9 Barbecue Sides Perfect For A Potluck

Barbecue potlucks are a wonderful way to enjoy delicious food and great company. While the main course often gets most of the attention, the sides can make or break a meal. Here are nine barbecue sides that are sure to impress at your next potluck.

Classic Coleslaw

No barbecue is complete without a refreshing coleslaw. This crunchy and creamy side dish balances the smoky flavors of grilled meats perfectly. To make a classic coleslaw, you’ll need shredded cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing made from mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and a touch of mustard. You can add celery seeds or poppy seeds for an extra burst of flavor. Coleslaw can be made ahead of time, allowing the flavors to meld together, making it an ideal choice for potlucks.

Baked Beans

Baked beans are a staple at any barbecue. This hearty side dish combines beans with a sweet and savory sauce made from molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, and spices. For a rich and smoky flavor, consider adding some bacon or smoked sausage to the mix. Baked beans can be cooked slowly in a crockpot, freeing up your oven for other dishes and making it easy to transport them to your potluck. Their robust flavor and satisfying texture make them a favorite among guests.

Potato Salad

Potato salad is a versatile side dish that complements a wide variety of barbecue meats. A classic potato salad typically includes boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, celery, onions, and a dressing made from mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar. For a twist, try adding pickles or fresh herbs like dill. You can also experiment with different dressings, such as a tangy vinaigrette for a lighter option. Potato salad can be served chilled or at room temperature, making it a convenient choice for outdoor gatherings.


Cornbread is a comforting side that pairs beautifully with barbecue. Its slightly sweet and crumbly texture is perfect for sopping up sauces. Traditional cornbread is made from cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and butter. You can enhance its flavor by adding ingredients like cheese, jalapeños, or honey. Cornbread can be baked in a cast-iron skillet for a crispy crust or in a regular baking dish for a softer texture. This versatile side is always a hit at potlucks.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a crowd-pleaser at any gathering. This creamy, cheesy dish is comforting and indulgent. To make a classic mac and cheese, cook macaroni noodles and mix them with a rich cheese sauce made from butter, flour, milk, and a blend of cheeses like cheddar and Gruyere. For added flavor, consider topping it with breadcrumbs and baking until golden and bubbly. Macaroni and cheese can be made ahead and reheated, making it a practical option for potlucks.

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a healthy and flavorful addition to any barbecue spread. Popular choices include bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and asparagus. Toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs before grilling them until tender and slightly charred. Grilled vegetables not only add color and variety to your potluck but also cater to vegetarian and health-conscious guests. They can be served hot off the grill or at room temperature, making them easy to prepare in advance.

Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a versatile and refreshing side dish that’s perfect for potlucks. Cooked pasta is combined with vegetables like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers, and often includes ingredients like olives, cheese, and salami. The dressing can be as simple as olive oil and vinegar, or you can use a creamy dressing for a richer flavor. Pasta salad is best when made a few hours in advance, allowing the flavors to meld. It’s a great way to incorporate fresh produce into your barbecue spread.

Fruit Salad

A fresh fruit salad is a light and refreshing complement to heavier barbecue dishes. Use a variety of colorful fruits like berries, melons, grapes, and citrus for a visually appealing and delicious side. You can add a drizzle of honey or a splash of lime juice to enhance the natural sweetness of the fruit. For added texture, consider mixing in some nuts or shredded coconut. Fruit salad can be made ahead of time and is a healthy option that everyone can enjoy.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a classic and easy-to-make potluck side. Hard-boiled eggs are halved and filled with a creamy mixture of egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings. You can get creative with toppings like paprika, chives, or bacon bits. Deviled eggs are portable and can be prepared in advance, making them a convenient option for potlucks. Their bite-sized nature and rich flavor make them a popular choice among guests.

These nine barbecue sides offer a mix of flavors, textures, and colors that will complement any barbecue main dish and delight your potluck guests. Whether you stick with classic recipes or add your own twist, these sides are sure to be a hit.

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