28 Christmas Ham Pairings, PLUS Dessert!

by Ella

As the festive season approaches, the centerpiece of many holiday tables is undoubtedly the Christmas ham. A succulent and flavorful ham, glazed to perfection, is a tradition that brings families and friends together. However, the key to an unforgettable holiday meal lies not just in the ham itself but also in the artful selection of complementary side dishes. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore a myriad of delectable options on what to eat with Christmas ham, turning your holiday feast into a culinary extravaganza.

The Classic Pairings

1. Mashed Potatoes:


Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic and comforting choice to accompany Christmas ham. The buttery texture and mild flavor of mashed potatoes provide a delightful contrast to the rich and savory notes of the ham. Consider adding roasted garlic or Parmesan to elevate the flavor profile.


2. Green Beans Almondine:


Crisp-tender green beans, lightly sautéed with butter and topped with toasted almonds, offer a vibrant and flavorful side dish. The nuttiness of the almonds complements the ham, while the freshness of the green beans adds a welcomed lightness to the meal.


3. Scalloped Potatoes:

Indulge your guests with the richness of scalloped potatoes. Layers of thinly sliced potatoes bathed in a creamy sauce create a luscious side dish that harmonizes beautifully with the savory ham. For a twist, consider adding Gruyère or cheddar cheese.

4. Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

Roasting Brussels sprouts caramelizes their natural sugars, imparting a sweet and nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with the salty goodness of Christmas ham. Add a balsamic glaze or sprinkle with crispy bacon for an extra layer of indulgence.

5. Cranberry Sauce:

The sweet and tart notes of cranberry sauce cut through the richness of the ham, providing a refreshing and festive element to the meal. Consider making your own cranberry sauce with orange zest or a hint of cinnamon for added complexity.

6. Sweet Potato Casserole:

A decadent sweet potato casserole, topped with a crunchy pecan or marshmallow streusel, adds a touch of sweetness to balance the savory ham. The warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg enhances the holiday feel of this classic dish.

7. Dinner Rolls:

Soft, warm dinner rolls are a must-have to mop up the delicious juices from the ham. Consider serving a variety of rolls, such as classic dinner rolls, honey wheat, or even herb-infused options, to cater to different tastes.

The Adventurous Additions

8. Pineapple Salsa:

Embrace a tropical twist by serving a vibrant pineapple salsa alongside your Christmas ham. Diced pineapple, jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro create a refreshing and zesty topping that complements the ham’s saltiness.

9. Butternut Squash Risotto:

Elevate your holiday table with a creamy butternut squash risotto. The subtle sweetness of the butternut squash harmonizes with the savory ham, creating a luxurious side dish that will impress even the most discerning palates.

10. Honey Glazed Carrots:

Roasted carrots with a honey glaze offer a touch of sweetness that contrasts beautifully with the salty ham. The caramelization of the honey enhances the natural sweetness of the carrots, creating a visually appealing and delicious side.

11. Wild Rice Pilaf:

Replace traditional stuffing with a wild rice pilaf. Mixed with sautéed mushrooms, dried cranberries, and toasted nuts, this dish adds a sophisticated touch to your holiday table while providing a medley of textures and flavors.

12. Bourbon-Glazed Sweet Potatoes:

Kick up the flavor with sweet potatoes glazed in a rich bourbon sauce. The smoky depth of bourbon adds a layer of complexity to the sweet potatoes, creating a side dish that is both bold and festive.

13. Citrusy Quinoa Salad:

Lighten up your holiday meal with a citrusy quinoa salad. Packed with fresh herbs, orange segments, and a light vinaigrette, this salad offers a burst of flavors that complement the richness of the ham.

14. Balsamic Roasted Vegetables:

A medley of roasted vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes, drizzled with balsamic glaze, adds color and vibrancy to your holiday spread. The tangy balsamic enhances the natural sweetness of the vegetables.

The Grand Finale: Dessert Pairings

15. Apple Pie:

A classic apple pie, with its buttery crust and cinnamon-infused apple filling, is a quintessential holiday dessert that pairs seamlessly with the savory notes of Christmas ham.

See Also: A Ultimate Guide to Preparing Apples for Pie & Recipe

16. Pecan Pie:

The rich, nutty flavor of pecan pie complements the ham’s saltiness, creating a harmonious blend of sweet and savory that will satisfy even the most discerning dessert lovers.

