18 BBQ Chicken Sides to Kick Up Your Outdoor Cooking

So you have a delicious pan full of grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and you’re looking for the best BBQ chicken sides? You’re in luck because, in this article, we share 18 of the very best side dishes for BBQ chicken.

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One of the joys of being an adult living on your own is being able to cook food outside.

Delicious chicken wings and lamb barbecue on hot grill

There’s just something that tastes more special about meat like BBQ chicken that’s cooked on a grill.

What goes with BBQ chicken? As it turns out, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Let’s dive in and check out these delicious barbecue chicken sides.

Source: Loveandlemons.com

1. Sweet Potatoes

There are so many delicious ways to prepare sweet potatoes.

You can cut them up into cubes and roast them. Alternatively, you can make sweet potato pies. And then there is the ever-popular sweet potato casserole.

One of our favorite ways to cook this sweet cousin of the baked potato is to simply bake them, whether in the microwave, slow cooker, or oven.

You can certainly sweeten these beautiful spuds up a bit with some honey. However, they have a natural sweetness.

Be sure to serve them with butter, and maybe a cucumber salad to round out the meal. Salad made with romaine lettuce and ranch dressing, sweet potatoes, and a chicken breast is an incredibly healthy meal.

Source: Inspiredtaste.com

2. Quinoa Salad

If something lighter than rice is what you’re going for, how about giving the super grain quinoa a try in this delicious salad?

Quinoa salad is chock-full of protein, calcium, potassium, and loads of other essential nutrients.

The taste of this salad is similar to rice, but the quinoa in this salad has a crunchier consistency. Quinoa just feels more substantial than rice does.

You can make a tasty and satisfying quinoa salad with whatever ingredients you have on hand. We love this rdish that calls for an English cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, bok choy, seeds and nuts, grated or chopped veggies, and dried fruit.

This is the perfect salad to serve with BBQ chicken.

Source: Bellyfull.net

3. Fried Green Tomatoes

In country kitchens, the fried green tomato are nearly as revered as chicken. For that reason, you can’t go wrong with this classic dish in your list of BBQ chicken sides.

You can’t find green tomatoes all year long, and that’s probably why these gems are so treasured when served with grilled meats.

Be sure your tomatoes are completely green. If they’re starting to ripen, they will be too soft.

For a different twist, dip your sliced green tomatoes in an egg and milk wash, then dredge them in Italian seasoned bread crumbs for a special treat.

Source: Backtomysouthernroots.com

4. Corn Pudding

Corn pudding is something that disappears nearly as quickly as chicken when you put it in front of people.

Kids may frown when they hear the phrase “corn pudding,” but once they taste it, they’re sold on it.

This dish is the classic recipe made with Jiffy Corn Muffin mix and it probably tastes just like the one your grandmother used to make.

It’s also a great way to use up that creamed-style corn you accidentally bought when you stocked up on canned goods.

Source: Natashaskitchen.com

5. Biscuits

Homemade biscuits are swoon-worthy with any meal. However, there’s something magical about fluffy biscuits when they’re served with BBQ chicken.

When you’ve got a full meal with BBQ chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, and all of the rest of the traditional barbecue fixings, you can’t skip the biscuits.

For some reason, people shy away from making homemade biscuits. It’s almost like homemade bread of any kind seems daunting.

Fortunately, homemade biscuits are super easy to make, so why not give them a try the next time you cook chicken? These biscuits are wonderful for soaking up your delicious homemade BBQ sauce.

Source: Therecipecritic.com

6. Baked Beans

It seems like baked beans and cold salad are always to be found at backyard barbecues and potluck dinners.

The best baked beans have two key ingredients: bacon and brown sugar. Other than that, you don’t have to use a lot of ingredients to make these delicious beans.

This dish also gets a lot of flavor from the onion, Worcestershire sauce, and bell pepper.

While this is a super easy recipe that is made with canned pork and beans, you can always substitute dried navy beans.

If you want to avoid heating up your kitchen, you can always make these delicious baked beans in your slow cooker.

Another idea is to save the leftover meat from grilled chicken thighs and use this to season your beans.

Source: Loveandlemons.com

7. Coleslaw

Few things cool off a hot grilled dinner like creamy coleslaw, a popular salad made from cabbage and other vegetables.

There are two ways you can make coleslaw. One way is the popular rich and creamy slaw that’s mayonnaise-based. The other salad is a version that is vinegar-based and has a nice tangy taste.

Both recipes are wonderful and it’s all about whatever you and your family like.

This dish has the best of both worlds. The apple cider vinegar gives it a nice zing, and the mayonnaise brings it all together with a rich creamy sauce.

Bonus: if you have leftover grilled corn or boiled corn, you can make a yummy corn salad.

Source: Spicysouthernkitchen.com

8. Corn on the Cob

If you’ve already got the grill heated up, you can make some mouthwatering grilled corn or other grilled vegetables.

Corn on the cob is a must-have at summer dinner gatherings, and we love grilled corn.

However, if you want to make dinner even easier, you can skip the grilled corn and keep some frozen corn on the cob on hand.

Cooking this classic southern dish is super simple and there’s a secret to doing it just perfectly. Southern cooks boil their corn on the cob with a cup of milk and a stick of butter. Yum!

Source: Spicysouthernkitchen.com

9. Potato Salad

The classic way to make a classic potato salad is with hard-boiled eggs, mustard, pickle relish, and celery.

