Indulge in the ultimate barbecue experience with this awesome list of 25 delicious side dishes that perfectly complement your smoky, tender ribs. From classics like coleslaw and baked beans to inventive options like watermelon salad and grilled vegetable skewers, these tasty sides will elevate your rib feast to new heights.
25 Side Dishes for Ribs
Ribs are delicious on their own but they absolutely need something to pair with, even if the ribs are the star of the show. In this list you’ll find ideas ranging from simple veggies based sides (like coleslaw or salad) to hearty and filling sides like loaded mashed potatoes or the classic cornbread. Feel free to mix and match these as you like !
Coleslaw is a classic side dish for ribs, offering a cool and refreshing contrast to the smoky, rich flavors of barbecue. It typically combines shredded cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing. You can find countless variations that include ingredients like mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, or sour cream. For a twist on the traditional coleslaw, consider adding unique ingredients like apples or raisins. Check out this delicious coleslaw recipe.
2. Baked Beans
Baked beans are another staple side dish for ribs, bringing together sweet, tangy, and smoky flavors. You can customize your baked beans by adding different ingredients such as bacon, onions, molasses, or brown sugar. Some recipes call for slow-cooking, while others require just a simple simmer on the stovetop. For inspiration, take a look at this savory baked beans recipe.
Cornbread provides a delicious, slightly sweet complement to the savory flavors of ribs. It can be made with a variety of ingredients such as cornmeal, flour, sugar, and buttermilk. You can also add mix-ins like jalapeños, cheese, or bacon for added flavor. For a tried and true cornbread recipe, check out this recipe.
4. Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled corn on the cob is a fantastic way to add some smoky, charred flavor to your rib meal. The sweet, juicy corn kernels pair well with the tender, smoky ribs. You can grill your corn in the husk or directly on the grill for varying levels of char. For a simple and delicious grilled corn recipe, refer to this recipe from Delish.
5. Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a comfort food favorite that pairs beautifully with ribs. The creamy, cheesy pasta balances the smoky, tangy flavors of the meat. You can customize your mac and cheese by using different types of cheese or adding ingredients like bacon, jalapeños, or breadcrumbs. For a mouthwatering mac and cheese recipe.
6. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a classic Southern side dish that complements the flavors of ribs nicely. They are typically cooked with bacon, ham hock, or smoked turkey, and seasoned with garlic, onion, and vinegar. The tender, slightly bitter greens offer a tasty contrast to the rich, smoky ribs. Check out this traditional collard greens recipe.
7. Potato Salad
Potato salad is a versatile side dish that pairs well with ribs, as it can be made in a variety of ways to suit your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a creamy, mayonnaise-based version or a tangy, vinegar-based one, potato salad offers a delicious accompaniment to barbecue. For a classic potato salad, check out this recipe.
8. Hush Puppies
Hush puppies are deep-fried cornmeal fritters that serve as a tasty, crunchy side dish for ribs. Their crispy exterior and tender interior offer a delightful contrast to the tender, smoky meat. Hush puppies can be made with a variety of ingredients, such as buttermilk, onions, or jalapeños. Check out this great hush puppy recipe.
9. Green Beans
Green beans are a light, healthy side dish option that complements ribs well. They can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as steaming, sautéing, or roasting. Season your green beans with garlic, lemon, or a simple sprinkle of salt and pepper for added flavor. For delicious green beans, check out this recipe.
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10. Loaded Mashed Potatoes
Loaded mashed potatoes are a decadent, hearty side dish that pairs beautifully with ribs. The creamy, fluffy potatoes are enhanced with flavorful mix-ins like cheese, bacon, green onions, and sour cream. This indulgent side dish offers a delicious contrast to the smoky, tangy flavors of barbecue. Here is a satisfying loaded mashed potatoes recipe.
