Whether you’re serving cold cut ham at a picnic, a honey glazed ham for Christmas dinner, or a plain baked version, it’s important to think about what to serve with ham. After all, ham isn’t a meal on its own, it needs at least one side to balance out the protein and saltiness.
The sides you choose can also elevate your ham to a whole new level. You might even end up with a meal that people can’t stop talking about.
Thankfully, ham is an easy dish to work with. You can serve ham with plenty of sides, including creamy potatoes au gratin or macaroni cheese, fresh salads, bread, corn pudding, or perhaps a delicious vegetable gratin. If your ham will be served cold rather than hot, you might experiment with classic picnic sides, like potato salad and coleslaw.
That’s not even the end of it. You might also consider the best wine pairings with ham. These are powerful for when you’re serving ham as part of a special occasion or when you have some guests to impress.
Baked Ham Or Spiral Cut Ham
For this section, we’re talking about baked or spiral cut ham with minimal glaze. Here, the ham’s flavor dominates the dish and dictates which sides work well.
You can choose a whole ham, a bone-in ham, or a spiral cut ham here, as the flavor profile is similar in all cases. The biggest difference is that spiral cut ham has already been sliced, which makes it easier to serve. You’ll need to do the work yourself for the other two types.
Potatoes are the classic side dish for pretty much any meal. That’s hardly surprising, as they’re starchy and bland, which means they’re an excellent complement for most flavors and textures.
Then there’s the versatility. There are endless ways to prepare potatoes and most versions are going to work with ham. This means you could go with something simple like boiled new potatoes or mashed potatoes, or make something more complex, like double baked potatoes or potatoes au gratin.
Cheesy and creamy versions of potatoes are especially compelling, as the creaminess offsets the saltiness of your ham. Just ensure you don’t add much salt to your potatoes, as you won’t need it with most recipes.
These Creamy Garlic Sauce Baby Potatoes are seriously amazing. The base of the recipe is simply boiled baby potatoes, but the creamy sauce brings these up to an entirely new level.
The recipe is also a decadent one, as it relies on two full cups of heavy whipping cream to provide the creaminess. The focus on cream makes this an excellent holiday dish, rather than something you’d eat regularly.
Unusually, the recipe also includes grated carrots. These provide extra nutrients and coloring, without changing the flavor of the dish much at all.
Macaroni And Cheese
Speaking of creamy and cheesy dishes, why not serve macaroni and cheese with ham? It’s a logical choice, given that the dish often includes ham or bacon as an ingredient anyway. It’s also a carb-rich side, which is a helpful complement to all the protein in your ham.
You’re not stuck with the classic version of macaroni and cheese here. There are endless ways to mix up the recipe, like by adding truffle oil or by using multiple types of cheese (parmesan is an excellent addition).
You could even make a more filling version of macaroni cheese by including unexpected extra ingredients, like bell peppers, boiled eggs, and onion. Perhaps you already have a family favorite recipe that’s worth trying with ham.
This Creamy Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese might look familiar at first glance, but it uses some unusual ingredients to create a truly spectacular dish. Plus, once you’ve made this a few times, you could easily start adding ingredients to create your own unique twist.
Not surprisingly, this is a dairy heavy dish. It relies on butter, milk, three types of cheese, and evaporated milk to provide incredible creaminess. The recipe even contains mustard and chicken bouillon to amp up the flavor profile.
Most macaroni and cheese recipes rely on a roux, made by mixing together milk, butter, and flour. This recipe takes a different approach that gives you a more stable creamy sauce, one that also requires less effort. There are other features to the recipe too, proving that this is no ordinary macaroni and cheese.
What about serving quiche with ham? Quiches often have a creaminess that nicely complements the saltiness of your ham. The recipe is also easy to modify, allowing you to make the quiche as simple or as complicated as you’d like.
Quiches have another benefit too, they’re not as high in carbs as the sides we’ve talked about so far. Their carb content is even lower if you make a crustless version.
Then there’s the amount of variation. Quiches typically rely on eggs, cream, and cheese as their base ingredients. This gives them a mild base that you can easily tweak with extra flavors. There’s no end to potential ingredients, including asparagus, bacon, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, salmon, feta, and many more.
This Easy Cheesy Spinach Quiche is a great starting point for making your own quiche. The recipe relies on baby bella mushrooms and fresh spinach, but provides plenty of ideas for variations that you can experiment with.
Beyond the spinach and mushrooms, the recipe uses familiar quiche ingredients, like cream, cheese, eggs, onion, and seasonings. It’s easy to see how this would be a popular dish, especially alongside delicious baked ham.
