Who doesn’t love a good barbecue?
It’s true, we all do. And we know what makes a great barbecue: the food.
Side dishes are the best way to round out a meal and keep everyone happy. They can help you save money by adding more flavor to the meat you’re grilling or help you serve a variety of flavors without overwhelming your guests’ palates.
If your guests aren’t impressed by your side dishes, they’ll be too busy thinking about the delicious meats in front of them to remember anything else.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide for you—so that you can wow your guests with the best side dishes for BBQ!
21 Best Side Dishes For BBQ
1. Potato Salad
This classic dish is easy to make, and it’s so good that people will fight over the last bite! Just boil potatoes in saltwater until they’re tender, then add mayonnaise and mustard, chopped onion and celery, and diced pickles if desired. You can also add other vegetables if you like!
2. Macaroni Salad
This is another classic side dish that’s easy to make at home with just some elbow macaroni, mayonnaise (or sour cream), salt and pepper, celery seeds if desired (or celery), diced pickles if desired (or just chopped cucumbers), green onion slices if desired (or red onion), and paprika if desired (for color). Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl then chill until ready to serve.
3. Potato Chips
These chips make a great addition to any barbecue menu because they satisfy a crunchy craving and they come in a variety of flavors. Lay out bowls of chips with different seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic and onion, dill pickle flavor, or BBQ flavor. Your guests can dip them into ketchup or any other dip that you serve.
4. Summer Salsa
This is an easy way to use up your garden tomatoes! Combine fresh tomatoes, chopped onion, peppers, and cilantro with lime juice and salt in a large bowl and chill for at least one hour before serving. You can also add other vegetables such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, or zucchini.
5. Cucumber Salad
This is a refreshing side dish that can be prepared quickly and it’s perfect for summer BBQs because it’s easy to make and it’s a good source of vitamins and minerals for the vegetarian in your party. Combine chopped cucumber with lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and chill until ready to serve. Add chopped onion if desired.
6. Pasta Salad
Best of all, this salad can be made ahead and it can be stored in the fridge for two days! Combine spaghetti with mayonnaise (or sour cream), shredded cheddar cheese, salt, and black pepper. Add diced cucumbers, green onions, and/or chopped bell peppers. Toss with pasta then store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
7. Vegetable Salad
This salad can be made with the vegetables that you have in your refrigerator so it’s super easy to make. Combine chopped cucumber, tomato, green onion, and bell pepper. Add salt, pepper, and lime juice for a tasty salad side dish.
8. Mixed Nuts
This is a great addition to any barbecue menu and it’s an easy dish to make. Mix together chopped pecans, walnuts, and almonds in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, and maple syrup if desired.
9. Barbecue Sauce
This is another great alternative to bottled barbecue sauces because it can be homemade and you can add whatever seasonings you want to give it a different taste.
This dip can be served with fresh pita bread or crackers. Combine chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini (or another type of nut butter), salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. If desired, add diced cucumber and/or chopped bell pepper.
11. Hummus & Vegetables
Serve hummus with pita bread or play a variation on this theme by serving roasted vegetables instead of hummus. Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper, minced garlic, and lemon or lime juice.
12. Baked Potato Bar
Serve baked potatoes with a variety of toppings such as sour cream and chives, chopped tomatoes and chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeños, and anything else that appeals to your tastes! Make plenty so everyone has a bowl of their favorite topping. Even if you have to bake extra potatoes to serve all your guests, it will be worth the effort!
13. Tomato Salsa
Combine chopped tomatoes with chopped onion, diced jalapeño, cilantro, and a little lime or lemon juice. Salt if desired. Cook tomato salsa in a pan over medium heat until heated through.
14. Cantaloupe & Honeydew Rind Salad
This salad can only be made during summer because the honeydew melon is only available during the summer months! You can also make this dessert salad any time of year by replacing the melon with cantaloupe. Remove the melon rinds and cut them into bite-sized pieces, then toss them with honey, chopped pecans, salt, and caramel sauce or maple syrup (only add this if you’re using cantaloupe because it’s sweeter). Serve chilled.
This is always a winner at any party. You can make the cake in a cone shape and serve it with fruit for a tasty dessert that everyone will enjoy. Prepare your cheesecake in individual size serving bowls for an elegant presentation.
This classic coleslaw is the perfect side dish for any barbecue. The tangy dressing and crunchy cabbage are sure to please any crowd!
This classic coleslaw recipe is simple and delicious. Make sure to prep all of your ingredients before getting started because it does not take long for them to come together. This recipe calls for just three ingredients: cabbage, mayonnaise, and vinegar. Mix everything together and serve chilled!
This cornbread recipe is a great way to use up extra rosemary from your garden. It’s tender, moist, and has just enough rosemary flavor to complement your barbecue.
This cornbread recipe is super easy to make and tastes amazing! You only need three ingredients: self-rising flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and milk! Simply mix everything together until combined then pour into a greased pan (9″x9″). Bake at 400°F for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top.
18. Summer Corn Salad
Your guests will enjoy the corn salad, but they’ll also appreciate the convenience of having it on hand to serve with their barbecue. For two people this easy side dish makes six cups.
Wash, de-string, and slice cobs of sweet corn. Place them in cold salted water and swish with your hands. This removes dirt and gives the corn a brilliant appearance when it’s ready to be added to the salad.
Cook the corn in boiling water until just tender, then drain, rinse again with cold water, and drain again. Let cool completely before adding to the salad or serving with grilled meats or fish. Chop onions and tomatoes. Mix with cobs of corn and add salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste. Combine the remaining ingredients. Add salt to taste if needed. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving with grilled meats, fish, or chicken.
19. Antipasto Skewers
This is a great way to use up leftover veggies in the fridge, but you can also buy a selection of fresh veggies and marinate them in olive oil, vinegar and garlic ahead of time. Slice the peppers, onions, and tomatoes into 1-inch rounds. Skewer them with slices of salami, provolone cheese, and olives. Serve with a bowl of marinara sauce for dipping.
20. Zucchini Boats
Zucchini boats are so versatile — they can be filled with just about anything you like! Fill them with ground beef or sausage mixed with diced tomatoes and other vegetables like onions and bell peppers. Top with shredded cheese and bake until cooked through. Add some chopped herbs like parsley or basil for extra flavor!
21. Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob with Garlic Butter
This is one of my favorite ways to cook corn; it’s simple, fast, and delicious. This recipe can be made using fresh or frozen corn. If using frozen corn, defrost it completely before preparing this dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Brush a small amount of olive oil onto each ear of corn and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cobs in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until tender and slightly browned, turning once during the cooking process. Remove from oven and drizzle with melted butter mixed with minced garlic cloves as desired before serving immediately.
We hope you enjoyed this guide to side dishes for BBQ! There are so many options, and we know that not everyone has the same taste. But we think you’ll find something here that will work for your next family gathering or party.