11. Grilled Vegetable Skewers
Grilled vegetable skewers are a colorful and healthy side dish that pairs well with ribs. You can use a variety of vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes. Season your skewers with a simple marinade or spice rub for added flavor. Check out this tasty grilled vegetable skewer recipe.
12. Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries offer a delicious, slightly sweet alternative to traditional French fries. Their natural sweetness and crispy texture complement the smoky flavors of ribs. Baked or fried, sweet potato fries can be seasoned with a variety of spices to suit your taste preferences. Check out this crispy baked sweet potato fries recipe.
13. Creamed Corn
Creamed corn is a creamy, slightly sweet side dish that pairs nicely with ribs. This dish typically consists of corn kernels simmered in a mixture of milk or cream, butter, and seasonings. Check out this classic creamed corn recipe.
14. Cucumber Salad
Cucumber salad is a light, refreshing side dish that provides a nice contrast to the rich flavors of ribs. It typically combines thinly sliced cucumbers, onions, and a tangy dressing made from vinegar, sugar, and seasonings. Here is a simple and delicious cucumber salad recipe.
15. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a nutritious and flavorful side dish option for ribs. They can be roasted, sautéed, or steamed, and are often seasoned with garlic, balsamic vinegar, or bacon. For delicious roasted Brussels sprouts, check this recipe.
Read Also: 27 BBQ Chicken Side Dishes
16. Fried Okra
Fried okra is a Southern classic that makes for a deliciously crunchy side dish with ribs. The okra is typically coated in a cornmeal mixture and then deep-fried until golden brown. Check out this awesome fried okra recipe.
17. Broccoli Salad
Broccoli salad is a healthy, flavorful side dish option for ribs. It combines fresh broccoli florets, red onions, raisins, and bacon in a creamy, tangy dressing. Here is a delightful broccoli salad recipe.
18. Pickled Vegetables
Pickled vegetables add a tangy, acidic contrast to the rich flavors of ribs. You can pickle a variety of vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, onions, and cauliflower. Here is a simple recipe to help you make pickled vegetables at home.
19. Watermelon Salad
Watermelon salad is a refreshing and light side dish that pairs well with ribs. It typically combines cubed watermelon, feta cheese, and fresh herbs like mint or basil. Check out this delicious watermelon salad recipe.
20. Jalapeño Poppers
Jalapeño poppers add a spicy kick to your ribs meal. These tasty appetizers consist of jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese or other fillings, then breaded and fried or baked. For great jalapeño poppers, check out this recipe.
21. Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried green tomatoes are a Southern classic that make for a crispy, tangy side dish for ribs. The tomatoes are coated in a cornmeal mixture and then fried until golden brown. Here is a delicious recipe for fried green tomatoes.
22. Red Cabbage Slaw
Red cabbage slaw is a colorful, crunchy alternative to traditional coleslaw that complements ribs nicely. It typically combines shredded red cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing made with vinegar and seasonings. Check out this awesome recipe.
Read also: 25 Side Dishes for Hotdogs
23. Caprese Salad
Caprese salad is a light, fresh side dish that pairs well with ribs. It features ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves, drizzled with balsamic glaze or olive oil. This Italian-inspired salad offers a nice contrast to the rich, smoky flavors of barbecue. Here is a simple Caprese salad recipe.
24. Onion Rings
Onion rings are a classic side dish that adds a crispy, crunchy element to your ribs meal. The onions are coated in a batter or breading and then deep-fried until golden brown. Here is a tasty recipe for onion rings.
25. Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad is a versatile side dish that complements ribs well. It typically combines cooked elbow macaroni, chopped vegetables, and a creamy dressing made from mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings. Check out this classic macaroni salad recipe.
This list includes 25 delectable side dishes, including classics like macaroni and cheese, grilled corn on the cob, and inventive options such as fried green tomatoes and red cabbage slaw, so there is something for everyone. Don’t hesitate to mix and match these sides, and elevate your next rib feast to a whole new level of deliciousness.