Just about everyone loves a good BBQ, but no BBQ night’s complete without a couple of scrumptious side dishes to enhance the main course.
What BBQ is complete without some potato salad, coleslaw, and corn on the cob? Certainly, you can create classic BBQ side dishes, but you can also get creative. If you want something light to go with smoked brisket, why not try a simple side salad? You can also bake some homemade cornbread.
From baked beans to classic potato salads to an array of bread and dips, if you cook it, they will devour it.
When it comes to barbecues, the focus is often on the main course: the perfectly grilled meats and delicious, smoky flavors. But a truly memorable BBQ experience also includes a variety of mouthwatering side dishes that complement those juicy steaks and tender ribs. As you plan your next outdoor cookout, consider the importance of choosing and preparing side dishes that will both satisfy and delight your guests.
From classic options like creamy coleslaw and tangy baked beans, to lighter, healthier choices like grilled vegetables and refreshing salads, there is no shortage of possibilities when it comes to BBQ side dishes. By incorporating a mix of traditional favorites and creative new ideas, you can ensure that your barbecue is well-rounded and appealing to all of your guests’ tastes.
Whether you’re serving up the sides at a family gathering, a neighborhood party, or even a casual, weeknight dinner on the patio, keep in mind that great BBQ side dishes can elevate the entire meal. With careful preparation and attention to detail, you’ll create a feast that is as delicious and inviting as the warm summer evenings that inspire it.
Having variety in your spread is essential, and no one complains when you add a few sweets to the menu of savory dishes, allowing folks more tasty options.
Now, if you searched for terms like “bbq side dish ideas” or “easy side dishes for bbq,” then you probably found thousands of results. But, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Below is a list of 33 incredible BBQ side dishes that will keep your taste buds delighted all day long.
When we think of the best-baked bean recipes, they often can take several hours to slow cook. But what if you don’t have that kind of time and your BBQ is sort of a last-minute affair?
This BBQ baked beans recipe only takes 40 minutes or less to make.
One cheat is using canned baked beans instead of dry beans. But, the tantalizing mix-ins are what really makes this dish shine! The bacon, bell pepper, chipotle chili powder, and apple cider vinegar are just a few of the superstars that give these baked beans lots of flavor.
While it’s a simple dish, loaded baked potatoes are one of the BBQ side dishes that can easily stand on their own by just adding your favorite cut-up BBQ meat, like pulled pork.
The key is making sure that you bake your potatoes for at least 45 to 60 minutes. This ensures that you get the potato nice and fluffy on the inside.
And you’ll want to cut them ASAP when they’re out of the oven to prevent the potato from getting dense.
Don’t you hate when you make a nice salad and have to throw out the wilted lettuce at the end of the day?
We feel your pain.
But take heart, those dark days are over. This fabulous salad recipe makes for a healthy, sweet, crunchy, delicious BBQ side dish that any burger would be proud to sit next to.
The salad is filled with fresh greens, cranberries, and juicy green apples. Using apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard gives your salad a nice twangy kick.
We also like adding a few cherry tomatoes.
This dish is a favorite among Brits, and it’s not hard to see why.
Sausage rolls are buttery, puffy, crispy pastries filled with pork sausage meat that tastes like heaven.
These rolls are far superior to any pigs in a blanket recipe you’ve tried, one bite, and you’ll be a believer. Try some with your pasta salad.
We highly recommend dipping your roles with Heinz tomato ketchup for an authentic experience.
If you’re looking for easy side dishes for bbq that will knock everyone’s socks off, then serve them these savory parmesan oven-baked tomatoes as one of your BBQ side dishes.
Tomato is more than just a topping for burgers. They can really stand on their own.
We love how these juicy, sweet tomatoes only take five minutes to prepare and finish soft with a chewy, cheesy top.
You should see a deep baking dish. This way, your tomatoes will stand upright when you add your toppings.
For the tomato topping, the recipe calls for mozzarella and parmesan cheese and basil.
This dish takes about 10 minutes to bake, but be sure to give them a few minutes for piping hot insides to cool a bit before serving.
Okay, cornbread is another one of those dishes you might not expect to find at a BBQ, but let us assure you, once you’ve had it with your favorite BBQ entrée, you won’t want to live without it!
This recipe is best served straight out of the oven and is simple to make using Bisquick mix.
