Wondering what to serve with grilled food? There’s no shortage of amazing BBQ sides to choose from! The list below includes a variety of ideas, many of which are super easy to make even if you’re not an experienced cook.
A good summer cookout is a great way to spend some time with family and friends while enjoying the warm season.
You’ll find many BBQ side dishes below that are exceptionally easy to make or have a make-ahead option. I love prepping the sides the day ahead so I have more time to relax and enjoy socializing at the gathering.
🥗Best BBQ Sides To Serve With Grilled Food
If I’m hosting a backyard BBQ I usually prep several side dishes to make sure everyone will be able to enjoy at least one.
These side dishes will elevate your BBQ food and the chances of having leftovers are slim to none.
Tip: Looking for amazing sides to pair with grilled chicken? Check out these yummy BBQ chicken sides!
🥔Potato & Rice BBQ Sides
Rice, regular potatoes, and sweet potatoes are staple ingredients for some of the best side dishes.
The options below are excellent for picnics, potlucks, and backyard barbecue parties!
Let’s start with an incredible make-ahead dish. The gorgeous-looking duchess potatoes can be frozen and popped in the oven for 15-20 minutes and served hot!
Even if you don’t use the make-ahead option, it’s totally worth doubling the batch and freezing half so you have a quick side ready for another day.
Even if you spontaneously decided to grill something today, the versatile sweet potato can make a quick and easy side dish that works with pretty much anything.
I like to coat the sweet potato wedges in a mixture of butter, brown sugar, and cumin, for a rich and intense flavor! You get those thick grill marks by using the non stick
Grill Grate. They make all your cookout foods look amazing!
Pilaf is excellent for feeding a crowd and this Asian version with butter, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and fresh cilantro is full of umami!
You can make this on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot but don’t skip the part where you need to toast the rice for a few minutes. It adds a deeper flavor and that’s how pilaf should be.
Pilaf pairs well with any grilled meat, vegetables, or fish. It freezes well, so don’t discard the leftovers, if any.
Smoking potatoes is quick, easy, and totally worth it. This smoked potato salad tastes heavenly on its own or as a side.
The chives, bacon, and cheese add an extra yummy factor to this salad but you can experiment with other toppings too.
Just make sure you don’t bring this salad to the table too soon. It might disappear before you finish grilling!
This is a refreshing Chipotle-inspired recipe that’s ready in 30 minutes and can be customized with other ingredients.
You have plenty of options to change this basic recipe. Some of my favorite additions include garlic, jalapenos, sauteed onions, and avocado.
If you like your roasted potatoes extra crispy on the outside, this is definitely the recipe to try!
The best part is there are several make-ahead options. You can prep the potatoes with or without part-roasting them.
Another method is to prep them right until they’re ready to be roasted and freeze them. Then, defrost and cook the potatoes when needed.
The air fryer produces the most incredible fries, and all that while using very little oil.
Depending on how complex your main dish is, you can enjoy these sweet potato fries with just salt and pepper, or add your favorite herbs and spices.
For the best crisp, I totally recommend soaking the raw fries in a bowl of water for 20-30 minutes before cooking.
No one can say no to such a delectable dish! Potato skins are endlessly customizable and you can use the fluffy white center of the potatoes to make mashed potatoes.
Cheese, bacon, chives, parsley, and garlic are all excellent add-ons that will make your potato skins even more irresistible.
🍞Bread Sides For BBQ Dishes
Bread, buns, pitas, and other dough-based recipes are fabulous to serve next to BBQ food.
I realize that working with dough can feel intimidating if you’ve never done it which is why all the recipes below are quite easy to make and have clear instructions.
There’s nothing quite like homemade fresh bread and once you try it, I promise you’ll be hooked forever.
An aromatic bread like this one served fresh out of the oven will drive your guests crazy!
Buttermilk cornbread is a classic universal side you can make in a pinch.
For the best results, add the batter to a preheated cast iron skillet. Your cornbread will get the most delicious crispy exterior while remaining soft on the inside.
A bread machine does all the hard work for these fantastic soft pretzel bites which makes them hard to pass up.
You can definitely knead the dough by hand if you don’t have a bread machine and they’ll come out just as good.
It’s easy to imagine these can be served with just about anything, and they certainly deserve a spot next to your favorite BBQ dishes.
You can tell this is an easy recipe by the name alone! Success is guaranteed as long as you follow the instructions.
The make-ahead option will have you making the dough a day before and keeping it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, let it double in size on the counter, then form the rolls and bake as usual.
These fluffy mozzarella biscuits are perfect as an indulging snack or a satisfying side dish for pretty much anything.
After making the dough, you can shape the biscuits, freeze them on a baking sheet then transfer them to a freezer bag.
Bake the biscuits straight from frozen, and add a few minutes to the cooking time.
Cheesy, buttery, and fluffy, I guarantee your family will feel pain while you’re baking these. The smell will make you drool instantly!
My focus in this section was to give you some yummy bread sides that don’t require special skills to make. This one is probably the easiest one of them all!
As the name says, no kneading is required. You simply mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon, cover the dough, and let it rest on the counter for 16-24 hours.
The resting time is essential for this dough to turn right. The yeast action has the “kneading” part covered! All cooked in a Dutch Oven.
I love how this easy pita bread lets you make it in the oven or on the stovetop. It’s a great recipe to make if you only have one available.
Which appliance you choose will also affect how your pita turns out. The oven will give a lighter and crispier pita, while the stovetop yields a chewier texture.
The tempting part of a pita is the pocket it develops inside. It could perfectly hold some diced grilled chicken or sliced steak!
🥗Salad BBQ Sides
The charred nature of barbecue dishes makes them pair wonderfully with refreshing salads, even the ones with very few ingredients.
