There are bbq side dishes and then there are BBQ side dishes! Here are 94 of our favorite southern sides for barbecues and cookouts.
There's nothing quite like good food to bring people together, and summer barbeques seem to have an extra special way of doing just that.
Maybe it's the way that gooey mac and cheese reminds us of simpler times.
Perhaps it's the nostalgic stories we tell while passing the bowl of potato salad, or the satisfaction of seeing friends and family huddled happily around the picnic table, bargaining over the last slice of pie.
From rich baked beans to refreshingly crisp coleslaw, old-fashioned favorites to unique new twists, these easy Southern side dish recipes are packed with mouthwatering, homestyle flavor.
They're the kind of BBQ sides that you'll remember—and crave—year after year.
Restless Chipotle Favorites
If your next barbeque is in need of a side (or two!) that delivers on flavor, you're in luck. This section of delicious side dishes includes classic Restless Chiptole recipes that are tried and true winners—from both my big family and readers, like you!
This creamy, old-fashioned macaroni salad has the perfect combination of tender pasta, crunchy veggies, and a classic mayo-based dressing. It tastes just as good as Mom's did back in the day.
BBQ Macaroni Salad
This creative BBQ macaroni salad is a great way to take your Southern cookout to the next level. The unique recipe has the creamy goodness you love, with an added twist of flavor—poblanos, black beans, corn, crispy bacon, and more!
Summer picnics just aren't the same without a classic potato salad to adorn your plate. This easy recipe has great flavor and creamy texture without feeling too heavy. Psst—it's even better the next day, so you can prep ahead of time!
When it comes to easy side dishes, garlic breadsticks are a great choice. They are chewy and soft, go with just about anything, and are great for cleaning that leftover BBQ sauce off your plate. That's a cook-out win, win, win, if you ask me.
Dr Pepper Baked Beans
Tantalize your taste buds with sweet and spicy Dr Pepper baked beans. The best part about this great side dish is that it starts with a few cans of beans which cuts down on cook time! Score!
On a hot summer day, few foods are as refreshing as a good Southern coleslaw. This recipe is creamy, crunchy, and goes with all of the most popular soul food staples. Your next BBQ deserves something this tasty!
Jalapeno Cheese Grits
Jalapeno cheese grits take backyard BBQ-ing to a whole new level. This recipe uses simple ingredients for a smoky, spicy side dish that's sure to become a family favorite.
Homemade sour cream mashed potatoes are the perfect side dish for a summer cookout. They pair well with almost every main course, and even picky eaters will gobble 'em up.
Not only is this watermelon basket absolutely adorable, but it's the most fun way to serve a fresh fruit salad. It'll impress everyone at your next family gathering—you don't have to tell them how easy it is to make!
Salads and Veggies
Fresh salads and crunchy vegetables add a cool, refreshing element to heavier main dishes. Plus, with speedy cook times, these easy BBQ sides will finish off your cook-out prep in a snap.
- Black-eyed pea salad
- Southern green beans with bacon
- Fresh corn on the cob
- Cucumber salad (with sour cream or without)
- Collard greens
- Crispy brussels sprouts
- Southern fried cabbage
- Frito corn salad
- Broccoli salad
- Creamed cabbage
- Fried okra
Casseroles and Such
When I think about classic sides for a Southern BBQ, I think of creamy, rich casserole dishes. You know the type—those big trays of steaming hot goodness, maybe a little crispy, golden brown action around the edges.
These are the sides you scoop out generously... and then pray some is left when you go back for seconds!
- Southern baked mac and cheese
- Cornbread casserole
- Hashbrown casserole
- Scalloped potatoes
- Yellow squash casserole
- Loaded green bean casserole
- Sweet potato casserole
- Eggplant casserole
Condiments and Pickles
For the best Southern BBQ ever, don't forget toppings! Condiments enhance the flavor of juicy burgers and hot dogs, while tangy pickles add a satisfying crunch. Served together, they're a match made in barbeque heaven.
- BBQ sauce (duh!)
- Panera pickled red onions
- Mustard—serve Dijon and yellow for nice variety
- Pickled green beans
- Sliced sweet onions
- Quick-pickled okra
- Lettuce or fresh greens
- Candied jalapenos
- Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
- Spicy chipotle aioli
- Sliced tomatoes
It's always a good idea to serve some bread to your cook-out guests. You've got plenty of options—from sticks to rolls, buns, slices, and more, there's something here for everyone to enjoy.
- Garlic knots
- Buttermilk biscuits
- Hamburger or hot dogs buns
- Farmhouse bread
- Sweet cornbread
- Hatch chile cheese bread
- Easy, 30-minute rolls
- Jalapeno cornbread muffins
- Texas toast slices
- Angel biscuits
- Country-style whole wheat rolls
- Foil-grilled garlic bread
What's a party without something sweet? These classic cook-out desserts aren't exactly side dishes, but they're so tempting, you might just dig in before finishing your dinner!
- Blueberry cream cheese pie
- Pig pickin' cake
- Chocolate Rolo pretzel bites
- Chocolate Texas sheet cake
- Cherry pie
- S'mores bars
- No-bake millionaire pie
- Chocolate "lasagna"
- Vintage buttermilk cake
- Lemon bars
- Cream cheese brownies
- Strawberry pie
- White buttermilk Texas sheet cake
- Chewy brownies
- Fruit pizza
- Poke cake
💭 Tips for success
Whether you're the BBQ host or simply bringing a dish to share, these quick tips will ensure whatever you make turns out perfectly!
- Follow your recipes carefully. Some BBQ sides are best prepared in advance. Others taste better served immediately. Factor this in when choosing what to make.
- Master your temperatures! Checking meats for doneness with a thermometer ensures they cook to perfection every time.
- Serving cold salads can be tricky on a sunny, hot day. Bring an extra bowl to set under your dish and fill it with ice. This will keep your food chilled and prevent anyone from getting sick.
- Be specific when asking friends to bring sides. That way, you won't end up with four pans of the same dish!
- Keep the serving table out of direct sunlight, if possible.
- Fresh herbs aren't just for fancy meals. Add a few well-paired herbs to fresh vegetables or grilled meats for an instant flavor boost.
- Don't forget to bring a big spoon (or other proper utensil) to serve your dish. The host doesn't always have extra, and if you're BBQ'ing at a park, you won't be able to pop into the kitchen to grab one.