A perfectly honey or maple baked ham can make a delicious main dish for any table spread, whether you’re celebrating the holidays or simply enjoying a family meal.
No ham dinner is complete without a couple of sides to round everything out. However, choosing the perfect side dishes for ham can be a challenge.
There are plenty of different dishes that pair perfectly with the salty, savory taste of ham. Here, we’re going to go over more than twenty of the best sides to serve up with your ham dinner. Read on to learn more about how to find the right side to complement your meal.
The wedge salad is an easy and versatile side that’s gained popularity in recent years. You’ll even find wedge salads on the menus of Michelin-star restaurants.
You build a classic wedge salad on a full quarter head of lettuce, usually Iceberg. You can add a variety of different toppings and dressings, making this a versatile choice of side.
A classic wedge salad usually includes toppings such as bacon, cheese, and cherry tomatoes. However, you can customize your salad to suit your meal. Ham goes well with sweet and savory toppings such as nuts and seeds, tart pineapple, or even hard-boiled eggs.
Find the recipe for a classic wedge salad here.
A mixed salad also works well as a side to complement ham (or a fish like tuna steak), especially with a light meal such as lunch or brunch.
You can include a wide variety of healthy spring vegetables to add extra flavor and crunch to your salad. Fresh peas, radishes, and avocado all make good additions.
It’s best to stick to a light dressing with a spring salad. Vinaigrettes or other oil-based dressings make a good choice.
Find the recipe for spring salad here.
This springtime pasta dish makes a wonderful addition to any ham dinner during the warmer months, adding an Italian flair to your meal.
With a rich, creamy sauce, pasta primavera is filling and delicious. It may be the only side you need to complement a cut of ham.
You can add whatever springtime vegetables you prefer for more texture and flavor. Carrot, broccoli, zucchini, and bell pepper all make tasty additions to this pasta side.
Find the recipe for pasta primavera here.
Risotto is renowned for being a challenging dish. It requires quite a bit of babysitting during cooking, but the result is well worth it.
Simmering glutinous rice such as arborio in water or stock makes the rice grains absorb moisture without losing shape. Eventually, you get soft grains soaking in a rich, creamy sauce.
Risotto is a versatile side, and you can add elements that make it pair perfectly with your ham dinner. Parmesan cheese is a foolproof addition, but you can also include veggies such as mushrooms or spring onion for extra flavor.
Find the recipe for basic parmesan risotto here.
Rice pilaf is slightly easier to make than rice-based sides such as risotto, especially for novice chefs. It’s also a versatile dish that allows you to incorporate a wide variety of spices and veggies.
Combine white or brown rice with onion, butter, and broth for a rich, moist result. You can cook rice pilaf on the stovetop, in the oven, or even in a rice cooker.
Unlike steamed rice, pilaf is easy to cover and reheat. It maintains both its flavor and consistency even after a day or two in the fridge.
Find the recipe for rice pilaf here.
Farro has recently gained popularity as a superfood thanks to its high nutrient content. Unlike many other grains, farro is packed with protein to help add some extra energy to your meal.
Farro salad can make a bright, zesty addition to complement the sweetness of a ham dinner. It’s also more filling than your average salad and can act as a standalone side.
Instead of using lettuce as the base of your salad, you use cooked farro flavored with an oil or vinegar-based dressing. You can include a variety of healthy herbs and veggies such as basil, parsley, and arugula.
Find the recipe for farro salad here.
Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a staple in many households. People often considered it the king of comfort food thanks to its delicious creamy, cheesy flavor.
It’s easy to make mac and cheese either from a box mix or from scratch. Cooking it in the oven instead of the microwave or stovetop as a casserole dish adds a crisp golden crust.
You can serve mac and cheese as a side with ham for a delicious, casual dinner. You can also incorporate leftover ham into your mac and cheese to bring it to the next level.
Find the recipe for homemade mac and cheese here.
Roast Baby Reds
Roasted potatoes make a foolproof side for any ham dinner. You can simply throw them in the oven with some olive oil or on the grill and forget about them until they finish cooking.
Baby red potatoes are less starchy than more traditional varieties such as russet, making them ideal for roasting. They hold their shape well, whether you keep them whole or cut them into chunks.
You can season roast baby reds just about any way you like. Adding butter and savory herbs can help add some flavor to your meal and balance out the saltiness of the ham.
Find the recipe for roast baby reds here.
This creamy comfort dish is a classic when it comes to side dishes for ham. Thinly sliced potatoes sit in layers drizzled in a rich, onion-infused cream sauce seasoned with onion and garlic.
A perfectly cooked batch of scalloped potatoes will be tender and buttery while the top gets crisped to perfection. You can even add a sprinkle of herbs, roasted veggies, or crumbled bacon to add even more flavor.
With a big batch of scalloped potatoes, you’re bound to have leftovers. It’s easy to reheat them in the oven on high to crisp the crust again.
Find the recipe for scalloped potatoes here.
Mashed potatoes are another classic side that pairs perfectly with a ham dinner. They make a particularly popular choice for holiday meals.
Whip soft, boiled potatoes with milk or cream to a light, fluffy consistency to make mashed potatoes.
You can take your mashed potatoes up a notch by adding a pat of butter or sour cream for a richer flavor. Garlic and chives also make good additions that pair well with ham.
