Hey there, BBQ-loving parent!
Are you looking for kid-friendly BBQ side dishes?
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m going to tell you all about 29 side dishes that are sure to be a hit with your little ones.
I know what it’s like being a parent at a BBQ—you want to make sure your kids are happy, but you also want them to behave themselves so that everyone else can enjoy the party.
And I know that when you’re trying to keep your kids happy while they’re eating, they might need some extra attention.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of 29 kid-friendly BBQ sides that will keep them occupied and well-fed while everyone else is having fun!
29 Kid-Friendly BBQ Side Dishes
Is your family the type that likes to spend the day outside grilling up some meat, vegetables and other snacks?
You’re definitely not alone, but you might be looking for some side dishes that are a little more kid-friendly than most.
Below, are 29 kid-friendly BBQ side dishes for you—everything from fruit salad to corn on the cob to roasted garlic potatoes.
And let me tell you: these dishes are so good that even your pickiest eaters will love them!
1. French Fries
French fries are a great side dish for kids, but you can get away with serving your little ones curly fries or waffle fries if you want to make it more fun for them.
You can even cut up the fries into different shapes and sizes, so they’re not all uniform.
This makes your little one feel more like they’re eating something new as opposed to just eating more of the same thing!
Zucchini sticks are great because they’re easy to make, and they’re a nice alternative to French fries if your child is tired of those.
You can dip them in ketchup or ranch dressing, depending on what kind of sauce your kid likes best!
3. Fruit Salad
You can’t go wrong with a fruit salad—it’s healthy, it’s refreshing and it doesn’t have to be hot outside for the kids to eat it!
Try making a fruit salad with strawberries, melon balls and kiwi slices.
Watermelon is delicious any time of year, but it’s especially great during summertime because it’s so refreshing and hydrating.
Cut up some watermelon into slices and serve them as an appetizer or dessert alongside your other foods!
Cornbread muffins are a great way to make sure your kids get their fair share of carbs while they’re out playing in the sun all day.
Make them yourself or buy them from the grocery store—either way, they’ll be sure to please everyone at your barbecue.
For this simple yet satisfying snack, all you need is tortilla chips (make sure they’re gluten-free if needed), salsa or guacamole, and a little sour cream or Greek yogurt for dipping.
It’s quick, easy, and fun for the whole family!
These fritters are a great way to get some veggies into your kids’ diet without them even realizing it!
They’re also super easy to make and cook quickly, so even if you’re short on time, they’ll be done in no time at all!
Carrot sticks with ranch dressing are a great way to add variety to your snack table.
They’re also simple to make: just peel and slice the carrots into sticks, then serve them alongside ranch dressing in small bowls or cups.
If you want to add more flavor, try mixing in a spoonful of pesto or hummus on top of each carrot stick before serving it with ranch dressing!
9. Celery Sticks with Ranch Dressing
This is one of the easiest side dishes you can make, and it’s sure to please kids!
All you need are some celery sticks, ranch dressing and a few other ingredients.
This recipe makes enough for a crowd, but you can always cut it in half if you’re cooking for fewer people.
Cucumbers are a great alternative to chips or crackers if you’re looking for something to munch on while you wait for your food to cook up.
They’re also a great way to add some vegetables into your meal without having to do much work at all.
You can cut them into slices and place them on a plate with ranch dressing, or you can create fun shapes with some cookie cutters and serve them alongside the rest of your meal.
11. Collard Greens
We all have fond memories of our favorite childhood side dishes.
For me, it was collard greens with BBQ sauce.
I remember the way my mom would mix up her own special recipe of vinegar and sugar and then spoon it over the greens so they’d soak in that tangy, sweet flavor.
I still make it that way today—it’s one of my go-to recipes when I’m having friends or family over.
And I know that if you’re looking for a kid-friendly side dish, this one will be a hit!
12. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a great side dish for your next BBQ—they’re kid-friendly, and they’re easy to make.
- Boil water and add potatoes.
- Cook until the potatoes are soft enough to mash easily with a fork (about 10 minutes).
- Drain the potatoes, then put them through a ricer or use a potato masher to mash them until smooth and fluffy.
