The best side dishes for a barbecue are the kinds you make ahead — or prepare right at the grill.
Salads top the list of popular barbecue sides. Most can be made in advance, and many salads taste better after sitting overnight in the refrigerator.
Among the favorites: Potato salad, pasta salad, fruit salad, vegetable salad, bean salad, green salad, grain salad, layered salad, gelatin salad, and coleslaw. Make them the night before and you’re ahead of the game.
Tip: If you’re having green salad, remember to wait until the last minute to add the dressing and croutons.
Potato Salad Recipes
Potato salads are the ultimate picnic and barbeque side dish.
- American Potato Salad
- German Potato Salad
- Find more Potato Salad Recipes — from creamy and red potato salads to no-dairy and vinegar-based German-styles.
How to Make Restaurant-Style Potato Salad
See how to make a restaurant-worthy potato salad. It’s creamy with a nice mustard and vinegar tang.
Get the recipe for Restaurant-Style Potato Salad.
Pasta Salad Side Dishes
Here’s another classic. Like potato salads, easy macaroni salads are simple to make in advance — and taste even better after a day or two in the fridge.
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Penne, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad
- Find more Pasta Salad Recipes — including seafood and chicken pasta salads.
Delicious classic restaurant-style coleslaw is only one of many types of slaw to choose from.
- Restaurant-Style Coleslaw I
- Cilantro-Lime Coleslaw
- Check out our collection of Coleslaw Recipes — including broccoli slaws, apple and ramen coleslaw, mayo and no-mayo slaws, Asian-style slaws, and more.
- Black Bean and Corn Salad II
- Marinated Green Beans with Olives, Tomatoes, and Feta
- Find your favorite Bean Salad Recipes — including bean and corn salads, lentil and black bean salads, and more.
- Barley Salad With Almonds And Apricots
- Cherry Farro Salad with Sweet Vinaigrette
- Check our collection of Grain Salad Recipes — featuring quinoa salads, rice salads, and tabbouleh salads.
Cold Veggie Salads
- Fresh Broccoli Salad
- Persian-Style Tomato Avocado Salad
- Find more Vegetable Salad Recipes — including tomato salads, corn, carrot, and cucumber salads, and much more.
Find more Summer Salad Recipes.
Then there are side dishes you prepare right on the grill, or nestled into the coals. Most vegetables and fruits, from bell peppers and corn to bananas and cantaloupe, are delicious when seasoned and cooked directly on the grill — or dotted with butter and herbs and wrapped in foil pouches to cook in the hot embers. Another favorite? You can’t beat flatbread fresh off the grill.
- Knife and Fork Grilled Caesar Salad
- Grilled Tequila-Cilantro Pineapple
- Grilled Zucchini
- Summer Grilled Cabbage
- Grilled Side Dish Recipes — including grilled fruit and other summer sides
Breads and Cornbreads
Bread is another great barbecue side dish to make ahead of time. There’s nothing better than mopping up extra sauce and juice with some freshly baked cornbread or savory herb bread. Next time somebody says, “What can I bring?” ask them to bring their favorite salad or bread.