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!
When you’re planning your next cookout, throw those hot dogs or juicy burgers on the grill and we’ve got you covered with summer salads and other delicious sides like pasta salads, fruit salads, and more!
How to Pair Cookout Sides with Main Dishes
Having the right side dish to compliment your cookout menu 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 summer 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 grains, 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 copycat Olive 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 outdoor cookout side dishes all year long, whether you’re cooking out or in!
Bonus, some of these recipes serve double duty as side dishes for outdoor cookouts or an appetizer, like this Cheese Board 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.
Best Macaroni Salad
The Best Macaroni Salad is a classic summer side dish with mayo, celery, sweet pickles, onions, peas, hard boiled eggs and a hint of mustard.
Lighter Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is made lighter with Greek Yogurt for a super creamy pasta salad that saves on calories but not on flavor.
Grilled Zucchini, marinated in lemon juice and olive oil, is a healthy summer side dish that everyone loves! It's become a staple in our house and the only vegetable my kids actually beg for!
Ramen Chinese Chicken Salad
Ramen Chinese Chicken Salad has fresh cabbage, crunchy ramen noodles, almonds and a tangy dressing. It's great as a side or a main dish.
Grilled Potatoes Recipe
Grilled potatoes are tender, smoky and so flavorful. You just found your new favorite summer side dish!
Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad
Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad has crunch, a hint of sweetness and is full of flavor. Made with tender chicken, veggies and a tangy Asian-style dressing.
Tomato Avocado Salad
Tomato Avocado Salad is simple and fresh topped with a zesty lime and olive oil dressing. It's perfect for a light meal, or a quick side dish.
Cabbage Salad is a versatile side dish made with crunchy cabbage, bell pepper, onion, herbs and a sweet and tangy vinegar based dressing.
Greek Bean Salad
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.
Fresh Corn Salad
This Corn Salad recipe is a perfect summer side dish. It's full of fresh corn, tomatoes, onions and parsley with a tangy dressing.
Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
Instant Pot baked potatoes are tender and fluffy and ready in a fraction of the time it would take to bake them in the oven.
Creamy Mexican Street Corn Salad
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!
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
These Grilled Vegetables are coated with a balsamic vinegar reduction and grilled until tender and slightly charred. This is the ultimate summer side dish!
Simple Carrot Salad
This simple shredded Carrot Salad is made with grated carrots and a quick vinaigrette. It's a healthy salad that's a cinch to whip up anytime.
Greek Pasta Salad
Easy Greek Pasta Salad, with lots of veggies and a flavorful dressing, is a quick & easy, full of flavor side dish, perfect for summer picnics & barbecues.
Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad
Vegetable Pasta Salad recipe is a perfect summer side dish for BBQs and Parties. Simple, fresh ingredients, and ready in 15 minutes.
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!
Spinach Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette is the best weekday salad! It's easy and fast, made with fresh spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and crunchy walnuts.
Creamy Walnut Coleslaw
My Creamy Walnut Coleslaw Recipe is a surefire winner for all your summer party side dish needs. It's crunchy and creamy with a tangy coleslaw dressing and so packed with flavor!
Summer Fruit Salad
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.
Antipasto Pasta Salad
This Antipasto Pasta Salad is full of delicious ingredients, like artichokes, salami, olives and cheese tossed in a tangy Italian dressing.
Creamy Grape Salad
This Creamy Grape Salad with walnuts is is creamy and sweet and the perfect side dish or dessert for picnics, potlucks and parties.
Broccoli Slaw Recipe
This crunchy, flavorful broccoli salad has shaved broccoli, crisp apples, tart cherries, sunflower seeds and a tangy dressing for an easy year-round favorite.
Summer Spaghetti Salad
Summer Spaghetti Salad is a simple twist on the classic pasta salad. Made with just a few simple ingredients, this will become your new go to summer side dish!
Balsamic Strawberry Pasta Salad
This Balsamic Strawberry Pasta Salad is a whole meal in itself, with tender chicken and pasta, sweet strawberries, and a tangy Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Caprese Pasta Salad
My Caprese Pasta Salad is simple and delicious, full of tender pasta, juicy tomatoes, chunks of fresh Mozzarella and a tangy Balsamic Vinaigrette. The perfect spring pasta salad!