- Add salt, pepper, or other seasonings as desired!
- Serve hot!
Green beans with bacon bits is another side dish that your kids will love.
This recipe takes about 30 minutes to make, and it’s easy enough for even the youngest helpers to help out with.
Here’s how to make it!
- 1 lb green beans
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (you can use regular bacon if you prefer)
- Put the green beans in a pot of boiling water, and cook them for 5 minutes.
- Drain them and set aside.
14. Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad is a classic side dish that’s sure to be a hit with your little ones.
It’s easy to make, and there are so many ways to customize it!
- The first step is to boil some elbow macaroni until al dente (not mushy).
- Then drain the water and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
- Next, you’ll want to mix in mayonnaise, mustard and salt—just enough so everything is coated well. You can also add in chopped celery and green onions if you want an extra crunch.
- Finally, stir in some sweet relish (or even pickle relish) for some tanginess and enjoy!
15. Potato Salad
Potato salad is a light and refreshing side dish that’s perfect for any occasion.
The ingredients are simple and easy to find, and it can be made in advance, so you can spend more time enjoying your company instead of slaving away over a hot stove.
The best part about potato salad is that it’s not just for kids!
It’s delicious with any type of meat, whether it’s grilled or fried.
The mayonnaise gives the dish its flavor, while the mustard provides a little bit of heat.
If you’re looking for something that won’t be too heavy on your stomach after an afternoon spent lounging by the pool or beach, potato salad is ideal.
16. Vegetable Salad
Vegetable salad is a great side dish for your little ones, or even as an appetizer!
The vegetables in this salad are easy to chew and digest, so they’re perfect for little ones who are learning to eat solid foods.
The best part about this vegetable salad is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand.
In addition to the traditional carrots and celery, you can add lettuce, cucumber, pepper slices, bell peppers and more!
17. Baked Beans
Baked beans are a staple of any family meal, and they are one of the best side dishes to give little ones when they’re learning to eat on their own.
They’re easy to chew and soft, so you can feel good about offering them as an appetizer or snack.
Baked beans are also full of protein, so they’ll help your little ones grow big and strong!
But the best part is that baked beans are easy to make at home—you just need a few ingredients and a bit of time in the oven.
18. Stuffed Potatoes
Stuffed potatoes are a great kid-friendly BBQ side dish, and they’re really easy to make.
- Start by baking your potatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the potatoes are baking, prepare the stuffing by mixing together diced tomatoes, chopped onions, shredded cheese, and spices of your choice (we like salt, pepper, and garlic powder).
- When the potatoes are done, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the flesh so that there’s space in each half for stuffing.
- Then fill each potato with stuffing—you’ll probably have leftover stuffing because it’s hard to fit it all inside!
- Bake for another 15 minutes until everything is hot throughout.
19. Cucumber Salad
Cucumber salad is a great way to add a little bit of crunch to your BBQ spread, and it’s incredibly easy to make.
All you need is some cucumbers (you can use English or Persian), a bit of salt, some vinegar, and oil.
- First, slice your cucumbers into rounds.
- Then toss them with salt and let them sit for at least half an hour before rinsing off the excess salt.
- Afterwards, add some vinegar (we recommend using rice vinegar) and enough oil to lightly coat your hands when you squeeze the slices together.
- Serve alongside whatever meat you’re grilling—it’s delicious with chicken!
Nothing says summer quite like the sweet, sticky taste of grilled fruit.
It’s easy to make, and kids love it!
- Cut the peaches or plums in half and remove the pit.
- Place them on a grill pan over medium-high heat and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until they’re soft but not mushy (the exact time will vary depending on how ripe your fruit is).
- Remove from the grill and let cool before serving.
21. Garden Salad
This is a wonderful side dish for any BBQ, and it’s a great way to use up any leftover vegetables from your garden!
Here’s how to make it:
- Get a bag of mixed greens from the grocery store.
- Chop up some cucumbers, carrots, and red peppers (and any other vegetables you like).
- Add a small container of ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing to the salad mix.
- Mix it all together!
Take a few minutes to soak the corn in water before grilling.
This will help prevent it from burning and make it more tender.
Make sure you have a clean grill before you start grilling!
