36 Best Cooking for a Crowd Side Dishes

We’ve rounded up the best holiday side dishes for when your table is packed with people.

The holiday season is filled with shared meals. While traditional comfort foods like turkey, ham, pork, and other main dishes are the stars of the show, there are endless possibilities for the side dishes you can make to accompany them. Here are 36 holiday side dish recipes that are easy to prepare with fresh fall and winter produce. When your table is packed with people, these are the side dishes to turn to that'll please any guests.

1

Apple Sausage Stuffing

Healthy apple-sausage stuffing
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Stuffing is such a holiday staple side dish, but this recipe stands out for your standard box mix. Along with the usual fixings like celery, onion, and cranberries, this recipe, which serves six to eight people, calls for tart green apples and apple turkey sausage, giving it an extra bit of zing.

Get our recipe for Apple Sausage Stuffing.

2

Green Bean Casserole

Vegetarian green bean casserole
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This classic side dish goes with any main course like pork or ham. Using fresh produce will elevate the flavor you already know and love while also giving it a hearty crunch that's not drowning in soup mix.

Get our recipe for Green Bean Casserole.

3

Roasted Carrots

Vegetarian honey roasted carrots
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Cooking for a crowd can be time-consuming, but with this quick recipe, you'll have more time to spend with holiday guests. The only ingredients you need are carrots, olive oil, and honey! This fall vegetable also goes well with roast beef and other hearty dinner ideas.

Get our recipe for Roasted Carrots.

4

Rosemary Potatoes

Gluten-free crispy rosemary potatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Potatoes make great side dishes because of their versatility, but sometimes simplifying the recipe down is just as delicious! This easy recipe can be done in three simple steps. For a classic meat-and-potatoes meal, you can't go wrong with this one.

Get our recipe for Rosemary Potatoes.

5

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Vegan roasted garlic mashed potatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

No holiday side dish list would be complete without one of the most-loved staples. Our recipe uses low-fat milk and a small amount of butter, but keeps in the creamy texture and garlicky taste that are sure to please the largest of crowds. You can never have enough mashed potatoes on the table!

Get our recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

6

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

Asparagus with cheese and lemon and pine nuts
Shutterstock

While asparagus is versatile, this recipe dials it down to the basics to bring out the fall vegetable's natural flavor. With very limited prep work involved, this recipe serves as many as you need—all you need to do is double or triple the recipe for a quick side perfect for a crowd.

Get our recipe for Roasted Parmesan Asparagus.

7

Pumpkin-Potato Mash

Pumpkin potato mash in a large bowl with chives, oil, and salt.
Blaine Moats

Although so many holiday dishes involve squash and pumpkin—from appetizers to desserts—this recipe pairs them into the classic mashed style. It doesn't sacrifice the iconic creaminess, either! It's a literal mashup of delicious seasonal flavors.

Get our recipe for Pumpkin-Potato Mash.

8

Pan-Roasted Mushrooms

pan roasted mushrooms onions
Shutterstock

The versatility of mushrooms is unmatched, and this simple recipe creates a simple side that goes great with the main dish, and it's super easy to make in bulk.

Get our recipe for Pan-Roasted Mushrooms.

9

Brussels Sprouts Garnished with Bacon and Almonds

Healthy brussels and bacon
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

With a flavorful vegetable like Brussels sprouts, you don't need to do too much to make them delicious. With the additions of the bacon, red pepper flakes, and almonds, these Brussels sprouts pair well with any main dish.

Get our recipe for Brussels Sprouts Garnished with Bacon and Almonds.

10

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Healthy broccoli-cheddar soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Offer up this soup as a side, especially if you have veggie-loving guests. Everyone will love the traditional and cheesy flavor, and they may never guess what the secret ingredient is (hint: it's beer)!

Get our recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

11

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Eggs and Pickled Red Onions

warm brussels sprouts salad eggs pickled red onions
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

While a warm salad might not be the first idea that comes to mind for a holiday side dish, this one is a great addition to your holiday table. Filled with vegetables and bacon for an additional pop of flavor, this salad is a lighter option that pairs well with heavier side dishes.

Get our recipe for Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Eggs and Pickled Red Onions.