Tuna Macaroni Salad Recipe
The Best Tuna Macaroni Salad recipe is a classic potluck staple. Serve as a hearty side dish or a light yet satisfying main dish.
The best veggie tray is full of colorful vegetables, and a variety of flavorful dips. A vegetable tray is a must have at parties!
Sour Cream Cornbread Muffins are fluffy and moist. Smother with butter and honey and pair them with your favorite bowl of soup or chili.
Grilled pineapple has a simple sweet glaze that transforms fresh pineapple slices into a side dish or dessert with 4 ingredients and 15 minutes!
Green Jello Salad
Jello Salad is a vintage recipe that's part side dish & part dessert. This Green Jello Salad is deliciously creamy and perfect for sharing with friends!
Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
Italian Pasta Salad is a potluck classic ready in under 15 minutes! Made with pantry ingredients and fresh veggies, this pasta salad is a family favorite.
7 Layer Salad
7 Layer Salad is a classic potluck dish great for feeding a crowd. These layers of deliciousness can be made ahead of time for these easiest side dish ever!
How to Make Elote
Mexican Corn (Elote) is the most delicious way to eat corn on the cob – grilled and topped with mayo chili powder, cheese, cilantro and lime.
Slow Cooker Mexican Beans
Mexican Beans are cooked in the crock pot overnight for a truly authentic taste. These slow cooker pinto beans are the best side for all your favorite Mexican dishes.
Southern Potato Salad Recipe
Southern Potato Salad is a classic recipe for potlucks, picnics and BBQs. It's creamy, tangy and ready in 30 minutes, or make it a day ahead.
Fresh Fruit Kabobs are an adorable way to serve a fruit as a side dish or a snack. Select your favorite fruits and thread them onto skewers for these easy kabobs served with a sweet and creamy dip.
Beer Battered Onion Rings
These super crispy beer-battered onion rings with a touch of spice are perfect as a snack or side dish for any meal.
Mediterranean Green Bean Salad
Mediterranean Green Bean Salad is full of bright flavors and colors, with Feta cheese, Kalamata olives, chickpeas, tomatoes and a tangy Greek vinaigrette.
Velvety smooth avocados are charred and filled with salsa, then topped with melted cheese to make the perfect summer appetizer or side dish. Or, add them to your favorite guacamole recipe for a smoky dip!
Black Bean and Corn Salad
A colorful, fresh salad full of veggies with a tangy cilantro lime dressing. An easy side dish for steak, chicken or fish that doubles as a dip!
Grilled Peaches are simple and rustic, and a perfect side dish or dessert for summer. Topped with a smoky honey butter, there's deliciousness in every bite!
Balsamic Chicken Tortellini Salad
Balsamic Chicken Tortellini Salad is a simple, Italian-inspired pasta salad full of chicken, veggies and a balsamic dressing. Delicious served warm or cold.
My Slow Cooker Baked Beans Recipe takes your old bbq standby side dish and adds a ton of flavor and texture. They are the perfect side dish for your BBQ!
Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
Bacon Ranch Potato Salad is creamy and full of flavor and takes your everyday potato salad to the next level. It's the perfect side dish for summer.
Lemon Herb Red Potato Salad
Lemon Herb Red Potato Salad is full of tender potatoes and tons of flavor! Made with a delicious oil based lemon herb dressing and no mayo, it's perfect for summer parties.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
My Oma’s Creamy Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat) is full of crisp, crunchy cucumbers, tangy vinegar and spicy garlic, all coated in smooth sour cream. It’s a perfectly refreshing side dish for spring and summer.
Fresh Pineapple Salsa
My fresh and easy Pineapple Salsa is sweet and spicy and so full of flavor that is delicious with chips or as a topping on chicken, tacos and more!
Frog Eye Salad
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!
Refreshing, sweet, and crowd-pleasing Watermelon Salad with Cucumber, Feta and Mint. Enjoyed by kids and adults alike with 6 simple ingredients, this 10 minute salad is not to be missed!
Summer Cheese Plate
This is an easy Summer Cheese Plate for any occasion! Perfect as a no cook appetizer for a cookout or grilling session, for picnic or just as a light dinner in the summer heat.
