Ham is a classic holiday dish, but it can be tricky to know what to serve with it.
Do you go for something traditional, like mashed potatoes or green beans? Or do you try something new, like roasted Brussels sprouts or sweet potato casserole? The best side dishes for ham balance out the salty taste of the meat and the rich flavor of the glaze.
They should also have a complementary texture so you don’t end up with a mushy meal.
Here are 15 of the best side dishes to serve with ham.
What to Serve with Ham? Try These 15 Delicious Sides
1. Roasted Potatoes
There’s nothing quite like a roasted potato.
When done right, they’re crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside – the perfect side to any dish.
But all too often, roasted potatoes can end up being dry and bland.
So how do you make sure your roasted potatoes are delicious every time?
The key is in the seasoning.
A good rule of thumb is to use one teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper per pound of potatoes.
You can also add other herbs and spices to taste – rosemary, thyme, and garlic are all great choices.
Another important tip is to roast your potatoes at a high temperature – 400 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
This will help them to get nice and crispy on the outside while remaining soft and fluffy on the inside.
2. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are one of the most classic comfort foods.
They’re warm, creamy, and satisfying.
The key to great mashed potatoes is to focus on both taste and texture.
The potatoes should be cooked until they’re soft and then mashed until they’re smooth.
For extra flavor, you can add butter, milk, and seasoning.
To give the dish more depth, you can try mixing in other ingredients like roasted garlic, shredded cheese, or crispy bacon.
Whatever you do, make sure to taste the potatoes before you serve them so that you can adjust the seasoning as needed.
3. Scalloped Potatoes
Scalloped potatoes are a classic side dish that can be enjoyed year-round.
This dish is simple to make and can be easily tailored to your taste.
Scalloped potatoes are made by layering thinly sliced potatoes in a baking dish and covering them with a creamy sauce.
The potatoes are then baked until tender and golden brown.
In terms of taste and texture, scalloped potatoes can vary depending on how they are prepared.
For a richer flavor, you can add cheese to the sauce or top the dish with bacon before baking.
For a lighter option, you can use skim milk in the sauce or omit the cheese altogether.
The key to making perfect scalloped potatoes is to slice the potatoes thinly and evenly so that they cook evenly in the oven.
- Use starchy potatoes like Russets for best results.
- Soak the potato slices in cold water for 30 minutes before cooking to prevent them from browning.
- Use a mandoline or food processor to slice the potatoes evenly.
- Bake the potatoes in a covered dish so that the sauce does not evaporate during cooking.
- Let the scalloped potatoes rest for 5 minutes after baking before serving.
4. Au Gratin Potatoes
Au gratin potatoes are a dish that is usually made with thinly sliced potatoes that are layered in a dish and then covered with cheese and cream before being baked.
This dish can be made with different types of cheese, but a common choice is cheddar cheese.
The taste of au gratin potatoes is creamy and cheesy, with a slight crunch from the thinly sliced potatoes.
The texture of the dish is smooth and rich.
There are many ways to elevate this dish and make it even more delicious.
One way is to add bacon to the potato layers.
Another way is to use a variety of different cheeses for the topping, such as Gruyere or Parmesan.
You could also add some chopped herbs, such as thyme or rosemary, to the potato mixture before baking.
5. Roasted Sweet Potatoes
There’s nothing quite like roasted sweet potatoes.
The taste is sweet and savory, and the texture is soft and fluffy.
They’re the perfect side dish to any meal, but they can also be elevated to the main dish with the addition of some protein and greens.
If you’re looking to turn this side dish into a main course, try adding some grilled chicken or shrimp.
For a vegetarian option, add some sautéed kale or spinach.
And for an extra touch of sweetness, top with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
6. Glazed Carrots
There’s nothing quite like a plate of glazed carrots to make your mouth water.
The sweet, sticky glaze paired with the crisp, fresh carrots is a heavenly combination.
And luckily, they’re pretty easy to make at home.
The key to making perfect glazed carrots is to get the right balance of sweetness and acidity in the glaze.
You don’t want it to be too sweet or too tart.
The best way to achieve this is to use a combination of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar.
Another important tip is not to overcook the carrots.
You want them to retain some of their crunches and be slightly firm to the bite.
Overcooked carrots will become mushy and lose their shape.
To elevate this dish, you can try adding a handful of chopped parsley or other fresh herbs.
This will add a nice pop of color and flavor.
You could also experiment with different types of vinegar, such as white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
7. Green Beans Amandine
Green beans are versatile and healthy vegetables that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
One popular way to prepare green beans is known as green beans amandine, which is a dish made with green beans and almonds.
Green beans amandine is a simple dish that can be easily elevated with the addition of other ingredients.
The dish is typically made by blanching green beans and then tossing them in a pan with butter, garlic, and almonds.
For an extra touch of flavor, you can also add lemon juice or Parmesan cheese to the dish.
If you’re looking for a way to add more flavor to your green beans amandine, try roasting the green beans before adding them to the pan.
Roasting the green beans will give them a slight char and bring out their natural sweetness.
You can also try using different types of nuts in the dish, such as pecans or walnuts.
8. Sauteed Spinach
Sauteed spinach is a classic side dish that can be enjoyed with any type of the main course.
This simple dish is made by cooking spinach in a pan with oil or butter and is often seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic.
The result is a healthy and flavorful side dish that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Sauteed spinach has a tender texture and a slightly sweet flavor.
The key to making this dish successful is to not overcook the spinach, as it will quickly become mushy.
When cooked properly, the spinach should retain some of its crunches.
There are many ways to elevate this dish and make it more exciting.
One way is to add other vegetables to the pan, such as mushrooms or onions.
