12 Popular Christmas Side Dishes That Are Sure To Please

Many people agree that Christmas side dishes are the highlight of the holiday table. Besides, what better way is there to complete your meal than with a selection of sweet, savoury, and nutritious dishes? From the obligatory potato dishes and stuffing to glorious variations of Christmas vegetable side dishes, we’ve covered 12 popular dishes for you to try this Christmas. In this blog, we will discuss traditional, Australian, and Italian Christmas side dishes.

Irresistibly Good Traditional Christmas Side Dishes

There’s nothing quite as good as brussels sprouts or pigs in blankets at Christmas time. Here are four traditional Christmas side dishes.

Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Image: Think YUM!

Preparation: 40 minutes | Serves: 10 Combined with smoky bacon and sweet maple syrup, these brussels sprouts are sure to be a hit—even with the kids!


  • 3 pounds of brussels sprouts
  • 7 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup chicken or turkey broth
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Cook the bacon over a medium heat for 7–8 minutes or until browned and crispy. Use a 5– 6-quart saucepan for this. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a medium plate when cooked and remove and discard the rendered fat, saving about 2 tablespoons’ worth.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots, brussels sprouts, and half a teaspoon of salt to the pot. Cook the ingredients for 5 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add the broth and cover the pan. Leave to cook for about 3–5 minutes or until the sprouts are tender. Stir twice during this process.
  3. Uncover the pan and add the maple syrup, cayenne, and vinegar. Cook the ingredients for 2 minutes or until the vinegar has reduced and the ingredients are well-covered, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cooked bacon and serve hot.

Savoury Broccoli-Cauliflower Roast

Image: Maggie Hoffman

Preparation: 45 minutes | Serves: 12 What would Christmas side dishes be without cauliflower and broccoli? Try this tasty dish complete with green olives—an absolute must-have for your holiday table.


  • 2 heads of cauliflower
  • 4 heads of broccoli
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • ¼ cup green olives
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped


  1. Arrange 2 oven racks in the bottom part of your oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Use an 18 x 12-inch pan and toss the broccoli along with ¼ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. On another pan of the same size, toss the cauliflower with the same ingredients.
  3. Roast the cauliflower and broccoli for about 30–35 minutes until the vegetables are just tender and browned. It’s a good idea to rotate the pans between racks halfway through roasting.
  4. Grate ½ a teaspoon of orange peel and squeeze ¼ cup juice into a medium bowl. In the same bowl, grate ¼ teaspoon of lemon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the bowl. Whisk in 1/8 teaspoon salt, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of oil.
  5. Arrange the cauliflower and broccoli on a serving platter and scatter the olives over it. Whisk the dressing once more and drizzle over the vegetables. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Herb Stuffing

Image: Francesco Zaia via Wikimedia Commons

Preparation: 15 minutes | Serves: 6 You really cannot have a traditional Christmas dinner without herb stuffing as one of your Christmas side dishes! This recipe is quick and easy to make and tastes delicious.


  • 1 packet of unseasoned stuffing
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced finely
  • 12 tablespoons of butter, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large red onion, diced finely
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, minced finely
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, minced finely
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh marjoram, minced finely
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh sage, minced finely
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic, minced finely


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter a 9 x 9-inch pan.
  3. Place the unseasoned, pre-bought stuffing in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Using a large skillet over a medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and add the onion and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft.
  5. Add the marjoram, parsley, garlic, sage, and thyme, and cook for one more minute.
  6. Pour the hot herb mixture over the stuffing and mix in well.
  7. Measure your chicken stock into a 4-cup measuring bowl or cup and mix in the eggs. Pour the mixture over the stuffing and combine well.
  8. Place the stuffing in the prepared pan.
  9. Melt the rest of the butter and pour evenly over the stuffing.
  10. Bake the stuffing for 35–40 minutes, uncovered.

Pigs in Blankets

Image: Stevie-B

Preparation: 20 minutes | Serves: 12 Side dishes don’t get any tastier, or traditional, than good old-fashioned pigs in blankets!


