Celebration-Worthy Side Dish Recipes
Sometimes, the side dish is the star. Memorable side dish recipes for the holidays include scalloped corn, sweet potatoes, glazed carrots, dressing, soups and salads.
Can-Don't Green Bean Casserole
Is our all-natural, totally homemade version of the iconic holiday side more work than the one made with canned stuff? Well, yes. But wow, is it good.
Related: Fresh Ideas for Green Bean Recipes
A use-what-you-have cook, Gerard Klass's mom always put SunnyD in her yams. So, the chef and co-owner of Soul Bowl in Minneapolis does, too—along with plenty of butter, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Related: Come Together: A Soul Food Holiday
Hidden Roots Mashed Potatoes
This rich mash is more than just a vehicle for gravy. It's a subtly sweet blend of parsnip, celery root and two kinds of potato, plus plenty of butter, sour cream and nutmeg.
Related: Mashed Potatoes 9 Ways
Carrot and Swede Puree
Thyme and garlic flavor this puree of carrot and swede, the British word for rutabaga. Michigan chef Kieron Hales, who grew up in England, makes this humble root vegetable the star of the holiday table by blending it with lots of butter (which earns raves even from his picky younger son).
Related: A British Chef Brings Holiday Flavors Across the Pond
No-Bake Harvest Stuffing
We added walnuts, cranberries and seedy bread to classic sage-and-onion turkey dressing—and we did it in a slow cooker. The lidded appliance keeps the stuffing perfectly moist and, of course, frees up the oven for another pie.
Related: Favorite Stuffing Recipe Ideas
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange and Mascarpone
A pat of butter and a sprinkle of black pepper is all it takes to crown this rich and creamy sweet mash.
Related: Sweet Potato Recipes You'll Love
Butter-braised leeks become meltingly tender when slow-simmered in chicken stock with herbs. Michigan Chef Kieron Hales recommends setting aside the cooking liquid to use in a soup.
J Cole Cauliflower Mash
These mashed potatoes are a staple on the menu of Soul Bowl in Minneapolis. Chef and co-owner Gerard Klass roasts cauliflower to bring nutrition and nutty sweetness, but powdered ranch seasoning adds the real X factor.
Related: Creative Cauliflower Recipes
Old-Fashioned Scalloped Corn
Fresh or frozen whole-kernel corn blends with canned cream-style corn for a delicious take on this favorite side dish. Toasted and buttered crushed crackers add more texture to the top of the casserole.
Crispy outside and floury inside, English roast potatoes are typically cooked very simply—water, salt, hot oil. The fat-crisped nuggets have a light, floury interior. But Michigan Chef Kieron Hales, who grew up in England, dresses his up with herbs, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.
Mushroom Gravy with Sherry and Thyme
This ridiculously flavorful vegetarian gravy will satisfy even the heartiest meat-eaters. Along with sherry and tomato paste, dried porcini mushrooms (available in the produce sections of large supermarkets) replicate the savory flavor of drippings.
Tuscan Kale with Brown Butter, Pecans and Golden Raisins
The recipe makes more than enough of chef Anne Kearney's Spiced Pecans for this dish. Not to worry. They're fantastic for snacking or sprinkling on salad. Tuscan kale, sometimes called dinosaur or lacinato kale, has darker, smoother leaves than curly kale. It also has a more tender texture.
Tossing cauliflower with bread crumbs, Dijon, cheddar, herbs and almonds makes this humble veg holiday-special.
Roasting brings out squash's natural sugars. Blending with maple syrup, butter and nutmeg makes it utterly addictive. Bonus: This dish reheats beautifully.
Common Cornbread Dressing
Gerard Klass's dressing, made with his jalapeno-flecked Cornbread, is flavored with fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. This chef and co-owner of Soul Bowl in Minneapolis says he's still chasing his mom's holiday dressing. But by our measure, he's there.
Lazy-Braised, Maple-Glazed Carrots
Compared to traditional super sugary glazed carrots, our recipe bridges sweet and savory. Come the holidays, this dish is well worth a spot on the holiday table.
Related: Favorite Carrot Recipes
Fruit, Nut and Feta Chopped Salad
This healthy, colorful salad is filled with feta, pistachios, juicy clementines and crisp apple, and gently softened by a warm shallot vinaigrette.
Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese "Mallows"
Laced with garlic and rosemary and topped with pecans and goat cheese, this easy casserole gives a savory wink to the traditional sweet-on-sweet staple.
Pastry chef Emily Marks learned all the tricks to making popovers during her five years at The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, which closed during the pandemic in 2020. Serve them with the restaurant's signature honey butter or swap chopped fresh herbs, black pepper, or shredded cheese for the honey.
