42 Sweet & Savory Sides for Ribs to Make Them Shine

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42 Sweet & Savory Sides for Ribs to Make Them Shine

When it comes to a barbecue, ribs often steal the show, but it’s the sides for ribs that truly complete the meal. These accompaniments are not just afterthoughts; they are essential players that balance the rich, smoky flavors of the ribs. Think of them as the unsung heroes of the barbecue spread.

By choosing the right sides, you elevate the entire dining experience, creating a well-rounded and satisfying meal. Whether it’s a casual backyard gathering or a more formal dinner, the perfect side dishes can cater to varied tastes and dietary preferences, ensuring everyone at the table is happy.

Cheesy biscuits in a skillet on a table.
Cat Head Biscuits. Photo credit: Feast + West.

Marinated Tomatoes

These marinated heirloom tomatoes capture the flavor of summer. Garden fresh tomatoes sit in a bright, bold marinade of olive oil, vinegar, fresh garlic, and oregano to create a salad that perfectly balances sweet, savory ribs.
Get the Recipe: Marinated Tomatoes

Braised Cabbage

Keep it simple yet satisfying with Braised Cabbage as your rib side. This down-to-earth dish brings out the natural sweetness of cabbage, adding a comforting element to your rib feast. Easy to make and a surefire hit with the whole family.
Get the Recipe: Braised Cabbage

Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes

Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes on a platter.
Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes. Photo credit: Grill What You Love.

Craving something hearty? Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes are here to satisfy that craving. These golden, crispy potato bites are the ultimate comfort food. Picture creamy interiors and crispy exteriors with just the right amount of seasoning. They’re the perfect sidekick for your ribs, adding a touch of comfort and nostalgia to your meal.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes

Smoked Hasselback Potatoes

If you’re smoking your ribs, why not make your sides on the smoker, too! These Smoked Hasselback Potatoes are the perfect side dish for your next cookout.
Get the Recipe: Smoked Hasselback Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

When it comes to fantastic sides for ribs, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes take the spotlight. These crispy yet tender potato wedges are infused with the earthy aroma of rosemary, creating a delightful pairing with the smoky flavors of ribs. Imagine the satisfaction of biting into a perfectly seasoned potato that’s been roasted to golden perfectionGet the Recipe: Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Top view of a bowl of coleslaw with blue cheese on top.
Blue Cheese Coleslaw. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

This easy blue cheese coleslaw is a creamy and tangy twist on a classic coleslaw recipe. This coleslaw is delicious and different and makes a fun addition to your rib dinner.
Get the Recipe: Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Rutabaga Fries

Those crispy low carb Rutabaga Fries Recipe is an excellent alternative to traditional french fries with minimum net carbs. Rutabagas is a great vegetable used regularly in the keto lifestyle, and those fries are no exception.
Get the Recipe: Rutabaga Fries

Easy Keto Pickles

If you’re looking for a side that’s both crunchy and keto-friendly, Easy Keto Pickles are your answer. These crisp, tangy delights are the ideal palate cleanser for enjoying ribs. With a hint of dill and a satisfying snap, they add a refreshing element to your meal, keeping your taste buds excited with every bite.
Get the Recipe: Easy Keto Pickles

Pickled Cabbage

A small dish and jar filled with pickled cabbage.
Pickled Cabbage. Photo credit: MOON and spoon and yum.

Crunch meets tang in this swift and effortless Pickled Cabbage. It’s the perfect condiment that’ll transform every meal into a flavor-packed delight, making it a fantastic side dish for any occasion.
Get the Recipe: Pickled Cabbage

Baked Potato Wedges

Crispy, salty Baked Potato Wedges are the perfect side dish. Just roast russet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and serve!
Get the Recipe: Baked Potato Wedges

Quick and Creamy Broccoli Apple Salad

Quick and Creamy Broccoli Apple Salad is brimming with broccoli, apples, carrots, cranberries, walnuts, and a creamy yogurt mayo dressing.
Get the Recipe: Quick and Creamy Broccoli Apple Salad

Easy Cornbread Without Buttermilk

Cornbread stacked on a plate with butter.
Easy Cornbread Without Buttermilk. Photo credit: Weightgain Recipes.