You just have to mix all the ingredients into one bowl before you pan and bake.
Aside from their mouth-watering fried chicken, KFC is also known for its fantastic side dishes. One of our favorites is KFC coleslaw, a cool and creamy dish that’s perfect for any occasion.
Slaw is a dish that pairs well in nearly any meal, and best of all, it’s quick and easy to make. The key to this coleslaw recipe lies in the buttermilk (milk or powder), which really sets it apart from most other coleslaw recipes. Also, the white vinegar and lemon juice give it that little “something something,” we all know and love.
Are you looking for something new to spice up your BBQ? Try serving jalapeno popper grilled corn salad. For this dish, you use ingredients such as freshly grilled summer corn blended with sour cream, cream cheese, jalapenos, and bacon, just to name a few. You absolutely want to use fresh corn not canned corn, for this meal.
This is an excellent dish for adding a little kick to your BBQ side dish selection and is guaranteed to have folks coming back for seconds, thirds, and forths! Not to mention, the recipe is pretty straightforward and takes hardly any time to prepare.
While traditional collard greens with bacon involve a lot of slow cooking, this incredible recipe lets you make them in a fraction of the time.
The main thing you have to remember is to stir the dish every 30 seconds or so until the greens are wilted. Once your greens have soaked up all the salt and garlic, they are good to go!
Okay, people. Enough fun and games. It’s time to get down to some serious business – dessert.
One dessert that makes for the perfect BBQ side dish is pink lemonade cupcakes. Nobody’s going to bat an eye if you want to pair this delicious treat with your hot dog and burgers.
One thing you can do with this recipe is add in strawberry yogurt for more flavor. This also keeps the cake nice and moist.
Also, it would be best if you considered making your frosting a bit firmer. This way, it holds up better under the heat of your grilled BBQ dishes.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, but trust us, this recipe will ensure your corn doesn’t turn into a rubbery nightmare.
One of the keys to making this recipe work is using husked corn. Once they are finished cooking, you dehusk them and add your favorite flavoring.
Another classic BBQ side dish from the south is Ambrosia fruit salad.
This creamy, flavorful dish packs a lot of sweet surprises like mandarines and pineapple mixed with coconut, mini marshmallows, sour cream, and whipped cream.
Yes, that wasn’t a typo, sour cream.
While it may sound a bit weird, the tang works really well with all the fruits. Just make sure you get yours first because this creamy dessert’s known to disappear in the blink of an eye at parties.
Aside from watermelon salad, this is one of our favorite fruit salads.
13. Pizza Rolls
We know there probably are a few traditionalists out there scratching their heads at this one, but Pizza Rolls make for a fun BBQ side dish.
An honestly, unlike many other meals, BBQs are not as limited when it comes to the types of dishes you can serve.
These delicious rolls are great for tiding you over until those steaks are done just right!
There’s not much to making pizza rolls. You can use your favorite store-bought pizza dough and just shape and stuff them with your favorite ingredients. Baking takes about 10 minutes.
We love making or rolls with pepperoni and bacon.
No BBQs complete without crispy, tasty chips and savory dips to plow them into. And if you’re looking to upgrade your plain old ranch or salsa dips, then this Buffalo chicken dip will definitely shake things up!
All you need is a couple of ingredients such as rotisserie chicken, crumbled blue cheese, minced garlic, hot sauce, and cream cheese to make this dish. You can also add some fresh chopped tomato.
You’ll want to add your cheddar cheese and hot sauce in just before cooking and wait for the mouth-watering pot of gooey goodness to start bubbling!
Try dipping your favorite grilled vegetable!
One of our favorite bbq side dish ideas is homemade pickles. Pickles have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the years as many athletes discovered how well pickle juice relieves muscle cramps.
There’s nothing like crispy, crunchy, sour pickles to add a little punch to your BBQ. You’ll need fresh cucumber to start the process.
You can also flavor your pickles with various spices and fresh herbs to give them a one-of-a-kind flavor you won’t find on any store shelf. Red pepper flakes, dill seed, and garlic clovers are some of the most popular flavoring options. Try using homemade pickles to give your pasta salad a little zest.
Potato salad is one of those sides that many folks only have at BBQs. While this delicious dish isn’t exclusive only to BBQs, it can sometimes feel like that. It might be hard to remember many occasions when you’ve enjoyed potato salad without BBQ. Try mixing your potato salad with broccoli salad for a unique combo.
