sides for ham

What To Serve With Ham?

Ham is one of those dishes that many hold dear because they are part of holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations. Cooking ham is not hard at all, but knowing Christmas dinner sides with ham can be a little tricky. You may want to spend some time thinking about your options and choose something that will complement the ham.

Here we will show the best side dishes for ham dinner! You can make one or more of these without issues.

What Is Ham?

Ham is a cut of pork, usually from the leg, that is preserved through wet or dry curing. This ham is available with the rest of the cold cuts, but you are supposed to cook it. The flavor comes from the type of preservation and preparation method, which can be honey roasted, smoked, or salted.

There are various ways to prepare ham. It can be either cured with brine and salt, aged over time with just salt, or cold smoked for days or weeks. In some cases, the ham you see at the grocery store will be prepared with a mixture of these processes.

While ham does not taste like pork because of the curing process, it can still have lots of flavors. You can prepare ham by baking, roasting, grilling, or smoking. In most cases, a sauce goes on top of the ham, such as honey mustard, barbecue, or cranberry.

Nutrition Facts

One thick slice of cooked ham (63 g) has the following nutritional content (*):

  • 171 calories
  • 34.4 g water
  • 16.8 g protein
  • 11 g fat
  • 0 g carbohydrate
  • 0 g fiber
  • 8.82 mg calcium
  • 0.63 mg iron
  • 13.9 mg magnesium
  • 164 mg phosphorus
  • 220 mg potassium
  • 241 mg sodium
  • 28.3 µg selenium
  • 58.6 mg cholesterol

As you can see, ham can be high in fat, but it also contains a good amount of protein. The preparation method matters, so pick a leaner cut ham and cook it without added fat. You can also look for a low-sodium option, as it can be high at times.

Best Ham Side Dishes You Can Try

Below are some options for side dishes that you can serve with ham at any time!

#1. Garlic Parmesan Mac and Cheese

This garlic Parmesan mac and cheese is a great side dish to go with your ham. You can add more herbs, spices, and even vegetables to make this recipe more filling.


  • 1 box of macaroni pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons dry thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dry dill
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your garlic Parmesan mac and cheese:

  1. Cook your pasta according to instructions in a large pot. Once al dente, drain it and set it aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, warm up your olive oil, onions, and garlic. When the onions start to brown, slowly add the milk, thyme, and dill. Continue to mix.
  3. After 3 minutes, add the cheese, and continue mixing until the sauce thickens. This should take about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the pasta, and continue to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve warm, with pork on the side or chopped and mixed in.

#2. Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Gratin

This creamy mushroom and spinach gratin adds delicacy, flavor, and texture to your meal. You can add your favorite cheese and even onions to make this side dish stand out even more. 


  • A bunch of spinach
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your creamy mushroom and spinach gratin: 

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Separately, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook your mushrooms until soft and brown, which should take about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer your vegetable mix to a baking dish.
  4. In the same saucepan, pour the cream, oregano, and cheese. Mix everything well for about 3 minutes or until everything is melted.
  5. Add the mixture to the baking dish, and continue to mix well. Bake your mushroom and spinach gratin for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.
  6. Serve warm with your ham on the side.

#3. Potato and Chive Salad

A potato and chive salad is a nice and simple side dish to go with your tasty ham. You can make this recipe in only minutes and add more ingredients if you would like.


  • 6 large potatoes of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your potato and chive salad:

  1. Begin by cooking your potatoes. Place them in a large pot with water and salt. Allow the water to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for another 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream, olive oil, mustard, salt, and vinegar.
  3. When the potatoes are ready, cut them into cubes, allow for them to cool down a bit. You can then transfer them to the bowl.
  4. Mix everything well, and cover the bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  5. Serve cold with ham on the side or chop it up and mix with the salad.

#4. Roasted Carrots and Radishes

Root vegetables are a fantastic choice to go with your ham, and they are very versatile. This recipe uses carrots and radishes, but you can add more vegetables and flavors.


  • 1 pound carrots, chopped into halves
  • A bunch of radishes, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dry rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dry thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your roasted carrots and radishes:

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In the meantime, cook your carrots in a pot with water and salt until they are tender. Drain them and set them aside.
  3. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, place the radishes and carrots on it. Add the olive oil, rosemary, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  4. Roast your vegetables for about 20 to 25 minutes or until they are brown and soft.
  5. Serve warm with sea salt on top or a maple glaze and ham on the side.

#5. Classic Caesar Salad

When your ham comes with a sauce like a cranberry or a barbecue one, you may want to go with a lighter side dish. This classic Caesar salad is very easy to make and extremely tasty!


  • Bunch of romaine lettuce
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Bunch of croutons
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your classic Caesar salad:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. This will be your salad dressing.
  2. Rinse and chop your Romaine lettuce. Allow it to air dry. Then place in a serving bowl with the Parmesan cheese. Add the croutons.
  3. Serve cold, with some of the dressing you made, and ham on the side.

#6. Rice With Peas and Carrots

When we talk comfort, this recipe is perfect to make you feel at home any day. Rice with peas and carrots is a simple yet delicious dish that goes well with ham.


  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ cup rice of choice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your rice with peas and carrots:

  1. Cook your rice with half the vegetable oil, water, garlic powder, and salt in a large pot. When the water boils, cover your pot and reduce the heat. Simmer until rice is tender.
  2. In a saucepan, add the remaining vegetable oil and cook your peas and carrots. Add the cumin and more garlic powder. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until your vegetables are brown and tender.
  3. Add your peas and carrots to your cooked rice, and mix well. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if you want.
  4. Serve your rice warm with ham on the side or top.

#7. Southern Black-Eyed Peas

These Southern black-eyed peas are a homey, delicious treat to go with your ham. You can add the ham to this dish and make it one meal.


  • 2 cans black-eyed peas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup collard greens or spinach
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your Southern black-eyed peas:

  1. In a large saucepan or pot, add the vegetable oil, garlic, and onions. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until onions are brown. Add the oregano, thyme, cumin, and chili powder.
  2. Pour the vegetable broth, and then the peas. Reduce the heat, add the salt and pepper. Cover your saucepan and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Add the collard greens or spinach. Continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the mix thickens.
  4. Chop your ham into small pieces and add to the peas. Serve warm.

How Can I Pick The Perfect Sides for Ham?

Ham is such traditional meat to serve during holidays, birthdays, and potlucks. While it is very easy to cook it, knowing what sides goes with ham is not always easy. Do not overpower your ham flavors, and instead, choose one of these dishes.

If you are simply baking or roasting your ham with no sauce, then you can choose a dense and more filling side dish. Try the potato and chive salad or the roasted carrots and radishes. You can add more vegetables and serve these two together if you want.

When you are serving ham with a sauce, such as cranberry, honey mustard, or barbecue, then you can choose a side dish that compliments these flavors. Go with the garlic Parmesan mac and cheese or the creamy mushroom and spinach gratin. For a more clean flavor, try the classic Caesar salad.

On the other hand, when you want to serve the ham as part of another dish, you should go with more cohesive dishes. Choose the rice with peas and carrots or the Southern black-eyed peas. These two are perfect when you want to mix in the ham and serve it as one dish.


Preparing and cooking ham is not too hard, and many families do it all the time. However, you will no longer have to spend hours browsing for ham sides and recipes. Try one or more of these together, and you will make your ham meal stand out.

See more: Can ham be frozen?

*image by sokorevaphoto/depositphotos

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