18 Tasty Side Dishes To Serve With BBQ Ribs

If your mouth is salivating at the thought of eating some BBQ ribs, then you should try adding some of these incredible side dishes also.

Any style of tenderized ribs are guaranteed to be incredible when served alongside these drool-inspiring dishes.

Regardless of whether you desire grilled, smoked, or baked side dishes, these dishes are jam packed with flavor and texture.

18 Tasty Side Dishes To Serve With BBQ Ribs

Whenever you are hosting a cookout or a barbecue party in your yard, you should ensure that you provide side dishes of your choosing.

These side dishes (see also ‘The 35 Tastiest BBQ Side Dishes‘) also act as a much needed cleanser for your palate in order to contrast the tangy flavor of the BBQ ribs. 

You should bear in mind that cooking your loved ones ribs is incredibly time-consuming. You should also note that cooking side dishes can take a long period of time also.

Thus, if you are looking for simplistic classics to compliment your ribs, then these dishes are perfect for you. 

1) Baked Beans

BBQ ribs are complemented perfectly by the silky smooth flavor of tomato-based soups. This is why bean salads or baked beans are an incredibly popular side dish that is served alongside ribs (for more baked bean side dishes, check out our post here).

2) Mac & Cheese

This southern classic consists of pasta (see also our favorite pasta side dishes) that oozes with cheese. This is one of the best side dishes that you can serve alongside BBQ ribs.

Its vibrant color looks incredible alongside the reddish tint of the ribs, and its abundance of cheese-flavor compliments that smoky hue of the BBQ ribs also (see also ‘33 Simple BBQ Recipes Perfect For Cookouts‘).

You can enhance this side dish even further by adding panic breadcrumbs for an added crisp! 

3) Green Tomatoes (Fried)

Whilst serving ripened cherry tomatoes is often a popular option at a BBQ, their counterpart is also a great side dish to serve alongside BBQ ribs.

Green tomatoes may be firmer and more sour in taste, however, if you add a layer of cornmeal (see also ‘5 Cornmeal Substitutes‘) to them prior to frying, you will create the perfect side dish for your ribs. 

4) Coleslaw

This summery side dish (see also ‘20 Delicious Side Dishes To Serve With BBQ Chicken Wings‘) is perfect when served alongside BBQ ribs.

The juicy corn kernels, crunch cabbage, and sour tart contained within this dish is perfect to contrast the smoky flavor of the BBQ ribs, refreshing your palate to perfection.

Drizzle on some light garlic dressing for added zest. 

5) Cornbread With Jalapenos 

Whenever you are devouring BBQ ribs, you will need a spongy side dish in order to soak up the meat juices and any glaze on your plate.

This is why cornbread is the perfect side dish to serve alongside BBQ ribs (see also ‘9 Best BBQ Subscription Boxes‘).

This side dish is undoubtedly popular, however, if you want to add some spice to it, then you should layer it with pickled jalapeños before serving! 

6) Parmesan Corn On The Cob

Add some extra mess to your BBQ ribs by pairing them with some smoky parmesan corn on the cob.

You can grill or BBQ your corn, and smother it in garlic butter to add more flavor.

You can also sprinkle sea salt and pepper onto your cobs in order to add more contrasting flavors and seasoning. This is the perfect summertime side dish! 

7) Corn Fritters

An alternative corn-based side dish comes in the form of corn fritters. These fritters are delightfully crispy on the outside whilst remaining sweet and tenderized on the inside.

Similarly to cornbread, these fritters are perfect for mopping up any leftover meat juices or BBQ glaze from your plate. 

8) Tempura Pickles

These tempura pickles are utterly to die for! They are coated in tempura batter after being brined to perfection.

Your guests will more than thank you for this unique and distinctive side dish and you may even convert some pickle haters! 

9) Side Salad

Whilst it can be fun to be creative when making your side dishes, you cannot go wrong with a classic side salad.

Making a simplistic green salad is quick and easy to do, and you are guaranteed to satisfy your guests’ needs to contrast their ribs with a healthier side dish.

These salads are crunchy, healthy, and indisputably refreshing. 

10) Grits 

If you are seeking a wholesome side dish that is perfectly easy to make, then you should choose to make some cheese grits. This dish can be baked to perfection in no time at all.

Simply combine some milk, eggs, cheese, and hot sauce in order to make this casserole-style dish ooze with an abundance of flavors and textures.

You can also add corn kernels to your dish in order to implement some surprisingly sweet, contrasting flavor. 

11) Fruit Salad

You may be confused by the idea of serving dessert alongside BBQ ribs, however the sweet flavor of BBQ ribs is perfectly complimented by a refreshingly sweet fruit salad side dish.

This is also the perfect way for your guests to cleanse their palate and contrast the tangy taste of BBQ. 

12) Sweet Potato Fries

French fries are far too boring to serve alongside your BBQ ribs. Thus, you should opt for some sweet potato fries instead.

