Transform your ham into an unforgettable feast with these tasty side dishes. From sweet potato casserole to sweet and savory cornbread, these sides are sure to delight.
Ham is usually eaten and enjoyed around the holidays, but even if it’s not Christmas or Easter, you can still appreciate this juicy and tender meat.
Whether you’re serving it on its own, making it into sandwiches, or crafting a drool-worthy entree with a ham base, you’ll need some amazing side dishes to complement its sweet and savory flavors.
If you’re overwhelmed trying to narrow down your options, don’t worry! I’ve rounded up thirty of the best side dishes that will pair perfectly with your heavenly ham.
From traditional comfort foods like green bean casserole and fluffy dinner rolls, to more gourmet dishes like a farro and squash salad, this list has something for everyone!
Let’s start with some classics. I personally think mashed potatoes can go with just about anything. But with a lovely slice of ham, it’s a match made in heaven. Add in extra cream and some garlic for a luscious side that’s loaded with flavor.
While we’re talking spuds, scalloped potatoes are another tasty favorite. This casserole is made up of thinly sliced red or gold potatoes, a delightful creamy sauce mixed with onion, mustard, and nutmeg, and, hopefully, a lot of cheese.
It looks and tastes like you put a lot of effort in, when actually it’s a pretty simple dish. Use a mandolin to slice the potatoes, and it’ll be ready in a flash!
A twist on the plain potato, a sweet potato casserole is a mouth-watering alternative that will give your taste buds pure joy. Creamy sweet potatoes with a crunchy butter pecan topping will make any day feel like Thanksgiving. And the combination of sweet and savory is oh so delicious.
Another holiday classic, a green bean casserole is always a crowd favorite. Something about the mix of creamy mushroom soup, fresh green beans, and crispy fried French onions is just so right.
Be careful or this scrumptious side just might outshine even the most luscious of hams.
Heavily salted and flawlessly roasted asparagus is a super easy side, but this green veggie is anything but bland. You can always add some garlic, hollandaise, or simple lemon zest for even more depth, but asparagus is great on its own. Paired with a juicy piece of ham, you won’t need much more.
Not only is spaghetti squash sweet and juicy, but it offers a fun difference in texture. Spaghetti squash separates into small noodle-like strands, so it’s fun to eat, healthy for you, and just delectable to taste. You don’t even need to season this side much, some butter and salt will do just fine.
Some folks say that glazed carrots go with ham like peanut butter goes with jelly. And I just might have to agree. Yummy for kids and adults alike, roasted carrots coated in a sweet and cinnamon-y sauce is a glorious side. Plus, it’s packed with vitamins for an absolutely guilt-free meal.
8. Dinner Rolls
I don’t think you can have a ham dinner without some kind of bread on the table. Whether you go whole wheat and oatmeal (adding in milk and eggs keeps them pillowy soft) or a simple white dinner roll (put a pat of butter inside the roll before baking for a delicious surprise) dinner rolls are a must have!
Be sure to have extra butter and jam to complete this necessary side dish.
What I love most about cornbread is its versatility. Whether your favorite recipe is savory or sweet, cornbread is always finger-licking good. Pair your ham with fresh, steaming cornbread smothered in butter, and everyone will go home happy.
With a ham, you can stick to the classic, or go for something with a little bit more kick. Sweet jalapeno cornbread turns up the heat a little, but stays balanced with some sugary sweetness. In my opinion, it’s the perfect bread.
10. Mac and Cheese
Honestly, who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? Next to a decadent ham, there’s no going wrong with creamy, cheesy, gooey pasta.
Make your mac even more special with two secret ingredients: garlic powder and white pepper. These simple spices add dimension and a little zing that is sure to keep your guests asking for more.
11. Creamed Spinach
A cheesy, creamy showstopper, creamed spinach with some slightly sour Greek yogurt, or kale with a spoonful of white miso; your guests won’t know what hit them!
This steakhouse favorite is healthy, and a total luxury too. Using only a few ingredients you’ll have a heavenly dish that pairs exceptionally well with your ham.
Also known as baby broccoli, broccolini makes for a fantastic and quick side dish that goes with almost anything, ham included. Broccolini has longer, thinner stalks and smaller florets, making it easier to make and eat, even kids will love it.
Roast it up with some garlic, top with some vinaigrette, or eat it on its own with some salt and butter, and your meal is complete!
13. Corn Pudding
Corn pudding is a southern classic that’s creamy, cheesy, and chock full of flavor. It’s not a dessert, even though it is sweet. It’s more like a cross between creamed corn and a savory custard.
Mix up your corn, eggs, milk, butter, sugar, cornstarch, and a few key spices, and bake! It’s that easy, but it makes for a side dish that no one can resist.
14. Deviled Eggs
If you’re making ham for Easter dinner, then you probably already have a bunch of boiled eggs that the kids have decorated. Turn these artistic endeavors into a delectable treat by making deviled eggs.
It’s a classic recipe good for any holiday, or even your next backyard barbecue. And these guys taste anything but devilish!
