Best Sides for Ribs – 19 Tasty Ideas

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Wondering what to serve with ribs? We have 19 of the best sides perfect for your rack of ribs!

BBQ pork ribs on white plate

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If you’re anything like me, the mere thought of sinking your teeth into a succulent rack of good ribs slathered in BBQ sauce can make your taste buds do a happy dance. But a plate of ribs is not complete without sides, so I’ve got a mouth-watering list of the best sides for ribs for you here. These amazing easy side dishes will have you reaching for seconds (and maybe even thirds).

fork full of coleslaw over bowl

1. Crispy Coleslaw

First up on our flavor expedition is a classic crispy coleslaw recipe. This side is a great option with its fresh flavor! The crispiness of cabbage and carrots combined with the tangy dressing is the perfect side dish for anything made with barbecue sauce.

2. Grilled Corn on the Cob

If you haven’t tried this yet, you’re missing out. This perfectly grilled sweet corn slathered in butter is an excellent choice and might just be the star of the show. It’s a taste sensation that complements the smokiness of your ribs like a dream. Sprinkle a little fresh dill over your corn on the cob for a fresh, zesty flavor!

3. Loaded Baked Beans

No barbecue feast is complete without a generous helping of loaded baked beans. This recipe with its simple ingredients is like a warm hug for your taste buds. Imagine tender beans swimming in a rich, smoky sauce, mingling with bits of bacon, and topped with a hint of brown sugar sweetness. For an extra hearty version try calico baked beans with bacon and ground beef.

three pieces of stacked jalapeno cheddar cornbread on white plate

4. Jalapeño Cornbread

We’re not talking about your ordinary cornbread here – we’re talking about a cornbread that packs a punch. The subtle heat from the jalapeños adds a spicy kick that complements the savory goodness of your ribs. In my opinion, this is one of the best side dishes for BBQ!

5. Mac and Cheese

Mac ‘n’ cheese is the ultimate comfort food and the perfect compliment to your barbecue ribs. It’s a popular choice and loved by almost everyone! But we’re not talking about the boxed stuff; we’re talking about a homemade masterpiece with a twist. Perfectly cooked pasta smothered in a creamy, gooey cheese sauce, with a layer of crunchy breadcrumbs for that extra texture on top. 

6. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

If you’re looking to balance out the richness of your ribs with something green, Roasted Brussels Sprouts are your go-to side. The slightly charred edges, combined with the sweet brown sugar, create a symphony of flavors that will have you reaching for more veggies alongside those mouthwatering smoky ribs. You can also make these with green beans if you prefer.

sweet potato fries and dipping sauce on plate

7. Sweet Potato Fries

These orange-hued delights bring a touch of sweetness and a whole lot of crispiness to the table. Oven-baked or deep-fried to perfection, they offer a flavorful alternative to the classic spud. Dip these french fries in your favorite sauce or enjoy them on their own – either way, the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes provides a delightful contrast to the savory goodness of your rack of ribs. 

8. Caprese Salad

Juicy cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil drizzled with balsamic glaze is a taste of summer on your plate. The vibrant colors and the burst of freshness make this salad the perfect palate cleanser between bites of your favorite ribs and take your BBQ to a whole new level.

deviled egg potato salad in white bowl with spoon

9. Potato Salad

Potato salad is a classic barbecue side, but let’s kick it up a notch. Tender potatoes, perfectly boiled and tossed with a creamy dressing made with mayonnaise and mustard along with hard-boiled eggs. It’s a flavor explosion reminiscent of deviled eggs that complements the richness of your ribs.

10. Grilled Asparagus

For a side dish that’s both elegant and easy to prepare, look no further than Grilled Asparagus. These slender green spears, lightly coated in olive oil and seasoned to perfection, are a delicious addition to your rib feast. This seriously simple recipe will probably become one of your favorite side dishes to serve with short ribs and many other meals!

basket of hush puppies

11. Hush Puppies

Bringing a bit of Southern charm to your barbecue, Hush Puppies are the crispy, golden nuggets that you didn’t know you needed. These deep-fried cornmeal delights are not only a fun addition to your plate but also a flavorful one.  

bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers on baking sheet

12. Bacon-wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

If you’re a spice enthusiast, Bacon-wrapped Jalapeño Poppers are the fiery perfect complement to your ribs! Fresh jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in crispy bacon, and grilled to perfection – it’s a flavor explosion that adds a spicy kick to your barbecue experience. 

13. Fried Pickles

Crunchy on the outside, tangy on the inside – fried pickles are the unexpected star of the barbecue side show. Pickle slices are coated in a seasoned batter and deep-fried to golden perfection. These give you a zesty crunch that complements the savory goodness of your ribs. Dip them in ranch dressing or your favorite sauce for what’s sure to be everyone’s favorite side at your barbecue dinner.

14. Peach Bourbon Baked Beans

This side dish is next level and brings a certain Southern elegance to your barbecue spread. Tender baked beans infused with the natural sweetness of peaches and the rich depth of bourbon. It’s a flavor combination that brings sophistication to your plate, perfectly balancing the bold flavors of your rib dinner with a hint of sweetness and warmth.

15. Red Potato Salad

No barbecue feast is complete without the timeless charm of Classic Potato Salad or a red potato salad recipe. Perfectly boiled potatoes, diced and mixed with crunchy celery, red onions, and hard-boiled eggs, all coated in a velvety mayonnaise dressing have a rich flavor and is a nice fresh side dish that everyone loves.

southern string beans in white bowl

16. Southern Green Beans

Slow cooked Southern green beans are a classic side dish for smoked pork ribs. This recipe is made with smoked turkey leg for an extra dose of flavor.

collards in pan overhead

17. Collard Greens

Collard greens sautéed with bacon are another great side dish for baby back ribs. It is a simple side dish but packed with flavor thanks to the smoky bacon.

close up of simple pasta salad with ham and cheese cubes

​18. Pasta Salad

There are so many great varieties of pasta salad that can pair well with saucy ribs. Bacon ranch pasta salad is one of my favorites for pairing with barbecue but a BLT pasta salad is another great option.

close up of crispy potato skins with sour cream and chives

19. Crispy Potato Skins

All the flavor of a baked potato with a crispy skin makes this recipe a favorite for serving with sour cream and chives alongside your BBQ dinner. 

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