Serving ham with bread rolls is a fantastic idea. You’re basically allowing your guests to make their own sandwiches using freshly baked ham. What could be more delicious than that?
While any type of bread will work well here, the trick is to find something that’s just a little special. That might mean you’re making an artisan sourdough loaf or perhaps some buttery garlic rolls.
Pull apart bread could be a fun idea as well, especially if you’re serving ham as part of a celebration. Why not try a few different flavor combos to see which you like best?
These Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls are an excellent alternative to garlic bread and are fantastic for feeding a crowd. The ingredients selection is roughly what you would expect, including yeast, flour, sugar, vegetable oil, and milk.
What makes the rolls stand out is the garlic butter that is melted on the top. This is an excellent contrast to the slight sweetness of the brioche-like rolls and will also work excellently with your ham.
A Selection Of Vegetables
Vegetables are one of the most classic side dishes, served with almost any type of main you can imagine. It’s no surprise, then, that vegetables are an excellent side dish with ham.
Beans, asparagus, and brussels sprouts are frequently talked about as vegetables to pair with ham. You’d normally choose just one of them and create an interesting dish, like honey balsamic brussels sprouts or a cheesy brussels sprouts dish.
You could also experiment with mixed vegetables, such as a large dish of roast vegetables. Even obscure vegetables are an option, like lotus root or skirret. Why not try something new?
This recipe is called The Perfect Three Bean Salad or The Best Ever Three Bean Salad, titles that really do sum it up. The salad relies on white beans, red kidney beans, and green beans as the base, plus onion, parsley, and various seasonings.
The use of green beans makes this more exciting than most other three bean salads. These beans add a fantastic freshness, especially if you’re making the salad in the summer with beans straight from your garden. If you don’t have fresh beans, frozen green beans will work well too.
Honey Baked Ham Or Glazed Ham
Glazed hams are a little different, as you’re getting sweetness from the glaze, plus contrasting saltiness from the ham.
Corn pudding is an interesting dish. It’s often made using cornbread mix, creamed corn, and regular corn. The ingredients give it a similar flavor to cornbread, but the dish is softer and creamier.
The softness, creaminess, and semi-sweetness are all fantastic when you’re serving ham. There are also plenty of recipes to choose from, which allow you to mix up the flavor profile and texture.
And, if you’re not a fan of corn pudding’s texture, you could always simply focus on cornbread. Cornbread works just as well and you may already have a favorite recipe.
This Nantucket Corn Pudding uses whole corn kernels as one of the main ingredients, along with cheese, butter, half and half, eggs, and seasonings. Interestingly, the recipe has no cornbread mix, so the flavor mostly comes from the fresh corn.
Relying just on fresh corn isn’t a bad thing at all. This gives the recipe a fantastic lightness that will be perfect with your ham. There’s even a crispy topping that pulls the whole dish together.
Dark leafy greens are another excellent choice, with spinach being one of the best. After all, the vegetable offers plenty of nutrients, including a decent amount of iron. It’s also very easy to work with.
Creamed spinach may be the way to go if you want something decadent. This dish often relies on cream, butter, milk, and sometimes cheese, so it’s not especially healthy. Still, the flavor more than makes up for this. You can also make a lighter version by using milk instead of cream.
Of course, that’s just one option. Simply sautéing spinach works well too and gives you a much healthier dish.
If you’re unfamiliar with sautéing, then this Garlic Sautéed Spinach is a great place to begin. It just relies on spinach leaves, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, making it one of the simplest sides on this list. But honestly, those ingredients are enough.
The recipe also includes details for possible mix-ins that would make your spinach even more exciting. Some of the options include chopped bacon, curry powder, parmesan cheese, or crumbled feta. Any one of these would taste amazing and most additions would work well with your ham too.
We’ve already talked about potatoes, but what about sweet potatoes? These are actually healthier than regular potatoes, as they have a lower blood sugar impact and contain more antioxidants. They also taste amazing.
Once again, there are endless options for how you serve your sweet potatoes. You could focus on baking them and just serving them with butter. Or, you might make something more complicated, like a sweet potato casserole.
This Sweet Potato Souffle is another interesting style to try. It starts off with roasted sweet potatoes that are whipped with butter, eggs, and sugar so that they’re fluffy and delicious. Then a pecan topping is added and the entire thing is baked.
These approaches create a fantastic contrast in texture and flavor between the fluffy sweet potato base and the crunchy topping. Both aspects of the dish will work perfectly with your baked ham. In fact, a sweet potato souffle would be delicious with any type of ham.
