26 Satisfying Holiday Dinner Side Dishes

Sweet Potato Pave Recipe
Photo: Gregory DuPree

Main courses like ham or roast beef may be the star of your holiday menu, but you're going to want some tasty side dishes to accompany them, too. Think Potatoes au Gratin, Raclette-Gruyère Mac and Cheese with Pickled Shallots, and Sautéed Collard Greens with Pepperoni — yes, pepperoni — as a twist on the classic. With more than 20 to choose from, you'll have plenty to fill your table. Read on for even more of our favorite Christmas dinner side dishes.

01 of 26

Roasted Winter Squash with Vanilla Butter

Roasted Winter Squash with Vanilla Butter
Con Poulos

Fragrant vanilla-bean butter does double duty here — it both flavors the squash and softens the skin during roasting. The greater the variety of winter squash you use, the more interesting the dish will be. Top it all off with fried sage leaves for a simple and easy side dish.

02 of 26

Speck-Wrapped Haricots Verts with Date Molasses

Speck-Wrapped Haricots Verts with Date Molasses Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Wrapped in salty speck and glazed with date molasses, these bundles of crisp, tender haricots verts are the perfect pairing for beef or duck. Date molasses is thinner than standard molasses, so it needs to be cooked down to reach a glaze consistency; if it sets up too much, gently reheat it.

03 of 26

Roasted Mushrooms with Red Wine Butter

Roasted Mushrooms with Red Wine Butter
© John Kernick

Instead of cooking mushrooms in a skillet, chef Geoffrey Zakarian roasts them in the oven until tender before tossing them in a buttery red wine sauce with garlic and fresh herbs.

04 of 26

Sweet Potato Pavé

Sweet Potato Pave Recipe
Gregory DuPree

Super-thin slices of sweet potato are key to the finished texture and shape of these crispy bites. Use a mandoline for the best results, stabbing the last bit of potato with a fork to keep fingers safe.

05 of 26

Fried Wild Rice with Mustard Greens and Mushrooms

Fried Wild Rice with Mustard Greens and Mushrooms Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Properly cooked wild rice retains a pleasant crunch that adds satisfying texture to this fried rice. Paired with lightly spicy mustard greens, sweet celery, and tender, meaty mushrooms, it's an earthy, savory side dish that could be a meal on its own.

06 of 26

Sautéed Collard Greens with Pepperoni

Sautéed Collard Greens with Pepperoni
© Con Poulos

Collards are often paired with bacon, but one of our favorite twists is to flavor the greens with spicy pepperoni.

07 of 26

Creamed Spinach and Parsnips

Creamed Spinach and Parsnips

This luscious side dish can be prepared up to three days ahead. The duo of sweet parsnip and creamy spinach is unbeatable.

08 of 26

Flash-Roasted Broccoli with Spicy Crumbs

Flash-Roasted Broccoli with Spicy Crumbs

The genius idea here is pulsing sliced pepperoni with breadcrumbs to add a ton of extra flavor and a great crunch to broccoli.

09 of 26

Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread

Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread

This recipe is as fun to eat as monkey bread, but a lot less time-consuming to make. F&W's Grace Parisi spreads her buttery biscuit dough with a savory onion-Gruyère mixture, stacks layers of it sideways in a loaf pan, then bakes it until golden and fluffy.

10 of 26

Spice Roasted Butternut Squash

Spice Roasted Butternut Squash
© <a data-cke-saved-href="http://mattbites.com/" href="http://mattbites.com/" class"="external">Matt Armendariz

This quick side comes together in under an hour, and is flavored with ground cumin, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper for a kick.

11 of 26

Spinach Bread Pudding with Lemon and Feta

Spinach Bread Pudding with Lemon and Feta. Photo &copy; Antonis Achilleos
© Antonis Achilleos

Cookbook author Heidi Swanson shares this bread pudding, lightened with bright lemon zest and dotted with salty feta, in her book: Super Natural Every Day.

12 of 26

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

HD-201109-r-scalloped-potatoes-ham.jpg

The combination of pecorino and Parmesan cheeses gives these potatoes a great cheesy depth.

13 of 26

Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole with Leeks

Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole with Leeks
© Alexandra Rowley

This classic is updated with deeply flavored cheddar and a crunchy topping of crumbled crackers and toasted almonds.

