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What to Serve with Ribs

Ribs are a BBQ classic, and pairing them with a tasty side will take your meal to the next level. To complement their savory, smoky flavor, we’ve gathered the best sides when you don’t know what to serve with ribs. We have got are comfort sides, vegetables, and lighter options as well. 

A cover image for what to serve with ribs.

Start with a Recipe for Juicy Ribs

One of our go-to methods for preparing ribs is to bake beef ribs in the oven until they are fall-off-the-bone-good with little to no effort! Seasoned with a delicious BBQ rub – the ribs bake at low temperature for two hours, resulting in tender, juicy ribs packed with flavor. If baked ribs aren’t your thing, try them in the smoker, grill, or Instant Pot. For another variation, flavor the ribs with mustard rib rub.

Beef ribs on a plate with salad.

1. Vinegar Coleslaw

A serving of vinegar coleslaw.

Elevate your BBQ game with homemade Carolina-style vinegar coleslaw, featuring a tantalizing blend of tangy, sweet, and crunchy flavors. This delectable side dish perfectly complements your favorite BBQ dishes, adding a refreshing zing and a satisfying crunch to every bite.

2. Southern Potato Salad

A close up of Southern potato salad with a hard boiled egg.

Satisfy your cravings with the mouthwatering taste of our creamy Southern potato salad. Tender potatoes are coated in a rich and flavorful sauce, made with a perfect blend of creamy mayo and tangy mustard, and seasoned to perfection. This classic side dish will be a hit at your next BBQ, picnic, or potluck, so make plenty!

3. Dutch Oven Mac and Cheese

A serving of mac and cheese.

If you’re looking for the creamiest, cheesiest side dish to pair with an entree, one-pot Dutch oven mac and cheese is the way to go.

4. Homemade Coleslaw with Mint and Cilantro

Homemade Coleslaw ready to be served.

Our homemade coleslaw incorporates cabbage, carrots, mint, cilantro, scallions, and an umami-rich dressing for coleslaw you’ll want to serve with everything!

5. Southern Macaroni Salad

A close up of a bowl of macaroni salad.
Photo Credit: Quiche My Grits

Southern macaroni salad is a beloved staple in the South. Its authentic taste and texture make it an ideal pairing for ribs and other barbecue favorites.

6. Baked Beans with Hamburger

Baked beans in a serving bowl.

Southern-style baked beans with hamburger aren’t just a tasty side for a BBQ or potluck. By combining baked beans with ground beef and bacon, it transforms the traditional American side into a filling and complete meal – all you need is a buttery side of cornbread and a slab of ribs.

7. Broccoli Slaw Salad

Broccoli salad in a small bowl.
Photo Credit: Flavor the Moments

Broccoli slaw salad boasts a delightful combination of crunchy broccoli, crisp apple, chewy cranberries, and toasted almonds- all tossed with a creamy coleslaw dressing. It’s a delectable side dish that perfectly complements ribs and other meat entrees like BBQ baked chicken legs.

8. Grilled Corn

A close up of grilled corn on a plate.
Photo Credit: Little Sunny Kitchen

Grilled corn on the cob is an effortless and delicious summer side dish you can prepare on your outdoor grill in just 10 minutes. Spice it up and add cheese for a flavorful elote-style treat. And don’t forget to check out our guide for how to cook corn on the cob to make the perfect ear every time.

9. Air Fryer Potato Wedges

Potato wedges with ketchup and ranch.
Photo Credit: Rich and Delish

If you’re looking for what to serve with ribs, look no further than these air fryer potato wedges. Their crispy texture on the outside and soft, fluffy texture on the inside make for a deliciously satisfying meal that’s packed with flavor.

10. Avocado Cucumber Tomato Salad

Avocado cucumber tomato salad in a serving bowl.

Loaded with fresh herbs, juicy tomato, crisp cucumber, and creamy avocado – olive oil and lime juice finish our avocado cucumber tomato salad; this is a perfect side dish if you prefer something lighter.

