35 Side Dishes For Those Who Know BBQ Is About More Than The Ribs

35 Side Dishes For Those Who Know BBQ Is About More Than The Ribs

You don't have to be a certified grill-master to know that it's not really a BBQ without ribs... or all those amazing side dishes to accompany them. For Team Delish, we think a balanced meal involves a plate stacked with plenty of side dishes, like skillet cornbread, loaded baked potato salad, or classic homemade coleslaw. So get those tongs ready and check out all 35 of these perfectly paired sides for ribs!

Best of all, you can even grill some these same sides alongside your ribs. As it turns out, there's really very little grilling can't improve, which is what we found out with our grilled potatoes, grilled broccoli, and grilled green beans. Grilled corn is always an amazing idea, but no need to stop there either. Top yours with a honey lime butter, a sweet and spicy bang bang-style glaze, or go full elote-style with a creamy, cheesy schmear. Grilling season and eating your vegetables just got way easier now, you're welcome.

No matter what you choose, it never hurts to make some of the classics. We like making little tweaks to keep things fresh, like our recipes for Lolita's mac & cheese, vinegar coleslaw, and Chinese smashed cucumber salad.

If you're into all things grilling, you'll have to check out our Grilling Headquarters for all the tips. We've got a little bit of everything, like grill-able weeknight dinners, our top outdoor grills, and all-time favorite summer BBQ salads and sides.

Honey Lime Grilled Corn

Nothing says summertime like the smell of corn on the grill. It also happens to be the easiest side you’ll make all season. After getting some char on a hot grill, juicy ears of corn get brushed with an irresistible honey-lime butter that you can also slather on grilled sweet potatoes, cornbread, or even grilled skirt steak.

Get the Honey Lime Grilled Corn recipe.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

This side dish stores well in the refrigerator and can be made up to one day in advance. If making more than an hour ahead of time, though, we recommend waiting to add the avocado until right before serving to keep it as fresh and green as possible.

Get the Black Bean and Corn Salad recipe.

Vinegar Coleslaw

To make this a truly vegan-friendly slaw, we use maple to bring out the veggies’ natural sweetness and Dijon mustard helps emulsify the oil and vinegar while adding a bit of a kick in the back of your throat. You might never make the mayo-based kind again!

Get the Vinegar Coleslaw recipe.

Grilled Broccoli

If you're looking to throw some veggies on alongside those burgers and hot dogs, we highly recommend these nice broccoli "trees". Seasoned with a little soy sauce, honey, Worcestershire, and ketchup, the spicy-sweet-umami combo is guaranteed to satisfy even the most carnivorous of eaters.

Get the Grilled Broccoli recipe.

Greek Chickpea Salad

We’re no strangers to a great chickpea salad, so coming up with a Greek-inspired one was a no-brainer. It’s got all the flavors you love from Greek salad, turned into something more substantial and filling that pairs well with almost anything. It’s wonderful on its own, or served alongside chicken, seafood, or steak for a complete meal. You could even stir in sliced salami or chopped boiled eggs to boost it up. Trust us—you’re going to want to keep a few cans of chickpeas in your pantry so you’ll always be ready to make this.

Get the Greek Chickpea Salad recipe.

Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad

We love potato salad and can't get enough of its creamy goodness during the summer. This jalapeño popper version takes things to a whole new level with a kick of heat. It's a little spicy, but 100 percent worth it! Be sure to remove the seeds if you want your bite to be milder.

Get the Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad recipe.

(Parker feierbach)
Grilled Green Beans

If you're cooking over an actual grill, place a heavy duty piece of foil over the grates before adding the green beans. It'll prevent all the veg from falling through the cracks. Not a fan of peanuts? Use any crushed nuts or seeds here for crunch!

Get the Grilled Green Beans recipe.

(Parker Feierbach)
Homemade Coleslaw

Mayo dressing is the classic when it comes to coleslaw, but we find that mayo-based dressing can sometimes be overly heavy or cloyingly sweet and fatty. Adding vinegar along with some bright and tangy Dijon mustard really lightens up the dressing in the best way possible.

Get the Coleslaw recipe.

Grilled Corn On The Cob

This is our simplest, easiest recipe, but the flavor combo options are endless—check out the rest of our grilled corn ideas too.

Get the Grilled Corn On The Cob recipe.