  • 12 high-quality pork chipolata sausages
  • 12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • A couple of sprigs of wood herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage
  • 1–2 teaspoons of runny honey
  • 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lay the bacon out one strip at a time on a board and run the sharp side of a knife along the length of the rasher. This will help to stretch it out and make it even crispier.
  3. Dot the bacon with a few herb leaves.
  4. Place a sausage at one end of the bacon strip and roll the bacon around the sausage until completely wrapped up. Place each pig in blanket on the roasting tray.
  5. Cook for about 30 minutes until golden and crispy and the sausage is cooked through.
  6. Use a fish slice to carefully scrape the pigs in blankets from the oven tray. Leave them there, and add the Worcestershire sauce, giving it a good shake and scraping all the sticky deliciousness from the bottom of the oven tray.
  7. Drizzle the honey over and place on a medium heat on your hob. Bring to boil until properly caramelised, and shake continuously to coat well.
  8. Serve immediately.

Australian Christmas Side Dishes

You don’t have to be from Down Under to make these quick and scrumptious Australian Christmas side dishes!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Baby Carrots

Image: Dèsirèe Tonus

Preparation: 15 minutes | Serves: 10 These baby carrots are made extra tasty when wrapped with prosciutto.


  • About 20 baby carrots, peeled, trimmed, and with the stems scrubbed
  • 5 slices of prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • ½ cup of water


  1. Cut each slice of prosciutto in half, crossways. Then, cut in half again lengthways.
  2. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each carrot and place in a baking dish.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
  4. Combine the honey and water in a small bowl and then drizzle over the carrots.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender, basting occasionally.

Roast Potatoes with Lemon Salt and Paprika

Image: Hans

Preparation: 10 minutes | Serves: 6 You simply cannot have any meal without potatoes! This is one of those Christmas side dishes you just have to try!


  • 1/5kg baby potatoes
  • 30g butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon rind, finely grated


  1. Cook the baby potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for about 15 minutes until tender and then drain.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
  3. Place the butter and oil in a large roasting pan and place the pan in the oven for a few minutes until the butter melts.
  4. Add the potatoes to the pan and toss to coat well.
  5. Using a potato masher, lightly crush the potatoes and roast for 10 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown.
  6. Combine the paprika, salt, and lemon rind in a small bowl. Once mixed, sprinkle over the potatoes and roast for another 15 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Barbecued Asparagus with Mint and Hazelnuts

Image: Rochelle Hartman

Preparation: 10 minutes | Serves: 10 Add style and colour to your Christmas barbecue menu with this delicious side dish. It’s a fancy dish with minimal fuss!


  • Olive oil spray
  • 4 bunches of asparagus with the woody ends trimmed
  • 1/3 cup of fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup of dry roasted hazelnuts that you have chopped coarsely
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice


  1. Preheat a chargrill or barbecue grill on medium.
  2. Use 1 bunch of asparagus. Thread a soaked bamboo skewer crossways through each spear’s end, approximately 3 cm from the base. Then thread another soaked skewer through the top of each spear. Repeat with the remainder of the 3 bunches of asparagus.
  3. Spray both sides of the asparagus with the oil and cook on the grill for about 1 minute on each side or until the asparagus turns a bright green colour and is slightly charred and tender crisp. Set aside to cool and remove the skewers.
  4. Place the asparagus on a serving platter.
  5. Make the pomegranate dressing by whisking together the olive oil and pomegranate juice in a small bowl. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  6. Drizzle the dressing over your asparagus and spring with the mint and hazelnuts.

Barbecued Red Onion, Pumpkin, and Spinach Salad

Image: Lauryann

Preparation: 15 minutes | Serves: 12 If you’re doing things the Australian way this Christmas, be sure to add this side dish to your menu.


  • 1 butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded, quartered lengthways, and sliced thinly
  • 3 red onions, cut into wedges
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
  • 200g feta, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar


  1. Preheat the barbecue on medium.
  2. Brush the pumpkin slices with some of the oil and season to taste. Cook on the barbecue for about a minute on each side until tender. Transfer the pumpkin to a plate.
  3. Add the onion to the barbecue and cook for two minutes, turning halfway. Remove from heat.
  4. Place the pumpkin, onion, feta, and spinach in a large serving bowl. Combine the vinegar, mustard, and the rest of the oil in a screw-top jar and shake until combined.
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

Italian Christmas Side Dishes

Whether you are looking for traditional Italian Christmas side dishes or simple side dishes for baked ham, try out these tasty treats!

Artichoke Hearts

Image: Peter Werkman

Preparation: 15 minutes | Serves: 10 Artichoke hearts are healthy and delicious and are versatile side dishes for baked ham!


