Easy Side Dishes for BBQ (15 Delicious Sides)

If you knew what would go well with your BBQ, would you cook it more often? I sure hope so!

As much as I love BBQ, sometimes it can be a little tricky to find the perfect side dish. And when you do find that perfect side dish, how do you make sure it shines?

In all my years of cooking (and eating) BBQ, I’ve learned all the key things to keep in mind when pairing side dishes with your main event. It didn’t happen by chance, though. I’ve had some real disasters – and some amazing triumphs.

Before triumphs became more common, I had to learn from my mistakes. And that’s what I want to share with you today. So whether you’re a beginner at BBQ or a seasoned pro, keep reading for all the tips and tricks you need to know about pairing side dishes with your next cookout.

What Goes Well With BBQ

  1. Coleslaw
  2. Southern Style Green Beans
  3. Baked beans
  4. Potato Salad
  5. Mac and Cheese
  6. Cosmic Brownies
  7. Macaroni salad
  8. Corn on the Cob
  9. Pea Salad with Bacon
  10. Fruit Salad
  11. Cucumber and Tomato Salad
  12. Sweet Potato Fries
  13. Cornbread
  14. Pizza Rolls
  15. Biscuits


The first thing you need to understand is that not all side dishes are created equal. Some just don’t work well with BBQ. And then others are the perfect complement to all that smoky, grilled goodness.

Coleslaw is one of those perfect side dishes. It’s light and refreshing, but it also has a bit of acidity from the vinegar that helps cut through all the richness of the BBQ.

And while you can find coleslaws made with mayonnaise, I prefer to use a vinaigrette dressing. That way, it’s a little lighter and won’t weigh down your stomach after a big BBQ meal.

To make my coleslaw shine, I like to add in some shredded carrots and red cabbage. The added color not only looks pretty but also gives the coleslaw a little bit of sweetness and crunch.

Southern Style Green Beans

Yes. You can absolutely have green beans at a BBQ. And no, they don’t have to be from a can.

In fact, fresh Southern style green beans are the perfect side dish for all your grilled meats. They’re healthy, flavorful, and super easy to make.

And to really make them shine, I top them with some crumbled bacon and a sprinkle of chopped green onions. So good!

Baked beans

There are two types of people in this world: those who like baked beans, and those who don’t. I’m definitely in the former camp.

Baked beans are sweet, savory, and a little bit smoky – everything you want in a BBQ side dish. And they’re so easy to make! Just pop them in the oven and let them bake while you’re grilling your meat.

Potato Salad

Potato salad is another one of those perfect BBQ side dishes. It’s creamy, flavorful, and filling. And there are so many different ways to make it!

My personal favorite potato salad has a tangy vinegar dressing and is loaded with chopped celery, onion, and dill pickles. But feel free to experiment and add in your own favorite ingredients.

Just remember to make the potato salad ahead of time so the flavors have a chance to meld together. And if you’re taking it to a potluck, be sure to pack it in a cooler so it stays nice and cool.

Mac and Cheese

what to bring to a barbecue

You’re probably thinking, “Mac and cheese? Really?” But trust me, it works.

The key to making mac and cheese work as a BBQ side dish is to use a good quality pasta and a flavorful cheese. I like to use shells or elbows because they hold the sauce well. And for the cheese, I always go for a sharp cheddar.

Cosmic Brownies

What’s a BBQ without dessert? My personal favorite is a big pan of cosmic brownies. They’re fudgy, chocolatey, and have a little bit of that signature crackle on top.

I like to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to them just before serving if I want them to really glow. The cold ice cream balances the warm brownies and creates a delectable dessert.

Macaroni salad

Macaroni salad is another great BBQ side dish. It’s creamy, tangy, and filling. Plus, it’s easy to make ahead of time so you can just throw it in the fridge and forget about it until it’s time to eat.

I like to add chopped celery, onion, and dill pickles to really bring out the flavor. Those extra tastes elevate the macaroni salad to a new level.

Corn on the Cob

southern bbq side dishes

Corn on the cob is a quintessential BBQ side dish. It’s easy to make, it’s healthy, and it tastes great.

I like to brush every cor on the cob I make with a little bit of butter and then sprinkle on some chili powder. The combination of the butter and chili powder gives the corn a delicious savory flavor that pairs perfectly with all your grilled meats.

Pea Salad with Bacon

Don’t you just love bacon? I know I do. And that’s why I love this pea salad with bacon recipe.

