Wondering what to serve with ribs? We rounded up 25+ of the BEST side dishes for ribs for your next dinner or barbecue!
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes, the HARDEST part of the meal planning for me can be the side dishes!
I get super excited about the main dish, and then I get stuck planning what to serve with it. Since we’ve been all about our Slow Cooker Ribs recipe this month, I figured now was the perfect time to share some of the best ribs side dishes that are perfect whether you’re firing up the grill or tucking your ribs into the oven or slow cooker.
From summer salads and vegetables, to hearty homestyle favorites, these easy side dishes are a delicious way to complete your meal!
We’ve done all the hard work for you! Scroll through for some of our favorite things to serve with ribs at your next family dinner or summer BBQ!
Summer Sides & Salads To SErve With Ribs
Our favorite time to eat ribs is in the summer! Between family barbecues, summer holidays and 4th of July parties, pool days, and picnics, ribs always feel like a good choice in the summer! Our first collection of sides for ribs starts with barbecue side dishes and summer faves. These great sides are PERFECT for a summer rib dinner!
Corn On The Cob
It doesn’t get any more classic than summer corn on the cob during grilling season, and our go-to method for cooking it gives you juicy, flavorful corn every time!
Fresh Watermelon Fruit Salad
It doesn’t get more light and refreshing than this! Berry watermelon fruit salad topped with lime mint dressing. We love this easy summer fruit salad!
Broccoli Bacon Salad
This classic broccoli salad is one of my favorite summer salads for barbecues, picnics, and potlucks. Best of all: you can make it in advance!
Classic Potato Salad
There’s nothing like the classics! This classic American potato salad uses a few simple flavor tricks to make it amazing. It disappears at cookouts!
Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are always a win in the summer, and this easy salad is made with colorful veggies, layers of flavor, and a quick homemade dressing you’re SURE to love! (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Honey Lime Fruit Salad (The BEST!)
Honey Lime Fruit Salad is my favorite side dish. It’s perfect for weeknight dinners, baby or wedding showers, barbecues, picnics, potlucks, and more!
Settlers Beans (BEST Baked Beans Ever!)
This recipe uses a flavorful base and a secret sauce to make them the BEST baked beans ever! (Gluten free, dairy free)
Cilantro Lime Slaw (no mayo!)
If you don’t like the mayo-based dressings of other slaws, this this yummy cilantro-lime cabbage slaw is calling your name! It’s fresh, bright, and crunchy. Perfect next to the hearty flavors and texture of pork ribs!
Thai Cucumber Salad
This fresh, light cucumber salad is the perfect cool complement to warm weather or a spicy meal. You’ll love the dressing! (Gluten free, vegan)
Easy Marinated Tomato Salad
You only need 6 ingredients to make these delicious balsamic marinated tomatoes. Serve them as a fresh side, or use them as a topping for all kinds of goodies! (Vegan, Paleo, Whole30)
Crisp, cool, and creamy, this classic coleslaw recipe is delicious next to a rack of smoky, savory ribs! (You’ll love our easy coleslaw dressing!)
Watermelon Star Sparklers + Lime Yogurt Dip
Are You Making Ribs For 4th Of July? These Watermelon Star Sparklers are such a cute, fun side dish to serve with them! (Don’t miss the easy lime yogurt dip we serve with them!)
Peach Berry Fruit Salad (Paleo or Vegan!)
This summer fruit salad uses the BEST combination of fresh peaches and berries and a bright, tangy dressing everyone loves! (Paleo or Vegan)
Homestyle Sides To SErve With Ribs
At our house, there are two main types of meals we have when we make ribs. The first is a summer bbq, which we covered above. The second is when we’re craving homestyle comfort food, kind of like what you’d find at a steakhouse or Southern comfort food restaurant. These homestyle side dishes for ribs are perfect for those comfort food cravings!
Twice Baked Potatoes
Our Twice Baked Potatoes recipe is a popular side dish that’s delicious with all sorts of dinners. We love the contrast of the crispy potato skins with the fluffy mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese. Don’t miss all our favorite add-ins and toppings in the post!
