30 Essential Christmas Dinner Sides That Are Actually Easy
Even those of us who consider side dishes the best part of Christmas dinner never have enough time to prepare all the sides we’d like. And yet, who should have to choose between green bean casserole and creamed spinach? Butternut squash and sweet potatoes? Mac and cheese and stuffing? No one. Not on Christmas. Save time with these 30 simple, holiday-worthy recipes.
Fast and Easy Creamed Spinach
Lemon zest brings a bright flavor to decadent creamed spinach.
Simple Roasted Butternut Squash
"Not sure I'd roast butternut squash any other way after making this basic, no-fuss recipe," says naples34102. "Winning recipes almost always begin with fresh ingredients and a little seasoning to enhance and complement. This is a winner. Easy to prepare, quick to roast, easy to serve and eat, pretty on the plate, and delicious."
Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Maple syrup caramelizes Brussels sprouts, bringing out a nice nutty flavor.
Orange Glazed Carrots
Coated in orange juice, butter, sugar, and salt, these glazed carrots taste sweet but never syrupy, our reviewers say.
Cream Corn Like No Other
"How often can you get such a good side dish with five minutes preparation time?! I decided to do the recipe as is and concur with other reviewers that it doesn’t need any tweaking," home cook Karl says.
Herbed Mushrooms with White Wine
"This was quick, easy, and delicious — a nice savory dish for my vegetarian son. Those of us who like mushrooms loved it," Elaine Smith Payne says.
Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash
"A perfect recipe! Easy to prepare, simple list of ingredients, fast to cook, and delicious. I try to get healthier foods into my family and it isn't always easy, but these were a hit, even with the self-professed squash haters," says home cook Mina Y. "You can't go wrong with this recipe."
Candied Sweet Potatoes
"This was a hit with my whole family last Christmas. I put it together the night before and just warmed it up on Christmas Day, then added the marshmallows on top to brown," Tasha Lee says.
Smashed Brussels Sprouts
"Smashing Brussels sprouts and covering them with cheese guarantees lots of crispy, crunchy edges!" says LauraF. "Play with the seasonings and amount of cheese to suit your taste."
Cauliflower Au Gratin
"This was so easy to make and tasted delicious this Christmas at our dinner," says Sue Ellen, who followed the recipe as is. Other reviewers make this cheesy dish their own with additions like bacon, Dijon mustard, and panko breadcrumbs.
Easiest Sausage Stuffing
"This hack on boxed stuffing is so easy but so good that your guests will think you made it from scratch! Ground sausage with sage adds an especially nice flavor, but you can make this with any mild ground breakfast sausage," says recipe creator fabeverydayblog.
Chef Bill's Green Bean Almondine with Cranberries
"Served at a holiday dinner and everyone loved it," Annie Patterson says of this dish that other reviewers consider easy enough to whip up on a weeknight.
Italian-Style Swiss Chard
Balance out more decadent sides with simple, garlicky Italian-Style Swiss Chard.
Spiralized Brown Butter Sage Sweet Potato
Impress guests with a plate of spiralized sweet potatoes (or butternut squash) topped with sage and sage-infused butter.
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions
Topping these Brussels sprouts with Parmesan adds to their salty, savory appeal.
Tasty Roasted Beets
Dried thyme seasons sweet, earthy beets in this 20-minute side. Take a cue from our home cooks and add rosemary, basil, garlic, or Parm for extra flavor.
Ooey Gooey Mac and Cheese
Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, Cheddar, and Parmesan add big flavor to this easy mac and cheese.
Easy Green Beans with Cream Cheese
This creamy casserole calls for just four ingredients but averages five-stars in reviews.
Cinnamon Sweet Potato Slices
"I followed the directions exactly, and it was a hit. It's a nice alternative to the marshmallow variety," Erin Barnhar says.
Garlicky Green Beans with Shallot
"I prepared this as the recipe directed, with the addition that I poured in a good glug of white wine to help the cooking process along," says naples34102. "It did do that, but it added great flavor as well."
Peas and Pancetta
Pancetta, white wine, and thyme elevate frozen peas to holiday-staple status.
Aimee's Mashed Cauliflower 'Potatoes'
"What I immediately noticed in this recipe was the addition of the potato flakes, and I thought that was ingenious! The submitter adds just enough to ensure that the cauliflower is a mashed potato consistency. It's a very easy and effective solution," says naples34102.
Grama's Peppery Parsnips
Browning the parsnips in butter caramelizes their sugars, while salt and pepper keep the dish savory.
Dijon Roasted Cauliflower
Serve a side of Dijon Roasted Cauliflower with Christmas dinner to add a kick to ham or beef tenderloin.
Maple Glazed Carrots
"A huge hit at my holiday table. Even those who dislike carrots went for seconds," Elyse Krantz says. "Super quick and easy. Why eat carrots any other way?"
Roasted Iowa Root Vegetables
With parsnips, carrots, celery root, rutabaga, and yellow onion, this sides makes the most of winter produce. Plus, it takes just 10 minutes of prep time.
Oven Baked Parsley Red Potatoes
"So easy! Don't forget to add the fresh parsley because that just tops it off so nicely," home cook Jana says.
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin
Though it's not a traditional Christmas dinner side dish, Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin will merit rave reviews.