12

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Butternut squash pasta salad
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

When pairing butternut squash and pasta, usually you think of ravioli. This pasta salad, though, creates a great opportunity to turn one of fall's most iconic vegetables into a great side dish pasta lovers will adore. Plus, leftovers can become an easy lunch or quick dinner!

Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Pasta Salad.

13

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin

Vegetarian yukon gold & sweet potato gratin
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Yet another way to prepare potatoes this holiday season is by creating this lighter gratin. Combine Yukon gold potatoes with sweet potatoes for a more nuanced take on the great gratin side.

Get our recipe for Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin.

14

Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

mashed sweet potatoes
Shutterstock

Save the marshmallows for dessert and spice up a savory side of sweet potatoes for a side dish. Chipotle pepper adds a twist to the traditional recipe.

Get our recipe for Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

15

Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash

Vegetarian roasted squash
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Add this side to the meal for a fresh twist on the classic squash. Thanks to the sage, maple syrup, and olive oil, this side will please any crowd thanks to these warming ingredients.

Get our recipe for Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash.

16

Classic Butternut Squash Soup

Healthy butternut squash soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Butternut squash is smooth and creamy as a soup, so adding it as a wintry side is a no-brainer. One way to do so is in a warming soup! This recipe is perfect for the holidays, as it has a fresh taste thanks to ginger and a green apple, plus a savory twist via bacon and onion. It's a classic recipe turned creative that everyone will love.

Get our recipe for Classic Butternut Squash Soup.

17

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

Vegetarian warm goat cheese salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This salad will wow everyone with the addition of crispy and flavorful goat cheese. Paired with pear, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette, this salad goes great with any main dish.

Get our recipe for Warm Goat Cheese Salad.

18

Bean, Salmon, and Kale Salad

Waterbury Publications, Inc.

This salad is a great option for vegetarians. The combination of the salmon, plus chickpeas, grapefruit, and kale make this side dish a colorful, light, and refreshing addition to a holiday buffet.

Get our recipe for Bean, Salmon, and Kale Salad.

19

Spinach Salad Topped with Goat Cheese, Apple, and a Warm Bacon Dressing

Healthy spinach & goat cheese salad with apples & warm bacon dressing
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Believe it or not, spinach is a cool-weather vegetable. Combined with apple, onion, pecans, bacon, and goat cheese in this salad, it makes a great addition to heavier main dishes.

Get our recipe for Spinach Salad Topped with Goat Cheese, Apple, and a Warm Bacon Dressing.

20

Savory Roasted Beet Salad with Barley

Waterbury Publications, Inc.

This light salad adds lots of colors to everyone's plate. Plus, beets are a fall vegetable that (along with the walnuts, eggs, goat cheese, and barley) help create a hearty base to this salad—no skimpy lettuce leaves here. You can even repurpose it as a delicious next-day lunch option, too!

Get our recipe for Savory Roasted Beet Salad with Barley.

21

Cinnamon-Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Wild Rice

Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Sweet potatoes are a classic holiday side dish, but you can ditch the casserole and try your hand at this dish instead. Carrots, onions, raisins, and wild rice round out the recipe here.

Get our recipe for Cinnamon-Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Wild Rice.

22

Mac and Cheese with Spinach, Ham, and Tomato

Healthy spinach ham mac and cheese
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This side dish will please kids and adults alike! It's easily adjustable, too. Add in or take out whatever you need to, like adding in broccoli or taking out the ham to make it the perfect addition to a main course.

Get our recipe for Mac and Cheese with Spinach, Ham, and Tomato.

23

Veggie-Packed Minestrone with Pesto Soup

Healthy minestrone with pesto
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

If you're in need of a last-minute side dish that doesn't require a lot of ingredients, this soup will do the trick! Double the recipe and get enough soup for eight people.

Get our recipe for Veggie-Packed Minestrone with Pesto.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

24

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Vegan sweet potato fries
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Use this holiday vegetable in a different way by roasting them with a little bit of cayenne. Cutting the sweet potatoes into fries is an easy and quick way to have them ready to go for the evening meal, and it's much easier than standing over the stove making candied sweet potatoes.

