Skip to Content

25 Side Dishes for Cookout: Crowd-Pleasing Recipes to Make Your BBQ a Hit

Cookouts are the perfect way to enjoy warm weather, friends, and delicious food. Planning the main course may be easy – burgers, hot dogs, and BBQ chicken – but the side dishes truly make the meal shine.

In this article, we’ll explore a variety of mouthwatering side dishes that you can easily prepare and take to your next cookout. From fresh salads to comforting classics, these options will have your guests coming back for seconds. Get ready to elevate your cookout game with these crowd-pleasing sides.

Broccoli Salad

A Broccoli Salad is a bright, flavorful option for your cookout. Toss together fresh broccoli florets, red onion, cheese, bacon, and seeds (e.g., pumpkin or sunflower).

To make the dressing, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, and a sweetener like maple syrup. Enjoy it with grilled seafood or meats for a well-rounded meal.

French Potato Salad

French Potato Salad is a versatile and flavorful side dish, perfect for any cookout.

Start by boiling whole potatoes until tender, then slice and soak in white wine for added depth of flavor.

Create a dressing using olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar to provide tanginess.

Add in minced shallot, garlic powder, and some herbs like dill and parsley for extra freshness.

Then, gently toss the potatoes in the dressing for a well-coated and delicious side dish. Enjoy your cookout with this simple yet scrumptious French Potato Salad!

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

A perfect side dish for your cookout is Lemon Garlic Green Beans. This easy, yet flavorful dish pairs well with grilled meats or fish. Here’s how to prepare it:

  1. Trim and blanch green beans for 3 minutes.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil and sauté beans for 1 minute.
  3. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt.
  4. Sauté for another minute.
  5. After that, add a squeeze of lemon.

Enjoy your cookout with this delicious and simple side dish!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed zucchini boats are a versatile and healthy option for your cookout. Start by scooping the insides of halved zucchini and fill them with delicious and creative fillings like:

  • Ground meat (beef/turkey/chicken)
  • Chopped vegetables
  • Cheese (mozzarella, feta, cheddar)

Pair the zucchini boats with complementary sides like chicken skewers, corn salad, crispy kale, summer Panzanella salad, pesto pasta, cilantro lime rice, or cheesy mashed potatoes to create a well-rounded and enjoyable meal for your guests.

Garlic Shrimp Mac And Cheese

Garlic Shrimp Mac and Cheese is an exceptional side dish for a cookout! Sauté shrimp in garlic, then mix with macaroni, cream, cheese, and spices. Bake it until golden brown. Quick steps:

  1. Sauté shrimp with minced garlic
  2. Cook macaroni
  3. Create cheese sauce
  4. Combine pasta, sauce, and shrimp
  5. Bake in preheated 375°F oven (190°C)

Serve your gourmet side dish, and enjoy your unforgettable cookout!

Creamy Dill Potato Salad

A quick and delicious side for your cookout: Creamy Dill Potato Salad. Boil bite-sized potato pieces until tender (15-20 minutes) and let them cool.

Create your dressing with mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, and seasonings. Combine potatoes with the dressing and refrigerate for an hour. Enjoy your tasty, refreshing salad!

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Pickled watermelon rind can add a tangy and refreshing touch to your cookout side dishes. Here’s a quick recipe:

  1. Remove green skin and pink flesh from watermelon rind.
  2. Cut rind into 1-inch pieces.
  3. In a saucepan, combine equal parts vinegar and water, sugar, salt, and spices (like peppercorns/clove/coriander).
  4. Boil mixture, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.
  5. Add rind, simmer until tender.
  6. Cool and refrigerate.

Enjoy your pickled watermelon rind at your next cookout!

Simple Tomato Salad


  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red onions
  • Fresh basil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves.
  2. Finely slice red onions and chop fresh basil.
  3. Mix tomatoes, onions, and basil in a bowl.
  4. Drizzle red wine vinegar, add salt and pepper.
  5. Toss gently to combine. Enjoy your simple tomato salad at your cookout!

Cauliflower Mac And Cheese

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a healthy yet delicious side dish for your cookout.

Briefly boil cauliflower florets, then drain well.

Prepare a cheese sauce combining butter, flour, and your choice of cheeses (such as parmesan and cheddar).

Mix the sauce with the cauliflower, place in a baking dish, and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes, and you’ll have a creamy, satisfying side dish for your guests.

Summer Fruit Salad with Herbed Pistachio Crumble


  • Mixed summer fruits
  • Lime juice and zest
  • Olive oil
  • Pistachios
  • Tarragon
  • Basil
  1. Toss fruits with lime juice and zest, and drizzle olive oil.
  2. Mix pistachios, tarragon, and basil, then sprinkle over salad.

Enjoy your refreshing and flavorful summer fruit salad at your cookout!

