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What to Serve with Ribs

Ribs are a classic comfort food, and pairing them with tasty side dishes can take your meal to the next level. I’ve collected some of the best sides to complement the savory, smoky flavor of the meat when you don’t know what to serve with ribs.

A cover for what to serve with Ribs

Start with a Recipe for Juicy Ribs

Beef ribs on a plate.

One of our go-to methods for preparing ribs is to bake beef ribs in the oven until they are fall-off-the-bone delicious, with little to no effort! Seasoned with a homemade rib rub – the ribs bake at low temperature for two hours, resulting in tender, juicy ribs packed with flavor.

Instant pot beef ribs on a plate.

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.

1. Vinegar Coleslaw

Vinegar coleslaw in a serving bowl.

Elevate your BBQ game with this homemade vinegar coleslaw recipe featuring tangy and sweet flavors. The tasty side dish complements your favorite BBQ dishes, adding a refreshing zest and a satisfying crunch to every bite.

2. Southern Potato Salad

Southern potato salad in a bowl.

You will love the mouthwatering flavor of this creamy Southern potato salad. Tender potatoes are coated in a rich and flavorful sauce, made with creamy mayo and tangy mustard, and seasoned to perfection.

The classic side dish will be a hit at your next BBQ, picnic, or potluck, so make enough to share!

3. Mac and Cheese

A serving of mac and cheese.

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

4. Homemade Coleslaw

Homemade coleslaw in a bowl.

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

5. Macaroni Salad

A bowl of macaroni salad.

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

Photo Credit: Quiche my Grits

6. Baked Beans

Baked beans in a serving bowl.

Southern-style baked beans with hamburger are more than a tasty side for a BBQ or potluck. Combining baked beans with ground beef and crispy bacon 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 Salad

Broccoli salad in a bowl.

Broccoli salad boasts crunchy broccoli, crisp apple, chewy cranberries, and toasted almonds – all tossed with a creamy dressing. The side dish complements barbecue ribs and other meat entrees like grilled chicken drumsticks.

Photo Credit: Flavor the Moments

8. Grilled Corn on the Cob

Grilled corn on a plate.

Fresh corn on the cob is an effortless summer side dish you can prepare on your outdoor grill in 10 minutes.

Spice it up with creamy sauce and cheese to make elote. And don’t forget to check out my guide for how to cook corn on the cob to make the perfect ear every time.

Photo Credit: Little Sunny Kitchen

9. Potato Wedges

Potato wedges with ketchup.

If you’re looking for what to serve with ribs, try air fryer potato wedges! They are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Or you can make my Greek-style air fryer red potatoes for a different flavor variation.

Photo Credit: Rich and Delish

10. Avocado Cucumber Tomato Salad

Avocado cucumber tomato salad in a bowl.

Loaded with fresh herbs, juicy cherry tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and creamy avocado, the addition of olive oil and lime juice finishes our avocado cucumber tomato salad recipe for a perfect side dish or light meal. 

11. Cornbread

Cut up pieces of cornbread on a plate.

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.

Photo Credit: The Forked Spoon

12. Arugula Quinoa Salad

Arugula quinoa salad in a serving bowl.

Arugula quinoa salad combines peppery arugula, crispy quinoa, and simple toppings to make an easy salad you’ll want to pair with everything.

13. Sweet Potato Fries

Air fryer sweet potato fries in a fry cup.

Cooking air fryer frozen sweet potato fries is one way to make crispy restaurant-quality french fries at home. The healthy sweet potato fries finish in 12 minutes – no oil needed.

Then, toss them in your favorite spices for crispy and delicious fries you’ll love. 

14. Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs without vinegar on a plate.

Enjoy a vinegar-free version of the classic appetizer. These deviled eggs without vinegar are a perfect savory side dish for gatherings and get-togethers like holidays, birthdays, barbecues, or picnics. 

15. Beet Apple Salad

Beet and apple salad in a bowl.

Try simple beet apple salad with balsamic dressing – made with fresh beetroot and sweet apples. You can top the salad with everything from walnuts and pecans to feta cheese, sunflower seeds and herbs like fresh dill and mint. 

Photo Credit: The Fast Recipe

16. Healthy Potato Salad

Healthy potato salad in a serving bowl.

This potato salad recipe combines fork-tender potatoes with hard-boiled eggs, crisp celery, pickles, onion, and a yogurt-based sauce for a healthy that is an excellent side for ribs.

17. Creamed Corn

Creamed corn in a serving bowl.

Homemade creamed corn is way better than the canned version and only takes minutes to prepare! It’s an easy side dish with simple ingredients that is perfect for savory BBQ dishes.

Photo Credit: Recipes from a Pantry

18. Mashed Red Potatoes

Mashed potatoes in a bowl.

Red skin mashed potatoes are rich and flavorful thanks to extra butter and sour cream, which gives the potatoes a slightly tangy twist you will love.

Feel free to boost the flavor of the potatoes with compound butter or bone marrow butter. 

Photo Credit: Nibble and Dine

19. Pasta Salad

Pistachio pesto in a small bowl.

Enjoy this pesto pasta salad recipe that’s gluten-free and vegan! The cold pasta salad includes gluten-free tricolored pasta and fresh vegetables – all tossed in homemade pesto dressing. 

20. Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts in a serving dish.

Air fryer Brussel sprouts are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, so you can have them ready to serve with smoky ribs in less than an hour! Or try these crispy smashed Brussels sprouts!

If you enjoy these sides for ribs, pair them with one of these dinner recipes!  

Beef ribs on a plate.

21. French Fries

French fries in a bowl.

Are you craving restaurant-style french fries at home? Enjoy the best homemade french fries, made in a pan with oil, ensuring they are deliciously crispy outside.