11. Easy Cornbread Recipe

Honey being poured over homemade cornbread.
Photo Credit: The Forked Spoon

Enjoy this easy cornbread recipe – it’s ready in just 30 minutes! Moist and buttery, the homemade cornbread has crispy golden edges and a perfect fluffy center.

12. çoban salatasi

Çoban Salatasi in a serving bowel.

If you’re looking for a wholesome vegetable dish to pair with your ribs, consider trying shepherd’s salad, also known as çoban salatası. This delectable dish is prepared with simple ingredients in no time, making it a quick and easy way to round out your meal with a burst of fresh, delicious flavors.

13. Jamaican Rice and Peas

Jamaican rice and peas in a serving bowl.

Jamaican rice and peas are a staple for get-togethers and gatherings; pair the flavorful side with roasted or grilled meat for a classic Sunday dinner.

14. Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

A spoon scooping macaroni and cheese over the serving dish.
Photo Credit: Slow Cooker Magic

This Slow Cooker mac and cheese is cheesy, creamy, and will be a huge hit with the entire family. With minimal ingredients and a short cooking time, this amazing recipe is one to try ASAP!

15. Beet Apple Salad

Beet and apple salad topped with walnuts and greens.
Photo Credit: The Fast Recipe

Try our favorite beet apple salad with balsamic dressing- made with fresh beetroot and sweet apples.

16. Healthy Potato Salad

Healthy potato salad in a serving bowl.

Our healthy potato salad recipe combines boiled potatoes with eggs, celery, pickle, onion, and a yogurt-based sauce for a side you’ll want to serve with everything. 

17. Creamed Corn

A close up of creamed corn in a serving bowl.
Photo Credit: Recipes from a Pantry

This delicious homemade creamed corn recipe is way better than the canned version and takes minutes to prepare! A simple side dish that is perfect with BBQ ribs.    

18. Red Skin Mashed Potatoes

A close up of mashed potatoes.
Photo Credit: Nibble and Dine

Red skin mashed potatoes are rich and indulgent thanks to lots of butter and sour cream, which gives them a slightly tangy twist that will keep you coming back for more!

19. Gluten Free Pasta Salad

Gluten free pasta salad in a serving bowl.

Enjoy a classic Italian pasta salad that’s gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-free! The cold pasta salad contains tricolored pasta, fresh veggies, and a healthy homemade Italian dressing!

20. Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts in a serving dish.

Air fryer brussel sprouts are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, and you can serve them in less than an hour!

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21. Homemade French Fries Recipe

Large homemade french fries in a bowl.
Photo Credit: Sustain my Cooking Habit

Craving restaurant-style french fries at home? This best-ever homemade french fries recipe, made in a pan with oil, ensuring a deliciously crispy outside with a soft inside.

22. Amish Macaroni Salad

A close up of a bowl of macaroni salad.
Photo Credit: Chocolate Moosey

No picnic is complete without this sweet and creamy Amish macaroni salad! This recipe is better than Walmart’s Amish macaroni salad with a tangy dressing made of mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and smoked paprika.

23. Corn Casserole

A serving dish of corn casserole.
Photo Credit: Savor the Best

Corn casserole is a classic dish that will never go out of style. It’s the perfect side dish to any meal. Our recipe is a twist on this classic favorite. This version has a savory, creamy corn filling with a touch of honey for sweetness and bits of sun-dried tomatoes mixed throughout. 

24. Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad

Two bowls of spinach salad topped with goat cheese, walnuts, and strawberries.
Photo Credit: The Littlest Crumb

This strawberry goat cheese salad is the perfect spring and summer salad! Made with fresh strawberries, goat cheese, spinach, walnuts & pine nuts. Then drizzled with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette with a hint of cinnamon.

25. Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed cauliflower in a serving bowl with a tab of butter.

Mashed cauliflower is easy to make and a perfect low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes alongside any main entree.

26. Sumac Onions

A small bowl of sumac onions.

