Try this collection of 19 cookout side dish recipes that will transform your outdoor dining experience. Whether you’re hosting a barbecue, picnic, or any gathering, this selection of savory salads, grilled vegetables, classic comfort foods, and refreshing fruits will complement your main courses and satisfy all tastes.
From classics like potato salad and coleslaw to grilled asparagus and zucchini, these recipes are not just delectable, they are also easy to prepare and adaptable to various dietary preferences. So get ready to level up your cookout game and create an unforgettable spread that your guests will rave about.
1 Classic Potato Salad
An All-Time Favorite
Potato salad is a must-have at any cookout. It’s creamy, tangy, and perfectly seasoned, adding a delightful contrast to the smoky flavors of grilled meats. This recipe features tender potatoes, crunchy celery, and fresh herbs, creating a delicious combination of textures and flavors.
A Make-Ahead Option
You can prepare this potato salad the day before your cookout, allowing the flavors to meld together overnight for an even tastier dish. It’s a great time-saver that helps you focus on grilling and entertaining on the day of the event.
Customize to Your Liking
Feel free to add your own spin on this classic recipe. Try adding crispy bacon, hard-boiled eggs, or pickles for an extra layer of flavor and texture.
2 Grilled Corn on the Cob
A Grilled Delight
Grilled corn on the cob is a quintessential cookout side dish. The natural sweetness of the corn pairs wonderfully with the smoky char from the grill, creating a side dish that’s simple yet incredibly flavorful.
Perfect for Any Grill
Whether you’re using a charcoal or gas grill, corn on the cob grills up perfectly. Just brush it with a bit of butter, season it with your favorite spices, and grill until it’s tender and slightly charred.
Variety of Toppings
Feel free to get creative with your toppings. A pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt are classic, but you can also try chili powder, grated cheese, or a squeeze of lime juice for a twist.
A Crunchy and Refreshing Side
Coleslaw is a cool and crunchy side dish that pairs perfectly with the hearty, smoky flavors of a cookout. It’s made with shredded cabbage, carrots, and a creamy dressing, resulting in a dish that’s both refreshing and satisfying.
Easy to Prepare
This coleslaw recipe is incredibly easy to make. Just toss together the shredded vegetables and dressing, and you have a delicious side dish in minutes.
Adjust to Your Taste
Feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking. You can make it tangier by adding more vinegar, or sweeter by adding a bit of sugar. You can also add other ingredients, like raisins or apples, for a unique twist.
4 Baked Beans
A Hearty and Flavorful Side
Baked beans are a hearty and flavorful side dish that’s a staple at any cookout. They’re sweet, smoky, and tangy, creating a perfect balance of flavors that complements grilled meats wonderfully.
Read also: 30 Summer Vegetarian Recipes
Easy and Convenient
These baked beans can be made in the oven or in a slow cooker, making them a convenient side dish for any cookout. Plus, they can be kept warm on the grill or in a slow cooker during your event, ensuring they’re hot and ready to serve when you are.
Feel free to customize this recipe by adding different ingredients. Try adding bacon, onions, or bell peppers for extra flavor and texture.
5 Grilled Vegetable Skewers
A Colorful and Nutritious Side
Grilled vegetable skewers are a colorful and nutritious side dish that’s perfect for any cookout. They’re packed with fresh vegetables that become tender and slightly charred on the grill, resulting in a side dish that’s as tasty as it is healthy.
Easy to Assemble
These skewers are easy to assemble and cook quickly on the grill, making them a great choice for last-minute prep. Plus, they can be made with any combination of vegetables, so you can use whatever you have on hand.
Customize with Your Favorite Veggies
Feel free to mix and match your favorite vegetables on these skewers. Bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms are all excellent choices.
6 Macaroni Salad
A Creamy, Comforting Side
Macaroni salad is a creamy, comforting side dish that’s a staple at cookouts. This recipe features tender macaroni, crunchy celery, and a creamy dressing that brings it all together.