Eggs are totally optional in potato salad, but if your family likes eggs, potato salad can be a hearty meal all on its own.

Like most cold salads, potato salad can be made in advance, such as the evening before. This frees up lots of time for you to just enjoy your cookout.

There’s an ongoing debate about whether or not to use mustard or mayonnaise in potato salad. This salad recipe gives you the best of both worlds.

This potato salad recipe is so yummy when it bumps up against the BBQ sauce in grilled meats like barbecued chicken and pulled pork.

If you want a hot potato dish, consider mashed potatoes.

Source: Feastandfarm.com

10. Mac & Cheese

A creamy casserole of baked macaroni and cheese can be made ahead of time so that you can spend your evening visiting with friends and family instead of slaving over the stove.

Just prepare your dish the night before or early in the day, then pop the casserole dish in the oven before dinner and it cooks itself.

Homemade macaroni and cheese is so much better than the blue box version (although we love that mac ‘n cheese, too!).

You can change this recipe up and use different types of cheese, including cheddar cheese to make a creamy sauce.

Don’t want a hot dish? Consider a gorgeous macaroni salad with your barbecue chicken instead.

Source: Southernbite.com

11. Summer Squash and Onions

If there’s one thing that says “summer” as much as BBQ chicken, it’s the gorgeous yellow summer squash that is so bountiful in gardens every year.

Squash is easy to grow, but if you prefer to harvest your veggies at that grocery store, you can always find excellent squash for cheap during the summer months.

One of our favorite ways to cook squash is the old-fashioned way.

This dish is as simple as can be and the squash is the star of the show. Using a bit of heart-healthy olive oil makes this timeless dish even healthier.

Source: Spendwithpennies.com

12. Greek Pasta Salad

BBQ chicken is a simple and humble meal, so how about jazzing it up a bit with a fancy Greek pasta salad?

Greek pasta salad made with fresh herbs is a refreshing and cool dish to serve. Also, since it’s a cold salad, it can be made in advance.

Perhaps one of the best things about this pasta salad is that it makes an excellent lunch the next day if you have leftovers.

The veggies in this salad include bell pepper, cucumber, olives, red onion, green bean, and grape tomatoes, and they make this nearly a meal until itself. Who doesn’t love a cucumber salad?

Source: Cookieandkate.com

13. Rice

White rice is nice (and delicious), but when you serve brown rice with grilled foods, you are taking one of the world’s most beloved grains and turning it into a superfood.

For one thing, brown rice is rarely mushy. It has a much better texture than white rice, especially if you like your rice to hold its shape.

Also, brown rice is a whole grain, so it’s more heart-healthy than white rice.

The technique described in this recipe calls for boiling your rice in water for 30 minutes, then draining it and returning it to the pot. Then, you allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes.

Source: Simplyrecipes.com

14. Cornbread

It seems like cornbread goes with just about anything.

Whether it’s a big pot of chili in the winter or BBQ chicken in the summer, golden, buttery cornbread can complete the meal.

This dish calls for ingredients that we love like buttermilk and just enough bacon drippings to give your cornbread plenty of flavor.

An ongoing debate that can’t be settled is whether or not to use straight cornbread or a combination of cornbread and flour. However, your family likes it is the correct way to make it.

Your folks will love dipping their cornbread into the delicious sauce from the grilled chicken.

Source: Dinneratthezoo.com

15. Fried Okra

In the summer, okra is one of the garden vegetables that are incredibly prolific. If you’re growing okra in your garden, you probably have bushels of it.

The good news is that it’s very affordable at the grocery store if you need to buy your okra.

The best fried okra recipe is the simplest. With freshly-sliced okra that has been coated in buttermilk and dredged in seasoned cornmeal, you’re going to have a BBQ chicken side that disappears quickly.

Hey, there is a reason they call fried okra Southern popcorn and it works beautifully with any grilled meat.

Source: Dinneratthezoo.com

16. Baked Wedge Fries

Everyone loves French fries, but these baked wedge fries are like French fries all grown up.

Also, they’re much healthier because they don’t have all of the greasiness that French fries tend to have.

The secret to getting these potato wedges perfect is to boil them for three minutes before you bake them. That’s what makes them nice and crispy on the outside.

You can make these fries with or without the skin. Whichever way you do it, you can be sure that your guests will gobble these up.

Source: Sallysbakingaddiction.com

17. Strawberry Shortcake

Who’s ready for dessert?

When you’re having a cookout with friends and family, there is always room for a decadent dessert, and what better way to enjoy it than with fresh berries?

Making a homemade strawberry shortcake is a lot easier than you’ve ever imagined.

You can buy the little cakes at the grocery store, or you can make these easy homemade biscuits.

These biscuits show your guests that you went the extra mile to serve them something truly special.

Source: Loveandlemons.com

18. Watermelon

If you’re already got your grill nice and hot, why not try something totally new and delightful? We’re talking about grilled watermelon.

Certainly, you can serve watermelon the way we all love it best: sliced and ready to eat. You can even chop up watermelon and add it to a tasty fruit salad.

However, grilling brings out an unexpected flavor in watermelon and everyone should try this at least once.

Check out the way they grill the watermelon in the video below. First, they brush it with a honey and spices mixture, then grill it. For the finale, they crumble cotija cheese on top.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community.
She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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