How to Show Off Ham In Thanksgiving Sides & Really Good Leftovers

We love our holiday traditions—and we also love making new traditions, especially when they’re sure to please the crowd, and easy to get on the table. We’ve partnered with Dietz & Watson to share 9 ways ham can become a new tradition on your Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving!) table—whether you’re hosting or a guest—from main course to leftover heaven.

For some people, Thanksgiving—or Friendsgiving, if that’s how you roll—means the same dishes on the table year after year. But not in my house. We’re the type of family that likes to switch things up every year, and this year we’re eyeing ham as our holiday centerpiece. Ham makes an appearance on holiday spreads like Christmas and Easter, so why not roast up a Thanksgiving ham? The more I think about all the side dishes and leftovers opportunities, the more excited I am about this idea.

A baked ham makes an impressive Thanksgiving main course—it’s a stunning standalone entree, all crackly with glaze. If you’re more of a Friendsgiving type, an easy-to-cook-and-serve ham is an ideal main dish: there’s less fussing and fighting than with a turkey, and more time to peacefully hang out with your pals. Plus, ham is perfect for adding into Thanksgiving sides: I’m currently thinking about Brussels sprouts roasted with shallots and ham, meaty stuffing with ham and mushrooms, and ham and sweet potato casserole. And in the days after Thanksgiving, ham can be put to good use in just about any leftovers…and who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers? Take some inspiration below for 9 ways you can use your Dietz & Watson Chef’s Carved Ham this Friendsgiving (and in the days after):

For Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Transform the ‘ol ham and cheese sandwich into a glorious Thanksgiving stuffing. No stuffing recipe is needed, just follow the same framework of your standard stuffing routine: stale bread + aromatics (like onions, carrots, and celery sautéed with sage and thyme) + diced ham. Shred 1/2 pound of your favorite sharp cheddar cheese and fold it into the mixture. If you’re a fruit-in-your-stuffing kinda person, add in chopped apples too, and it’s ready to be baked!

How to Make Stuffing Without a Recipe

How to Make Stuffing Without a Recipe by MrsWheelbarrow

  • For those that prefer vegetable-focused (but not vegetarian) Thanksgiving sides, consider a ham and vegetable bake: it’s like a gratin, but lighter without all that heavy cream, and an easy, impressive-looking dish! Here’s how: Slice vegetables into thin medallions—hardier veggies like fennel, cauliflower, or winter squash are ideal. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper into a large baking dish and arrange the vegetables vertically inside the dish. Finely chop ham and evenly distribute it between every few slices of vegetables; similarly, add slivers of sliced onion or shallot in between the vegetable layers. Drizzle the top with a little bit more olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F until vegetables are cooked through, about 45-50 minutes. Uncover and brown the top for crispy bits and edges (the best part!).

Staub Ivory Rustic Ceramic Rectangular Baking Dishes

Staub Ivory Rustic Ceramic Rectangular Baking Dishes

Emile Henry Ceramic Bakers (Set of 3)

Emile Henry Ceramic Bakers (Set of 3)

  • Whether you make mac and cheese as a Thanksgiving side or want a quick one-pot pasta dinner later in the week, there isn’t really a noodle dish that doesn’t taste better with some diced ham mixed in.

For Breakfast the morning after

  • Ham and eggs are a natural pairing. Add oomph to simple omelettes or soft scrambled eggs by sprinkling in diced leftover ham (and any other fixin’s you have on hand). For a crowd, whip up a frittata or make sheet pan eggs—add onions, bell peppers, and a good quality cheese like Dietz and Watson gruyère for a classic Western combo. For a perfect make-ahead meal, add finely minced ham to your go-to egg salad, then continue to tweak with spicy mustard, celery, cornichons, scallions…however far you’ll take it will be delicious.

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Scrambled Egg Muffins by savorthis

Sandwich Heaven

  • Have leftover biscuits? (Dinner rolls would do just as well!) Take the classic ham sandwich to the next level with a few key ingredients: a good quality cheddar cheese and a healthy slather of fig jam. The salty-sweet combo hits the spot any time of day.

King Arthur Flour's Never-Fail Biscuits

King Arthur Flour’s Never-Fail Biscuits

by Genius Recipes

Classic Parker House Rolls

Classic Parker House Rolls by Yossy Arefi

  • Have you tried a Croque Hawaiian? It’s an ingenious twist on the classic Croque Madame. The basic principle of the sandwich stays the same: toast is slathered with mustard, then layered with ham, cheese, and bechamel sauce. For the Hawaiian, add a fresh piece of juicy pineapple inside and grill the sandwich to marry all the flavors together, then finish with a fried egg on top.

Dinner all week long

  • In the days after Thanksgiving, it’s easy to feel all cooked out. But there’s always enough energy to make fried rice—plus, it’s a great recipe for using up those leftovers. Brown veggies along with cubes of leftover ham, crack a few eggs to scramble into the mixture, and finish by adding cooked rice. Complete the dish with a light drizzle of tamari and toasted sesame oil, or my favorite condiment: scallion oil.

Jean-Georges' Ginger Fried Rice

Jean-Georges’ Ginger Fried Rice

by Genius Recipes

Scallion Oil (Chinese Mother Sauce #1)

Scallion Oil (Chinese Mother Sauce #1) by Madame Huang

  • Beans and greens are a classic soup combo we’ve riffed on a plenty. Regardless of which beans or which greens you choose, leftover bits of ham will make a welcome addition to just about any combination: chickpeas and cabbage, white beans and kale, lentils and broccoli raab…the list goes on! For a Mediterranean approach, add lemon juice to brighten the soup and finish with fresh shaved parmesan cheese on top, and maybe a sprinkling of red pepper flakes too; or if you’re in the mood for something more like gumbo, add diced tomatoes and Cajun seasoning to your mixture. Enjoy your soup served with garlicky toast or leftover cornbread on the side.

Beans and Greens Soup

Beans and Greens Soup

by Sara Jenkins

An Adaptable Minestrone

An Adaptable Minestrone by Emiko

  • Chili is another stew, similar to beans and greens, that can easily incorporate leftover ham and extra pantry items you have around. Plus it can come together fairly quickly without a recipe. Start your chili base by sautéing onion and garlic, then add chopped vegetables and spices: paprika, turmeric, and chili powder in a ratio of 1:1:3. Next, add in chopped ham, fire-roasted tomatoes, and cooked beans. Pour in water/stock/beer to cover and stew until slightly thickened, then serve with shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Tuxedo Chili

Tuxedo Chili

by TheRunawaySpoon

Sheri's Shortcut Chili

Sheri’s Shortcut Chili by Ali Slagle

Tell us how you like your Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving!) ham, and all the ways after!

We love our holiday traditions—and we also love making new traditions, especially when they’re sure to please the crowd, and easy to get on the table. We’ve partnered with Dietz & Watson to share 9 ways ham can become a new tradition on your Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving!) table—whether you’re hosting or a guest—from main course to leftover heaven.

This article was written by Lyna Vuong from Food52 and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to