(Delish - Hearst Owned)
Southern Potato Salad

Tender Yukon Gold potatoes paired with hard-boiled eggs, celery, sweet pickles, and red onion make this Southern-style potato salad the perfect sidekick to summer BBQs, family gatherings, weeknight dinners, and more.

Get the Southern Potato Salad recipe.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Black-eyed peas have a rich tradition in the South. Eaten during New Year’s for good luck and prosperity, they also make an easy, delicious salad that gets better as it sits. Feel free to use dried or canned beans too!

Get the Black-Eyed Pea Salad recipe.

Pimiento Cheese Corn Muffins

The flavor squad is here to provide standard corn muffins with a mega boost. The result is pimiento cheese corn muffins, which take their cues from the classic Southern cheese dip. Packed with shredded cheddar, diced pimiento peppers, garlic powder, and a generous amount of cayenne, the result is a savory delight.

Get the Pimiento Cheese Corn Muffins recipe.

(Erik bernstein)
Hush Puppies

Hush puppies—or fried balls of savory cornmeal batter—are a welcome addition to any seafood spread or fried food feast. These golden, crispy bites are so easy to make, they're the perfect last-minute appetizer or anytime snack. Trust us, once you try them, you won't be able to keep hushed about 'em!

Get the Hush Puppies recipe.

(Ethan Calabrese)
Shishito Peppers

Blistered shishito peppers make the perfect snack. Healthy and easy, they aren't very spicy, which means you can mindlessly eat them without burning your face off. They take almost no time to make, but they are still good enough to make for dinner guests. Cook them in a cast-iron to really get the deep blisters you're looking for.

Get the Shishito Peppers recipe.

(Parker feierbach)
Southern Fried Corn

Fried corn is a classic side dish from the American South. It's not fried as in deep-fried, but rather in the Southern sense of the word "sautéed." It's perfect served at any BBQ, alongside oven-baked ribs, potato rolls, and a summer salad.

Get the Southern Fried Corn recipe.

(Joel goldberg)
Macaroni Salad

Pasta salad will absorb whatever flavor you add to it, so the sky's the limit in terms of ingredients. The most important thing to remember is salt! Seasoning the pasta water and the pasta itself with a pinch of kosher salt after it's cooked will guarantee flavor in each bite.

Get the Macaroni Salad recipe.

Summer Panzanella

Panzanella is one of those summer recipes that truly tastes like summer. It's one that you want to make in peak season—when the tomatoes are extra juicy, the squash slightly sweet, and the basil extra cheap. To give this classic dish more flavor, we grill the bread, zucchini, and onion until charred, then toss those with the remaining ingredients.

Get the Summer Panzanella recipe.

(Andrew bui)
Lolita's Mac & Cheese

Along with their creamy kale salad, Lolita’s stunning and decadent mac & cheese is another recipe we had to get our hands on. Its hard-to-put-the-fork-down irresistibility is based on a few factors, namely four different cheeses; cream; and caramelized garlic and onion. You'll never be the same after a bite of this legendary mac & cheese.

Get the Lolita's Mac & Cheese recipe.

(Hearst Owned)
Cucumber, Tomato & Onion Salad

Perfect for when your garden or the local farmers' market is overflowing with cucumbers and tomatoes, this salad also does surprisingly well with out-of-season produce, especially if you make it ahead of time so it can marinate. Just hold off on adding the herbs until the very end so they stay bright and fresh.

Get the Cucumber, Tomato & Onion Salad recipe.

Chili Oil Smashed Cucumbers

On a hot summer day, it's like a spicy-savory equivalent of slices of cold, juicy watermelon: hydrating for the soul, quenching thirst and hunger in one go. Bonus: You get to smash out a little bit of that pent-up anger inside in the process! The resulting uneven, craggy texture of split cucumbers is perfect for grabbing and holding on to that delicious, seasoned oil.

Get the Chili Oil Smashed Cucumbers recipe.

Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

If you think mayo is the worst, and are worried this recipe won't be for you, think again. Elote will have you reconsidering your stance or, at the very least, make one incredible exception. The mayo becomes more like a creamy sauce, absorbing the flavor of the chili powder, cotija cheese, and lime juice. It's tangy without overpowering the corn—exactly the kind of refreshing treat you could use at your next cookout or backyard BBQ.

Get the Elote: Mexican Street Corn recipe.

Air Fryer Asparagus

With minimal time and practically zero effort (thanks air fryer!), you can have asparagus ready faster than your oven could even preheat. With a teaspoon of olive oil and a little lemon juice to brighten it up, you have a quick and healthy side ready to go.

