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Easy and Delicious Recipe Ideas for Christmas Day Dinner Side Dishes

Easy and Delicious Recipe Ideas for Christmas Day Dinner Side Dishes
People drinking at a dinner table

As someone who absolutely loves spending time in the kitchen, I look forward to the holidays, in particular. When other unsuspecting hosts find themselves dreading a house full of guests, I treat Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinner as my Olympics – I train for these events all year long! Preparing a table that is full of a variety of side dishes is important to give guests options and do so with the intention to provide complements to the turkey, ham, chicken, or beef you’ll be serving. Without further ado, I present my list of the most traditional and popular Christmas side dishes, no matter what protein is filling the plate.

By Maria Healey,

Traditional Christmas side dishes:

  • Stuffing
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Creamed Spinach
  • Potatoes au Gratin
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Cheesy Broccoli & Cauliflower
  • Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Biscuits or Rolls

In addition to this exhaustive list, here are a few of the best Christmas side dishes that keep friends and family asking for the recipe all year long. No holiday meal is complete without some amazing side dishes for Christmas dinner and sweet potatoes rank highly in this category. I’ve tried a dozen variations on this and was raised with a very boring version, but there’s so much more you can do with sweet potatoes than chunk them up and plop marshmallows on top!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble Topping


  • 5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees ▫ Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray ▫ Cook chopped sweet potatoes in steamer until tender, about 20-25 minutes
  • Transfer potatoes to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly
  • To the potatoes, add honey, egg, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt ▫ Whip all ingredients with electric mixer until smooth
  • Spread sweet potato mixture in prepared dish ▫ In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, pecans, and remaining cinnamon
  • Sprinkle crumb topping over the sweet potato mixture
  • Bake 40-45 minutes, until browning at the edges

Sweet potatoes might be a staple on any Christmas dinner table, but so is this recipe for Green Bean Casserole, a tried and true classic that’s also quick and simple!

Green Bean Casserole


  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cans green beans, any style
  • 1 1/3 cup fried onions


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Stir soup, milk, and black pepper together in bowl
  • Add green beans and 2/3 cup of fried onions to bowl and mix to fully coat green beans
  • Transfer mixture to 1 ½ quart casserole dish
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbling hot
  • Top with remaining fried onions and continue baking for 5 minutes

Another one of the very popular side dishes for Christmas dinner is homemade mac & cheese, and this recipe couldn’t be any easier since busy cooks can set it and forget it in the slow cooker to focus on other more time intensive recipes. This recipe ranks highly in the easy Christmas side dishes category since it’s prepared in the crock pot and the noodles don’t need to be cooked ahead of time!

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese


  • 3 cups macaroni noodles, uncooked
  • 24 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 12 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded by hand
  • 8 oz. cubed Velveeta cheese
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard


  • Spray slow cooker with cooking spray then add uncooked macaroni noodles
  • Combine evaporated milk, whole milk and all spices in a large bowl, stir to mix
  • Pour seasoned milk mixture over noodles
  • Stir in cheddar, Velveeta, and butter to combine all ingredients, ensuring noodles are fully covered
  • Cook on high 2-3 hours, gently stirring every 30 minutes

Finally, I know firsthand that eating during the holidays can get out of hand quickly, so for those looking to celebrate the season a little more carb-consciously, you must try this Keto-friendly take on traditional mac & cheese that swaps out macaroni noodles for cauliflower florets. It will quickly become your favorite Christmas dinner side!

Cauliflower “Mac and Cheese”


  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped in bite-size florets
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded by hand
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Steam cauliflower for 5 minutes
  • Strain cauliflower and place in greased baking dish
  • In a large pan over medium-high heat, add whipping cream and bring it to a low simmer
  • Whisk in garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste
  • Add cream cheese and stir until smooth and completely incorporated
  • Stir in shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sprinkle in mozzarella cheese and stir sauce until it smoothly thickens
  • Pour cheese sauce over top of cauliflower in baking dish
  • Stir to coat cauliflower well
  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of cauliflower and cheese mixture
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until browned on top

The Cauliflower “Mac & Cheese” recipe is one that I make all year long, not just as a Christmas side dish, and it’s my most requested recipe share with friends. What’s your favorite Christmas dinner side dish? Please share in the comments!

About The Author

Casey Christiansen

Casey supports the PR team at Zulily.

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