14 of 26

Butternut Squash Basmati Rice

Butternut Squash Basmati Rice

Adding butternut squash and whole spices is a lovely way to jazz up rice.

15 of 26

Pearl Onions au Gratin

Pearl Onions au Gratin
© Maura McEvoy

Inspired by the pickled pearl onions that became a family tradition ("Mom just served them straight out of the jar and threw a toothpick at them"), chef Barbara Lynch bakes fresh pearl onions in a mixture of cream, garlic, shallots, and bacon, then tops it all with a crispy panko crust.

16 of 26

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
© Petrina Tinslay

The only thing better than a full plate of caramelized brussels sprouts is a plate of brussels sprouts with pancetta.

17 of 26

Raclette-Gruyère Mac and Cheese with Pickled Shallots

Raclette gruyere macaroni and cheese with pickled shallots
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Inspired by älplermagronen, Alpine farmers' macaroni, this macaroni and cheese gets rich flavor from Gruyère and a lush creaminess from Raclette. Traditional versions of this dish are served with applesauce; as a nod to that flavor play, we've added some shallots that are quickly pickled in apple cider vinegar to balance the cheesy richness.

18 of 26

Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli with Cranberry Agrodolce

Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli

A quick, high-temperature oven roast on a baking sheet yields crispy, golden brown brussels sprouts and almost-charred, smoky broccoli. Tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce studded with tart cranberries, Fresno chiles, and shallots, the vegetables become an easy, elegant side dish.

19 of 26

Brown Butter Parsnip Puree

Creamy Parsnips with Brown Butter Gravy and Green Apples
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

At the Brooklyn brasserie Francie, John Winterman and Christopher Cipollone offer this cozy side dish of pureed parsnips. To make it, naturally sweet parsnips are simmered in bay leaf–infused cream until very tender, then pureed in a blender until they take on a silky, mashed potato–like texture. A garnish of diced green apples adds tart, mouthwatering acidity and refreshing crunch, while a generous drizzle of brown butter lends a pleasant richness.

20 of 26

Smashed Sage-Butter Potatoes

Smashed Sage Butter Potatoes
Erin Kunkel

Smashing steamed potatoes creates craggy edges that soak up plenty of the aromatic sage-infused browned butter. Pick out similar-sized potatoes to ensure even cooking.

21 of 26

Warm Barley and Caramelized Mushroom Salad

Warm Barley and Caramelized Mushroom Salad
© Christina Holmes

Browned mushrooms, fresh sage, and lemon juice dress up this version of a classic mushroom-barley salad.

22 of 26

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Bacon

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Bacon
Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee

F&W editor Melanie Hansche really disliked sauerkraut growing up, but sweeter, milder "rotkohl" she could get on board with. This sweet-and-sour, traditional Bavarian braised red cabbage is always served with goose, duck, or pork.

23 of 26

Puntarelle-Citrus Salad with Roasted Beets

Puntarelle Citrus Salad with Roasted Beets
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Puntarelle stays bright and crisp in this salad, while beets bring a tender, earthy sweetness. Puntarelle is a specialty buy — check your local farmers market, or substitute another bitter chicory.

24 of 26

Potatoes au Gratin

Potatoes au Gratin
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Kay Clarke

In this rich, beautiful gratin, potatoes and onions are arranged in concentric circles, coated in a creamy cheese sauce, and topped off with a few more handfuls of shredded cheese. A quick run under the broiler at the end browns the top of the gratin for a little extra flavor and texture.

25 of 26

Rustic Bread Stuffing with Swiss Chard and Chestnuts

Bread stuffing with Swiss chard and chestnuts
David Malosh

Swiss chard lends a pleasant earthiness to this hearty stuffing; meaty chestnuts add texture and richness. Choose high-quality crusty bread for this recipe to ensure a fluffy texture and crisp top.

26 of 26

Gamja Jorim (Soy Sauce–Lacquered Potatoes)

Gamja Jorim
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

For this riff on Korean soy sauce–braised potatoes, 2021 F&W Best New Chef Angel Barreto of Anju in Washington, D.C., simmers tiny peewee potatoes in a sweet-and-savory syrup infused with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, resulting in potatoes with a creamy, tender interior and a gorgeously lacquered skin.

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