  • A box of frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of grated cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of parsley
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 bowls
  • Frying pan


  1. Defrost the artichoke hearts and rinse well with cold water. Be sure to squeeze the water out well.
  2. In one bowl, place the cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and parsley and mix well.
  3. In the other bowl, place the egg and milk and combine.
  4. Dip the artichokes first into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumb mixture, making sure to coat well.
  5. Once all the artichokes have been crumbed, put the frying pan over a medium heat and place a little oil in it.
  6. Place the breaded artichokes carefully into the frying pan and keep checking them. As they start to show a little colour, turn them over, and let them cook on the other side.
  7. Remove from frying pan and place on a paper towel to drain.
  8. Once all the pieces are cooked, place on a serving dish to serve.

Struffoli – Traditional Italian Fritters

Image: bykst

Preparation: 35 minutes | Serves: about 10 These small fried dough balls are sweet and delicious—they’re the perfect Christmas side dish if you have a sweet tooth!

Ingredients: For the dough:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 ¼ pounds of all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of milk
  • 2 ½ oz. butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 1 ¾ oz. granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of anise liqueur

For the icing:

  • 2 oz. candied orange peel
  • 1 lb. honey
  • 1 oz. of coloured sprinkles

Directions: For the dough:

  1. Form a well in the flour and add the sugar, milk, soft butter, baking soda, salt, liqueur, and eggs to the center.
  2. Use a fork or your hands to mix the ingredients together, slowly mixing in the flour until a smooth dough has formed.
  3. Add a little extra milk or flour if needed to keep the dough from being too dense or too soft.
  4. Once the dough is smooth and of the right consistency, keep kneading it for about 5 minutes. Once you’re done, cover the dough using a bowl and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  5. To prepare the struffoli: cut off a piece of dough and roll it out to about ½ an inch thick in diameter. Then, cut the roll into half-inch cylindrical pieces. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough.
  6. Fry the struffoli, just a few at a time, in hot oil. Once they are golden, after around 10 seconds, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  7. Place the cooked struffoli on a plate that is lined with paper towels. Repeat until all the pieces have been fried.
  8. For the icing, cook the honey in a large pot and once it starts to boil, add the candied orange peel, mixing with a spoon.
  9. Leave to cook for a minute until the honey starts to foam. Remove from the heat and add the struffoli. Stir carefully to coat and then transfer to a plate. Cover with the sprinkles.
  10. Leave to cool before serving.

Boiled Chestnuts

Image: Alpha

Preparation: 10 minutes | Serves: 10 – 15 Don’t forget the boiled chestnuts or Castagne Bollite, a classic seasonal side dish.


  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs. chestnuts
  • 3 star anise or a tablespoon of fennel seeds


  1. Wash your chestnuts in cold water and place them in a large pot.
  2. Add the star anise and bay leaves (or your fennel seeds).
  3. Fill the pot with cold water to about 1 ½ inches above the nuts
  4. Bring the chestnuts to the boil and boil for 30–45 minutes depending on how big they are.
  5. Drain the water and remove the skin from the chestnuts while they are still warm—the skin comes off easier this way.
  6. You may want to cut them in half and eat the fruit with a small teaspoon instead!

Baked Potato Bites

Image: Hungry Dudes

Preparation: 20 minutes | Serves: 12 What could be better than a loaded baked potato? Well, these little bites are! They are quick and easy to make and perfect as a Christmas side dish.


  • 1 ¼ cups of shredded potato
  • ¼ cup black pepper
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 slices of bacon, cooked to a crisp
  • 1–2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 1–2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped green onion, just the green part


  1. Mix together the salt, pepper, and potato in a bowl until well coated.
  2. Spray a small muffin tin with cooking spray (use a 12-section tray).
  3. Spoon some of the potato into each tin until it has been evenly distributed among the 12.
  4. Using your thumb, press the potato into the cup and press up around the sides just a little.
  5. This creates a cup space.
  6. Bake for 20–25 minutes at 400 degrees F. until crispy and golden brown around the edges and the bottom.
  7. Remove from the oven and divide the onions, bacon, and cheese evenly in each little potato cup.
  8. Place under a broiler for a minute until the cheese has melted.
  9. Remove from the heat and place a dollop of sour cream on top. Serve hot.

These tasty and easy Christmas side dishes are sure to be a hit at your table this festive season.