These perfectly crispy fries (see also ‘20 Loaded Fries Recipes Perfect For Sharing‘) are wonderful when served alongside BBQ ribs, and they are undoubtedly more-ish. 

13) Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Serving a refreshing cucumber and tomato salad is the best way to ensure that your guests are satisfied.

This salad encapsulates everything summery, whilst brimming with an abundance of texture and light flavors.

Use slices of green pepper alongside your fresh tomatoes and cucumbers in order to add some additional texture to your dish.

Your guests will thank you for this healthier dish that balances out the heavy nature of your BBQ ribs. 

14) Broccoli Salad

Another means of providing a lighter contrast to your BBQ ribs is to serve them alongside a broccoli salad.

This side dish amalgamates savory bacon, broccoli and a creamy sauce. It is one of the healthiest side dishes that you can serve whilst remaining utterly delicious. 

15) Macaroni Salad

If you want to serve something that is wholesome and affordable, then macaroni salad is the side dish for you!

By serving this creamy pasta salad, you can ensure that your guests are fully satisfied without spending a fortune in the process!

This is a far lighter alternative to serving a mac and cheese side dish, but it is just as satisfying. 

16) Rainbow Slaw 

If you are looking for the perfect side dish to catch the eyes of your guests, then look no further than this flavorful, colorful masterpiece.

This rainbow slaw is an excellent addition to any event, and you merely need to combine some avocado with classic coleslaw ingredients! Throw in some red and yellow peppers for added coloration. 

17) Hush Puppies

These hush puppies are made using flour and cornmeal, and they are incredibly easy to make.

Add some additional spices to your ingredients in order to bring out the impactful flavors contained within. This is the perfect finger food to serve alongside your BBQ ribs.

18) Potato Salad 

This is a highly versatile dish that is incredibly easy to make. All you need to do is ensure that you are adding herbs to your potato salad for it to be packed full of punchy, contrasting flavor.

This is the perfect complement to your BBQ ribs due to the creamy texture of the salad.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Vegetable Goes Well With BBQ Ribs?

The following vegetable dishes work well with BBQ ribs:

  • Collard Greens.
  • Herby Potato Salad.
  • Corn Fritters.
  • Tomato-based Coleslaw.
  • Spicy Jicama Salad. 

How Many Ribs Should You Serve Per Person?

If you plan to make your BBQ ribs the centerpiece of your BBQ, then you should cook enough ribs to serve 6 per person, if you choose to opt for baby back ribs.

If you choose larger ribs, then cook enough for 4-5 ribs to be served to each guest. Back ribs only require you to serve 2-3 per person. 

Which Ribs Are Better: Side Or Back?

Back ribs are more tenderized than side ribs, and they also tend to be far meatier. Thus, they are usually more expensive.

You should treat back ribs the same as side ribs by marinating them appropriately prior to cooking them. This helps to break away any connective meat tissue prior to barbecuing your meat. 

What Wine Should I Serve?

If you are cooking BBQ ribs, then choosing a red wine is the best option. California, Bordeaux, Barolo, and Cabernet, are all great wines to serve alongside your BBQ ribs.

However, if your ribs are spicier in flavor, then you should opt for a Shiraz or Malbec to compliment the spice.

What Kind Of Ribs Are The Most Tender?

Baby back ribs tend to be the more tender form of ribs. They are also usually more expensive for this reason.

Each rack weighs approximately 2 pounds. These ribs are a hot favorite amongst most BBQ fanatics due to their taste and various cooking propensities. 


To conclude, the side dishes that I have outlined above work perfectly when served alongside BBQ ribs.

Depending on the amount of glaze that you have applied to your ribs, you should choose a side dish that contrasts any tangy flavor. 

If you are looking for a simplistic, easy-to-make option, then opting for a side dish like mac & cheese is the perfect way to ensure that your guests are filled to perfection without breaking your bank account.

You can also opt for a macaroni pasta salad, or any form of green salad, and these dishes make the perfect accompaniment for BBQ ribs.

You also do not need to put in much effort at all when making these side salads, and your guests will thank you for providing these palate cleansers. 

If you are tired of serving cornbread, and see it is a boring side dish, then you should definitely consider spicing it up by adding some jalapeños to your bread.

This is just one way that you can take a traditional side dish and make it more interesting.

Cornbread and corn fritters are perfect for mopping up any excess glaze or juices that are leftover, and your guests will thank you for the ability to do so. 

Overall, you are guaranteed to find the best side dish for your BBQ ribs in the list above.

Whether you are looking for a classic side dish, or you are seeking to be more adventurous, you will definitely find the side dish to suit you in this article. Thank you for reading. 

18 Tasty Side Dishes To Serve With BBQ Ribs

18 Tasty Side Dishes To Serve With BBQ Ribs

Recipe by Jenna

Do you want to know what the best side dishes are to serve with BBQ ribs? Do you want to know the most popular side dishes to serve alongside BBQ ribs? Read on to find out more.

Course: Side Dishes
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