The ingredients found in most potato salads are pretty similar. However, for this recipe, in addition to mayonnaise, potato, and yellow mustard, there are a couple of minor changes that make a huge difference. Ingredients such as sweet onion, celery seeds, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar take this potato salad recipe to the next level.
17. Cherry Pie Pops
You’ve heard the phrase “easy as pie,” right? Well, this cherry pie pops recipe more than lives up to that reputation and makes for a great dessert you can eat without taking up space on your plate.
For this recipe, you’ll need a can of pie filling and some pre-made pie dough.
Best of all, these pops are absolutely adorable and totally customizable. For example, if you want, you can dip your finished pie pops in melted chocolate or caramel, even add some sprinkles. The possibilities are endless.
Now folks up north might find it a bit odd to include a dish like biscuits with their BBQ, but let us assure you that they are a perfect addition to nearly any meal!
These warm, soft, flaky pastries complement grilled meats, fruits, and veggies perfectly.
Just be sure not to over-mix your dough and use a generous amount of butter after baking.
You may think that Rice Krispies treats can’t get much better. Well, you’d be wrong because they can!
This recipe is super simple and makes for the perfect cool treat to compliment your hot barbecue. It’s as easy as making Rice Krispie treats, but with a few easy added steps.
And you can use different flavors of ice cream or blend them in sections of the pan to create a variety of dessert experiences. How cool is that?
Believe it or not, a few poor, lost souls out there are under the impression green beans are bland. They’ve never tasted the best green bean recipe!
The trick to this dish is steaming the green beans as opposed to boiling them.
While they steam, you can prepare your other dishes, but make sure you monitor them while sauteing on the stove with the garlic butter. You’ll want to sautee them a little crisp, but make sure you don’t allow the garlic to burn.
And did you know the green bean isn’t really a lentil? But who cares as long as it tastes good, right?
For a delicious green bean salad, you can also toss in a few more ingredients, such as cherry tomatoes and feta.
You may have a gag of frozen peas that’s been sitting in your freezer for ages that you’ll never use unless someone gets a black eye or the zombie apocalypse kicks off.
But with a bit of magic, you can take that humble bag of frozen peas and turn it into a beautiful BBQ side dish.
This recipe uses some great ingredients that really set it apart from other pea salads. The grated sharp cheddar and paprika are what make this recipe something to remember.
Also, try adding some sliced cucumber and feta!
Okay, BBQs aren’t precisely places where you expect to find a lot of “healthier” fare. But there are some relatively healthy options out there that can enhance your BBQ experience.
One option is fried zucchini bites, which are much healthier than fried onion rings. And they taste great with grilled fish and grilled chicken.
They are also effortless to make, using just flour and egg for your crust. You just add the seasoning of your choice, and you’re off to the races!
23. Caprese Skewers
If you’re looking for one of the most flavorful, light, and simple barbecue sides, then you can’t go wrong with Caprese skewers.
The ingredients are few, such as olive oil, mozzarella, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar.
You don’t even need to cook this dish, and you can prepare it in under 10 minutes. But, of course, there’s never anything wrong with a bit of light grilling! Who doesn’t love grilled vegetables, right?
But, you’ll want to take it easy with the balsamic as it’s a potent seasoning. Just be sure to allow your skewers to rest in their juices a bit before serving.
This dish also compliments any pasta salad.
Why spend your dough on pricy store-bought popsicles when making them at home is cheaper, easier, and tastes way better?
To make this bbq side dish dessert, you’ll need bananas, strawberries, Greek yogurt (or regular), milk, and just a bit of honey.
Once you’ve got everything mixed, you just pour your mixture into your popsicle molds and pop them into the freezer.
And once you see how easy they are to make, you might want to experiment with different flavors or create your own unique blend.
When it comes to sweet refreshments, few things compete with ice-cold lemonade.
This sweet and tangy drink is absolutely ideal for any BBQ and feels so good going down on a hot summer day.
One thing you’ll want to do is make sure you wash your lemons in soapy water since you’ll need to mash them with sugar.
Also, you can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste, and some lemons might be sweeter than others, depending on the season.
