For a perfect barbecue, the grilled mains are important, but the meal isn’t complete without a full spread of sides that hit every note: smoky, crunchy, spicy, and salty-sweet. We’ve rounded up awesome barbecue side dish recipes for you to serve at your next cookout.
Sweet corn is a natural side for a barbecue. The summer vegetable is great on the grill. Slather grilled corn on the cob with an herbed goat cheese compound butter or a garlicky pesto, or take it off the cob to make a succotash with edamame and cherry or plum tomatoes. For a richer corn side, you can’t go wrong with our creamy corn casserole with cheddar and bacon.
Simultaneously hearty and refreshing, potato salad as an infinitely versatile side dish. It can be rich, like our lemon mayonnaise smashed potato salad, or lighter, like our olive oil-dressed Moroccan potato salad. Those are served cold or at room temperature—our pesto potato salad, on the other hand, can be served warm.
Barbecue food can be a little heavy, so fruit is a good way to lighten things up. Stone fruits are great for salads—mix peaches and plums with arugula, cilantro, and basil, and dress it with a little red wine vinegar to balance the sweetness. Or try our watermelon salad with feta and jalapeño— and save the rind for pickling.
Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of barbecue side dish recipes.
Sautéed Onion and Yogurt Dip
This recipe is a far cry from the gloopy, mayonnaise-like onion dip you’ll find in a jar at your local grocery store. It’s light, tangy, and inspired by Persian mast-o-musir, a mix of diced shallots and yogurt or labneh. Here, the alliums are lightly cooked to soften their bite; it’s the perfect thing to make for a beach picnic or summer cookout. Get the recipe for Sautéed Onion and Yogurt Dip »
Ignacio Mattos’ Potato Salad
Boiling potatoes whole and unpeeled means they don’t absorb too much water as they cook. Mixing them with an egg yolk and olive oil yields a rich dressing without the heavy creaminess of mayonnaise.
This cool, creamy potato salad is spiked with pickle relish and red onion.
Green Bean and Peach Salad
Summer peaches pair remarkably well with sweet caramelized onions and crisp green beans in this salad from Deb Miller of Lawrence, Kansas.
Barbecue Potato Chips
Barbecue chips’ smoky, tangy flavors are easy to create at home with a simple mixture that combines classic barbecue sauce spices such as chile powder, garlic powder, and onion powder, with the added kick of cayenne pepper.
Cheesy Corn Casserole
This baked corn casserole is a popular side dish at Smokestack restaurant in Kansas City.
Moroccan Potato Salad
Bright and aromatic with plenty of fresh parsley, this potato salad is definitive of Moroccan cuisine.
This crunchy salad is a cool complement to smoked meat.
Grilled Zucchini with Ramp Aioli
The combination of grilled squash and a cool, creamy aioli flavored with ramps is springtime at its best. Once ramp season has passed, you can substitute scallions in the aioli.
New England-Style Baked Beans
Flavored with molasses, maple syrup, and rum, this filling bean dish is simple to prepare; all it takes is time. Six hours of cooking yields thick, rich results.
Marinated Tomatoes with Mint
For a slightly—just slightly—more elaborate dish that showcases the sweet juices of summer tomatoes, chef Chris Fischer dresses them with olive oil and vinegar, creating a vinaigrette seemingly out of nothing.