16 Delectable Sides for Ribs

Make Your Cookout Complete

Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

Leah Maroney

Planning a summer ribfest? Round out your guests' cookout plates with these pleasing sides for ribs. We've got recipes for barbecue side dishes that pair perfectly with saucy grilled ribs, from cornbread muffins, macaroni and cheese casserole, baked beans, and potatoes, to fresh salads and slaws.

  • 01 of 16

    Crockpot Baked Beans

    Crockpot Baked Beans

    grandriver/Getty Images

    Use your crockpot to cook up rich, thick, saucy baked beans with plenty of old-fashioned barbecue flavor. Start them the day before, by simmering and soaking beans overnight. The next day, add them to the slow cooker with other ingredients, and leave to cook, worry-free, until party time.

  • 02 of 16

    Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

    Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

    Leah Maroney

    Wow barbecue guests with this ultra-flavorful veggie side dish. Inspired by a popular street food, Mexican street corn is sweet, salty, crunchy, and creamy in every bite, and can be eaten on or off the cob.

  • 03 of 16

    Easy Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

    Easy Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

    The Spruce

    Soft macaroni noodles baked in an insanely cheesy sauce, with an optional crunchy, browned breadcrumb topping, are an essential side dish for meaty barbecue ribs. This simple, homey recipe is simple to make, bakes in 30 minutes, and can be easily multiplied to serve a crowd.

  • 04 of 16

    Black Bean and Mango Salad

    Black Bean and Mango Salad

    The Spruce/Emily Hawkes

    Black bean and mango salad makes a festive, healthy, gluten-free side dish for your buffet table. It is tasty, super-easy to make, and low in fat and calories, with canned black beans, juicy mangoes, crisp bell peppers, mild scallions, fresh cilantro, and optional jalapeno, with just a little lime juice and olive oil for the dressing.

    Continue to 5 of 16 below.
  • 05 of 16

    Dill Potatoes Grilled in a Packet

    Dill Potatoes Grilled in a Packet

    ivanmareev/Getty Images

    Next time you grill ribs, make these dilly packet potatoes for serving on the side. Simply cut new potatoes into quarters, toss with olive oil, melted butter, garlic, fresh dill, salt, and pepper, and seal into foil packets for the grill. The potatoes will steam in their packets, for a fluffy interior, with nicely crispy outer edges.

  • 06 of 16

    Italian Pasta Salad

    Italian Pasta Salad

    The Spruce

    Bottled Italian salad dressing is a great shortcut in this cookout-ready pasta salad packed with tasty, fresh vegetables. This is a no-mayo recipe, you can serve it worry-free on hot days. Assemble it in a few minutes, and chill in the fridge for a few hours, until ready to serve. Tastes great cold or at room temperature.

  • 07 of 16

    Classic Wedge Salad

    A portion of classic wedge salad on a serving plate

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    A classic wedge salad is the perfect accompaniment for any meal, especially steak and ribs. Made with a simple wedge of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing, crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, and pickled onions, it's a way to add acid and vegetables to a rich meal.

  • 08 of 16

    Southern Hush Puppies

    Southern Hush Puppies

    Diana Rattray

    Hush puppies are delicious, deep-fried cornmeal dough that make an outstanding side dish for barbecue ribs. This Southern-style recipe includes buttermilk in the batter, for a treat that is satisfyingly crunchy on the outside, and moist on the inside.

    Continue to 9 of 16 below.
  • 09 of 16

    Rainbow Slaw

    Rainbow Slaw

    Miri Rotkovitz

    Crunchy, colorful rainbow slaw is a fresh-tasting side dish to serve with hearty cookout proteins. You'll love how pretty it looks on your buffet table, with shredded purple cabbage, red and yellow bell peppers, carrots, and snow peas, all dressed in an irresistible, Asian-inspired sweet-and-sour vinaigrette.

  • 10 of 16

    Southern-Style Collard Greens

    Southern-Style Collard Greens

    MonaMakela/Getty Images

    Collard greens flavored with smoked pork are a beloved comfort food in the South. These tough, slightly bitter greens need a slightly longer cooking time than many other greens, but the results are worth it. Cook them for an hour on the stovetop, and plate alongside ribs.

  • 11 of 16

    Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

    Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

    The Spruce

    This old-fashioned potato salad skips the mayonnaise, in favor of a well-seasoned oil-and-vinegar dressing. You'll be amazed by how a little bit of garlic, parsley, and olive oil wakes up the taste of gently steamed and sliced potatoes. Prepare it at least two hours ahead so the flavors can marry, and refrigerate until serving time.

  • 12 of 16

    Baked Corn Pudding

    Baked Corn Pudding

    The Spruce

    With a custardy interior, and nicely-browned crust, baked corn pudding is a wonderful way to use up a fresh bounty of summer corn. This is the classic recipe to serve with BBQ ribs, but you could also make it with frozen corn for holiday meals, adding diced red and green bell peppers for a festive appearance.

    Continue to 13 of 16 below.
  • 13 of 16

    Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

    Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

    The Spruce/Diana Rattray

    Roasting cauliflower brings out the natural sweetness of this healthy vegetable. Use it in a yummy vegetarian picnic or cookout salad, adding quinoa and toasted sliced almonds for extra protein and crunch. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

  • 14 of 16

    Tomato, Corn, and Basil Salad

    Tomato, Corn, and Basil Salad

    Molly Watson

    Use fresh-off-the-cob corn for this light and easy, no-cook summer salad. It it packed with fresh, seasonal flavors from tomatoes, sweet corn, peppery basil leaves, and shallots.

  • 15 of 16

    Cornbread Muffins

    Cornbread Muffins

    Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

    Some families wouldn't dream of eating barbecue without cornbread muffins to soak up all that good sauce. Consider this your go-to recipe for dense, slightly sweet cornbread muffins with a satisfyingly crusty exterior, and tender cornbread at the center.

  • 16 of 16

    Perfect 3-Bean Salad

    Perfect 3-Bean Salad

    Diana Rattray

    Bright, healthy, and full of flavor and snap, this vegan three-bean salad makes a yummy side dish for ribs. Feel free to add drained canned chickpeas, if you like, for extra protein and texture.