Garlic bread, in our opinion, is one of the best side dishes you can have for any meal. When it’s on a table, it just feels right. It’s a great compliment to pasta salad, black bean salad, and macaroni & cheese dishes.
And instead of buying that frozen stuff, you can transform a humble freshly baked baguette you pick up from your local bakery into savory garlic bread that’s soft, fresh, and packed with delicious garlicky flavor.
Now before baking, you want to taste the garlic butter. It has to be very garlicky since its flavor will mellow as the bread bakes.
27. Mac & Cheese
Mac & cheese is another BBQ side dish that most folks consider to be like BBQ royalty. It’s one of the very best BBQ sides, hands down.
Nothing describes the satisfaction you get as you taste a forkful of creamy, cheesy macaroni as you follow it up with sweet and tangy BBQ spare ribs or chicken. Or you can mix in some tangy barbecue sauce for a fantastic flavor!
And there are some adventurous folks out there who love putting mac & cheese on their freshly grilled hamburgers. Hey, it’s a BBQ folks, anything goes!
For a spicy kick, try adding pepper jack cheese and diced jalapenos.
28. Beer Bread
Looking for more bread bbq sides ideas? This bread not only contains only six ingredients, but it doesn’t even require proofing or resting!
Once you’ve mixed up your ingredients, you can just pour the batter straight into your greased loaf pan and bake it as you would banana bread.
Now, if you use light beer, you’ll get a subtler flavor than if you used regular beer. You can also go with a more robust beer if you want a little more bang.
We love dipping our beer bread in BBQ sauce!
Give your BBQ a tropical twist with this sweet, flavorful dessert. Pineapple pretzel fluff tastes like cheesecake, but the recipe uses crushed pretzels instead of using graham crackers.
Once you finish baking, you just fold the crust into the filling.
You’ll need whipped cream, crushed pineapples, and cream cheese to create the filling.
Try serving this dip alongside your cannoli dip or in mini dishes as a tasty alternative to cheesecake.
The biggest problem most people have with homemade baked sweet potato fries is they often come out limp. It’s tough to get the same texture you get when you deep fry fries.
The trick to this sweet potato fries recipe is soaking your cut fries in a dish or sink full of cold water. You want them to sit in the water for about 45 minutes. This process pulls out the starches in the potatoes.
Once you’ve drained your fries, make sure you pat them dry before you toss them in your cornstarch and seasoning mixture-a lot of folks like using a large ziplock bag to coat their sweet potato fries.
You can also get creative, adding grated cheddar cheese, jalapeno, bacon, sour cream, and green onions for loaded sweet potato fries.
31. Cannoli Dip
So far, we’ve already covered pizza rolls, so why not keep up the Italian theme with a sweet and creamy dessert dip?
We all love cannoli filling because it is smooth but not too sweet and totally addictive.
You make this dip using sweetened ricotta cheese, just as they do at traditional Italian bakeries and pizzerias.
Serve this dip with your favorite treats like fresh fruit, cookies, and brownies. Try a spoonful of cannoli dip on grilled watermelon or even fresh avocado!
While fruit sorbet sounds fancy, it’s really one of the simplest frozen desserts you can make. All you need to do is use pureed fruit, along with a simple syrup made from sugar and water.
The taste of these frozen treats is out of this world and is sure to make your BBQ guests dance with joy!
You can use a variety of flavors, such as pineapple, strawberry, blueberry, peach, and raspberry.
The easiest method is using a bag of frozen fruit and blending it with your simple syrup mixture, then you just put it in your freezer and wait.
A great BBQ always has sides that are a meal onto themselves. And pasta dishes always make the cut.
And with this fabulous macaroni salad recipe, you might have a tough time setting aside space for those grilled pork chops!
One of our favorite things about this macaroni salad is its wide assortment of flavors, such as red bell pepper, green onion, chopped eggs, and dill pickle relish. Yum!
Also, here’s a great video with more fantastic bbq side dishes.
Our 30+ BEST BBQ Side Dishes (+Green Salad with Cranberries, Apples, and Pepitas)
- 5 cups spring mix salad greens
- 1/4 cup green pumpkin seeds pepitas
- 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- 1 diced apple
- 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
- Salad dressing
- Add all of the ingredients except the salad dressing to a large bowl.
- Toss well.
- Add your favorite homemade salad dressing.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.