I always try to have one salad among the sides I serve with barbecue foods. The acidic nature of fruits, vegetables, and most dressings helps meat and heavier foods digest easier.
You can never go wrong with this creamy cucumber salad. The apparently simple combination of cucumbers, yogurt, onions, garlic, lemon juice, and dill is quite addicting.
One thing I recommend is to let the salad sit in the fridge for one hour before serving. The flavors will have time to mix, and it tastes better cold.
There are all kinds of crunchy in this Mexican slaw recipe and the charred corn adds a wonderful smokiness to the dish.
Even more, this is the kind of salad that stays crunchy for several days which means you can make it 1-2 days ahead.
Grilled peaches add sweetness, tanginess, and a smoky flavor to this beautifully textured salad.
The peaches can be grilled ahead and stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. I’m sure your guests will enjoy this light summer salad and it makes an excellent vegan option.
Grilled corn, tomato, cucumber, onion, herbs, and a light dressing mix into a salad that’s perfect for hot days.
Optionally, top it with some crumbled feta for a savory and creamy bite.
Compared to the regular kind, Israeli couscous has a larger grain and it’s great for adding texture to salads.
It’s also a new and exciting alternative to a pasta salad that cooks just as fast.
This particular recipe uses a Mediterranean blend of veggies but you can invent your own combinations.
If you’re looking for an eye-catching BBQ side, serve this salad at your next gathering. Behind the pretty looks, there’s a festival of textures and flavors!
🍅Vegetable & Legume BBQ Sides
A veggie side dish is a must-have for any BBQ feast. As low calorie as most vegetables are, these recipes are incredibly tasty, even meat eaters won’t be able to stay away.
This caramelized cabbage is so good it’s an excellent vegan lunch, and also works as a side dish.
When you need to cook something fast, an easy stovetop recipe like this one is good to have on hand.
After 20 minutes of cooking, the cabbage will become golden brown and ready to serve after a generous topping of chopped parsley.
Baked veggies on a sheet pan is one of the easiest possible side dishes. Cut the vegetables ahead and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
I didn’t shy away from mixing various plants, including pepper, onion, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and shitake mushrooms.
It’s always a good idea to explore other combinations, as well as seasonings!
Leeks are cousins with onions but have a unique flavor that amplifies during baking.
This is one of those dishes you can tell is in the oven as your home will fill up with an amazing smell.
With just 10 minutes of prep time, everyone will love these tender leeks enriched by the generous Parmesan topping.
Some pretty amazing flavors are combined in this appetizing baked beans recipe!
Sweet, tangy, and great for feeding a crowd, these slow-cooked baked beans will be the star of your cookout.
The grill or the slow cooker work just as well for this recipe and adding Bourbon is completely optional.
When you grill eggplant, it becomes tender and almost creamy with an intense earthy and smoky flavor.
The garlic vinaigrette is super easy to make and completes this dish that goes well with burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, and other BBQ food.
This classic BBQ side dish is easy to scale up as needed with minimal effort.
Boiling the corn in beer before grilling adds a yummy beer flavor completed by the creamy Cotija cheese topping.
Air-frying veggie chips is definitely one of the healthiest options to enjoy this crispy treat.
Of course, potato chips also cook wonderfully in the air fryer but if you use zucchini, it will be much lower in carbs.
🥣Dips & Sauces
There’s nothing like a dip or a sauce to make your favorite grilled foods go down easier!
Also, the homemade stuff is always the best, trust me. Luckily, these dips and sauces are very easy to make and perfect when you need a BBQ side fast.
Butter, brown sugar, and whiskey transform into a finger-licking BBQ sauce everyone will rave about.
The amazing color of this healthy Greek-inspired dip will make everyone want to give it a taste. And they won’t be disappointed!
Beets, cucumbers, yogurt, dill, garlic, and herbs make a fantastic combination that also happens to be loaded with nutrients and low in calories.
When the grill is already fired up and you need a quick side, try this 10-minute homemade salsa recipe.
It has a mild flavor and you can add, remove, and replace ingredients if you’d like.
One thing I wouldn’t skip is corn. The salsa gets a wonderful sweetness and crunchy texture you shouldn’t give up.
Ketchup is pretty easy to make at home. If you’re going through the trouble might as well try a special recipe like this pineapple mango ketchup.
There’s a symphony of flavors in this delicious sauce that regular ketchup will seem boring in comparison.
Smoked cheese is absolutely delicious as a snack or appetizer, and this dip gets all that rich gooeyness for the ultimate BBQ experience.
The ingredients need to be cooked in a skillet for about 15 minutes so it really can’t get any easier.
Don’t worry if the dip looks too thin once the cooking time is over. It will thicken considerably as it cools.
This rich and tangy French sauce is a great companion for any grilled steak the burst of flavors will be irresistible.
It’s a close relative to hollandaise sauce so you can think of it as mayo made with butter. No special skills are needed for this recipe, though. Just a high-speed blender!
Adding shallots, white wine, white wine vinegar, and fresh tarragon give Béarnaise sauce its signature taste.
This Argentinian sauce was made as a versatile side that pairs well with both meat and veggies. It works with pretty much anything you can throw on the grill.
Grilled food goes well with sweet potatoes, salads, corn on the cob, BBQ sauce, grilled eggplant, salsa, rice, cornbread, roasted potatoes, and roasted vegetables.
When you’re in a rush, you can make a salad, sauce, dip, salsa, or sauteed veggies as a quick and easy BBQ side.
3 is a good number that provides sufficient variety. Make sure each person has at least 4-5 ounces of sides.
If you make more than three sides, you might want to consider smaller batches to avoid ending up with too many leftovers.