Budget-Friendly Sides

Serve a spread that's good for the taste buds and the wallet. Pick from our list of 7-ingredient-or-less mouthwatering sides that won't break the bank.

  • Steamed Carrots with Garlic-Ginger Butter
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

    Easy, Inexpensive Sides

    Cutting back on costs for holiday meals doesn't mean you have to cut back on flavor. Users raved about this budget-friendly dish. Baby carrots get a savory treatment with a dynamic pan sauce made with fresh ginger, cilantro, lime rind, lime juice, and a little salt. The result is a delicious side dish that brings bright color and flavor to the table.
  • Broccoli with Cheddar Sauce
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr

    Broccoli with Cheddar Sauce

    Spare your oven a casserole and serve steamed broccoli with an over-the-top pan sauce made with ingredients you likely already have on hand. The white sauce, made with milk and cheese, gets a punch of flavor from spicy Dijon mustard and fresh thyme.
  • Chili-glazed Sweet Potatoes
    Photo: James Carrier

    Chili-glazed Sweet Potatoes

    Bringing bold flavor to the holiday table doesn't have to mean using expensive gourmet ingredients or a lot of time. Keep the day-of preparation of this recipe to a minimum by baking the sweet potatoes up to a day ahead. Then simply reheat and top with a red pepper jelly sauce flavored with red wine vinegar. Bring out the rich flavor of the sweet-and-spicy sauce with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a drizzle of lime juice, added just before serving.
  • Spinach with Lemon and Currants
    Photo: James Carrier

    Spinach with Lemon and Currants

    Skip the salad course and bring the greens to the main menu. Wilt spinach, then drizzle with a lemon and butter sauce flavored with dried currants, sugar, and ground nutmeg. It's the perfect complement to a savory turkey and gravy main dish.
  • Rustic Applesauce
    Photo: Karry Hosford

    Rustic Applesauce

    The height of simple side dishes, this mashed apple recipe calls for about 10 minutes of prep time, plus a little more after they bake for mashing. Use a potato masher for coarse texture or a blender for a smoother sauce. If you forget to pop these in the oven in time for dinner, don't worry—they taste just as delicious as a dessert.
  • Corn and Parsnip Cakes
    Photo: Karry Hosford

    Corn and Parsnip Cakes

    Serve a flaky pancake reminiscent of a corn fritter made from corn and parsnips, a root vegetable. Boil the parsnips, then combine with corn, flour, milk, sugar, and eggs in a food processor and pulse until combined. Cook the batter on a hot skillet and serve warm for a crispy on the outside, soft on the inside veggie treat.
  • Lemony Green Beans
    Photo: Karry Hosford

    Lemony Green Beans

    If green bean casserole isn't on your menu, incorporate the tasty veggies in a different way with this top-rated recipe. Steam the beans, then toss with lemon juice and olive oil to give them a rich, tasty flavor guaranteed to set these beans apart.
  • Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes

    Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes

    Mashed potatoes are always a great budget-friendly option, but they don't have to taste like it. Lavish the spuds with a hearty dressing of buttermilk, milk, salt, and pepper and serve piping hot. If you'd rather make the dish ahead of time, follow our simple instructions and chill the dish for up to two days. Then simply bake and serve.

  • Sautéed Green Beans and Pears
    William Dickey; Lisa Powell Bailey

    Sautéed Green Beans and Pears

    Skip the usual peas-and-carrots dish and serve a delicious tart-and-sweet recipe instead. Combine steamed green beans with pears sautéed in butter, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar. The result is a sweet-and-savory dish sure to be picked as a repeat for next year's holiday table.
  • Lemon Rice
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Cari South

    Lemon Rice

    Dress up a simple rice side dish by adding garlic and lemon rind for a bright punch of flavor. Cook the rice in chicken broth to add rich flavor and upgrade this side from standard to sensational.
  • Fried Cabbage

    Fried Cabbage

    Our users raved about this top-rated recipe that calls for only two ingredients, plus a little salt and pepper to taste. Fry cabbage in bacon drippings, then top with crumbled bacon and serve. Make it your own by adding a favorite seasoning, like cayenne pepper or garlic salt.

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