15 Make-Ahead Christmas Side Dishes: Prep Now, Relax Later

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The holiday season is a time for joy, laughter, and creating unforgettable memories with loved ones. But let’s be honest, it can also be a bit of a whirlwind—especially when it comes to cooking up a festive feast. So I’ve put together a list of 15 Make-Ahead Christmas Side Dishes that will help you prep now and relax later.

side view of 7 layer salad in a trifle bowl
7 Layer Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

These dishes are designed to take the stress out of your holiday meal prep, allowing you to enjoy the festivities without being chained to the kitchen. You can look forward to a Christmas dinner where you can actually sit back, relax, and savor the flavors of the season.

7 Layer Salad

Impress your guests with the stunning presentation and taste of the 7 Layer Salad. It’s not just a feast for the eyes but a delight for the palate that you can prepare well in advance. Each layer keeps its integrity, ensuring a crisp, fresh bite every time.
Get the Recipe: 7 Layer Salad

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Pea Salad

Pea salad in a blue bowl.
Pea Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Get ready for a creamy, tangy treat with this Pea Salad that’s a breeze to prepare ahead of the big day. The flavors come together beautifully over time, making it a convenient option for your Christmas spread. It’s that classic comfort side that everyone will be scooping seconds of.
Get the Recipe: Pea Salad

Broccoli Crunch Salad

A close shot of a fork full of broccoli salad.
Broccoli Crunch Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Dive into a mix of textures with the Broccoli Crunch Salad, a side that’s as hearty as it is tasty. Toss it together ahead of time, and the flavors only intensify, making your Christmas prep a snap. With its colorful ingredients, it’s sure to be a hit on your holiday table.
Get the Recipe: Broccoli Crunch Salad

Cherry Salad

Cherry fluff salad in blue bowls with whipped cream.
Cherry Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

This Cherry Salad, aka ‘Pink Fluff,’ is a sweet addition that you can whip up in no time and watch disappear just as fast. It’s a nostalgic dish that’s sure to bring smiles and is perfect for making in advance. Light, fluffy, and irresistibly fun, it’s a guaranteed potluck winner.
Get the Recipe: Cherry Salad

Ramen Noodle Salad

Three white bowls filled with ramen noodles and vegetables.
Ramen Noodle Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Shake things up with a crunchy, tangy Ramen Noodle Salad that’s as playful as it is delicious. It holds up incredibly well, even when dressed ahead, making your Christmas dinner prep a total breeze. This salad is the perfect way to add a little unconventional crunch to your festive meal.
Get the Recipe: Ramen Noodle Salad

Cajun Pasta Salad

Cajun pasta salad of noodles with celery and bell pepper.
Cajun Pasta Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Spice up the holiday with a Cajun Pasta Salad that’s bold in flavor and easy to prep ahead. The creamy, spicy dressing coats the pasta and veggies for a side that’s sure to stand out. It’s the make-ahead dish that will add some zing to your Christmas dining.
Get the Recipe: Cajun Pasta Salad

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Top view of a bowl of coleslaw with blue cheese on top.
Blue Cheese Coleslaw. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Blue Cheese Coleslaw is a cool, creamy side that’s a breeze to make before the holiday hustle. It adds a tangy twist to the Christmas table and pairs perfectly with any main dish. Surprise your guests with this bold take on a traditional favorite.
Get the Recipe: Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Watergate Salad

Pistachio salad topped with nuts and cherries.
Pistachio Fluff Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Go for a quick and easy Watergate salad for a festive and light side dish. This make-ahead dessert salad is a sweet, nutty crowd-pleaser that’s as fun to eat as it is green. It’s a quirky, creamy addition that’ll have everyone reaching for seconds.
Get the Recipe: Pistachio Fluff Salad

Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

Closeup of tomatoes and mozzarella in a bowl.
Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Nothing says fresh like a Caprese Salad with cherry tomatoes, a simple yet elegant side that’s a cinch to prep. The combination of ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil is a timeless trio that’s perfect for the holidays. It’s a light, refreshing dish that will provide a lovely balance to the richer Christmas fare.
Get the Recipe: Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

Amish Potato Salad

Spoonful of potato salad.
Amish Potato Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Amish Potato Salad is the ultimate make-ahead side, with its creamy dressing and classic flavor that gets even better overnight. The blend of mustard, sugar, and celery seed creates a taste that feels like home. It’s the comforting, crowd-pleasing dish that’s perfect for your Christmas gathering.
Get the Recipe: Amish Potato Salad

Lime Jello Salad

green jello salad topped with whipped cream and a cherry.
Lime Jello Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Add a pop of color and nostalgia to your table with the Lime Jello Salad, an easy-to-make-ahead treat. This zesty, cool side dish is a playful addition to your Christmas menu. It’s a fun, spoonable side that’s sure to spark conversation and smiles.
Get the Recipe: Lime Jello Salad

Chickpea Salad

Healthy chickpea salad in a blue bowl.
Chickpea Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

This Chickpea Salad is a burst of freshness on your festive table, packed with colorful ingredients and a healthy twist. It’s super easy to toss together in advance, and the flavors actually improve with time. Serve up this vibrant, nutritious dish and watch it become a new Christmas favorite.
Get the Recipe: Chickpea Salad

Cranberry Fluff

A bowl of pink cranberry dip with a wooden spoon.
Cranberry Fluff. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Cranberry Fluff is a whimsical, creamy side that’s perfect for Christmas. It combines tart cranberries with sweet marshmallows for a side that’s as memorable as it is delicious. Make it ahead for a stress-free addition to your holiday feast.
Get the Recipe: Cranberry Fluff

Lemon Basil Orzo Pasta Salad

Bowl of orzo pasta salad.
Lemon Basil Orzo Pasta Salad. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

This Lemon Basil Orzo Pasta Salad is a light and zesty choice that’s incredibly easy to prepare for any occasion. It’s the kind of side that’s ideal for a busy holiday season, offering a refreshing break from the heavier traditional dishes. Bring this simple, sunny salad to your Christmas table for a taste of summer freshness.
Get the Recipe: Lemon Basil Orzo Pasta Salad

Amish Broccoli Salad with Cauliflower and Bacon

Amish broccoli salad with broccoli, cauliflower, cheese and bacon.
Amish Broccoli Salad with Cauliflower and Bacon. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

The Amish Broccoli Salad is a delightful mix of crunchy veggies and creamy dressing, all topped with crispy bacon. It’s a make-ahead dream that balances healthy ingredients with indulgent flavors. Bring this beloved Amish classic to your Christmas dinner for a side that’s sure to satisfy.
Get the Recipe: Amish Broccoli Salad with Cauliflower and Bacon

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Make ahead christmas side dishes.
anne

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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