17. Gingerbread Cookies:

Delight your guests with the warm spices of gingerbread cookies. Their festive flavor profile provides a perfect ending to the meal, leaving a lingering sweetness that pairs well with the savory ham.

18. Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake:

Indulge in the holiday spirit with a decadent chocolate peppermint cheesecake. The creamy texture and festive flavors offer a delightful contrast to the main course.

See Also: Basque Cheesecake: Everything You Want To Know

19. Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake:

A moist and flavorful cranberry orange bundt cake brings a burst of citrusy brightness to the dessert table. The tartness of the cranberries complements the richness of the ham, rounding off the meal on a high note.

20. Pear and Cranberry Crisp:

For a delightful fruit-based dessert, consider a pear and cranberry crisp. The combination of sweet, juicy pears and tart cranberries, topped with a crispy oat and nut crumble, provides a comforting and seasonal finale to your holiday meal.

See Also: Pear and Cranberry Crisp Recipe – Super Yummy!

21. Eggnog Tiramisu:

Transform the classic Italian dessert with a holiday twist by making an eggnog tiramisu. Layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and eggnog-infused mascarpone create a luscious and festive dessert that pairs well with the savory richness of Christmas ham.

22. Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding:

Repurpose cinnamon rolls into a decadent bread pudding for a dessert that is both comforting and indulgent. Drizzle with a vanilla or bourbon sauce for added richness and depth of flavor.

23. Dark Chocolate Fondue:

Create an interactive and indulgent dessert experience by serving dark chocolate fondue. Provide an array of dippable treats such as strawberries, marshmallows, and cubes of pound cake. The bittersweet chocolate complements the savory ham and adds a touch of luxury to the meal.

24. Maple Pecan Tart:

Showcase the flavors of fall with a maple pecan tart. The sweet and gooey filling, combined with the crunch of pecans, creates a dessert that is both elegant and irresistible.

25. Citrus Sorbet:

Refresh the palate with a light and tangy citrus sorbet. Lemon, lime, or orange sorbet can serve as a palate cleanser between bites of ham, offering a refreshing break from the richness of the main course.

26. Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars:

Embrace the seasonal favorite with pumpkin cheesecake bars. The spiced pumpkin filling and creamy cheesecake layer provide a comforting and satisfying end to your holiday meal.

27. Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries:

Keep it simple and elegant with chocolate-dipped strawberries. The combination of sweet, juicy strawberries and rich, dark chocolate is a classic dessert option that never fails to please.

28. Mint Chocolate Mousse:

Conclude your festive feast with a light and airy mint chocolate mousse. The cool mint flavor adds a refreshing touch, making it a delightful way to wrap up your holiday celebration.

Planning Tips for a Stellar Holiday Meal

Consider Dietary Restrictions:

Be mindful of your guests’ dietary preferences and restrictions. Offer a variety of side dishes that cater to different dietary needs, such as vegetarian, gluten-free, or dairy-free options.

Balance Flavors and Textures:

Aim for a well-balanced menu by incorporating a variety of flavors and textures. Mix rich and savory dishes with lighter, refreshing options to create a dynamic and satisfying dining experience.

Preparation and Timing:

Plan your menu with consideration for preparation and cooking times. Choose dishes that can be partially prepared in advance, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the festivities with your loved ones.

Presentation Matters:

Elevate the visual appeal of your holiday spread by paying attention to presentation. Use festive platters, garnishes, and seasonal colors to create an inviting and visually appealing table.

Encourage Sharing:

Family-style serving encourages a sense of sharing and togetherness. Arrange dishes in the center of the table for a communal dining experience that enhances the festive atmosphere.

Customize Your Menu:

Tailor your menu to reflect your personal tastes and the preferences of your guests. Feel free to experiment with flavors and incorporate family traditions to make the holiday meal uniquely yours.


Creating a memorable holiday feast involves more than just a perfectly cooked Christmas ham. It’s about crafting a symphony of flavors and textures that come together to create a culinary experience your guests will cherish. With this extensive guide, you have a plethora of options to complement your ham and turn your holiday table into a gastronomic delight.

Whether you opt for timeless classics or venture into more adventurous culinary territory, the key is to infuse your holiday meal with love, warmth, and a dash of creativity. As you embark on this culinary journey, may your holiday season be filled with joy, laughter, and the shared delight of extraordinary food. Cheers to a festive feast that will be remembered for years to come!



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