30 Best Sides to Take to a Cookout

If you’re invited to a cookout or backyard barbecue and asked to bring a side dish, I’ve got you covered with these 30 Best Sides to Take to a Cookout! Here you’ll find recipes for baked beans, potato salads, pasta salads, veggie salads, veggie side dishes, easy appetizers and desserts. Each recipe has tips for how to make it ahead and transport it.

Collage of artichoke tapenade, cucumber salad, chopped vegetable salad and baked beans.

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs with Jalapeno get the party started, Perfect Roasted Potato Wedges pair with any entree that’s being served, Antipasto Pasta Salad with Parmesan Herb Dressing is sure to be a hit and folks won’t be able to wait to get to the Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie!

Have fun at your cookout!! Be sure to check out these 30 Easy Potluck Ideas, too!

Appetizers

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs with Jalapeno – With Instant Pot Instructions
Deviled eggs are always the hit of the party! Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs with Jalapeno are a fun Southern twist on traditional deviled eggs perfect any time.
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Close-up photo of Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs garnished with jalapeno.

MAKE AHEAD:

  • Cook eggs 3 to 4 days in advance. Peel and leave them uncut, then store them in an airtight container. As with most foods, a food safety issue begins to develop after 5 to 7 days.
  • Make the filling 1 to 2 days ahead of time. Store it in a zipper-top bag and remove as much air as possible to prevent discoloration. When ready to fill, snip a corner of the bag and fill the egg white halves.
  • Fill deviled eggs 1 day ahead of time. Store in an airtight container. If you’re adding any crunchy or fresh toppings, wait until you’re ready to serve the eggs so the topping stays fresh and crunchy.
Loaded Roasted Eggplant Dip (Baba Ganoush)
Loaded Roasted Eggplant Dip, also known as Baba Ganoush, is easy to make, healthy and made even better topped with fresh crunchy cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and parsley. Serve on its own as a healthy snack, game day addition or as part of a Mediterranean-inspired feast.
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Loaded Roasted Eggplant Dip (Baba Ganoush) in blue dish with pita wedges and pine nuts.

MAKE AHEAD: The eggplant can be roasted up to four days ahead.  The baba ganoush can be made 2 days ahead.  Garnish with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and parsley when ready to serve.

7-Layer Dip
This Healthier 7-Layer Dip has lots of fresher and lighter ingredients!  You're going to love serving it at your game day gathering–or any gathering.
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MAKE AHEAD: Dip can be assembled up to the shredded lettuce layer 1 day ahead of time.  Cover and refrigerate.  When ready to serve, add the lettuce, tomato and black olives.

Artichoke Tapenade
Bold, intensely-flavored Artichoke Tapenade is a twist on traditional Provencal tapenade and the perfect addition to your charcuterie or cheese board!
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Artichoke Tapenade in blue bowl.

MAKE AHEAD: Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Very Veggie Gazpacho (The Best Vegetable Gazpacho)
This deliciously crunchy and chunky vegetable-packed version of gazpacho, the classic cold Spanish soup is as refreshing as it gets!  Very Veggie Gazpacho – The Best Vegetable Gazpacho has tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, scallions, and plenty of garlic float in a tangy tomato juice base you'll crave all summer long!
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Glass of Very Veggie Gazpacho on light blue background garnished with lemon wedges.

MAKE AHEAD: Best served within 24 hours but will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days

Salads

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts Goat Cheese and Honey Balsamic Dressing
Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Honey Balsamic Dressing is a classic, elegant salad perfect for any occasion!
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Photo of Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts Goat Cheese and Honey Balsamic Dressing on white oval platter.

MAKE AHEAD:  Beets can be roasted and peeled 2-3 days in advance.  Refrigerate until needed.  Dressing can be combined 3-4 days in advance and refrigerated but will keep for up to a week. Assemble on site.

Antipasto Pasta Salad with Parmesan Herb Vinaigrette
Antipasto Pasta Salad with Parmesan Herb Vinaigrette is the perfect addition to your backyard barbecue, picnic, pot luck or just an easy, delicious grab-and-go lunch! Serve alongside Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with Peperonata and Rasberry Ricotta Cake with Almonds for an Italian-inspired feast your guests will rave about.
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Close-up photo of Antipasto Pasta Broccoli Salad with Parmesan Herb Vinaigrette.

MAKE AHEAD: Can be assembled 2 days ahead of time. Leave the dressing off the salad; otherwise, the pasta will soak it up. Dress the salad when you’re ready to serve.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad with Chickpeas
Fresh summer vegetables and pantry ingredients combine for a crispy, crunchy healthy salad you'll want to put on repeat! Mediterranean Chopped Vegetable Salad with Chickpeas is satisfying on its own or try it on the side with your favorite Mediterranean-inspired recipe!
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Mediterranean Chopped Salad with Chickpeas in blue serving bowl garnished with fresh parsley.

MAKE AHEAD:  Can be made part-way a day ahead of time. Leave the feta cheese out and the dressing off and refrigerate it until needed. The dressing can also be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated. When ready to serve, add the cheese and dressing.

