots. Feel free to swap the almonds with walnuts or pecans.

  • Brioche Stuffing with Mushrooms and Bacon

    Mushroom and bacon brioche stuffing in a square baking dish with a wooden spoon scooping some out.
    Alison Bickel

    Brioche, with all of its rich butteriness, gives this dish a massive head start in the flavor department. Layer it with umami-rich bacon and mushrooms, garlic, and sage and you’ll have a can’t-miss favorite for your guests. As there are a few steps involved, feel free to do a little preparation of ingredients a couple days in advance.

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  • Crispy Hasselback Potatoes

    Hasselback potato recipe potatoes cut accordion style in a baking dish with herbs, butter, and olive oil.
    Sally Vargas

    Whether it’s Yukon Golds, Russet, or even sweet potatoes, these spuds will all crisp up well around the edges! And their buttery, creamy insides are just the contrasting textures that your guests will crave.

  • Cheesy Baked Cauliflower

    Scooping Easy Cauliflower Bake out of a glass casserole dish.
    Coco Morante

    Casseroles are a hit with your guests, and one that is this easy to prepare will make it a hit with you, as well. Simply seasoned with cheeses and spices, it is loaded with layers of flavor. This dish is adaptable to using different vegetables, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts, as well as a variety of melting cheeses—although it’s advised to buy your cheese whole and grate it yourself.

  • Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan

    Roasted Broccoli
    Elise Bauer

    Charred tips of broccoli florets are enhanced by the bright, sharpness of the lemon juice. The parmesan adds the right amount of saltiness to bring out all the flavors in such a straightforward dish. Right after the holiday roast comes out of the oven, this is a quick and easy dish to cook while the rest of the meal comes together.

  • Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla

    Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla
    Elise Bauer

    Packed with floral scents of thyme and vanilla, contrasting textures between the walnuts and squash, and a slight warmth from the grated ginger, this is a unique dish which works quite well with the other dishes that are at most holiday tables. You can swap the thyme with an herb like rosemary, and even add a dusting of dried chili flakes for additional warmth.