If you are looking for a pea salad recipe that is different than the norm, then this is the one you want! It’s got all the classic ingredients – peas, bacon, cheese, and onions – but it’s also got a few surprises.

I like to add in some chopped celery and dill pickles for extra flavor. And instead of using mayonnaise, I use a combination of sour cream and Greek yogurt. It’s so good!

Fruit Salad

Never underestimate the power of a good fruit salad. It’s light, refreshing, and pairs well with just about anything.

My favorite fruit salad has a mix of fresh berries, grapes, melon, and citrus fruits. I like to add a little bit of mint for extra flavor. And if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll even throw in a handful of toasted nuts.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

There is nothing I love more than this union of two of my favorite vegetables – cucumber and tomatoes.

This salad is so simple, yet so flavorful. I like to use a mix of different types of tomatoes – cherry, grape, and heirloom – for a variety of colors and flavors. And I always add in some chopped fresh basil. It’s the perfect finishing touch!

Sweet Potato Fries

Now, I know sweet potato fries are technically not a salad. But they’re so good, I had to include them!

Sweet potato fries are the perfect balance of sweet and savory. And they go great with just about anything.

I like to make my own at home because it’s so easy.


By now, you’re probably getting the idea that I like my side dishes to be a little bit different. And that’s why I love cornbread.

Cornbread is savory, yet sweet. It’s moist, yet firm. And it pairs perfectly with all your favorite BBQ flavors.

For extra sweetness, I like to add a tiny bit of honey to my cornbread. If I’m feeling particularly bold, I’ll even include chopped jalapeƱos.

Pizza Rolls

I know pizza rolls are more of a snack than a side dish. But they’re so good, I just had to include them!

Pizza rolls are the perfect bite-sized food. They’re easy to eat, and they’re always delicious.

I like to make my own at home with store-bought pizza dough and my favorite toppings. But you can also buy them pre-made at the store. Either way, they’re sure to be a hit!


Finally, I thought to include biscuits because they are the perfect vessel for sopping up all that delicious BBQ sauce.

Did you know that biscuits are also great for making mini sandwiches? Just add your favorite sandwich fixings – grilled chicken, pulled pork, etc. – and you’re good to go!

A List Of Other Options

Vegetable Side Dishes

  1. Coleslaw
  2. Southern Style Green Beans
  3. Corn on the Cob
  4. Fruit Salad
  5. Cucumber and Tomato Salad
  6. Pickles
  7. Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Pepitas
  8. Strawberry Ice Cream
  9. Ambrosia salad
  10. Fried Green Tomatoes
  11. Southern Style Greens
  12. Roasted tomatoes
  13. Broccoli Salad
  14. Stuffed peppers
  15. Strawberry Salad
  16. Corn salad
  17. Easy Fruit Sorbet
  18. Pineapple Pretzel Fluff

Carbs and Starchy Side Dishes

  1. Potato Salad
  2. Mac and Cheese
  3. Cosmic Brownies
  4. Sweet Potato Fries
  5. Cornbread
  6. Pizza Rolls
  7. Potato wedges
  8. French Fries
  9. Sweet potato fries
  10. Biscuits
  11. Sour Dough Rolls
  12. Beer Bread

Miscellaneous Combinations

  1. Pea Salad with Bacon
  2. Baked beans
  3. Macaroni salad
  4. Strawberry Banana Popsicles
  5. Buffalo Chicken Dip
  6. Cannoli Dip
  7. Caprese Skewers
  8. Lemonade
  9. Deviled Eggs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some tips for finding the best BBQ side dishes?

First, consider the protein you’re cooking. Is it chicken? Beef? Pork? Each one of these has different flavor profiles, and as such, will pair better with certain sides than others.

Next, think about the cooking method. Are you grilling? Smoking? Barbecuing? This will also affect what sides will work best.

And finally, take into account the sauce. Is your BBQ sauce sweet? Spicy? Tangy? The sauce can make or break a dish, so it’s

What Flavors Go Well With BBQ?

A few flavors always go well with BBQ: sweet, savory, and tangy.

Sweet flavors pair well with the smokiness of BBQ. Savory dishes help to balance out the sweetness of BBQ. And finally, tangy flavors help to cut through the richness of BBQ.


There are so many things that go well with BBQ. Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start!

I hope this list has given you some ideas of what to serve at your next BBQ. We’ve discussed the best side dishes to serve with bbq and how to pair side dishes with it for the best results. I’ve also shared my personal experiences and tips on how to make your side dishes shine!

So you have no excuse not to try something new the next time you fire up the grill!