40 Must-Try Side Dishes to Serve with Beef Ribs

Juicy, sauce-slathered beef ribs are already incredible on their own. But the right sides can take your barbecue meal from great to spectacular. While ribs shine as the star of the cookout, don’t neglect the supporting sides.

With choices like mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad, the possibilities are endless. Read on for 40 of the best side dishes to serve with beef ribs at your next backyard barbecue or summer dinner.

Hot Side Dishes

When serving up a plate of messy, finger-licking ribs, some crave sides with comforting warmth as a counterpoint. Try these hot accompaniments:

  • Mac and cheese – Ooey, cheesy macaroni is a classic for good reason. Make it from scratch or doctor up a boxed version.

  • Baked beans – Sweet, smoky, and saucy baked beans pair perfectly with barbecued ribs. Kick them up with bacon, onion, and molasses.

  • Collard greens – Southern-style greens swimming in pot likker balance nicely with rich ribs.

  • Grits – Cheesy grits laced with hot sauce complement ribs’ spice.

  • Squash casserole – Creamy custard-like casserole with yellow squash, cheese, and buttery cracker topping.

  • Corn pudding – Sweet corn baked in a creamy custard spiked with jalapeño and cheddar.

  • Macaroni and corn casserole – Two favorites collide for the ultimate comforting side dish.

  • Green beans – Slow cooked green beans with crumbled bacon suit backyard barbecue menus.

Cool and Fresh Sides

When the weather’s hot, clean and crisp sides help balance out the heavy ribs. Try lighter dishes like:

  • Coleslaw – Tangy slaw with mayo and vinegar cuts through rich food.

  • Potato salad – Chilled, creamy potato salad provides nice contrast.

  • Pasta salad – Chill a mix of pasta, veggies, and Italian dressing.

  • Deviled eggs – These picnic classics pair nicely without weighing you down.

  • Cucumber salad – Crisp cucumbers in sour cream or vinegar dressing.

  • Watermelon – Juicy watermelon wedges for a sweet touch.

  • Corn and tomato salad – Fresh summer corn and tomatoes in a vinaigrette.

  • Broccoli salad – Broccoli, bacon, and grapes tossed in a sweet dressing.

Creative Spins on Classics

Put a new twist on traditional sides by tweaking recipes:

  • Loaded baked potato salad – Potato salad made silky with sour cream and topped with all the baked potato fixings.

  • Jalapeño mac and cheese – Spice it up with pickled jalapeños and pepper jack.

  • Pimento cheese grits – Stir in shredded pimento cheese and green onions.

  • BLT potato salad – Toss in crispy crumbled bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes.

  • Mexican street corn – Grilled corn slathered in spicy mayo, cotija, and cilantro.

Crowd-Pleasing Salads

Cool, crunchy salads round out a rib plate nicely. Whip up:

  • Wedge salad – Iceberg lettuce wedges drenched in creamy blue cheese dressing.

  • Greek salad – Tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese with lemon vinaigrette.

  • Panzanella – Italian bread and tomato salad.

  • Cabbage slaw – Thinly sliced napa cabbage in a light Asian dressing.

  • Broccoli and bacon salad – Toasted almonds add crunch.

Shareable Appetizers

Get the party started with some nibbles like:

  • Pimento cheese dip – Served with crackers or crudités.

  • Deviled eggs – Bacon, cheese, and other mix-ins amp up flavor.

  • Caprese skewers – Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.

  • Smoked salmon plate – With lemon wedges, capers, and toast points.

  • Beef or pork sliders – Mini burgers and barbecue sandwiches.

Choose Your Own Side Adventure

Ribs deserve sides with big, vibrant flavors. But focus on what your guests will enjoy rather than strictly following tradition. Offer a mix of comfort foods, lighter options, apps, and shareable bites so every preference is covered. With endless possibilities, let your menu reflect your unique style and favorites. Just make sure the plate has something green!


What are the best classic sides for ribs?

The usual barbecue suspects like baked beans, coleslaw, cornbread, and potato salad are safe choices.

What goes good with dry rub ribs?

Cool, creamy sides help balance the spices. Think coleslaw, potato salad, or cucumber salad.

Can you serve mac and cheese with ribs?

Absolutely! Cheesy and comforting, mac and cheese is a classic pairing.

What veggies go with barbecue ribs?

Grilled corn, roasted okra, braised greens, and fresh tomato salads are all great options.

What should you not serve with ribs?

Avoid heavy starches like mashed potatoes or pasta. Light sides are better complements.

The beauty of ribs is that you can take the meal in so many directions based on side dishes. Sides shouldn’t be an afterthought – with good planning, they can make your barbecue exceptional.

Cook the Perfect Juicy Beef Ribs Every Time | Dino Ribs


What do you drink with beef ribs?

If you’re serving hamburgers, steak, barbecued ribs, or beef tenderloin, only the big red wines will do. Bordeaux, California Cabernet, and Barolo are perfect matches, but if the spice turns the dish hot, zero in on Zinfandel or a similarly spicy Australian Shiraz or Argentine Malbec.

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