If there are any food particles or grease residue left over from previous meals, they could cause your corn to burn or stick to the grill.
Grill the corn or about 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally so that it cooks evenly.
You can test if it’s done by pressing down on one of the kernels with your tongs—if it pops open easily, the corn is done!
23. Potato Chips (Eaten with Ketchup)
Potato chips are a classic side dish for BBQ.
They’re great because they’re easy to make, and they’re portable—which is perfect if you want to take your potato chips with you as you mingle with friends.
Here’s how to do it:
- Wash potatoes and slice them as thin as possible.
- Put the slices on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until crispy.
- When they’re done, take them out and let them cool before eating them with ketchup!
Grilled asparagus is a great side dish for any BBQ.
To make it kid-friendly, you can coat the spears with a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice before grilling them.
This will help them stay green when they’re done, and it gives them a nice tangy flavor.
If you want to add some extra flavor, try marinating the asparagus in Italian dressing for an hour or two before you grill it.
Or, try this recipe that my dad taught me:
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard them.
- Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper.
- Place on the grill, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, until tender (but not limp) and lightly charred on one side.
This is a great side dish to serve with your BBQ.
The broccoli or cauliflower gets cooked in butter and garlic and then sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
This is a great way to get kids to eat their veggies!
Here’s one way to do it:
- Cut the broccoli or cauliflower into florets.
- Heat up some butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add the broccoli or cauliflower florets.
- Sauté until they’re lightly browned on each side and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.
- Remove from heat and serve hot!
Grilled mushrooms are a great way to add flavor and texture to your meal without having to do much work.
You can use any type of mushroom for this, but I recommend using cremini or button mushrooms.
Here’s how to do it:
- Clean the mushrooms by wiping them down with a damp paper towel or using a small brush.
- Drizzle olive oil over the mushrooms and season them with salt and pepper (to taste).
- Place the mushrooms on a grill pan or sheet pan and cook until browned, about 7 minutes per side.
Cauliflower is an excellent replacement for meat when you’re trying to limit your family’s meat intake.
It’s also a great source of vitamins and minerals, so it’s good for the whole family.
The key to making this side dish kid-friendly is to make sure you serve it with something that adds moisture, like a sauce or dressing.
I recommend a simple vinaigrette or even just some melted butter!
28. Eggplant Fries
Eggplant is a super versatile ingredient, and these fries are no exception.
They’re great for serving as an appetizer or side dish, but you can also serve them as the main course if you want to make something a little healthier.
Here’s how to do it!
- 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then brush it with olive oil.
- Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheet in one layer (you may need to do this in two batches).
- Brush each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until they’re browned and crispy.
- Serve immediately!
Sweet potato fries are a great side dish to serve with your BBQ. They’re hearty, crispy and delicious.
To make them, you’ll need:
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or more to taste)
Here’s what to do:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut into matchsticks or slices.
- Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil until coated well.
- Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time.
- Remove from oven when done and serve immediately!
Ultimately, switching up your side dishes can help keep your next backyard BBQ from getting boring.
So if you’re looking for some kid-friendly BBQ side dishes, try these recipes out to mix things up.
You never know when you might come across a new favorite!
29 Kid-Friendly BBQ Side Dishes
- French Fries
- Fried Zucchini Sticks
- Fruit Salad
- Watermelon Slices
- Cornbread Muffins
- Chips and Dip
- Zucchini Fritters
- Carrot Sticks with Ranch Dressing
- Celery Sticks with Ranch Dressing
- Cucumber Slices with Ranch Dressing
- Collard Greens
- Mashed Potatoes
- Green Beans with Bacon Bits
- Macaroni Salad
- Potato Salad
- Vegetable Salad
- Baked Beans
- Stuffed Potatoes
- Cucumber Salad
- Grilled Peaches/Plums
- Garden Salad
- Grilled Corn on The Cob
- Potato Chips (Eaten with Ketchup)
- Grilled Asparagus
- Buttered Broccoli or Cauliflower
- Grilled Mushrooms
- Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
- Eggplant Fries
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Pick your favorite side dishes from this list to serve at your BBQ.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe(s).
- Be ready to munch in no time!