If you love traditional American BBQ-style cornbread and ribs, you’ll adore this easy cornbread recipe. It’s a fuss-free, 30-minute wonder that offers a moist, tender crumb with a golden crust.
Get the Recipe: Easy Cornbread Without Buttermilk

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Elevate your rib game with a healthier twist—Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. It’s the cheesy goodness you love, but with cauliflower goodness. Creamy, cheesy, and a guilt-free delight for your ribs gathering.
Get the Recipe: Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Wedge Salad

Let’s start with a classic, the Wedge Salad. It’s the perfect companion to ribs, offering a crisp and refreshing contrast to the rich and savory flavors. Imagine a generous wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with creamy dressing, crispy bacon bits, and tangy blue cheese crumbles. This simple yet satisfying salad provides a delightful crunch and a burst of flavors that will complement your ribs perfectly.
Get the Recipe: Wedge Salad

Air Fryer Cornbread Muffins

Pile of cornbread muffins on a white plate.
Air Fryer Cornbread Muffins. Photo credit: All Ways Delicious.

Air Fryer Cornbread Muffins are tender, flavorful, and super quick and easy to make. There’s nothing that competes with homemade cornbread made—especially when it’s made from scratch and hot out of the (air fryer) oven.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Cornbread Muffins

Accompaniment Salad

This Accompaniment Salad is the perfect complement to almost any main dish. Crisp lettuce with tomatoes, avocado, and cucumber dressed with a red wine vinaigrette and topped with parmesan cheese and croutons.
Get the Recipe: Accompaniment Salad

Smoked Mac and Cheese

It doesn’t get much better than Smoked Mac and Cheese, and the buttery-bacony topping puts this one over the top!
Get the Recipe: Smoked Mac and Cheese

Dairy-Free Coleslaw

Dairy-free coleslaw in a glass bowl with a peach linen behind it.
Dairy-Free Coleslaw. Photo credit: Fit as a Mama Bear.

Packed with fresh veggies and a healthy twist, this creamy, dairy-free coleslaw is the perfect side dish. With a delicate balance of sweet and tangy, this paleo coleslaw will become your new go-to!
Get the Recipe: Dairy-Free Coleslaw

Grilled Elote Corn Ribs

Loaded with flavor and a kiss of smoke, these elote corn ribs are as impressive looking as they are delicious! WIth a kick of spice and ready in a jiffy, there’s every reason to try these tonight!
Get the Recipe: Grilled Elote Corn Ribs

Cat Head Biscuits

Cat Head Biscuits are not only fluffy biscuits the size of a cat’s head, but they’re filled with a pocket of melted cheese. They make the perfect side dish for ribs!
Get the Recipe: Cat Head Biscuits

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

A bowl of macaroni and cheese in front of a slow cooker.
Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. Photo credit: Little Bit Recipes.

Savor the ultimate cheesy delight with crock pot mac and cheese. Slow-cooked to perfection, it’s an easy-to-make dish that will wow your taste buds.
Get the Recipe: Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Extra Crispy Tater Tots Croquettes

This super easy and extra crispy Tater Tots Croquettes Recipe made with only 3 ingredients is the best side dish you can have. Fluffy and soft from inside, golden and extra crunchy from outside, those kid friendly, dairy-free, gluten-free, low carb tots will change your life forever.
Get the Recipe: Extra Crispy Tater Tots Croquettes

Creamy Smoked Mac and Cheese

Ribs and mac and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly! Make your entire dinner on the smoker with this delicious smoked mac and cheese recipe.
Get the Recipe: Creamy Smoked Mac and Cheese

Sourdough Discard Dinner Rolls

Sourdough Dinner Rolls on a cooling rack.
Sourdough Discard Dinner Rolls. Photo credit: Call Me PMc.

Homemade rolls are so much better than store-bought. These Sourdough Discard Dinner Rolls recipe makes pillowy soft, luscious, and fluffy homemade rolls with that special sourdough tang.
Get the Recipe: Sourdough Discard Dinner Rolls

Bacon-Fried Corn

Ready in under 10 minutes, Bacon Fried Corn is quick, easy, and so crazy good! Fire up your outdoor griddle and feast on this delish side dish that’s as pretty as it is tasty!
Get the Recipe: Bacon-Fried Corn

Best Cookout Coleslaw

This creamy coleslaw recipe is crisp and bright, tangy and a little sweet, and seasoned with just the right hit of spice and salt.
Get the Recipe: Best Cookout Coleslaw

BBQ Rib Potato Salad

BBQ Rib Potato Salad on a light blue plate with a salad and ribs.
BBQ Rib Potato Salad. Photo credit: Ginger Casa.