Green Bean and Radish Salad Recipe with Mustard-Caper Vinaigrette
A simple, rustic vegetable salad with French country flair that's perfect on the side with whatever you're grilling this summer! Green Bean and Radish Salad with Mustard – Caper Vinaigrette is easy to make and comes together quickly!
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Green Bean and Radish Salad with Mustard Caper Vinaigrette in wooden bowl with serving utensils.

MAKE AHEAD: You can get the salad prepped, and then when ready to serve, combine the green bean salad. Because there is an acid in the dressing, it will cause the beans to turn bland and army green, so don’t add it until ready to serve. You can blanch the green beans and make the dressing 1-2 days ahead of time.  Slice the radishes just before serving.

Mediterranean Barley Salad
This fresh, crunchy, healthy Mediterranean Barley Salad is the perfect salad to add to your meal prep routine! Full of crunchy vegetables like green beans and red bell pepper, it stays fresh, flavorful and is super versatile! Add protein with tuna, chicken or keep it vegetarian with chickpeas for a well-rounded grab-and-go lunch!
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Mediterranean Barley Salad with Green Beans, Red Bell Pepper, Olives and Feta in serving bowl with serving spoon garnished with fresh parsley.

MAKE AHEAD: Cook the beans and the barley as directed.  Combine with the other ingredients, stir and refrigerate.  Combine the vinaigrette ingredients and refrigerate separately.  When ready to serve, pour the vinaigrette over the salad, stir and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.  Can be made up to 4 days ahead of time.

Southwestern Orzo Pasta Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
Southwestern Orzo Pasta Salad with Cilantro – Lime Dressing is a fun, colorful and super flavorful addition to your Southwestern or Mexican-inspired meal!
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MAKE AHEAD: Combine salad to the point of adding the dressing. Cover and refrigerate. Make the dressing and store it separately. When ready to serve, add the dressing and stir.

Sicilian Cauliflower Salad
Sicilian Cauliflower Salad is super easy and made with simple pantry ingredients you may already have on hand.
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Sicilian Cauliflower Salad - Overhead close-up shot of salad garnished with parsley sprigs

MAKE AHEAD: This salad keeps for 3-4 days (at least) in the refrigerator.  Stir from the bottom up before serving.

Mediterranean Farro Salad
Mediterranean Farro Salad with a light, lemony dressing, crunchy vegetables and feta cheese is light, refreshing and perfect year-round!
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Greek Farro Salad - Overhead hero shot of salad on round platter garnished with parsley

MAKE AHEAD: Combine the salad but leave the dressing and feta cheese off.  When ready to serve, add the dressing and feta cheese.

Creamy Cucumber Salad with Yogurt
Creamy Cucumber Salad with Yogurt is a delicious contemporary version of the sour cream-based cucumber salad of Poland and Eastern Europe. Greek yogurt makes it healthier and ranch dressing takes it to another flavor level!
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Creamy Cucumber Salad with Yogurt in serving bowl with antique serving spoon.

MAKE AHEAD:  Slice the cucumbers, chop the scallions and refrigerate.  (May be combined in the same container.)  Make the dressing and refrigerate.  When ready to serve, combine the cucumbers/scallions with the dressing.

Creamy Potato Cucumber Salad
Creamy Potato Cucumber Salad is my mom's award-winning recipe!  This delicious potato cucumber salad has all the classic ingredients like hard-cooked eggs and a creamy mayonnaise dressing, but it's kicked up with horseradish and the coolness of cucumber for an award-winning combination. 
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Creamy Potato Cucumber Salad in green and white serving bowl with serving spoon.

MAKE AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead of time.  Leave eggs and cucumber out.  Stir those in before serving.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
Greek Orzo Pasta Salad is full of fresh, crunchy vegetables and bright, summery flavors!  It's the perfect crowd-pleasing salad to take to your summer get-together.
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Greek Orzo Pasta Salad - Overhead hero shot of salad in white bowl on white distressed background with serving spoon, garnished with parsley and lemon

MAKE AHEAD: Drizzle a small amount of the dressing over salad, seal tightly and refrigerate. When ready to serve, add the remaining dressing and stir.

Cauliflower Antipasto Salad
Cauliflower Antipasto Salad is easy summertime fare that’s light, crunchy, crazy flavorful and perfect for feeding a crowd!
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Cauliflower Antipasto Salad - Being served on wood serving plates

MAKE AHEAD: Salad keeps very well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Cauliflower Tabouli with Lemon Tahini Dressing
Cauliflower Tabouli with Lemon Tahini Dressing and Feta Cheese is a fresh, healthful spin on classic tabouli!  Loads of fresh herbs, vegetables, feta cheese and a lively dressing make this a salad you'll want to make all summer long!
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Cauliflower Tabouli with Lemon Tahini Dressing and Feta Cheese - Overhead hero shot of salad on large oval platter garnished with parsley and lemons

MAKE AHEAD:  Dressing can be made 2-3 days ahead of time.