Southern Baked Beans


  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 (15 oz) cans pork and beans
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses or maple syrup

Cooking Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook the bacon until crispy, then crumble and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup bacon grease.
  3. Sauté the chopped onion and bell pepper in the grease until clear.
  4. Combine the beans with the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add the crumbled bacon, transfer to a dish, and bake for 45-60 minutes.

Avocado Corn Salad

Avocado Corn Salad is a delightful and refreshing cookout side dish that you can easily prepare. For this salad, you’ll need:

  • Corn
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Lime juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Prepare ingredients, combine them in a bowl, season to your taste, and enjoy your helpful, no fluff cookout side dish!

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Combine buttermilk and melted butter. Stir until clumps form.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  5. Use a 1/4-cup scoop, drop dough onto baking sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Grilled Watermelon

Grilled watermelon is a perfect side dish for your summer cookout. To prepare, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush oil on the grill and place watermelon wedges for 2-3 minutes per side until char marks form. You can enhance the flavor by squeezing fresh lime juice over the watermelon, or serve it with a honey-lime sauce. Enjoy this unique and refreshing side dish at your next cookout.

Grape Salad With Cream Cheese-Vanilla Dressing

For a delightful cookout side dish, try Grape Salad with Cream Cheese-Vanilla Dressing. Create a smooth dressing by mixing yogurt, sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. Combine with grapes and nuts, then refrigerate. Enjoy this refreshing, creamy salad at your next BBQ or potluck!

Greek Chickpea Salad With Green Goddess Dressing


  • Chickpeas
  • English cucumber
  • Red onion
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Kalamata and green olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar

For an ideal side dish at your cookout, try a Greek Chickpea Salad with Green Goddess Dressing. This mouthwatering salad combines various flavors and textures, ensuring satisfaction with every bite.


  1. Mix chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, onion, and half of the feta cheese in a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and toss gently.
  4. Add the remaining feta cheese on top.

Bon appétit!

Sautéed Corn With Black Pepper And Manchego

A delightful spin on corn using Manchego cheese and black pepper. Melt butter in a skillet and add corn with pepper. Sauté until crisp-tender. Stir in cheese, serve with more cheese and pepper on top. A quick yet flavorful side dish for your cookout.

Green Beans With Tomatoes And Crispy Breadcrumbs

To prepare this flavorful side dish, blanch green beans until bright green and crisp-tender (4-6 minutes). Next, sauté breadcrumbs in oil and butter until golden. Combine green beans and tomatoes, then garnish with crispy breadcrumbs. Voila, a perfect addition to your cookout!

Sweet Corn, Zucchini, And Tomatoes With Bulgur


  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Fresh mint
  • Paprika
  1. Cook bulgur with water, salt, and oil. Simmer for 12 minutes and let stand for 10.
  2. Roast zucchini and corn at medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Combine cooked bulgur, roasted veggies, halved tomatoes, olive oil, lemon zest, juice, mint, paprika, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!

Miso-Watercress Green Beans


  • Green beans
  • Miso paste
  • Watercress
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: Heat olive oil and garlic in a skillet. Add green beans and season. After a minute, add water and cover. Steam until tender. Toss in miso paste and watercress. Serve warm and enjoy your delicious cookout side dish!

Roasted Tomato Macaroni And Cheese

Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese is a delicious twist on a classic cookout side dish. First, preheat your oven to 450°F and roast tomato slices for 18-20 minutes. Meanwhile, make a cheese sauce with butter, milk, and your choice of cheese. Combine cooked pasta, sauce, and roasted tomatoes in a casserole dish and bake until bubbly. Enjoy your flavorful side dish at your next cookout!

Spicy Grilled Corn Salad

Gather 6 ears of corn, 1 onion, 2 jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, and grilling oil. Preheat grill to high heat. Remove silk from corn and grill for around 8 minutes. Brush onion and jalapeños with oil, grill for 5 minutes. Cut kernels from cooled corn and chop onion and jalapeños. Finally, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Enjoy this flavorful addition to your cookout.

Strawberry-Tomato Salad


  • Fresh, vine-ripened cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Vibrant-red strawberries
  • Optional: Fresh herbs or microgreens


  1. Wash strawberries and tomatoes.
  2. Slice strawberries, halve tomatoes.
  3. Combine in a bowl, chill until serving.

Tips: Store in an airtight container up to 3 days. Add herbs or microgreens for extra flavor. Enjoy this refreshing, easy-to-make salad at your summer cookout!

Spicy Pineapple Slaw

Spicy Pineapple Slaw is a delightful twist on the classic coleslaw.

For a perfect cookout side dish, simply combine shredded cabbage, pineapple tidbits, and jalapeños.

Toss everything with a zesty dressing. The dressing is made of mayo, sour cream, sugar, pineapple juice, black pepper, and salt.

Remember to chill before serving!

Enjoy your refreshing and spicy pineapple slaw on a sunny day!

CEO at Happy Muncher | | Website | + posts

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.