Last Minute Holiday Side Dishes

If you didn’t have enough time to prepare for that family dinner, here are some last minute holiday dish ideas.

The holiday season is in full swing now and for most of us, that means lots of good, homemade food!  If you don’t have the time to prepare a 5 star meal for the family, we came up with a list of quick and easy side dishes to make for that last minute holiday dash.

Veggies and potatoes can be an easy last minute holiday dish.


1. Mashed potatoes

If you have potatoes, milk and butter lying around you’ve got all the ingredients you need to make a killer side dish.  If that’s too plain, you could easily add in some minced garlic, basil and top it off with some shredded cheddar cheese for extra flavor.


5 pound bag potatoes, preferably golden potatoes

½ cup butter

1 ½ cup milk

½ head of garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Boil the potatoes until they are tender.  Drain them and throw them back into the pot on low to dry for a few minutes.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and use a potato masher until everything is smooth.

2. Brussels sprouts

While the kids might not appreciate greens yet, brussels sprouts are easy to prepare and soak up any flavor you pair it with.  You could go the buttery garlic route or a smokey bacon trail, either way there’s a lot you could do with brussels sprouts to make them super yummy!


1 ½ pounds brussels sprouts

Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the brussels sprouts and coat them with the rest of the ingredients.  Roast them in the oven for half an hour, checking them every once in a while to make sure they don’t burn.  When they are done, they will be brown around the edges.

3. Simmered vegetables

Carrots and turnips are two great candidates for simmering, especially if you throw in some sugar for a glaze.  This is one of the easiest dishes to prepare on the list — all you need to do is steam the veggies, then caramelize some sugar in a pan and add the two together.


1 ½ pound of carrots, preferably baby carrots

3 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon sugar

Salt to taste

How to make it:

Put the carrots, butter, sugar and salt in a pot of water.  It shouldn’t be full of water, but just enough to cover the top of the carrots.  Bring that to a boil, cover it and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  After that, remove the lid and cook the carrots on medium until the water evaporates.  There should be a delicious sauce leftover!

4. Green beans

Another easy side dish, green beans can be steamed, boiled, sauteed and more.  Garlic and olive oil are some typical pairings, but you could also use some parmesan cheese and white sauce to give it that classic casserole flavor.


1 pound green beans

3 tablespoons butter

Garlic, minced

Lemon pepper and salt to taste

How to make it:

Simmer the green beans until soft.  Drain them and throw them into a pan with the butter until it’s all melted.  Add in the garlic until soft, salt and pepper to taste.

5. Mac and cheese

Now we don’t recommend bringing a box of Kraft mac and cheese home to grandma, this is still a quick and easy dish to prepare from scratch.  Any small noodles would work and a cheese sauce is made with milk, butter and of course, your favorite cheese.  Throw some bacon bits and seasoning into the mix and you’ve got the perfect homestyle side dish.


16 ounces macaroni noodles

¼ cup butter

2 cups milk

2 cups cheese, shredded

¼ cup flour

Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Boil macaroni until al dente.  In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, salt and pepper together.  Slowly stir in the milk, then stir in cheese until you have a nice, thick cheese sauce.  Drain the noodles and add the cheese sauce to serve.

6. Cranberry sauce

Making your own cranberry sauce can seem a little daunting at first, but if you’re careful you can make an excellent partner-in-crime for mom’s turkey.  She’ll certainly appreciate something homemade rather than from the can, too!  


12 ounce bag cranberries

2 tablespoons water

1 cup sugar

How to make it:

Pour the cranberries into a pan to cook, leaving ½ a cup in a bowl for later.  Add in the sugar and water and cook until soft.  Increase the heat and cook again until the cranberries burst.  Reduce the heat then add in the leftover cranberries you saved from earlier.  Add whatever flavoring you want (salt, pepper, sugar, lemon, etc.) and serve after cooling.

7. Salad

This is a safe side dish to bring, especially if you have loved ones with dietary restrictions.  If you can make your own dressing, even better.  Just toss some olive oil, minced garlic and a spritz of lime juice together, whisk it and viola!  You’ve got a dressing that would taste great with whatever vegetables you choose for the salad.


Bag of baby spinach

Half an avocado

One or two Roma tomatoes

Half a cucumber

4 ounce can of artichoke hearts

Bell peppers based on preference

Radishes, chopped

Oil oil to taste

Red wine vinegar

How to make it:

Throw in as much spinach as you think you’ll need into a large bowl.  If you need to make them easier to mix, chop up half of the spinach ahead of time.  Chop up the tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers and radishes into small pieces and toss them in.  The wet veggies should come next — slice the avocado and as many artichoke hearts as you want into the bowl and then drizzle olive oil and red wine vinegar over the top for an easy dressing.  Mix it all up and you’re ready to serve.

We hope these ideas helped and that you have a wonderful holiday season!