Perfect for Make-Ahead
One of the best things about macaroni salad is that it can be made ahead of time. In fact, it tastes even better after it’s had some time for the flavors to meld together in the refrigerator.
Feel free to add your own spin to this classic recipe. Add in diced ham or chicken for some extra protein, or mix in some diced pickles or olives for a tangy kick.
7 Watermelon Feta Salad
A Refreshing, Sweet and Savory Salad
This watermelon and feta salad is a refreshing, sweet-and-savory side dish that’s perfect for a hot summer cookout. It features juicy watermelon, tangy feta cheese, and fresh mint leaves for a unique flavor combination.
Quick and Easy to Prepare
This salad comes together in minutes, making it a great last-minute side dish for your cookout. All you need to do is cube the watermelon, crumble the feta, chop the mint, and toss it all together.
Customizable to Your Taste
Feel free to adjust this recipe to your liking. Try adding some diced cucumber for extra crunch, or drizzle it with a balsamic glaze for added sweetness and tang.
8 BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders
A Vegetarian Crowd-Pleaser
These BBQ pulled jackfruit sliders are a great vegetarian option for your cookout. Jackfruit’s texture is remarkably similar to pulled pork, and when it’s slathered in BBQ sauce, even meat-lovers will be asking for seconds.
Easy to Make
This recipe is surprisingly easy to make. The jackfruit cooks quickly, and the BBQ sauce can be store-bought or homemade, depending on your preference and how much time you have.
Feel free to customize your sliders with your favorite toppings. Try adding coleslaw, pickles, or even a slice of cheese for extra flavor and texture.
9 Grilled Sweet Potatoes
A Nutritious and Tasty Side
Grilled sweet potatoes are a nutritious and tasty side dish that’s perfect for a cookout. They’re slightly sweet, slightly smoky, and perfectly tender – a unique and flavorful addition to your cookout menu.
Simple to Grill
These sweet potatoes are sliced thin and cooked directly on the grill, making them a simple and straightforward side dish that requires minimal prep.
Feel free to season these grilled sweet potatoes to your liking. A sprinkle of salt and pepper is classic, but you can also try cinnamon and sugar for a sweet twist, or chili powder and cumin for a spicy kick.
10 Greek Pasta Salad
A Flavorful and Filling Salad
This Greek pasta salad is a flavorful and filling side dish that’s perfect for a cookout. It’s packed with fresh vegetables, tangy feta cheese, and tender pasta, all tossed in a zesty homemade dressing.
Ideal for Make-Ahead
This salad is a great make-ahead option, as the flavors only get better as it sits. Plus, it’s served cold or at room temperature, so there’s no need to worry about reheating.
Feel free to customize this salad with your favorite Greek ingredients. Try adding some kalamata olives, grilled chicken, or even some dollops of tzatziki sauce.
A Southern Staple
Cornbread is a southern staple that makes for a delightful cookout side dish. It has a unique combination of sweet and savory flavors and a crumbly texture that pairs well with various dishes.
Easy to Prepare
Cornbread is simple to make, usually requiring just a few ingredients and a hot oven. This easy preparation makes it a stress-free addition to your cookout menu.
Versatility in One Dish
Cornbread is incredibly versatile. Enjoy it plain, slather it with butter, or even drizzle it with honey for a touch of added sweetness.
12 Caprese Pasta Salad
Easy, Make-Ahead Side Dish
Caprese salad hits all the notes – filling, a nice balance of veggies and carbs, and also brings some nice protein along in the form of mozzarella.
Easy Make-Ahead Side Dish
Caprese pasta salad is both delicious and easy to make, and requires minimal prep time. Even so, you can still make this a few hours ahead, or even a day ahead, and serve it the day of.
Tailor to Your Taste
Feel free to adjust the ingredients in your Caprese pasta salad. Swap the fresh mozzarella for burrata, and consider skipping the fresh basil in favor of a pesto dressing.