Get our recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

25

Creamy Ham and Broccoli Soup

keto ham broccoli soup
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

This side dish is warming and pairs well with salads and roasted vegetables. It is also super quick and easy to prepare!

Get our recipe for Creamy Ham and Broccoli Soup.

26

Southern-Style Biscuits

Low-calorie flaky southern biscuits
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Double or triple this recipe for a biscuit option that will leave plenty of room for dessert. No shortening, less butter, and low-fat buttermilk create a lighter biscuit that's perfect for pairing with a slice of turkey and a Homemade Gravy Recipe.

Get our recipe for Southern-Style Biscuits.

27

Veggie Scramble with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Goat Cheese

Vegetarian shiitake, spinach & goat cheese scramble
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Eggs aren't just for breakfast during the holidays! This dish uses fall produce like mushrooms and spinach to add seasonal flavor to the eggs. Top it off with goat cheese for a satisfying side for a holiday brunch.

Get our recipe for Veggie Scramble with Mushrooms, Spinach and Goat Cheese.

28

Bacon and Cheese Twice-Baked Potato

Healthy twice-baked potatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This side dish is sure to bring even more comfort to each plate. The prep work is super easy, and because one potato serves two people, it's easy to make these for a hungry crowd.

Get our recipe for Bacon and Cheese Twice-Baked Potato.

29

Spicy Potato Skins

Low-calorie spicy potato skins
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Potato skins are a staple for game days and gatherings, so this option is great for a holiday meal (especially when a game is on!). Plus, the added kick of chipotle pepper pairs well with many entrees.

Get our recipe for Spicy Potato Skins.

30

Hearty Baked Potato Soup

Healthy baked potato soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

If the holiday season could be boiled down into one word, it would be "comfort," and that's exactly what you get from this soup. It's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Get our recipe for Hearty Baked Potato Soup.

31

Smashed Potatoes

Vegan smashed potatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Another way to cook potatoes is by smashing them! This gives the potatoes a crunchy outside like a French fry but keeps the inside soft and fluffy. Simple additions like rosemary and Parmesan allow the side dish to complement any holiday main course. Plus, it's super easy to double the recipe, and it's fun to smash each potato—have the kids help!

Get our recipe for Smashed Potatoes.

32

Mixed Greens Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette

mixed greens salad with pears and pumpkin vinaigrette
Blaine Moats/Eat This, Not That!

Use up that leftover canned pumpkin from that pumpkin pie (or pumpkin cheesecake!) for this salad dressing you'll want to put on everything. The unique blend of pumpkin, mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, and olive oil gives the rest of the salad a fall flavor no one can resist.

Get our recipe for Mixed Greens Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette.

33

Pesto Gnocchi with Green Beans and Tomatoes

Vegetarian pesto gnocchi with green beans and tomatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Why not add some pasta to a holiday meal? Although it might not be very common, this gnocchi is light and uses fall vegetables. Plus, who can ignore the red and green colors for the holidays?

Get our recipe for Pesto Gnocchi with Green Beans and Tomatoes.

34

Balsamic Zucchini Sauté

cooked zucchini
Shutterstock

Switch up your holiday side dish game with zucchini! This squash is easy to cut, has great health benefits (like lowering your blood sugar), and sautés quickly. Add in the balsamic for a kick of zesty flavor. Need more recipes to use up your zucchini?

Get our recipe for Balsamic Zucchini Sauté.

35

Stuffed Tomatoes

Vegetarian stuffed tomatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Double or triple this recipe for a crowd, and you won't have to worry about many other side dishes. The bread crumbs, cheese, basil, and garlic bring out the flavors in the tomato and are great as a warm addition to any plate.

Get our recipe for Stuffed Tomatoes.

36

Everything Cream Cheese Cucumbers

cream cheese cucumbers waterbury
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Cucumbers pair well with starchy vegetables, like potatoes, because they are already low-carb. These boats can be a welcomed side dish to any holiday meal. They are also quick to make—just make sure to raise your serving size to make enough.

Get our recipe for Everything Cream Cheese Cucumbers.

Whatever you decide to make this holiday season, these side dishes are a great place to start.

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda McDonald is a health and food writer and a certified yoga instructor. Read more
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