Wedge Salad With Creamy Parmesan Dressing
If you love classic wedge salad at restaurants, you’ll love making your own at home! Our easy wedge salad recipe has a creamy parmesan dressing and delicious toppings like juicy tomatoes, smoky bacon, and fresh herbs.
Crispy Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
Crispy Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with balsamic glaze make a delicious side dish you’ll come back to again and again. (Paleo, Vegan)
This is the BEST gluten-free cornbread recipe we’ve ever tried. Fluffy, sweet, and so easy to make!
Seasoned Green Beans
This easy seasoned green beans recipe is made from simple ingredients that pack in BIG flavor. You’ll love the taste of the green bean seasoning!
Glazed Roasted Carrots (Paleo + Vegan-Friendly)
This is the BEST roasted carrots recipe! Sweet-glazed carrots with gorgeous caramelized edges make the perfect side dish. (Gluten-Free, Paleo & Vegan-Friendly)
Gluten-Free Caesar Salad
This Gluten-Free Caesar Salad recipe has all of the classic flavor you crave, simply made gluten-free! Enjoy as a side or upgrade to a main dish with some chicken or shrimp!
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes (Dairy Free + Vegan Options!)
These creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes are so easy, thanks to the pressure cooker! They’re the perfect accompaniment to a hearty home-cooked meal.
Easy Lemon Asparagus
Easy sautéed asparagus with fresh lemon. You’ll love this healthy side dish! (Vegan, Paleo, Whole30)
Crispy Smashed Potatoes
Crispy, salty, savory, MAGIC. These crispy seasoned smashed potatoes have it all! They’re the perfect tasty side dish. (Gluten free, vegan & whole30)
Pear and Pomegranate Salad (Simple + Delicious!)
Looking for a side salad that’s a cut above? This is it! This pretty pear and pomegranate salad has a beautiful mix of color and flavor. You’ll love the simple dressing that ties it all together! (Gluten-Free + Vegan)
Maple Cornbread (Gluten Free & Dairy Free)
This gently sweet cornbread recipe is the perfect complement to a plate of smoky ribs. Do be sure to use pure maple syrup, not the fakey artificial stuff. It makes all the difference! (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free–or not!)
Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
These sweet potato French fries are made with amazing seasonings and baked to crispy perfection, thanks to our best tips and tricks. (Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free)
A Trick For Picking Side Dishes: Go For Contrast!
Consider Contrast! One easy way to liven up a meal is to think about CONTRAST. You don’t want a meal that’s all the same color, shape, or flavor. Right? That feels BORING. Instead you can liven things up by thinking of variety. This doesn’t have to be super complicated! It can look like:
Choose contrasting colors! Pair a green veggie + colorful fruit salad or mashed potatoes with a nice salad or roasted veggies. Aim for at least 2-3 colors and your plate will look so much more vibrant and complete! (Plus, naturally colorful foods are usually more nutritious!)
Opt for items of different temperatures! Serve warm sticky bbq ribs with a cold potato salad + watermelon. Or, choose a warm side dish (like fresh cornbread or baked beans) and a cold one (coleslaw or fruit salad). This change in temperatures feels interesting and dynamic compared to an endless slog of all the same thing.
Choose items with different textures–creamy, smooth, crunchy, crispy, sticky, thick, delicate, caramelized, saucy, etc. This could be Twice Baked Potatoes + a crisp green salad or corn on the cob + creamy coleslaw.
Try to hit different notes in your meal. Choose from some basic flavor notes–salty, sweet, sour/tangy, spicy, bitter, smoky, savory, and umami. If you’ve got a savory, salty side dish (roasted potatoes), try to hit different notes in your next side dish (sweet watermelon, tangy coleslaw, etc.) Or, if you’re using a sweet barbecue sauce for your ribs, try something tangy or salty on the side (like potatoes with parmesan cheese or pasta salad with a vinegar-based dressing.)