Another option is to top the sauteed spinach with shredded cheese or crumbled bacon.
9. Macaroni and Cheese
There are few dishes as classic and comforting as macaroni and cheese.
The combination of creamy cheese and starchy pasta is a match made in heaven, and it’s a dish that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.
While there are many store-bought options available, nothing beats homemade macaroni and cheese.
When it comes to cheese, you can really use any variety that you like.
A sharp cheddar will give the dish a nice punch of flavor, while a creamier cheese like Brie will make it even more indulgent.
For pasta, elbow macaroni is the most popular choice, but you can really use any type of short noodle.
To elevate your macaroni and cheese, try adding in some chopped bacon or crumbled sausage.
You can also mix in some sauteed vegetables like mushrooms or spinach.
And for an extra cheesy kick, top it off with a layer of shredded mozzarella before baking.
10. Baked Beans
Baked beans are a simple dish with a long history.
Though their origins are unclear, they’ve been popular in the United States since the early 1800s.
Today, they’re often served as a side dish or as part of a picnic spread.
Baked beans are typically made with navy beans, molasses, and spices.
This combination gives them a sweet and savory flavor that is matched by their creamy texture.
The beans are first cooked on the stove until they’re soft, then baked in the oven with the sauce.
This cooking method allows the flavors to meld together and results in a dish that’s both hearty and comforting.
While baked beans are delicious on their own, there are several ways to elevate them.
Try adding smoked pork or bacon for extra flavor, or stir in some barbecue sauce for a Sweet and Smoky twist.
You can also top them with shredded cheese or green onions for extra color and texture.
Coleslaw is a dish that is often underestimated.
Sure, it might not be the most exciting option on the menu, but when done right, it can be absolutely delicious.
The key to a great coleslaw is all in the balance of flavors.
The cabbage should be crisp and fresh, with just the right amount of acidity from the vinegar.
The mayonnaise should be creamy and rich without overpowering the other ingredients.
And the seasoning should be subtle, allowing the natural flavors of the vegetables to shine through.
Elevate your coleslaw by using high-quality ingredients and taking the time to get the flavor balance just right.
12. Potato Salad
Potato salad is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed all year round.
It’s perfect for a summer picnic or a winter potluck, and there are endless ways to customize it to suit your taste.
The classic potato salad features boiled potatoes, eggs, celery, mayonnaise, and mustard, but there are endless variations on this basic recipe.
You can add bacon, cheese, pickles, herbs, or even fruit to your potato salad.
The possibilities are endless.
One of the best things about potato salad is that it can be made ahead of time.
In fact, it’s often better when made a day or two in advance so that the flavors have time to develop.
This dish is also relatively inexpensive and easy to make.
Simply boil the potatoes until they are tender but still firm, then chop them into bite-sized pieces.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix everything together.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If you’re looking for ways to elevate your potato salad, try adding some unexpected ingredients like roasted garlic or sun-dried tomatoes.
Or, use different types of potatoes for a unique twist.
Yukon golds or red potatoes will give your salad a beautiful golden hue, while fingerling potatoes add a gourmet touch.
13. Pasta Salad
There’s nothing quite like a cold pasta salad on a hot summer day.
The dish is refreshing, satisfying, and can be easily made ahead of time.
Plus, it’s the perfect side to any barbecue or picnic menu.
When it comes to pasta salad, there are endless possibilities in terms of taste and texture.
For a classic flavor, mix together your favorite pasta with some diced tomatoes, fresh basil, and a simple vinaigrette.
For something a little heartier, add in some grilled chicken or shrimp.
And for a vegetarian option, try using roasted vegetables instead of meat.
No matter what ingredients you choose, there are a few tips to keep in mind in order to elevate your pasta salad.
First, be sure to cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions.
This will ensure that it doesn’t become mushy when mixed with the other ingredients.
Second, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of pasta.
While the classic choice is always elbow macaroni, feel free to use shells, rotini, or even spiralized vegetables for a unique dish.
Finally, make sure to season your salad generously with salt and pepper before serving.
14. Green Salad
A green salad is a staple dish that can be served with almost any meal.
It’s a great way to add some freshness and lightness to a heavier meal, like ham.
The key to a good green salad is the quality of the ingredients.
Use fresh, crisp greens, and avoid wilted or browning ones.
Add some variety to your salad by including different types of greens, like arugula, spinach, or romaine.
And don’t forget the toppings.
Crumbled cheese, roasted nuts, and diced fruit all make great additions to a green salad.
The dressing is also important.
A simple vinaigrette made with olive oil and vinegar is always a good choice.
But feel free to get creative with your dressing.
Try adding some flavor with herbs or spices.
Or use a different type of oil, like avocado or grape seed oil.
The possibilities are endless.
15. Fruit Salad
Fruit salad is a refreshing, healthy dish that can be enjoyed any time of year.
The key to a good fruit salad is to use fresh, quality ingredients.
The fruits should be ripe and in season for the best flavor.
When it comes to taste and texture, the sky’s the limit with fruit salad.
You can mix and match different types of fruits to create a unique flavor profile.
For a more traditional taste, stick with classic combos like strawberries and bananas.
For something a little different, try mixing in some exotic fruits like dragonfruit or pomegranate.
There are endless ways to elevate your fruit salad.
One simple way is to add a drizzle of honey or agave nectar.
This will add a touch of sweetness without making the salad too sugary.
Another way to dress up your fruit salad is to top it with a light dressing or yogurt sauce.
This will add creaminess and depth of flavor.
In conclusion, these are the 15 best side dishes to serve with ham.
Roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, au gratin potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, glazed carrots, green beans amandine, sauteed spinach, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salad, green salad, and fruit salad.