Like bread rolls, biscuits are a mild flavored high carb side that complements your ham with no risk of overpowering it. They’re also a classic Southern food, so many people already have a favorite recipe they can call on.
Even better – why not cut the biscuits in half and place slices of ham in the middle? This combo tastes fantastic and requires barely any effort.
As a side note, we’re specifically talking about the American and Canadian version of biscuits here. If these don’t look like the biscuits you’re familiar with, try thinking about them as being buttermilk scones instead.
If you don’t have a biscuit recipe of your own, these 5 Ingredient Easy Drop Biscuits are one of the best starting points. Drop biscuits use the same ingredients as regular rolled biscuits, but the ingredients are in different ratios.
The most appealing feature is seen in the name, as biscuit dough can simply be dropped from a spoon. There’s no need to roll or cut them. That saves you time and effort.
For this version, the five ingredients you need are simply flour, milk, butter, baking powder, and salt. You could add some sugar, cheese, or herbs if you want extra flavor, but none of these are essential. Don’t worry if you’re new to making drop biscuits. The recipe provides clear instructions each step of the way, along with plenty of photos.
Potato gratin is commonly served alongside ham, as the creaminess, cheesiness, and flavor profile works so well. However, the dish is very carb heavy and doesn’t offer many nutrients, so it’s not always the right choice.
Why not make a gratin using vegetables instead? There are some single vegetable versions of this, like cauliflower gratin or broccoli gratin. Other recipes include multiple types of vegetables, like a summer vegetable gratin. That approach makes the dish look more interesting and adds flavor variation as well.
This Cheesy Root Vegetable Gratin takes the vegetable gratin idea and makes it so much more interesting. The recipe relies on multiple types of root vegetables, which have all been peeled and then sliced thinly.
There’s then a cheese sauce that’s poured over the gratin and a cheesy topping that’s added towards the end of cooking. As such, the dish is similar to a potato gratin but has its own interesting flavors. You could even try making this with some of the more unusual root vegetables. Including a few of these would make your side truly stand out.
Now we come to cold ham. This includes ham that you might buy from the deli or simply cold leftovers from your baked ham. The sides we’ve already mentioned will work well, but sometimes, you’ll want something a little different.
Potato salad is a classic side for picnics and other outdoor events, making it an ideal place to begin. The traditional recipe relies on potatoes, mayonnaise, and a collection of ingredients for flavoring (like paprika, mustard, and lemon juice). Some recipes mix things up, like using sour cream instead of mayo for the creaminess.
Of course, dairy isn’t essential for a potato salad. Some recipes rely on a vinaigrette-based dressing instead. Doing so is great if you’re eating outdoors or if you’re lactose intolerant.
You could also experiment with using fresh herbs in your potato salad. Doing so adds extra flavor and really brings your salad to life.
This Creamy Dill Potato Salad follows the traditional potato salad style but includes fresh dill for an extra twist of flavor. The salad’s dressing is impressive too, as it relies on a combo of pickle juice and mustard.
The steps for the recipe should be familiar, as it follows the same styles as a regular potato salad. There are also plenty of tips to ensure you end up with a delicious salad every time. To make it even better, why not use juice from your own homemade pickles in the recipe?
Coleslaw is another classic picnic ingredient, making it a logical addition to our list. It’s a nice and easy one too, given that most people already know how to make coleslaw.
If coleslaw seems boring or overdone, why not experiment with an unusual recipe? There are plenty out there, including some that don’t use mayo and others that skip the cabbage and use other veggies. You could even add bacon and apple to create a loaded coleslaw.
This Chipotle-Lime Creamy Coleslaw takes the traditional coleslaw style and then adds a few extra ingredients, including lime juice, chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce. These ingredients are enough to make the salad much more exciting.
This would be a fantastic version to serve at a picnic, along with cold sliced ham and perhaps some fresh homemade rolls. Doing so would give you a meal that’s both delicious and simple.
What To Serve With Ham For Christmas
A Green Salad
Green salads are ever popular, especially in the summer months. They’re an easy way to increase your greens intake and can be made using whatever fresh ingredients you have on hand.
The big problem is that green salads get a bit boring. That’s partly because they often use the same ingredients, like lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and some type of dressing.
To get around this, look for unusual recipes and ingredients. Even a few additions can make your salad much more exciting. To give your salad a Christmas theme, try adding dried cranberries or fresh pomegranate arils. Both give your salad a burst of fruity flavor that perfectly contrasts the other ingredients.
This Spinach and Pomegranate Salad shows how easy it is to give your salad a Christmas theme. The spinach and pomegranate arils alone mean you have the classic green and red theme.
