30 Essential Christmas Dinner Sides That Are Actually Easy

Peas and Pancetta in a white bowl
Photo: naples34102

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.

01 of 30

Fast and Easy Creamed Spinach

creamed spinach on a plate with steak and roasted vegetables
Chef John

Lemon zest brings a bright flavor to decadent creamed spinach.

02 of 30

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

closeup of deep orange cubes of seasoned roasted squash in a white dish
Marisa R.

"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."

03 of 30

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon in a white bowl
Caroline Thomas Russo

Maple syrup caramelizes Brussels sprouts, bringing out a nice nutty flavor.

04 of 30

Orange Glazed Carrots

Orange Glazed Carrots
larkspur

Coated in orange juice, butter, sugar, and salt, these glazed carrots taste sweet but never syrupy, our reviewers say.

05 of 30

Cream Corn Like No Other

Cream Corn Like No Other in a glass bowl
House of Aqua

"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.

06 of 30

Herbed Mushrooms with White Wine

buttery herbed mushrooms on white plate
OkinawanPrincess

"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.

07 of 30

Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash

Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash on a sheet pan
Allrecipes Magazine

"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."

08 of 30

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied Sweet Potatoes
Leslie McOmber

"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.

09 of 30

Smashed Brussels Sprouts

Smashed Brussels Sprouts
LauraF

"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."

10 of 30

Cauliflower Au Gratin

Cauliflower Au Gratin in a white dish on a table
Chef Mo

"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.

11 of 30

Easiest Sausage Stuffing

sausage stuffing in a white bowl
fabeverdayblog

"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.

12 of 30

Chef Bill's Green Bean Almondine with Cranberries

green beans, almond slivers, and cranberries in a white dish
lutzflcat

"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.

13 of 30

Italian-Style Swiss Chard

Swiss chard with pepper flakes on a white plate
Buckwheat Queen

Balance out more decadent sides with simple, garlicky Italian-Style Swiss Chard.

14 of 30

Spiralized Brown Butter Sage Sweet Potato

Spiralized Brown Butter Sage Sweet Potato topped with sage leaves
Buckwheat Queen

Impress guests with a plate of spiralized sweet potatoes (or butternut squash) topped with sage and sage-infused butter.

15 of 30

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions
naples34102

Topping these Brussels sprouts with Parmesan adds to their salty, savory appeal.

16 of 30

Tasty Roasted Beets

Tasty Roasted Beets
lutzflcat

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.

17 of 30

Ooey Gooey Mac and Cheese

Ooey Gooey Mac and Cheese
Bluegrassbakergirl

Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, Cheddar, and Parmesan add big flavor to this easy mac and cheese.

18 of 30

Easy Green Beans with Cream Cheese

Easy Green Beans with Cream Cheese in a blue dish
Yoly

This creamy casserole calls for just four ingredients but averages five-stars in reviews.

19 of 30

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Slices

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Slices
House of Aqua

"I followed the directions exactly, and it was a hit. It's a nice alternative to the marshmallow variety," Erin Barnhar says.

20 of 30

Garlicky Green Beans with Shallot

green beans on a white plate
Holiday Baker

"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."

21 of 30

Peas and Pancetta

Peas and Pancetta in a white bowl
naples34102

Pancetta, white wine, and thyme elevate frozen peas to holiday-staple status.

22 of 30

Aimee's Mashed Cauliflower 'Potatoes'

Aimee's Mashed Cauliflower 'Potatoes'
naples34102

"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.

23 of 30

Grama's Peppery Parsnips

Grama's Peppery Parsnips
pelicangal

Browning the parsnips in butter caramelizes their sugars, while salt and pepper keep the dish savory.

24 of 30

Dijon Roasted Cauliflower

roasted cauliflower in yellow dish
lutzflcat

Serve a side of Dijon Roasted Cauliflower with Christmas dinner to add a kick to ham or beef tenderloin.

25 of 30

Maple Glazed Carrots

edited 1111320 maple glazed carrots photo by lutzflcat
Photo by lutzflcat.

"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?"

26 of 30

Roasted Iowa Root Vegetables

Roasted Iowa Root Vegetables
Buckwheat Queen

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.

27 of 30

Oven Baked Parsley Red Potatoes

Oven Baked Parsley Red Potatoes
My Hot Southern Mess

"So easy! Don't forget to add the fresh parsley because that just tops it off so nicely," home cook Jana says.

28 of 30

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin
sandybaby999

Though it's not a traditional Christmas dinner side dish, Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin will merit rave reviews.

29 of 30

Buttery Pecan Green Beans

Buttery Pecan Green Beans
Molly

Our Buttery Pecan Green Beans prove that you don't need to douse vegetables in cheese to turn them into a delicious dish.

30 of 30

My Potatoes

24324 My Potatoes

"Super simple, fast, and delicious. Just the right amount of buttery," says home cook Connie, who replaced parsley with cilantro. Other reviewers have modified the recipe by adding rosemary, garlic, and Parmesan.

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