Mashed Sweet Potato with Melted Leeks
Luxuriously silky leeks-slow-cooked in butter and seasoned with lemon juice and thyme-ripple through sweet potatoes. Feel free to substitute ordinary potatoes if you prefer.
Mustard-Dressed Roasted Vegetables with Cranberries
This pretty dish is perfect on a holiday table or alongside any roasted meats.
Related: Best Roasted Vegetable Recipes
Boozy Jellied Cranberries
Flavored with port wine, orange juice, cloves and cinnamon, our real-fruit mold packs holiday spice and a jiggly punch of throwback glamour. (And don't worry; the alcohol cooks off, so it's actually family-friendly.)
Spicy Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
For a gloriously orange update to scalloped potatoes, we layered sweet potatoes, sharp cheddar and chipotle peppers. But the luscious creamy goodness? Still the same.
Related: Sweet Potato Recipes You'll Love
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Orange zest, nutmeg and smoked paprika add layers of flavor to these tender biscuits.
Bourbon-Ginger Glazed Carrots
The carrots from chef Edward Lee''s cookbook Smoke and Pickles are sweet, buttery-and, yes, boozy.
Lemony Green Beans
Garlic, shallots and lemon brighten crisp-tender beans. Save time by parboiling the green beans a day early.
Cranberry-Apple Sweet Potatoes
Mix pantry ingredients—canned apple pie filling, canned sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, apricot preserves, orange marmalade and chopped pecans—for a quick-and-easy side dish with a crunchy nut topping.
Cranberries and apple simmer with red onion, ginger and mustard seeds for a spiced variation on traditional sauce. Try it on a sandwich with leftover turkey.
Cinnamon Carrots with Maple Thyme Butter
These sweet oven-roasted carrots are a perfect complement to a holiday menu, but they're easy enough to be a weeknight side. This comfort food recipe comes from Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri.
Southwest Corn Pudding
Buttery onions, cheddar and green chilies lace our stuffinglike pudding. Inspired by traditional skillet corn bread, this recipe works as a side or as a meatless main served with a salad or garlicky sauteed kale.
Bacon-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Frying bacon in the skillet, then tossing sprouts and red onion in the drippings before roasting means you'll only dirty one pan making this elegant side dish.
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
This shortcut recipe from Minneapolis chef Gerard Klass starts with a can of jellied cranberry sauce. It's a great holiday condiment alone, or use it as a glaze on the chef's Juicy J Salmon recipe.
Calico Corn Bread Dressing
Homey corn bread meets woodsy sage, thyme and shitake mushrooms. Carrots and apricots add color and sweetness.
Spiced Apple-Cranberry Chutney
Fresh and dried fruits simmer in an aromatic mix of brown sugar, onion, cinnamon and star anise. This chunky chutney pairs well with roast pork and poultry, but we also recommend serving it as part of a cheese tray.
Related: The No-Fail Relish Tray is Here
Browned Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Feta
Give Brussels sprouts a fresh taste with this colorful side dish. The trick to preserving the vegetables' mild flavor is to avoid overcooking.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Quivey's Grove in Madison, Wisconsin, whips up this version of mashed potatoes that matches plenty of dairy richness with garlic, Parmesan, black pepper and green onion.
Pappa's Pear Stuffing
Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Pecans
Toasted pecans and melty marshmallows top whipped sweet potatoes in this classic holiday side dish.
Fresh Cranberry-Apple Relish
This fresh alternative to canned cranberry sauce is flecked with festive green pistachios and flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve it with turkey (of course!), or pan-fried pork chops.
Chipotle Smashed Potatoes
This rich side dish casserole, perfect for entertaining, has both yellow and sweet potatoes as well as cream cheese, butter, sour cream, bacon and canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
Curried Celery Soup with Pear
A little bit of rice thickens this unexpectedly delicious and easy celery soup; a few slices of pear add the perfect sweet finish (and look beautiful, too).
Related: Simmering Soups and Stews
Butternut Squash and Apple Salad
Sweet squash and apple pair with sharp Gorgonzola and tangy dressing in this autumn salad from Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay, Michigan. The dressing calls for verjus, a tart pressed grape juice. You can order verjus online or find it as specialty stores, but wine vinegar makes a good substitute.
Related: Sumptuous Salads
Spiced Pumpkin Bisque
The Inn at Irish Hollow in Galena, Illinois, serves this creamy, curried soup throughout the fall and winter. You can make your own crème fraîche for the garnish, or use purchased crème fraiche or sour cream.
Related: Pumpkin Recipes We Absolutely Love
Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad
Apples, dried cranberries and grapes meet crunchy celery and wheat berries in this festive holiday salad tossed with apple-cinnamon dressing.