Bring something new to the BBQ! This BBQ Rib potato salad comes together well!
Get the Recipe: BBQ Rib Potato Salad

Easy Pasta Salad Without Mayo

This Easy Pasta Salad is a perfect side dish! Better yet, it’s made with a mayo-free dressing and is packed with fresh vegetables like cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and corn, plus crumbled feta cheese.
Get the Recipe: Easy Pasta Salad Without Mayo

Copycat Popeyes Coleslaw

Kick up the flavor at your rib feast with Popeyes Coleslaw copycat recipe. It’s that classic slaw with a hint of tanginess, adding a crisp and refreshing touch to your ribs. Simple, tasty, and the perfect sidekick for your family barbecue.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Popeyes Coleslaw

Corn and Tomato Salad

Corn salad mixed together in a white bowl. on top of a decorative wooden platter.
Corn and Tomato Salad. Photo credit: Joyfully Mad.

This corn and tomato salad is the perfect side dish for your summer BBQs! Fresh vegetables, tossed in a homemade dressing. You’ll love this refreshing salad full of delicious flavors.
Get the Recipe: Corn and Tomato Salad

Cheesy Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

A cheesy and loaded twice-baked potato recipe that’s perfect for any night of the week. Find out how to make this delicious side dish with just a few simple ingredients!
Get the Recipe: Cheesy Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

Pulled Pork Deviled Eggs

Pulled Pork Deviled Eggs are such a great twist on classic deviled eggs! They will make a great appetizer or game day food!
Get the Recipe: Pulled Pork Deviled Eggs

Pasta Salad without Mayo

A bowl of pasta salad with fresh greens and veggies.
Pasta Salad without Mayo. Photo credit: The Honour System.

This simple and refreshing recipe for Pasta Salad, features a light Italian dressing, making it a perfect side dish for a backyard barbecue or a quick lunch option.
Get the Recipe: Pasta Salad without Mayo

Low Carb Tabbouleh Salad

Quick, easy, and refreshing Lebanese Low Carb Tabbouleh Salad with a low carb twist done in 10 minutes will add lots of healthiness to your daily life. This Mediterranean tabouli salad recipe is entirely gluten-free, grain-free, low carb, vegetarian, and diabetic friendly swapping the bulgur wheat with hemp seeds.
Get the Recipe: Low Carb Tabbouleh Salad

Homemade Smoky Baked Beans

Homemade baked beans are so much easier to make than you think. And the flavor you get compared to what you have when you open a can? You will fall in love with these sweet and smoky beans and never go back!
Get the Recipe: Homemade Smoky Baked Beans

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Creamy cucumber salad with pickled red onions in a white textured bowl.
Creamy Cucumber Salad. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

A healthier twist to the classic creamy cucumber salad recipe with quick pickled red onions. The perfect summer salad for any cookout!
Get the Recipe: Creamy Cucumber Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus

This simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus recipe is a healthy, delicious side dish that’s full of lightly sweet, deeply browned flavor, with crispy and tender textures.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus

Coconut Cauliflower Rice

Try this delicious Coconut Cauliflower Rice recipe, perfect for those following a keto, low carb, paleo, or whole30 diet. This flavorful and healthy side dish recipe will quickly become a staple in your meal rotation using our cauliflower rice recipe, coconut milk, toasted coconuts, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Get the Recipe: Coconut Cauliflower Rice

Honey Jalapeno Cornbread

Honey Jalapeno Cornbread on a plate.
Honey Jalapeno Cornbread. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Honey jalapeno cornbread recipe is light & delicious, with a bit of sweet heat. It is a traditional homemade cornbread recipe with simple ingredients for exceptional taste. Add a little spice to your ribs with this cornbread.
Get the Recipe: Honey Jalapeno Cornbread

Corn Fritters

Fritters are so tasty, and these pan fried corn fritters are easy to make and have a lightly sweet flavor from the kernals. You can use fresh or frozen corn, which means this isn’t limited just to a summertime appetizer.
Get the Recipe: Corn Fritters

Spring Onion Potato Salad

This Spring Onion Potato Salad is a tasty side dish that combines the crispness of fresh spring onions with the creamy goodness of tender potatoes.
Get the Recipe: Spring Onion Potato Salad

Simple Summer Tomato Corn Salad

Tomato corn salad with shaved parmesan and basil garnish in white bowl.
Simple Summer Tomato Corn Salad. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

This corn and tomato salad is as simple as summer gets with fresh corn, tomato and basil.
Get the Recipe: Simple Summer Tomato Corn Salad

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