Marinated sumac onions or Turkish onion salad are a tangy addition to kabobs, salads, vegetable side dishes, and hearty meat dishes like ribs.

27. Loaded Potato Salad

A close up of loaded potato salad topped with greens.
Photo Credit: The Delicious Spoon

With sour cream, bacon, and chives, this loaded potato salad is like eating a loaded baked potato in a bowl. A guaranteed hit at your next summer picnic or an easy side dish for dinner at home!

28. Chickpea Salad

Chickpeas salad in a serving dish ready to eat.

Who doesn’t love a recipe that comes together quickly? Make our chickpea salad ahead of time or on the day of for a tasty meal with fresh ingredients and full of protein.

29. Garlic Butter Green Beans

A close up of green beans with serving dishes in the background.

Garlic butter green beans are an easy and delicious side dish. Everything tastes better with garlic butter! Cooked perfectly, steamed then tossed in a skillet with garlic butter. 

30. Homemade Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese in a baking dish.
Photo Credit: I Heart Eating

If you’re a fan of classic comfort foods, then you’ll absolutely love homemade mac and cheese with sharp Vermont cheddar.

31. Grilled Zucchini

Grilled zucchini in a serving dish.

Our grilled zucchini cooks low and slow, making it the perfect side dish; cook these on the warming rack and the protein down below for the perfect summer meal.

32. Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas

Instant Pot black eyed peas in a bowl.

Instant Pot black eyed peas is known for bringing good fortune. Ours is smoky, spicy, and brimming with flavor to leave you feeling lucky.

33. Air Fryer Twice Baked Potatoes

A twice baked potato topped with sour cream.
Photo Credit: She’s Not Cookin

Air fryer twice baked potatoes are the perfect side for ribs with crispy potato skins and melty cheese, topped with bacon and sour cream. You can make them ahead and freeze them & pop them into the air fryer so you can finish preparing the wings.

34. Deviled Eggs without Vinegar

A plate of deviled eggs without vinegar.

Our deviled eggs without vinegar is a perfect appetizer for gatherings and get-togethers- birthdays, barbecues, or picnics.

35. Honey Cornbread

Someone slicing corn bread in a baking dish.
Photo Credit: Free Your Fork

A naturally sweetened recipe for honey cornbread. Made with two types of cornmeal for delicious texture and taste! 

36. Cucumber Carrot Salad

Cucumber carrot salad in a bowl.

Refreshing, and tangy, cucumber carrot salad is a great way to enjoy fresh vegetables. Pair the salad with an entree or eat it as a light snack.

37. Air Fryer Butternut Squash

A plate of butternut squash garnished with fresh parsley.

Elevate any meal with our sweet and savory air fryer butternut squash – a delicious side made with simple pantry ingredients.

38. Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries topped with herbs.
Photo Credit: Seasonal Cravings

These oven roasted spiced sweet potato fries are a great addition to ribs. They are full of salty spices and so easy to bake in the oven. 

39. Roasted Potatoes

Roasted potatoes on a serving plate.

Make our perfectly seasoned, crispy roasted potatoes in the Oven; this sheet-pan side pairs with everything and works for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack.

40. Buttery Homemade Mashed Potatoes

A serving bowl of mashed potatoes topped with melted butter and herbs.
Photo Credit: Baker’s Table

Creamy, buttery, smooth, and SO. GOOD. These buttery homemade mashed potatoes are the perfect compliment to any meal.

41. Air Fryer Acorn Squash

Air fryer acorn squash on a plate with chicken sausage and mixed greens.

Making air fryer acorn squash is simple and quicker than using the oven. Crispy and caramelized squash is the perfect addition to any meal, and it comes together in 30 minutes. 

42. Easy Peach Cobbler with Cake Mix

Easy peach cobbler with cake mix on a plate topped with whipped cream.

Our easy peach cobbler with cake mix or “dump cake” combines simple ingredients. Canned peaches, brown sugar, store-bought cake mix, and butter create a no-fuss summer dessert ready to serve in about an hour; it’s so easy it’s almost effortless!

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