Published on May 19, 2022 / Last updated on May 19, 2022
These BBQ Sides are perfect for any warm weather meal! From potatoes and pasta salads to grilled veggies and casseroles, these are the best side dish ideas for all your cookouts and potlucks this season.
Can you feel it? The chill is leaving the air. The birds are back from vacation. Slowly, but surely, my winter layers have retreated to the back of the closet. Summer barbecues are coming up quickly!
Cozy indoor dinners with friends are replaced with warm weather cookouts. Plus, with the grilling season also comes endless possibilities for delicious BBQ side dishes!
I like to keep things simple, which is why I’ve put together a list of the very best easy BBQ sides to try this summer. These side dishes are tasty, fuss-free, and just as great for family meals as they are for backyard entertaining.
What Makes a Side Ideal for BBQs & Potlucks?
What are my non-negotiables when it comes to BBQ and potluck sides? Let’s discuss:
Easy to make. If you can toss a side dish on the same grill as the rest of the meal, all the better! If not, then easy casseroles, effortless salads, and slow cooker recipes are king (any excuse to minimize time spent standing next to a hot stove in the summertime!).
Summer-inspired. If there’s ever an occasion to embrace seasonal ingredients like veggies and lighter fare, it’s at a BBQ or summer potluck.
Crowd-pleasing. Whether I’m feeding the family or feeding a crowd, the key to a good BBQ side dish is self-service: big-batch recipes that guests and family can dish up themselves, to their hearts’ content!
What Are the Most Popular BBQ Sides?
Potatoes. Potatoes (and sweet potatoes) go hand in hand with BBQ – potato wedges, fries, baked potatoes, grilled potatoes, potato salad. I could go on.
Salads. Of all kinds. Green salads, coleslaw, pasta salads, you name it.
Veggies. Grilled veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, and summer squash are all easy go-tos. Plus, we can’t forget other vegetarian sides like baked beans and corn-on-the-cob!
Tips for Making Sides in Advance
The key to making your sides ahead of time is all in the preparation:
Choose a make-ahead recipe. Obviously, the first step to making a side in advance is choosing a recipe that can be made in advance! Depending on how far ahead you’re planning to make it, look for a dish that will last for a day or more in the fridge, or that freezes well for longer term storage.
Prep the ingredients. Even if you’re not assembling a casserole or recipe right away, you can always get a head start by preparing your ingredients. Chop up veggies, shred cheese, prepare sauces, and then store them in containers so they’re ready to go.
Go hands-free where you can. Some of the best make ahead side dishes are the ones that require the least intervention (not to mention less clean-up). Recipes that you can make in your slow cooker or Instant Pot, or assemble in a single bowl or casserole dish are your friend!
30 Easy BBQ Sides to Try
My favorite easy and breezy BBQ Sides to make this season! From creamy pasta and potato salads to grilled veggies and make-ahead casseroles, these are the best side dishes to round out your summer cookouts and potlucks!
You can’t beat the convenience of wrapping up potatoes in foil and tossing them onto a grill that's already fired up. This simple grilled potato recipe packs big flavors thanks to an easy, flavorful herb butter.
Sure, you could buy your coleslaw – or you could make your own in only 15 minutes! The perfect side for summer BBQ, this is the best recipe for creamy and tangy homemade slaw with a family-favorite dressing.
Let your Instant Pot do the heavy lifting with this easy potato salad! The potatoes and eggs for this recipe cook all in one pot, so all that’s left is to toss everything into a bowl, stir with creamy dressing, and serve!
Red potatoes covered in a creamy homemade mayonnaise dressing makes for a tasty and easy potluck or picnic dish! This recipe is great for feeding a crowd and never falls short in the flavor department.
If you’re craving a lightened-up version of potato salad sans the creaminess, this is the recipe! This simple potato salad recipe skips the mayo while still bursting with flavor thanks to garlic and herbs.
These balsamic baked beans are a healthier alternative to the classic, conveniently made in the slow cooker! Toss in the ingredients and then leave them to cook into a side dish brimming with delicious hints of maple.
Whether you’re serving these wrapped around a hamburger patty, or using the moist and fluffy bread to soak up all sorts of BBQ sauces, this is an easy and versatile bun recipe to have on hand this summer!
Bring Tex Mex flair to your cookout with this easy grilled potato salad idea! Tossed in a finger-licking taco spice vinaigrette, this mouthwatering medley of potatoes, peppers, corn, and tomatoes is just as easy as it is delicious.
The best recipe for Southern fried corn that’s fresh off the cob! Tender sweet corn kernels are fried up to perfection with bacon drippings and sugar in a cast iron skillet. The perfect summer side to keep your cookout recipes company all season long!
Strike while the grill is hot – with this Mexican-style corn on the cob side dish! Elote street corn is a traditional recipe loaded with flavor and spices that you’ll want to make for every cookout, from now until the season changes!
A colorful, healthy green salad made with chopped kale and a rainbow of nutritious veggies is just what every BBQ needs! Zesty lemon dressing and fresh green leaves are the perfect way to lighten up any meal.
Bowtie pasta salad gets a novel twist in this creamy chicken Caesar version! Finish this easy pasta salad recipe with a squeeze of lemon and enjoy all the authentic flavors of classic Caesar dressing, tender chicken, crunchy croutons, bacon crumbs and parmesan.
Wholesome quinoa mingles with all sorts of delicious Southwest-inspired fixings in this tasty make-ahead summer salad! Black beans, red peppers, sweet corn and cilantro brush shoulders as they’re mixed with a zingy homemade lime vinaigrette.
My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!