Photo Credit: Sustain my Cooking Habit

22. Macaroni Salad

A bowl of macaroni salad.

No picnic or BBQ is complete without this sweet and creamy Amish macaroni salad! The noodles are coated in a tangy dressing made of mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and smoked paprika.

Photo Credit: Chocolate Moosey

23. Corn Casserole

A serving dish of corn casserole.

Corn casserole is a simple side dish that never goes out of style! With a light, golden brown crust, the savory bread dish is the perfect accompaniment to pork ribs and other BBQ meats.

This version features a creamy, sweet corn filling with a speck of honey and bits of sun-dried tomatoes mixed throughout for a twist on the Southern classic.

Photo Credit: Savor the Best

24. Arugula Spinach Salad

Arugula and Spinach Salad in a serving bowl with sherry shallot dressing.

Prepare the simple green salad with peppery arugula, spinach, and radishes when you need a healthy side dish in a pinch.

More Dressing Recipes:

25. Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed cauliflower in a bowl.

Mashed cauliflower is easy to make and a perfect low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes alongside tasty ribs.

26. Sumac Onions

Sumac onions in a serving bowl.

Marinated sumac onions or Turkish onion salad are a tangy addition to kabobs, salads, vegetable side dishes, and hearty meat dishes like pork ribs. If you want something with a more toned down flavor, try pickled yellow onions.

27. Loaded Potato Salad

A bowl of loaded potato salad.

With sour cream, bacon, and fresh chives, the loaded potato salad is a loaded baked potato in a bowl. It will be a guaranteed hit at your next summer picnic or an easy side dish for dinner at home!

Photo Credit: The Delicious Spoon

28. Chickpea Tahini Salad

Chickpea salad on a plate.

Who doesn’t love a recipe that comes together quickly? Make this healthy chickpea tahini salad in a flash with fresh ingredients that have the perfect balance of flavor.

29. Green Beans

A bowl of green beans.

Garlic butter green beans are an easy side dish, and everything tastes better with garlic butter! I mean, have you tried my garlic butter chicken wings?

The green beans steam in a pan before being tossed in a skillet with rich garlic butter.

Photo Credit: Peters Food Adventures

30. Pickled Cucumber Salad

Pressgurka arranged on a plate.

We’ve all had a creamy cucumber salad (delicious), but give Swedish pressgurka a try. The quick pickled side is a perfect combination of sweet and sour. Pair the cucumber salad with your favorite ribs to complete the meal.

31. Grilled Zucchini

Grilled zucchini in a serving dish.

Grilled zucchini cooks low and slow, making them a perfect side dish to serve with grilled entrees. Cook the vegetables on the warming rack while the rack of ribs slathered in barbecue sauce grills below. 

32. Black Eyed Peas

Instant Pot black eyed peas in a bowl.

Instant Pot black eyed peas are known for bringing good fortune. The smoky and spicy peas are brimming with flavor that will leave you feeling lucky. Plus – the flavorful peas are one of the best ways to serve vegetarians at your cookout. 

33. Twice Baked Potatoes

A twice baked potato on a plate.

Air fryer twice-baked potatoes with crispy potato skins and melty cheese, topped with bacon and sour cream, will take your meal to a whole new level. Make the taters ahead so you can finish preparing the ribs.

Photo Credit: She’s Not Cookin’

34. Watermelon Salad

A bowl of watermelon fruit salad.

Watermelon fruit salad is fresh, light, and perfectly sweet. Watermelon and berries tossed in a sweet citrus dressing will become your summer go-to.

Photo Credit: The Daring Kitchen

35. Hush Puppies

Hush puppies in a serving bowl.

Southern hush puppies are a great addition to any meal! The little golden balls fry up light and fluffy with the perfect bit of spice!

Photo Credit: The Cookin Chicks

36. Cucumber Carrot Salad

Cucumber carrot salad in a bowl.

Refreshing, and tangy, cucumber carrot salad is a great way to enjoy fresh summer vegetables.

37. Sweet Potatoes

Grilled sweet potatoes on a plate.

Find out why grilled sweet potatoes in foil are the perfect addition to any meal, from summer cookouts to backyard get-togethers. And don’t forget to check out my article about different way to cook sweet potatoes in the air fryer.

38. Collard Greens

A bowl of collard greens.

When you’re deciding what to serve with ribs, tender and flavorful collards flavored with smoky ham hocks slow-cook to perfection.

Photo Credit: Cooks with Soul

39. Roasted Potatoes

Roasted potatoes on a serving plate.

Make perfectly seasoned, crispy roasted potatoes in the oven. This sheet-pan side pairs with everything, and feel free to add other vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or turnips to cook with them.

40. Mashed Potatoes

A serving bowl of mashed potatoes.

Creamy, buttery, and so good – buttery homemade mashed potatoes are the perfect addition to any meal.

Photo Credit: Baker’s Table

41. Acorn Squash

Air fryer acorn squash on a plate.

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. Peach Cobbler

Easy peach cobbler with cake mix on a plate.

This easy peach cobbler with cake mix 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.

43. Corn Fritters

A stack of corn fritters on a plate.

Crispy corn fritters require a few simple ingredients and you can easily make them in advance.

Photo Credit: Little Sunny Kitchen

44. Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

A bowl of bacon ranch pasta salad.

Bacon ranch pasta salad is the perfect side dish for your summer barbecues, but it’s also great as a filling lunch or lighter dinner!

Photo Credit: The Recipe Rebel

45. Pimento Cheese Grits

A bowl of pimento cheese grits.

Pimento cheese grits combine two southern favorites into one creamy, dreamy dish that will become a staple in your howe.

Photo Credit: Biscuits and Burlap

More Rib Recipes:

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