Favorite Side Dishes for a Crowd
If you’re seating a host of guests for dinner, you’ll need side dishes that will feed a crowd. All of these side dishes serve 8 people or more.
Red Beans and Rice with Fried Eggs
Red beans and rice is a tried and true standby for good reason—at it’s simplest, the dish is hearty, tasty, comes together fast, and can be whipped up with ease, even during those hectic weeks you can’t seem to make it the grocery store. We amped up this largely pantry staple-based recipe with a runny yolked fried egg and a package of frozen “seasoning blend,” which includes chopped bell pepper, onion, and celery. If you have fresh onions, peppers, etc. on hand and a few extra minutes for chopping, feel free to go that route instead! Microwaveable rice keeps the dinner super speedy to prep, but you can use traditionally cooked rice here just as well.
Farro Salad with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Berries
The unlikely combination between bacon, Brussels sprouts, and sweet summer berries proves to be quite the match. This salad can be served with the bacon, Brussels sprouts, and farro are still warm, or you can prep the salad in advance, keep it in the refrigerator, and serve it chilled.
Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini Sauce and Caramelized Dates
Roasted veggies have never tasted so indulgent. Topped with an herbaceous tahini sauce and salty-sweet, caramelized dates and walnuts, these crispy cauliflower steaks are just the veggie side that you've been looking for. Use any leftover tahini sauce on salads, chicken, or fish for an added burst of vibrant, nutty flavor.
Easy Tomato Salad with Basil Chimichurri and Ricotta
For a simple and elegant way to serve your summer farmers' market tomatoes, this speedy salad is perfect. Dressed in a basil chimichurri and speckled with creamy dollops of ricotta cheese, this show-stopping side is perfect for effortless entertaining.
Leek and Pancetta Potato Rösti
Maximum surface area means more crunchy bits in this rösti, essentially a large potato pancake, perfect for the hash brown lovers in your family. If making ahead, cool on a wire rack, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Reheat in an ovenproof skillet at 350° for 10 minutes or until recrisped.
Arugula Pesto Rice Noodle Salad
Light, fresh, and deliciously dynamic--this easy-to-make, vibrant salad is the perfect guilt-free meal for two. The flavoful homemade Arugula Pesto featured in this recipe comes together in a flash, but you can definitely substitute in a couple tablespoons of your favorite store-bought, prepared pesto if you're in a hurry. The recipe below yields about 1 cup of pesto, so you will have plenty left over to spruce up other meals during the week. Try spreading it over your favorite grilled protein, topping a pizza with it, or even enjoying it on a slice of hearty, whole-grain toast.
Wild Rice with Mushrooms
Dress up a package of long-grain and wild rice mix with the addition of fresh mushrooms and Marsala. It will be a guaranteed hit on your holiday table.
Holiday Sides for 8 or More
Plan ahead for your large holiday get-togethers by choosing easy side dishes that will feed a crowd of hungry guests.Take Brussels sprouts, for instance. Excluding salt and cooking spray, this recipe calls for just seven ingredients. Often simplicity is the key to making vegetables taste great, and this dish is no exception.
Mashed Potato Casserole
The combination of buttery Yukon gold and fluffy baking potatoes offers richness and a nice contrast both in flavor and texture for this lightened potato casserole.
Corn Fritter Casserole
This moist, sweet-savory side dish is a cross between corn bread and corn pudding and is a perfect side dish for ham or roasted turkey at your next holiday meal.
Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts
This seasonal fall rice dish featuring roasted butternut squash makes a satisfying side dish for roasted turkey, roast beef or ham, but it’s hearty enough to be a main dish, too. You can make it a meatless dish by leaving out the pancetta and using vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.
Cornbread Stuffing With Sweet Potato and Squash
Increase both the color and the flavor of your cornbread stuffing by adding cubed butternut squash, sweet potato, and Granny Smith apple.
Wild Rice and Squash Dressing
While rice dressing may be officially a side dish, this one is filled with cubed banana squash, Italian sausage, frozen chopped spinach and currants and is hearty enough to be a main dish.
Green Beans with Bacon
This simple side is a classic crowd-pleaser. Toss cooked green beans with shallots, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and top with crumbled bacon.
Roasted Beets, Carrots, and Sweet Onions
Springtime is the right time for finding sweet baby beets and carrots in the market. Look for small, firm beets and slender carrots with their bright, feathery greens still attached--a sign of freshness.
Esquites (Creamy Corn Salad)
Esquites is a cousin to elote--that street food favorite of creamy cheese-coated corn cobs. You can also find this off-the-cob version with Mexican street food vendors. It's great on its own or served as a side dish with grilled meats.
