28 of Our Best Sides for Your Next Summer Cookout
Choose from a showstopping selection of top-notch recipes, including salads, slaws, grilled vegetables, and lots more.
Why head inside to cook when you can create a full three-course meal directly on your grill? In the summertime, the last thing you want to do is add extra heat to your home by using your stovetop burners and cranking the oven. Creating a menu that can be made entirely on the grill is a smart way to stay cool; and because you can grill everything from appetizers to desserts (even cocktails!), you won't have to sacrifice any refined element of your meal with proper planning.
These sides, such as the Grilled-Vegetable Agrodolce pictured here, are classic choices for an old-fashioned summer cookout. We're sharing our secrets to a perfectly grilled ear of corn, delicious riffs on coleslaw, and a savory-sweet cornbread. Maybe you're grilling an entire rack of barbecue ribs for a crowd, or throwing marinated chicken thighs on a hot grill for a weeknight dinner in a flash. Whichever barbecue recipe you choose, we have sides that pair perfectly.
We also have fresh, light, and healthy sides that pair beautifully with scaled-back fish fillets and lean cuts of protein. Nearly any in-season fruit or vegetable will make for a delicious companion on the grill; charring them over an open flame lends a unique flavor that you can't recreate anywhere else. Simply toss with an easy vinaigrette for a quick slaw or top with savory cheese or sauces for a side dish that could be eaten all on its own.
From hearty salads to rich, starchy sides, these are our very best recipes for side dishes that will go with whatever you choose to grill for dinner.
Sautéed Corn with Black Pepper and Manchego
Green Beans with Tomatoes and Crispy Breadcrumbs
Serve this crisp, colorful side dish recipe at your next summer cookout! It calls for a vibrant combination of green beans and wax beans, cocktail tomatoes, homemade croutons, and grated Manchego cheese.
Sweet Corn, Zucchini, and Tomatoes with Bulgur
Miso-Watercress Green Beans
If you think green beans are boring, this side dish will make you think again. The beans are sautéed, then briefly steamed with a little bit of water until they're crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Serve them at your next cookout with a simple dressing made with miso paste and fresh lemon juice.
Grilled Corn with Fish Sauce and Scallions
This make-ahead green salad brings freshness and crunch to any summer barbecue. Simply toss together cucumbers, extra-virgin olive oil, rice vinegar, and fresh tender herbs, such as parsley, mint, and chives for a breezy side dish.
Harissa-Roasted Green Beans
Black-Eyed-Pea-Salad with Celery
This simple side dish recipe uses canned black-eyed peas. The protein-packed legumes are tossed with diced rice onion, red wine vinegar, chopped celery, and parsley.
Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes and Cilantro
Grilled Vegetables and White-Bean Fattoush
How beautiful is this array of grilled vegetables for a side dish at a summer cookout? Bell peppers, escarole, and red onions are brushed with oil then grilled until charred and tender. Serve alongside cannellini beans, crumbled feta, and pita chips.
Grilled Asparagus and Farro Salad
Green Salad with Pickled-Shallot Vinaigrette
When summer comes, we're all about embracing vibrant colors and flavors and this big-batch salad featuring pink watermelon radishes, sliced carrots, and mixed greens is just the right recipe.
Spicy Pineapple-Peanut Salad
Test Kitchen's Favorite Potato Salad
There are a few key steps to our food editors' favorite potato salad: evenly cutting your potatoes so they cook evenly, placing the potatoes in cold water then boiling, and using a starchy, creamy spud like russets or Yukon golds. The result is a creamy, flavorful potato salad.
Dill, Potato, and Egg Salad
Summer cookouts and potato salad go hand in hand. Here, we updated the creamy mayo version by adding pickled shallots, tangy sliced cornichons, and just a couple tablespoons of Dijon mustard. It's lighter, zestier, and more colorful than the classic.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Instead of boiling corn on the cob, why not grill it? The subtle smoky flavor and charred crisp is a delicious contrast to the sweet, milky kernels.
This buttermilk cornbread recipe is made with a simple combination of butter, cornmeal, all-purpose flour, sugar, and eggs. It's easy to make and easy to please.
Cucumber Salad with Herbs, Kumquats, and Sumac Dressing
Eggplant, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad
Grilled Green Tomatoes with Creamy Basil Sauce
Here's a genius way to use those unripened green tomatoes: Cut them into thick slabs and char them on the grill until they're softened and slightly sweet. Drizzle the grilled tomatoes with a creamy sauce easily made in the food processor with fresh basil, garlic, lemon juice, and prepared mayonnaise.