Get the Air Fryer Asparagus recipe.

(Joel Goldberg)
Veggie Kabobs

These kabobs have the *perfect* combination of flavors and textures. Serve them up with our ultimate meat-lovers veggie burger for a backyard vegetarian feast that even a carnivore couldn't turn down.

Get the Veggie Kabobs recipe.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Imagine a loaded baked potato and potato salad coming together to make the ultimate year-round side, and you’ve pretty much got it. Complete with crispy bacon, scallions, and cheddar cheese, this potato salad will have you thinking you’re in your favorite steakhouse.

Get the Loaded Baked Potato Salad recipe.

Crunchy Broccoli Salad

This is how you get broccoli haters to eat the green stuff. Thank you, bacon! Lightly coated in an apple cider vinegar dressing, and tossed with almonds, carrots, red onions, and bacon, this salad is loaded with flavor and texture.

Get the Broccoli Bacon Salad recipe.

Watermelon Feta Salad

Watermelon + cucumbers is one of the most refreshing combos of all time. Throw in some mint, red onion, and feta and toss it all with a very simple vinaigrette (just olive oil + red wine vinegar), and you've got yourself a mean summer salad.

Get the Watermelon Feta Salad recipe.

(Parker feierbach)
Grilled Potatoes

The char and smoke from the grill get picked up perfectly by the potatoes to make an amazing side. Take it from us, though, and don't skip step 1. It's pretty much impossible to get potatoes tender and cooked through on the grill alone; parboiling the potatoes guarantees creamy centers and crisp, charred outsides.

Get the Grilled Potatoes recipe.

(Parker feierbach)
Bacon Baked Beans

Tangy and smoky, these are the perfect side for anything Southern, but especially burgers and hot dogs. We like ours topped with bacon—because bacon makes everything better—but you can skip if you've got vegetarian guests coming to the BBQ.

Get the Bacon Baked Beans recipe.

(Charlie Gillette)
Steamed Asparagus

These are perfect for those nights when you forgot to prepare a side. They cook up SO fast and can complete any meal, like our garlic Parmesan flounder or some creamy Tuscan chicken. Happy steaming!

Get the Steamed Asparagus recipe.

(Parker feierbach)
Peach Burrata Salad

We changed up the classic Caprese salad by switching out juicy tomatoes for plump summer peaches and replacing sliced fresh mozzarella with its creamier cousin, burrata. Surrounded by fragrant basil then topped with candied pecans and a drizzle of spicy honey, this sweet & savory salad is a STUNNER.

Get the Peach & Burrata Caprese recipe.

(June xie)
Perfect Baked Sweet Potato

Adding sweet potatoes to your diet is an easy and delicious habit to pick up when you're trying to eat healthy—the vegetable is a total superfood, packed with vitamin C and fiber. They're also totally versatile, but baking them whole in the oven is arguably the simplest way to prepare them, and they will be the perfect base for all types of toppings.

Get the Perfect Baked Sweet Potato recipe.

Skillet Cornbread

Not only does this cornbread involve less cleanup (we love an oven-to-table vessel), but it promotes the ideal texture of crackly crust around moist, decadent corn cake. Pouring the batter into a preheated cast-iron creates a sear to the batter (nothing like that sizzling sound when it’s poured in) and speeds up the bake time. Wins ALL around.

Get the Skillet Cornbread recipe.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

When it comes to biscuits and other bread products, sweet potatoes are magical. Adding them to dough yields softer and fluffier results. This recipe benefits from minimal handling and is just as easy as preparing traditional buttermilk biscuits.

Get the Sweet Potato Biscuits recipe.

(Lucy Schaeffer)
Bang Bang Corn

Bang Bang Shrimp gets all the hype, but we are here to tell you that flavor-packed grilled corn deserves a little more time in the spotlight. The sweet-spicy sriracha and sweet chili sauce is perfect.

Get the Bang Bang Corn recipe.

Grilled Baked Potatoes

Sure, a baked potato in the oven is great, but have you tried them on the grill? Use this method for your backyard grill or even when you're out camping this Memorial Day weekend. The potatoes cook up just as fluffy as they do in the oven, but have the bonus of smoky flavor.

Get the Grilled Baked Potatoes recipe.


When it comes to BBQ, we're Team Ribs all the way. But don't skimp on the sides! These easy side dishes for ribs will make this your best grilling season yet.