15. Collard Greens
Another touch of southern flair, collard greens are a delicious way to get something healthy on the table. Season the greens up with some vinegar, sugar, onion, and maybe even some bacon if you’re feeling sinful, and you’ll have an inviting soul food side.
Stick a bottle of hot sauce on the table for an authentic southern pairing.
16. Potato Salad
Bring a hint of summer to your table with a light, dill-y potato salad. My favorite recipe calls for red potatoes, a creamy dijon dressing, and loads of dill.
Unlike other potato dishes, it doesn’t feel too heavy, so a potato salad will not only be a tasty addition to your ham, it will also balance out the meal perfectly.
If you love Hawaiian pizza, this dish is for you. It’s a simple recipe of only five ingredients (butter, sugar, eggs, bread, and pineapple) but it results in a side that is buttery, sweet, fruity, and tangy, and goes so well with ham.
The outside is crisp and chewy, and the inside is fluffy and moist. It’s so incredible, once you try this stuffing, you’ll never go back!
On a colder day, a warm bowl of soup is oh so comforting. Potato, carrot, and leek soup is so cozy, is loaded with tons of vegetables, and is delightfully creamy.
Serve it up with some sourdough bread and your tender ham, and your meal will be hearty and filling, and warm you up body and soul.
Another dish great for cooler weather, a rice pilaf is a sublime side with a succulent ham. It’s earthy and nutty, and divinely savory next to a sweet meat like ham.
The mushrooms are almost a meat substitute, so if you have any vegetarian guests, it could even replace the ham as their entree. Throw in some asparagus or a fried egg, and they’ll surely not leave hungry.
I know brussels sprouts aren’t everyone’s favorite veggie, but when roasted to perfection, they are sweet, nutty, and, in my opinion, gloriously yummy.
Add on a pile of Parmesan and black pepper and you get a dish that everyone will adore. It’s also a great way to incorporate a low-carb option onto your holiday table.
I think it’s safe to say that pork and applesauce make an exquisite combination. A note for this side – homemade applesauce is a million times better than store bought.
Adding rhubarb gives it a tart kick, plus a handful of vitamins that make it a healthy option despite it seeming like dessert. Serve it with some yogurt, cottage cheese, or toast to round out this lovely little side.
An easy appetizer that will impress your friends with its gourmet feel, these delectable tarts won’t stay on the table long.
Sweet apples and honey drizzle balanced with sweet, creamy cheese – It’s like a cheese plate and a dessert rolled into one. Who could ask for more?
This dish has a long list of ingredients, but don’t let that intimidate you. Since it basically counts as a salad and a starch at once; if you’re only making one side dish, this should be it.
Combining chewy farro with luscious winter squash, and some of the most beloved salad toppings such as feta, walnuts, and zingy mustard greens, this side contains the ideal balance of sweet and salty that go beautifully with any ham entree.
Roasting your vegetables is by FAR one of the best ways to cook them. It brings out the natural sugars in vegetables, resulting in a sweet and flavorful treat. Plus, it’s super easy!
Simply fill up a baking sheet with all your favorite veggies. Just be sure to use a single layer. No overlapping.
Sprinkle some olive oil all over. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
Pop it in the over for 17 to 20 minutes at 425 degrees F. Voila! The result is a scrumptious side dish that can be paired with just about any entree.
But it goes especially well with a honey-baked ham.
The only thing better than pie is a pie for one! Berry pot pies are festive and fun, not to mention tasty.
The cranberries are especially tart, a perfect balance for a very sweet ham, and it would be a great addition to a holiday brunch. An added bonus, cranberries are packed full of vitamins and minerals, so no need to feel guilty eating up every bite of your mini pie.
A nice spring panzanella with mushrooms, asparagus, peas, scallions, watercress, and dandelion greens would be a refreshing bite next to a rich ham, especially with a light, acidic dressing.
In the fall, a harvest salad featuring Bosc pears, bitter radicchio, endive, toasted walnuts, funky gorgonzola, and fresh arugula, topped with a balsamic vinaigrette? Sounds divine.
Cabbage, apples, and spices make up this coleslaw-esque side dish. It’s easy to make, vibrantly colored, and adds some needed tanginess and crunch to the table. Sweet and vinegary, it’s sure to be your new favorite side for any holiday meal or festive potluck.
A fresh side that will surely add variety to your spread, artichokes are so full of flavor on their own, but adding the lemon zest filled mayo and mustard combo takes it to another level. Its citrusy taste is sure to please everyone, and the artichokes just look so pretty laid out on your favorite platter.
This might be the easiest side on the list. You just throw a few simple ingredients into your crockpot and let it do its thing.
Baked beans are great for busy holidays or to bring to a potluck. Plus, the flavors of sweet beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, jalapenos, onions, and of course bacon, not only go so well with each other, but will be even more satisfying with your ham.
Hopefully, your moms and grandmas have been making you jello salad since birth. But if not, you’ve got to try this uniquely classic side.
A jello salad made with 7 Up, lime jello, cream cheese, and cherries. It’s always a showstopper and tastes surprisingly delightful as well. It’s zesty, and creamy, and will bring everyone back to the 70s, in the best way.
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