Find the recipe for perfect mashed potatoes here.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes are a delicious, healthy alternative to traditional varieties such as russets. They contain more fiber, making them a better choice for people on specialty diets such as keto or diabetic-friendly meal plans.
Sweet potatoes also contain higher nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
Sweet potato fries complement the sweet yet savory taste of ham, making them a good side dish for your meal. The healthiest way to prepare sweet potato fries is in the oven.
Find the recipe for oven-baked sweet potato fries here.
Roasted asparagus is a healthy, delicious, and easy side that can make a ham dinner look like a professional spread.
You can roast asparagus in the oven or cook on the grill for tender, buttery heads with a crispy finish.
If you want to take your roasted asparagus to the next level, try wrapping it in bacon before cooking. You can also drizzle asparagus in hollandaise sauce for a lighter side option.
Find the recipe for basic roasted asparagus here.
As any pizza lover can tell you, ham and pineapple make a classic pairing. The sweet yet tart flavor of the pineapple helps to neutralize the ham’s saltiness.
Roasting pineapple can help to bring out its natural sugars. Adding a little bit of butter also gives the fruit a richer flavor.
While you can roast pineapple in the oven, the best texture comes from pan-frying. Doing this helps the outside of the pineapple to caramelize to achieve a delicious burnt sugar taste.
Find the recipe for pan-fried pineapple here.
Broccoli and cheese are a match made in heaven, and they both pair perfectly with ham. It’s also a kid-friendly side that’s ideal for family dinners.
Cheesy broccoli can add some extra vitamins and minerals to your meal. Broccoli is full of healthy nutrients such as iron, potassium, vitamin C, and more.
Simply steam fresh broccoli to perfection before drizzling on a cheese sauce (ideally cheddar cheese base). You can choose whatever kind of cheese you like and thin it with milk or cream. Cheddar and parmesan make particularly good choices.
Find the recipe for Cheesy Broccoli here.
Garlic Parmesan Brussel Sprouts
The Brussels sprout is notorious as the bane of every childhood meal. However, there are plenty of ways that you can turn Brussels sprouts from a tough, bitter dish into a tasty treat.
Roasting Brussels sprouts gives you a crisp, golden-brown outside with a succulent interior. After cooking, you can add some flavor with garlic, parmesan, and other spices.
If you prefer extra-crispy Brussels sprouts, try cutting each sprout into halves or quarters instead of cooking them whole.
Find the recipe for roasted garlic parmesan Brussels sprouts here.
Green Bean Casserole
This side is an Autumn favorite frequently featured alongside ham during fall and winter holiday meals.
Green bean casserole is creamy, savory, and easy to make. You can use fresh ingredients or use more convenient canned goods for just as tasty a result.
Topping green bean casserole with fried onion helps to lend a little bit more flavor to the dish and gives it a delicious crunch.
Find the recipe for green bean casserole here.
Ham goes well with sweet side dishes, and few combine sugary and savory better than honey-glazed carrots. Not only are they delicious, but also packed with vitamin A.
Honey-glazed carrots are easy to perfect, whether you’re a beginner in the kitchen or a seasoned chef. Boil your carrots until tender, then glaze in a pan with a spiced honey mixture. You can also do a roasted carrot variation in the oven.
This side dish allows you to add sweetness to your meal with natural plant sugars instead of unhealthy processed sugars, making it a healthy option.
Find the recipe for honey-glazed carrots here.
Cauliflower is a delicious, low-carb alternative to potatoes, pasta, and other starches. It’s ideal for people trying to follow a keto or diabetic-friendly diet.
Instead of making a casserole with a starchy base, you can use cauliflower to achieve the rich, creamy texture you want.
Cauliflower casserole goes best with ham when made with a soft, flavorful cheese such as chevre or gruyere. Cream cheese can also lend a smooth, rich texture to the dish.
Find the recipe for cauliflower casserole here.
Few full dinner spreads are complete without biscuits on the table. Buttermilk biscuits are a buttery, flaky crowd pleaser that goes perfectly with comfort foods such as glazed ham.
You just need a few simple baking ingredients to make buttermilk biscuits, including flour, butter, sugar, and, of course, buttermilk.
Depending on your meal, you can serve buttermilk biscuits with salted butter, or you can sweeten things up with jam and honey.
Find the recipe for easy buttermilk biscuits here.
Cornbread is a southern staple that’s a popular side dish for any pork course. The mild, buttery flavor helps to balance out the salty aftertaste of ham.
It’s easy to make cornbread either from scratch using cornmeal or use a box mix. You can also add whole corn kernels for extra sweetness and texture.
Serve cornbread with butter to complement any Southern-style ham dinner. If you prefer to add a little bit of sweetness to your meal, you can also add a touch of honey.
Find the recipe for homemade cornbread here.
It isn’t always easy to find side dishes for ham that can hold their own against the main course.
Any of the crowd-pleasers here are sure to take your meal to the next level. From roast potatoes to warm, creamy casseroles, there are plenty of delicious options for any occasion.
There’s also plenty of other sides that complement these sides. Deviled eggs are always a go to along with corn pudding or even corn casserole. You can also take the potatoes in a different direction with sweet potato casserole, potato gratin, or classic baked potato. Don’t forget to try different cheeses for a twist – with goat cheese or a nice guyere cheese.
The possibilities are endless within the “classic” honey glazed ham setup.
Feel free to experiment and see what else complements the savory taste of freshly cooked ham.