Turn your BBQ chicken into a finger-licking good feast with these 17 savory side dishes.
Summer is upon us once again, and you know the best thing to do during this season? Barbecue!
This weekend, treat your family and friends to a nice backyard feast. BBQ Chicken, smoky baked beans, creamy coleslaw, and homemade cornbread will make your next family cookout a smashing success.
When it comes to summer barbecues, you can never go wrong with the classics. In fact, as much as I love BBQ chicken, it’s the side dishes that really complete the experience for me.
You just can’t have a good BBQ without creamy potato salad or sweet baked beans.
But what else can you serve with barbecue Chicken? Well, worry not, because I’m here to guide you. From veggies to beans to starches, these sides will set your barbecue feast apart from all the rest.
17 Savory Side Dishes to Eat With BBQ Chicken
1. Baked Beans
Sweet baked beans are a backyard BBQ classic. Combine navy beans, bacon, onion, molasses, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce for that classic baked bean flavor. You can make this in the crockpot or on the stovetop. Either way… it’s irresistibly good.
Whether you opt for the rich and creamy mayo-based slaw or the tangy vinegar-based one, creamy coleslaw pairs perfectly with the savory flavors of barbecue chicken.
Both slaws have light and zesty flavors that balance out the smokiness of the chicken. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to whip up! Just chop some cabbage, onions, and carrots, mix, and season with your preferred dressing.
And if you’re in a hurry, you can always use pre-packaged coleslaw for a quick and easy shortcut.
3. Mac & Cheese
Now, who doesn’t love mac and cheese? This side dish is so creamy and satisfying, it’s always welcome at any party – especially barbecues! The cheesiness complements the smoky and savory flavors of the barbeque, creating a drool-worthy partnership.
Cornbread is another long-time staple at any backyard BBQ. Who ever heard of a cookout without the bread! Of course, I’m not talking about those pre-made mixes. But cooking up some sweet, fluffy homemade cornbread from scratch.
Top with some butter or honey and you’ve got the perfect side. If you really want to impress your guests, you can also serve it with jams or jellies. Yum! Classic Southern food.
It doesn’t get much better than fluffy homemade biscuits. Especially when they’re served up with BBQ chicken, beans, and all the fixings. Spread some butter on top and you’ve got classic comfort food that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Making biscuits for the first time? Here’s a tip: do not over mix the batter, or else it won’t rise.
What’s a barbecue without pasta salad!?
There are so many different types of pasta salad you can make. But my personal favorite is a good Greek pasta salad. Filled with Fusilli pasta, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese. It’s a refreshing side that pairs perfectly with the savory main dish.
These wedge fries taste oh so sinful you might think they’re deep-fried, but they’re not – they’re baked! How do you achieve such rich and flavorful wedge fries without soaking them in tons of oil?
The key is to boil them for 3 minutes before baking. This process breaks up the starches on the spuds’ surface, making them super crispy without having to cook them in too much oil.
You can leave the skin on or peel them off – either way, they will taste incredible, especially when served alongside barbecue chicken.
Just like potato, its sweet cousin also makes for a satisfying and flavorful side dish. Whether you make sweet potato fries, baked sweet potatoes, or mashed sweet potatoes, you’re sure to satisfy a hungry crowd. The sweetness also cuts the richness of the barbecue, making it an excellent side dish.
Since you’re probably already using the grill, why not add some corn on the cob!
This classic side dish pairs perfectly with BBQ chicken. Slather on some butter, a pinch of salt, pepper and you’re ready for summer.
Sweet, crunchy, buttery corn on the cob is a crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for backyard BBQ’s, picnics, and summer cookouts.
10. Corn Pudding
Ok… so corn on the cob is a classic but if you’re looking to spoil your guests, serve them some homemade corn pudding. It’s classic comfort food just like grandma used to make. You will be loved and cherished forever. Seriously… it’s that good.
Best of all, it’s super easy to make. You just combine all the ingredients. Pour it into a casserole dish and bake it in the oven. This sweet, creamy corn pudding is sure to be a favorite at any get together.
11. Potato Salad
When it comes to side dishes, potato salad is a classic. This dish works well with just about every entrée, but especially BBQ chicken. It’s creamy, hearty, and downright delicious.
Quick tip: Make the potato salad even more filling by adding hard-boiled eggs into the mix.
12. Fried Okra
Fried okra is slightly less traditional, but these bite-sized delights are the perfect addition to any barbecue.
Plus, this tasty Southern dish is super simple to make. Simply coat the okra in cornmeal batter and fry until golden and crispy. You’ll be surprised just how fast these guys vanish from the party table.
If you think tomatoes can’t stand on their own, think again! You’d be surprised at how addictive fried green tomatoes are. This dish uses firm, unripe, green tomatoes that are sliced and soaked in cornmeal batter. They are then fried to perfection in oil or bacon fat. The result is subtly tart tomatoes coated in crunchy and savory batter. Yum!
There’s nothing more refreshing then freshly cut watermelon in the summer. This is a must-have at any backyard BBQ. Plus, it’s super simple to put together. Cut up thick wedges of watermelon, place them on a tray and watch them disappear! Especially on a hot summer day.
To change it up, you can also grill fruit. Peaches, nectarines, and even watermelon are particularly tasty when kissed by the grill.
Grilling brings out the flavors and adds a smokiness that pairs well with the sweet and savory barbecue chicken.
What better way to fill those tummies than by serving a bowl of steaming white rice with your barbecue chicken? The starch beautifully soaks up the smoky sauce of the chicken, making it taste phenomenal!
Want a healthier version? Use brown rice instead. Just take note that brown rice takes much longer to cook, and you’ll want to soak the uncooked rice in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
16. Quinoa Salad
If you are looking for an even lighter and healthier version of rice, then go for quinoa. This super grain is packed with protein, potassium, calcium, and a ton of other nutrients. It tastes similar to rice, albeit a crunchier consistency – but tasty, nevertheless.
Make a salad out of this grain by adding it to tomatoes, basil, corn, and mozzarella. Then drizzle it with a balsamic vinaigrette for that tangy and refreshing flavor.
We can’t forget dessert! No family cookout is complete without a dessert to top it all off. And in the summer, nothing beats strawberry shortcake.
It’s the perfect summer dessert. Loaded with fresh strawberries, flaky biscuits, and topped with whipped cream. It’s a sweet, creamy, refreshing way to end your meal.
And that’s a wrap! Combine a few of these side dishes at your next BBQ and you’ll have a feast fit for kings (and queens :).
Also, if you have any other favorite sides, please let me know in the comments below!