Ham is a friendly protein that gets along with just about everyone. That said, there are certain dishes that really compliment this ingredient’s salty, smoky, sorta-sweet personality. Below are our go-to dishes, with a few recipe options for each. But first, a couple of our favorite ham recipes in case you’re on the hunt:
Super Simple Glazed Ham
Glazed Spiral Ham With Apricot Jam & Dijon Mustard
Mac & Cheese
1. Stovetop Mac & Chee se
This mac and cheese has two secret ingredients: garlic powder and white pepper. They add a can’t-put-your-finger-on-it savoriness that’ll have people asking for thirds.
Stovetop Mac & Cheese
2. Truffled, Mustardy Mac & Cheese
A special-edition mac and cheese that would love to join your holiday feast. If you can’t find truffled mustard, you can add truffle oil instead, to taste.
Truffled, Mustardy Mac & Cheese
3. Sheet-Pan Pumpkin Mac & Cheese With Brown Butter
Mac and cheese, but make it cozy. Canned pumpkin and brown butter are up to the task. Baking it in a sheet pan means lots of crispy bits.
Sheet-Pan Mac & Cheese With Pumpkin & Brown Butter
4. Martha Stewart’s Macaroni & Cheese
Since this recipe was deemed Genius in 2011, it’s racked up over 100 glowing reviews, like “Perfect” and “This recipe is the bomb!” and “a staple at every holiday dinner.” Hey, can I come?
Martha Stewart’s Macaroni & Cheese
5. Green Beans With Crème Fraîche & Hazelnuts
This green bean salad has plenty of tang, thanks to crème fraîche, sherry vinegar, and whole-grain mustard. If hazelnuts aren’t your thing, walnuts would also be very good here.
Green Bean “Casserole”
6. Stovetop Green Bean Casserole
A Big Little take on the classic. All you need are green beans, mushrooms, cream, and shallots. Oh, and no oven required.
Stovetop Green Bean ‘Casserole’
7. Green Beans Vinaigrette
Here’s a foolproof formula for a side dish: blanched vegetables plus your favorite vinaigrette. In this case, it’s crisp-tender green beans with a honey-mustard-ish dressing.
Green Beans Vinaigrette
8. Garlic Green Beans
This recipe trusts in a single clove of garlic. If you’re me, you’ll double or triple (or quadruple?!) this, because you can.
Penelope Casa’s Garlic Green Beans (Judias Verdes Con Ajo)
9. Instant Pot Buttermilk Leek Mashed Potatoes
If you think mashed potatoes are too heavy (same), here’s your answer: Instead of just using whole milk or cream, introduce some tangy players, like buttermilk and white wine.
Instant Pot Buttermilk & Leek Mashed Potatoes
10. Mashed Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are, ahem, sweet, which is where these chipotles come in handy. They add a slow-burn smokiness that ham echoes.
Mashed Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
11. Salt & Vinegar Mashed Potatoes
Like the Instant Pot potatoes above, these ones are all about—say it with me—balance. The tiniest splash of vinegar (I like malt best, but white, white wine, or apple cider work, too) makes all the difference.
Salt & Vinegar Mashed Potatoes
12. Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Crème Fraîche & Herbs
Here’s a pro tip the next time you cook something in milk or cream (like our December Recipe of the Month): Add a garlic clove, bay leaf, and few sprigs of time. These overachievers infuse the dairy to become more than the sum of its parts.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Crème Fraîche And Herbs
13. Miso-Creamed Kale
A spoonful of white miso wakes up stodgy creamed greens. Start with kale, then try it on spinach, mustard greens, escarole, you name it.
Trent Pierce’s Miso-Creamed Kale
14. Better Than Creamed Spinach Spinach
Which is to say, there is no cream (shhh). Instead, there’s zingy Greek yogurt. Labneh would be A++, too.
Better Than Creamed Spinach Spinach
15. Lacinato Kale Gratin
A cheesy-creamy showstopper that comes together in the blink of an eye—especially if you buy kale pre-chopped and washed, which I almost always do.
Lacinato Kale Gratin
16. Creamed Spinach & Parsnips
If parsnips aren’t your thing, don’t let that deter you. Carrots—or turnips or rutabaga—would be happy to hop in here.
Creamed Spinach And Parsnips
17. Angel Corn
Ritz crackers create a crunchy-buttery topping for this corn casserole. For a bit of heat, just add ground cayenne or hot sauce to taste.
18. New-Fashioned Corn Pudding
A corn pudding that doesn’t want you to call it “sweetie.” Garlic, ground mustard, hot sauce, and sharp cheddar make this uber-savory.
New-Fashioned Corn Pudding
19. Corn Muffins
Is there anything happier than a basket of warm corn muffins on a holiday table? No. The answer is no! (Just make sure there’s soft, salted butter alongside.)
20. Our Best Cornbread
Our test kitchen’s best cornbread has a brown-buttery crust, plush interior, and unabashedly corny flavor.
Our Best Cornbread
21. Warm Farro & Mustard Green Salad With Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash
Chewy farro and winter squash team up with a few of our favorite ingredients: feta, walnuts, and sharp mustard greens. If you’re looking to make less dishes (and honestly, who isn’t?), this could count as a salad and starch in one.
Warm Farro And Mustard Green Salad With Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash
22. Potato Salad With Arugula & Dijon Vinaigrette
Potato salad, emphasis on the salad—no mayo involved. Baby arugula adds some peppery-greenery, something most holiday tables could use more of.
Potato Salad With Arugula & Dijon Vinaigrette
23. Kale Salad With Apples & Hazelnuts
“Kale is like one of those friends who you don’t think about much, but when you do see him, you’re always delighted and a little surprised by how much you like him,” Amanda Hesser writes.
Kale Salad With Apples And Hazelnuts
24. Maple Syrup & Dijon Vinaigrette
This spicy-sweet vinaigrette would love to team up with hearty greens (like kale) or delicate ones (like butterhead). But don’t stop there: Why not dress up just-roasted squash or steamed broccoli?
Maple Syrup And Dijon Vinaigrette
25. Heavenly Oatmeal Molasses Rolls
Tear into one of these cuties and you’ll probably wonder how they become so pillowy and soft. That’s all thanks to milk and egg, which enrich and tenderize the dough.
26. Freeze-Ahead Dinner Rolls
Maybe making bread so close to a ham-worthy get-together unsettles you. And sure! These freeze-ahead rolls totally get that.
Freeze-Ahead Dinner Rolls
27. Aunt Mariah’s Rolls
Instead of a classic round shape, these rolls are folded over, like envelopes. Read all about the family story behind them here.
Aunt Mariah’s Rolls
28. Astor House Rolls
The secret to this luxury hotel recipe? Tuck a pat of butter inside each roll before baking. And yes, you should still butter them afterward, too.