Then, you have apple slices, red onion, arugula, and feta cheese for extra flavor and texture. If all of that wasn’t enough, there are also candied pecans to make everything more exciting.
The term pilaf refers to a specific cooking technique, where rice is first sauteed with aromatic ingredients, then boiled in stock. The resulting rice should be soft and flavorful, without being sticky or containing much liquid.
The approach is a wonderful way to serve rice, one that makes it taste so much better. So, why not serve this version of rice with your ham?
You could even make a similar dish using a different grain or rice alternative. For example, quinoa pilaf has familiar features, but includes extra texture, protein, and nutrients from the quinoa. Couscous pilaf is an option too. While this isn’t quite as healthy as the quinoa version, it is very easy to make.
What do you think of this Mediterranean Rice Pilaf? Turmeric, cumin, and onion are the main aromatics, while paprika adds some contrasting smokiness. Pine nuts are used for an interesting texture contrast, while other ingredients perfectly tie the whole recipe together.
The author suggests pairing the pilaf with tzatziki sauce and lamb koftas, which would taste amazing, given that there are considerable Mediterranean flavors in the pilaf. However, the flavors should work just as well with ham.
Dauphinoise potatoes look very similar to potatoes au gratin, so much so that you might imagine they’re the same dish. However, gratin potatoes tend to be pre-cooked and topped with cheese to provide the gratin crust.
Dauphinoise relies on raw potatoes instead. These are still cooked in a creamy mixture, but there isn’t traditionally any cheese. Everyone has their own favorite way of cooking the potatoes and all versions are spectacular when served with ham. So, use cheese or don’t. It’s entirely up to you.
These Creamy Garlic Dauphinoise Potatoes blur the line between dauphinoise potatoes and potatoes au gratin, but does that really matter? What’s important is that this recipe offers a decadent and creamy potato dish, one that will work excellently with your ham.
The decadence of the dish makes it a top choice for Christmas too. After all, it’s the time of year to go a little all out on food.
What To Serve With Ham For Easter
With Easter, you’re often looking for fresh and vibrant flavors, plus recipes that take advantage of fresh spring produce. An asparagus tart is a perfect example of the style, one that would be difficult to pass up.
The dish generally relies on puff pastry, a cheese-based topping, and plenty of fresh asparagus. Most recipes use green asparagus, but you could easily use one of the other colors instead. What about a purple asparagus tart?
This Asparagus Gruyere Tart shows how good an asparagus tart can look and taste. It’s also a super easy recipe that you can make even if you’re not a master in the kitchen.
One reason this is so easy is that the recipe relies on frozen puff pastry. You know, the kind you buy in the store. However, the exact puff pastry makes a big difference. The recipe creator provides detailed instructions for the best types of puff pastry for this recipe. Stick with her advice and you’ll end up with a fresh and delicious tart.
Eggs normally feature somewhere on the Easter menu, making deviled eggs an ideal addition. They’re also a crowd favorite that most of us have made at least once.
The other cool thing is that there’s plenty of room for variation. You can easily add your own spin on the recipe, like by including bacon pieces or pickle juice in the egg mixture. Deviled eggs are ideal if you’re serving cold ham at a party, but you could have them in other situations too, perhaps even during a more formal dinner.
Aren’t these Loaded Deviled Eggs Stunning? They’re much better than the traditional version of deviled eggs, as they contain plenty of different flavors and textures.
These little beauties include pickled jalapenos, smoked paprika, crumbled bacon, steak seasoning, chives, and more. The flavors all work together a treat and make the eggs much more interesting than they’d be otherwise.
For even more ideas, check out the comments section under the recipe. Readers have talked about some interesting changes, like using green olives instead of jalapenos or adding a little shredded cheese on top.
Salads are one of the best ways to celebrate fresh ingredients for Easter. And, what better ingredient than radishes? When eaten raw, radishes provide a zesty and somewhat spicy flavor, one that easily awakens your tastebuds.
Combine thinly sliced radishes with other fresh vegetables and you end up with a delicious side dish. If you’re not a fan of radishes, no worries. There are many other seasonal vegetables for you to choose from. Most will be excellent served alongside your ham.
Radishes are an important ingredient in this Avocado, Chickpea, and Radish Salad, but there are other interesting parts to the flavor profile as well. Avocados, salty cheese, arugula, and a vinaigrette are all used to tie this salad together and make it taste amazing.
Then there are the chickpeas. These provide an interesting texture contrast while also increasing the protein content of the salad. You end up with something that is incredibly delicious and is also very good for you.