20 side dishes to bring to summer cookouts – Yardbarker

By | June 19, 2022

We like to take full advantage of the summer weather by doing everything outside: exercising, relaxing, and yes, cooking and eating. We host barbecues and attend cookouts, some of which are potluck-style. If you do the same and need some side dish ideas, we can help! Most of these suggestions are chilled, some can be served room temp, and a few require heating or reheating—which can be done easily on a grill. Here are 20 side dishes to bring to summer cookouts.
Ambrosia is one of those things that doesn’t seem like it will taste good until you actually try it. That’s probably because nearly everything comes from a can or a bag or a tub. This version from Insanely Good Recipes contains canned pineapple, canned mandarin oranges, Cool Whip, sour cream, mini marshmallows, and shredded coconut, and it tastes terrific. Plus, with this chilled salad, there’s no need to heat, reheat, or keep heated!
A little smokey and a little sweet, these baked beans from The Chunky Chef include bacon, onion, and green peppers in a sauce that combines brown sugar, molasses, cider vinegar, ketchup, and dry mustard. They also only take a little effort but will get a lot of people talking at your next cookout. 
Don’t worry, we’ll get to classic coleslaw in a bit. But we also enjoy a good broccoli slaw complete with shredded broccoli and carrots, broccoli florets, apples, cranberries, green onions, and toasted almonds. This recipe from Flavor the Moments is creamy but doesn’t use any mayo!
A caesar salad is a crowd-pleaser that’s also simple: all you need is Romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, croutons, and dressing. It’s so easy that you might even want to make the croutons and dressing from scratch, which this recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen can show you how to do. It serves four, but you can adjust the quantity right on the webpage.
Caprese salad isn’t a traditional salad—it’s basically just rows of juicy tomatoes, thick buffalo mozzarella, and basil drizzled in oil and balsamic vinegar. You can probably figure out this chilled cookout side dish yourself, but Food Network has the details if needed.
Chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, avocado, cilantro, and feta cheese combine to form this salad from Natasha’s Kitchen. The whole thing is tossed in a simple, homemade dressing made of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
The ultimate chilled cookout side dish, coleslaw is refreshing to eat and refreshingly easy to prepare. This version from Spend with Pennies mixes carrots with two types of cabbage and is a six-ingredient recipe that includes items you probably already have in your kitchen.
Quick, easy, and packed with flavor, collard greens could become your new go-to green dish. And the taste isn’t bitter—this recipe from Cookie and Kate is bursting with the flavors of garlic, olive oil, salt, and optional red pepper flakes.
Cornbread is an oft-forgotten but fantastic cookout side dish (unless you’re in the South, where it is rarely forgotten). It’s portable, as you can just bring it in the pan or skillet and let everyone cut slices. Try this version from Bless This Mess, which is billed as the best.
If you’re short on both time and ingredients, this refreshing cucumber salad from The Cookie Rookie is the perfect solution. All you need are two cucumbers, a red onion, apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, and salt & pepper.
One of the simplest side dishes is fruit salad—no recipe needed! Just cut up strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, any type of melon or berry, and whatever other fruit you’d like, and combine it all in a bowl. In addition to having a simple prep, it’s also simple to transport and serve!
Corn is best straight from the cob, and cobbed corn is best on the grill. There are at least three ways to grill corn—in foil, in husks, or directly on the grates—and  A Couple Cooks can show you all three. Choose whichever option is most convenient for your cookout!
Green beans are a cinch to make, and they’re even easier in this recipe from Gimme Some Grilling. They suggest using a foil packet, which is perfect for summer cookouts, as you can cook all the green beans without taking up a lot of space on the grill—especially if it’s your host’s grill!
Of course, some of the best veggies to grill in the summer are summer squash! Yellow squash and zucchini are our favorites, and all they need are olive oil and some seasonings.  This recipe from The Whole Cook suggests dried parsley, garlic powder, and salt.
When you have a crowd-pleasing side dish like mac & cheese, you’ll need a recipe fit for a crowd. This recipe from CDKitchen serves 50 (but the quantity is also customizable) and is sure to get you a standing ovation from your cookout crowd. You can even heat or re-heat the entire pan on a grill!                                                                                                            
Just because macaroni salad is a classic cookout side dish, it doesn’t mean it has to be bland or boring. This version from Sugar Spun Run is bursting with flavor, as it contains macaroni, gherkins, red onion, red pepper, celery, and egg in a dressing made from mayo, sour cream, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and a handful of spices. 
Remember the Caprese salad from earlier? Here it is in pasta salad form courtesy of Piping Pot Curry. It uses orzo as the pasta of choice along with grape tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, basil leaves, and a dressing made from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and honey.
Pickles are so much more than a topping you buy in a jar from the store. Upgrade your pickle offerings by pickling your own cucumbers at home. Don’t be intimidated—this recipe from A Spicy Perspective requires no canning, and your pickles can be ready to serve in 24 hours!
Potato chips complement nearly every cookout meal, but don’t just buy a bag off the supermarket shelf. As Bowl of Delicious will tell you, all you need are three ingredients: potatoes, olive oil, and salt. (Optional ingredients include pepper, paprika, garlic powder, rosemary, and other spices.)
What’s a cookout without potato salad? Probably a slightly more healthy one, as potato salad is often loaded with mayonnaise. This version from Meaningful Eats—made with red potatoes—cuts the mayo with sour cream, and also includes hard-boiled eggs, celery, green onions, and sweet pickles.
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