Avocado Corn Salad
This avocado salad and corn salad fusion is made with simple combination of ingredients and it’s so flavorful.
Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad
Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad is a fresh summer side that goes well with anything off the grill. Full of flavor and lots of crunch make this summer salad a nice change from the classics.
Crunchy Asian Slaw
This Asian coleslaw is crispy, crunchy and tossed in the most flavorful Peanut Sesame Ginger Dressing. This Asian Slaw recipe is easy to make and great served as a side dish or main salad.
Old Fashioned Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon
Pea salad is a classic cookout side dish that is easy to make. This cold side is also less common, so will stand out on the picnic table among all the potato and pasta salads.
Oven Roasted Eggplant Recipe
Learn how to cut eggplant and how to roast eggplant slices in 2 EASY steps! This oven roasted eggplant recipe makes the perfect healthy low carb side dish.
Mexican Fruit Cup with Tajin
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!
Fresh Pineapple Coleslaw
This fast & easy Fresh Pineapple Coleslaw adds tropical flair to the otherwise ordinary side, making it a great topping for everything from sliders to hot dogs!
easy homemade pickle recipe – Casa de Crews
Easy homemade dill pickles. This pickle recipe is full of flavor thanks to fresh dill and garlic, with red onion. No canning is required to get crunchy, and delicious refrigerator pickles!
Fritos Corn Salad
Packed with corn, black beans, peppers, onion, a blend of spicy and savory seasonings, and of course crunchy Fritos, this corn salad is perfect to bring to any potluck or BBQ.
Beer Battered Onion Rings
Crispy, golden and absolutely easy these Beer Battered Onion rings are the perfect appetizer or side dish to your dinnertime meal! Quick, tasty and crunchy!
Pesto Tortellini Salad
Pesto Tortellini Salad is the easiest pasta salad you’ll make! Throw this quick and delicious pasta salad together in minutes and wow your friends and family!
Thai Noodle Salad
This Thai Noodle Salad is full of flavor and vegetables, can be served hot or cold, and is perfect at any BBQ, potluck, or picnic.
Balsamic Grilled Asparagus
This easy Balsamic Grilled Asparagus recipe is the absolute best way to cook asparagus! It only takes 15 minutes and cooks up perfectly on your BBQ.
Perfect Tomato Salad
Perfect Tomato Salad is the most flavorful, using cherry tomatoes or any tomato you prefer! The dressing is irresistible and makes this salad the best fresh side!
Ranch Pasta Salad
Ranch pasta salad is an easy side dish that’s only 6 ingredients. Tri-color spiral pasta, cucumber, broccoli, tomatoes, parmesan cheese and ranch dressing.
Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad
Flavorful Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad, topped with roasted pine nuts for added crunch and toasty flavor for a delicious meal sized salad or side dish.
Lemon Orzo Asparagus Salad
Orzo pasta is cooked with turmeric for wonderful color and flavor, then tossed with fresh asparagus and a lemon vinaigrette in this delicious spring time side dish.
Jalapeno Popper Potato Salad
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.
Cheesy Hot Corn Dip
This Cheesy Hot Corn Dip is a creamy, cheesy delicious dip that’s perfect for all your summer parties. It’s great for tailgating, too!
Easy to make Antipasto Skewers are like pasta salad on a stick! Made with salami, olives, artichokes, cheese, tortellini and fresh basil.
Learn how to assemble an epic antipasto platter with some simple tips. It's an easy customized and beautiful appetizer meat and cheese board.
Frozen Fruit Cups
Frozen fruit cups are a classic, refreshing snack with loads of fruit suspended in an icy slush. With oranges, pineapple, peaches and bananas.
Pesto Bruschetta combines three of my favorite things – juicy tomatoes, rich, creamy pesto and toasty bread for a tasty and unique appetizer.
Greek Salsa is a fun twist on everyone’s favorite snack! It’s light, fresh, and super addictive, but also totally easy to make!
Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs
Spicy, savory and oh-so-good, these Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs will add a delicious kick to traditional deviled eggs that everyone loves!
Now you’ve got the cookout side dishes but need some ideas for the entree? Here are a few of our favorites, or check out our Summer Dinners and Grilling Recipes.
What are your or favorite sides to bring to a cookout? Let us know in the comments!