You’ve got the main course, now what goes with it? These Cookout Side Dishes are perfect for your backyard barbecues and summer picnics. Or just serve them up for your next family dinner!
How to Pair Sides with Main Dishes
Having the right side dish to compliment your entrees is crucial to the success of your meal. No one wants to have just a steak, they want a baked potato and corn on the Cob to go with it! That said, these cookout side dishes serve a few purposes:
Round out the nutrition. Having a plate full of grilled meat might taste delicious, but it isn’t the most nutritious way to eat. Sides, like vegetables, starches and grain, are a great place to bring in other nutritious elements that might not be part of the main dish recipe.
Balance the flavors. My grilled chicken marinade has an incredible flavor, but it can be tedious to eat the same flavors over and over. Pair hearty meats with something light, like a garden salad, or something spicy with something mild.
Balance the textures and colors. Yellow food can seem bland when that’s all that’s on your plate. Likewise when all the food is soft. Pair crunchy with creamy, green beans with yellow corn and more. I mean, who doesn’t love a good pairing like crispy grilled cheese and creamy tomato soup?
The Best Cookout Side Dishes
We’ve got these delicious sides labeled for summer, but they are perfect year round. Who says you can’t have a bbq side like Red Potato Salad in December or Baked Beans in January? Certainly not me, so enjoy these favorite cookout side dishes all year long, whether you’re cooking out or in! Bonus, some of these recipes serve double duty as a cookout side dish or an appetizer, like this Summer Cheese Plate with my favorite herbed goat cheese or blue cheese!
Easy German Potato Salad
Authentic German Potato Salad is a cold salad made with an oil & vinegar dressing that is traditionally served in the Swabian region of Southern Germany.
This Lighter Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is made with Greek Yogurt for a super creamy pasta salad that skimps on calories, but not flavor. It's the perfect side dish for barbecues, picnics or just dinner with your family.
This easy Greek-style Bean Salad is super simple and packed with both flavor and gorgeous color. Add some crispy lettuce and grilled chicken for a full meal, or serve it with warmed pita bread as an appetizer.
Mexican Street Corn Salad is super creamy with tons of flavor - it's everything you love about the street corner classic roasted corn in a yummy salad. It's a delicious side dish that just screams summer!
Broccoli Salad is a cool, crisp side salad that's perfect for summer cookouts. With a creamy, Greek yogurt and honey based dressing, crunchy sunflower seeds and juicy raisins, this salad is as delicious as it is light and healthy!
This refreshing fruit salad is perfect as a side dish or a healthy dessert...and it has a secret ingredient that might surprise you! Perfect for summer, this fruit salad will win your backyard barbecues and picnics.
Need a new side dish that will be welcome year round? This Broccoli Slaw with Apples and Dried Cherries definitely fits the bill! It's creamy and crunchy and a little bit sweet, making it the best side dish for summertime barbecues to Thanksgiving dinner.
Frog Eye Salad is a potluck classic and a family favorite around here. This weird-sounding but delicious dessert salad is made with acini de pepe pasta, pineapple, mandarin oranges, coconut, and marshmallows!
This tart and tangy Mexican fruit cup is topped with tajin chili lime seasoning which makes the ripe fruit pop with unique and vibrant flavor. Tajin on fruit is great as a healthy snack that is kid friendly and adults love it too!
The simplest, easy chopped Caprese salad recipe with 7 ingredients! Once you see how to make avocado Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes, you’ll make this naturally healthy, keto salad over and over... and over.
Jalapeno Popper Potato Salad, made with cream cheese, bacon, and lots of jalapeno peppers, is a spicy and delicious twist on regular potato salad that is just what you need to heat up your next cookout or picnic.
What are your or favorite sides to bring to a cookout? Let us know in the comments!
Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.