Potato Casserole with Caramelized Onions
Combine mashed potatoes and sweet caramelized onions in this hearty make-ahead casserole. It’s great side dish to serve with beef tenderloin or pork roast.
Honey-Roasted Root Vegetables
Honey amplifies the natural sugars of the caramelized vegetables in this hearty side dish.
Wild Rice Cakes with Bacon
Instead of serving plain steamed rice with your holiday meal, impress your guests with tasty skilled-cooked rice cakes flavored with bacon, onion and almonds. They are a nice way to add an easy touch of sophistication to your holiday meal.
Wild Rice Stuffing
This hearty stuffing is chock full of vegetables, pecans, and dried cherries and apricots. The sweet-and-savory combination is a sure crowd-pleaser, and stuffing is an easy side to make for large groups.
Broccoli, Cheese, and Rice Casserole
This casserole is so delicious, even the kids are sure to gobble it up. Plus, it's incredibly easy and requires just seven ingredients, making it an excellent option for last-minute fare.
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Hazelnut Topping
Mashed (or whipped) white potatoes and sweet potato casserole are both classic holiday sides, but what about whipped sweet potatoes? This side features the traditional sweet potato casserole flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and brown sugar, yet it calls for whipping the potatoes with an electric mixer and topping with a hazelnut streusel. It's the best of both worlds!
Macaroni and Four Cheeses
Macaroni and cheese may be humble, but it sure is loved by all. This creamy version gets its incredible texture and flavor from four different types of cheese: Emmenthaler (or Swiss), Parmesan, Gorgonzola, and cheddar.
Roasted Root Vegetables with Walnut Pesto
Break out of the green bean casserole rut with this fresh-tasting combination of carrots, parsnips, turnips, Brussels sprouts, shallots, and onion. A homemade pesto really pulls all of the flavors together and takes this dish from ordinary to extraordinary.
Roasted Potatoes with Tangy Watercress Sauce
Dress up classic roasted potatoes with an easy, make-ahead yogurt sauce. This side goes well with just about anything and is perfect for casual weeknight meals and fancy holiday dinners alike.
Risotto with Champagne and Radicchio
While wine is a common addition to pan sauces and beer finds its way into everything from fondue to quick breads, it's not often that Champagne gets a chance to shine in a recipe. Here, it brightens up plain risotto and complements the radicchio well. Chicken broth, yellow onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg add complexity and flavorful depth to the dish.
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Goat Cheese
This is a decadent yet savory way to serve sweet potatoes. If you're expecting vegetarians, make a couple of potatoes without the bacon. One potato can be enough for at least four people, depending on its size.
Rye and Butternut Squash Dressing
Cube the bread a day or two ahead and leave it out on the counter to dry, so it will fully absorb the flavors of the dressing. (If you forget, you can dry it in a 375° oven for a few minutes.) For a moister dressing, use the larger amount of broth. This makes a good main dish for vegans (use kosher rye, which excludes dairy). But it's good with sausage too; add about 1 pound, casings removed, browned and crumbled.
Linguiça Sausage Stuffing with Mushrooms
This twist on a classic sausage and sourdough stuffing uses smoky Portuguese linguiça in place of crumbled pork sausage. Kielbasa or any smoked sausage would also work.
Roasted Root Vegetables with Cider Glaze
"A dear friend and great chef, Matthew Wendell, made these rustic vegetables for us while we lived in the White House. They have become a staple at our Thanksgiving because of the simplicity and purity of the dish." --Editor-at-large Jenna Bush Hager
Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Chive Sour Cream
These potatoes deliver the best of both worlds: creamy, starchy center and crisp, golden edges. To smash, place the back of a wide spatula over each potato, and then press with the heel of your hand.
Honey-Roasted Butternut Squash
This side is simple and fabulous. The cooking is mostly hands-off, and the prep is easy. Serve the tender butternut squash in large pieces to catch every last bit of the honey butter drizzle.
Multigrain Pilaf with Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds and brown rice pack a double nutrition punch, enhancing this side dish with both vitamin E and niacin. This recipe calls for long-cooking barley and brown rice, but if you're in a hurry, substitute instant brown rice and quick-cooking barley. Just be sure to adjust cooking times according to package directions.
Sautéed Green Beans with Spice-Glazed Pecans
Beat the last-minute cooking frenzy by making the glazed pecans up to 3 days in advance and storing at room temperature in an airtight container; double the ingredients for an appetizer guests can munch on before the meal.