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pepperoni
Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Pepperoni is a cool and easy way to enjoy all the elements of pizza during summer without turning on your oven! Perfect for picnics, potlucks and summer get-togethers!
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Caprese Pizza Pasta Salad

MAKE AHEAD: The pasta can be cooked 1 day ahead of time.  Toss with olive oil and refrigerate.  The dressing can also be made 1 day ahead of time; refrigerate until ready to serve.

Potato Green Bean Salad
Potato Green Bean Salad with Olives and Feta Cheese is a lovely Greek-inspired twist on traditional potato salad. Buttery Yukon Gold potatoes, crisp-tender green beans, red onion, feta cheese and Kalamata olives with a lively vinaigrette deliver a side dish with bright, bold flavor!
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Potato Green Bean Salad in white bowl with lemon wedges.

MAKE AHEAD: If serving later, toss potatoes with a small amount of the dressing and refrigerate until needed. Add remaining dressing just before serving.

Tunisian Salad Platter
Tunisian Salad Platter (or Assiette Tunisienne) makes an impressive presentation for a buffet!  Full of fresh, crunchy vegetables, olives, capers and drizzled with a simple red wine vinaigrette, this is THE salad to make all summer long!
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Tunisian Salad Platter (Assiette Tunisienne)

MAKE AHEAD: Dressing can be made 1-2 days ahead of time. Salad is best assembled fresh.

Greek Village Salad with Marinated Feta Cheese
Greek Village Salad with Marinated Feta Cheese is a fresh, crunchy twist on the classic Greek salad!
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Greek Vegetable Salad with Marinated Feta Cheese - Close-up shot of salad in wood bowl

MAKE AHEAD: Salad can be combined 1 day ahead of time with dressing left off.  Add dressing when ready to serve.

Chicken Pasta Salad with Spinach Buttermilk Dressing
Chicken Pasta Salad with Spinach Buttermilk Dressing is a cool, creamy, delicious and budget-friendly way to feed and please a crowd!
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MAKE AHEAD: Salad can be combined 1 day ahead of time with dressing left off.  Add dressing when ready to serve.

Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Yogurt Dressing
Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Yogurt Dressing with Greek yogurt, fresh orange juice, vanilla and agave is a modern spin on classic fruit salad.
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Summer Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Yogurt Dressing

MAKE AHEAD: Make the dressing and refrigerate. Melon balls can be cut 1 day ahead of time. Slice strawberries and add blueberries just before serving. Add dressing when ready to serve.

Potatoes, Vegetable and Bean Sides

Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans
Kicked-Up Canned Baked Beans is an easy and delicious way to make ordinary canned baked beans taste as though you made them from scratch!
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Kicked Up Canned Baked Beans - Overhead shot of the baked beans in white baking dish

MAKE AHEAD:  Beans can be assembled to the point of baking up to 2 days ahead. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking or add additional baking time. Place in a cooler or other insulated carrier to transport. SLOW COOKER:  Can also be made in the slow cooker but you won’t get the caramelized top and the beans could be a bit soupier.  Place a clean kitchen towel over the slow cooker then place the lid on. The kitchen towel will absorb some of the steam which can water down the beans.

Perfect Roasted Potato Wedges
Roasted Potato Wedges are a side dish that goes with almost anything!  Here's how to make perfectly crispy, seasoned and delicious roasted potato wedges every time!
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Perfect Roasted Potato Wedges with ketchup in white enamel tray.

MAKE AHEAD: Roast per the recipe at home. Place in a heated metal or aluminum pan and cover with aluminum foil. When you arrive at your destination, uncover and place in a 200-degree oven to keep warm.

Baby Hasselback Potato Bake with Cheddar and Bacon
Baby Hasselback Potato Bake with Cheddar and Bacon is super simple, great to take to a party because it can be made ahead of time and guaranteed to be a hit!
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MAKE AHEAD: Ask your host if they’ll have room in their oven to finish the potatoes. Roast the potatoes at home. Place in a baking dish, cover and place in a cooler to transport. (Because they’re insulated, coolers also help to keep food hot.) At your host’s home, top with the butter, cheese and bacon. Preheat their oven to 375 degrees. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Cream Cheese Corn Casserole
This easy, decadent cheesy corn casserole is soon to become your family's new favorite side dish! Cream Cheese Corn Casserole with Green Chiles is delicious served up right out of the skillet or made ahead and baked up hot and bubbling later.
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MAKE AHEAD: Can be made 1 to 2 days ahead of time to the point of baking. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Let sit out at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake as directed.  Place in a cooler or other insulated carrier to transport.

Desserts

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie
Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie is super easy and only requires minimal baking for the crust. The bottom layer is light and creamy and the top is sweet and fruity for a pie you'll want to make all summer long!
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Photo of a slice of Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie on a white plate.

MAKE AHEAD: The crust can be baked and stored covered at room temperature for 1-2 days.  For best results, the pie is best enjoyed within 1-2 days but will keep fully assembled in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Blueberry Crumble Bars
Blueberry Crumble Bars are an easy and delicious way to enjoy blueberries this summer berry season! Frozen berries work just as well so you can enjoy this divine dessert all year long!
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Blueberry Crumble Bars

MAKE AHEAD: I recommend refrigerating the bars after they cool.

Enjoy!

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