13 Jalapeno Popper Potato Salad
A Perfect Blend Of Spicy & Savory
If you’ve got any love for jalapeno poppers, then you’ll love this potato salad. It’s creamy, filling, spicy, and cheesy all in one !
Great for Feeding a Crowd
You can make as big or as small a batch as you like, depending on your guests’ preferences. But I’m pretty sure this is going to be an instant hit so you might want to make some extra.
Feel free to customize your jalapeno popper potato salad. You can always use a cheese mix instead of only cheddar, and swap the jalapeno for another hot pepper of your choosing.
14 Mac & Cheese
A Simple, Delicious Side
Mac and cheese is a classic side dish, and it will easily be everyone’s favorite side dish at a cookout. It’s familiar, comforting, filling, and extra cheesy.
Make Ahead, Just Reheat
This side can be made a day ahead, and you can just reheat it in the oven before serving.
Variety of Toppings
Feel free to get creative with your toppings. Mac and cheese is great on its own, but a sprinkle of bacon bits, chives, or green onions can transform this dish.
15 Avocado Corn Salad
A Creamy, Comforting Salad
Avocado and corn go together so very, very well and make for a very filling and comforting salad base. Add tomatoes and red onions, plus your favorite spices, and you’re good to go !
No Heavy Dressings
This salad relies on the creaminess of avocado, mixed with the juicy tomatoes to create a smooth but delicious natural dressing for the entire bowl.
Tailor to Your Tastes
Feel free to adjust this recipe to your liking. Try adding some hard-boiled eggs for added protein, or some chopped salad for some more green action.
16 Grilled Asparagus
A Simple, Healthy Side
Grilled asparagus is a simple, healthy side that’s perfect for a cookout. The asparagus becomes tender and slightly charred, highlighting its natural flavors.
Quick to Grill
Asparagus grills quickly, making it a great last-minute addition to your cookout menu. Just toss the asparagus in some olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until tender.
Variety of Toppings
Feel free to experiment with toppings for your grilled asparagus. Try a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
17 Deviled Eggs
A Classic, Bite-Sized Treat
Deviled eggs are a classic, bite-sized treat that are always a hit at cookouts. Made by stuffing hard-boiled eggs with a creamy, tangy filling, they’re a deliciously indulgent side.
Perfect for Making Ahead
Deviled eggs can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to serve, making them a stress-free addition to your cookout.
Feel free to experiment with the fillings for your deviled eggs. Try adding some chopped pickles, a dash of hot sauce, or even some crumbled bacon.
18 Grilled Zucchini
A Light, Nutritious Side
Grilled zucchini is a light, nutritious side that’s perfect for a cookout. It’s quickly grilled to perfection, yielding a tender, slightly smoky dish that’s full of flavor.
Easy and Quick to Grill
Zucchini takes just a few minutes to grill, making it a quick and easy addition to your cookout spread.
Feel free to top your grilled zucchini with a variety of ingredients. Try a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, or a squeeze of fresh lemon.
19 Fruit Salad
A Refreshing, Healthy Option
Fruit salad is a refreshing, healthy option that’s perfect for a cookout. Made with a variety of fresh, juicy fruits, it’s a sweet counterpoint to the savory main dishes.
Great for Making Ahead
Fruit salad can be made a few hours in advance, making it a convenient addition to your cookout.
Mix and Match Your Fruits
Feel free to mix and match your fruits based on what’s in season. Berries, melon, and citrus fruits are all excellent choices.
These 19 cookout side dish recipes offer something for everyone, regardless of their culinary preferences. With a mix of traditional favorites and fresh takes on classic dishes, your next outdoor gathering will be filled with an array of delectable sides that perfectly complement your main courses.
Remember, these recipes are easily customizable, so feel free to add your own twist to make them even more special. Enjoy the art of cooking outdoors and share these delicious moments with your loved ones, creating not just great food, but also unforgettable memories. Happy grilling!