24 Showstopping Sides for Your Memorial Day Cookout

For a memorable Memorial Day cookout, bring on the sides! Mix and match these 24 summery side dish recipes for your backyard barbecue or potluck. There's something for everyone.

<p>Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham</p>

Simply Recipes / Wanda Abraham

Look, I like burgers and such as much as most cookout aficionados, but when I really want are sides. Lots of them, with plenty of variety: crunchy veggie salads, creamy dips, filling beany dishes, carb-load potato or pasta salads, and the colorful fruit fresh thing or two. I want to mound them up in piles so big, my paper plate buckles. It's a time-honored tradition of Memorial Day as much as breaking out the bug repellant or flip flops.

These sides are all keepers. Lots of them also play nice with making in advance, allowing you to bring on those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer in an appropriately chill fashion.

Classic Potato Salad

Eliezer Martinez
Eliezer Martinez

This is it: the potato salad summers are made of. A touch of sour cream makes this potato salad especially creamy. Use Yukon golds for a more robust flavor, and celery for those signature pops of crunch.

Get Recipe: Classic Potato Salad

Broccoli Salad

<p>Simply Recipes / Lori Rice</p>

Simply Recipes / Lori Rice

So many backyard bashes seem to have a void of green veggies on the table. If you're invited to a cookout and asked to bring a dish, this one will deliver on all fronts. The winning combo of salty bacon and crisp-tender blanched broccoli florets never fails to please. Even haters of broccoli love this salad.

Get Recipe: Broccoli Salad

Classic Coleslaw

Kelly Hamilton
Kelly Hamilton

A simple homemade dressing with just enough mayo to add a little body makes this coleslaw a standout. Not into chopping? Grab a bag of slaw mix from the grocery store, then mix the dressing. For coleslaw that's not watery or weepy, dress the salad no more than 2 hours before serving.

Get Recipe: Classic Coleslaw

Green Goddess Pasta Salad

<p>Simply Recipes / Lori Rice</p>

Simply Recipes / Lori Rice

Totally plant-based, this creamy and herby pasta salad won over Tik Tok and has the side benefit of being a safe bet for parties with vegetarians or vegans in the mix.

Get Recipe: Green Goddess Pasta Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

<p>Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe</p>

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Guys, this is THE salad I can't get enough of. I bring it to every party and everyone asks for the recipe. It's make-ahead friendly, and leftovers make the best lunch ever. But this is so good, leftovers are unlikely.

Get Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Trinidadian Boiled Corn

<p>Simply Recipes / Alica Ramkirpal-Senhouse</p>

Simply Recipes / Alica Ramkirpal-Senhouse

It's hard to resist the pull of fresh corn when summer rolls around, but the sweet corn in May isn't quite peaking yet. This amazing Trinidadian street food fixture is perfect for less-than-perfect corn: slowly cooked in a rich broch of coconut milk that reduces to a sauce and clings to every kernel, it's incredibly flavorful.

Get Recipe: Trinidadian Boiled Corn

Pancit Bihon

<p>Simply Recipes / Frank Tiu</p>

Simply Recipes / Frank Tiu

These Filipino stir-fried rice noodles are a fixture of gatherings, and offer a playful range of textures. It's best made shortly before serving, but it'll steal the show if you put in the effort.

Get Recipe: Pancit Bihon (Filipino Rice Noodles)

Grilled Potatoes

<p>Simply Recipes / Mike Lang</p>

Simply Recipes / Mike Lang

If you have the grill going, why not maximize the coals and grill up some potatoes? Halved fingerlings cook fast but aren't too small to slip through the grates. The finishing touch grilling a lemon half to squeeze over right before serving is especially genius.

Get Recipe: Grilled Potatoes

Trader Joe's Homemade Cowboy Caviar

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Tane</p>

Simply Recipes / Sara Tane

Can I tell you how much I miss living near a Trader Joe's? If I did, I'd make this in a heartbeat. It's a recipe designed just for those specific Trader Joe's offerings so you can grab the ingredients in one trip and toss it together in a jiffy. Non-TJ's folks like me can make our classic Texas caviar, and everyone's a winner.

Get Recipe: Trader Joe’s Homemade Cowboy Caviar

Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Drawing on the Mexican affinity for savory fruit salads, this uber-refreshing salad packs crunch from the jicama and a little creamy-salty action from the cotija. Big cold chunks of watermelon make this supremely moreish.

Get Recipe: Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime

Cajun-Spiced Grilled Corn

<p>Simply Recipes / Sharee Hill</p>

Simply Recipes / Sharee Hill

Plump sweet corn that's grilled, based with butter, and plastered with savory Cajun seasoning is hard to resist. Keep plenty of napkins ready!

Get Recipe: Cajun-Spiced Grilled Corn

Instant Pot Baked Beans

Coco Morante
Coco Morante

I will eat baked beans any day of the week, prepared any way. For purists, here's a go-back-for-thirds recipe starting with dry beans and bacon that's streamlined in the Instant Pot. My favorite way to enjoy these is on top of a Memorial Day grilled hot dog.

Get Recipe: Instant Pot Baked Beans

Two-Minute Feta Dip

<p>Julia Gartland</p>

Julia Gartland

Four ingredients. Two minutes. Who doesn't love feta? I'm sold.

Get Recipe: Yasmin Fahr's Two-Minute Feta Dip

Grilled Bacon Jalapeno Poppers

Emma Christensen
Emma Christensen

If it's been a while since you've had jalapeno poppers, it's time to rekindle that relationship. Prepare the filling, assemble the poppers, and have them at the ready for grilling.

Get Recipe: BBQ Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

This one makes a big splash at potlucks. It's fresh and packed with tender raw vegetables. Sprinkle the almond slivers just before you set it out for guests.

Get Recipe: Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

<p>Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel</p>

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

I love how this stretches out avocados (I feel like I could eat $5 worth of avocados in one sitting). The other bonus is how the tomatillos slow the oxidation of the avocado, so it's more friendly for making ahead than straight-up guac.

Get Recipe: Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

Cucumber, Peach, and Basil Salad

Kalisa Marie Martin
Kalisa Marie Martin

Well HELLO, peachy cucumber salad! All the good things about summer meet in one bowl of sunny freshness.

Get Recipe: Easy Cucumber, Peach, and Basil Salad

Three Bean Salad

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

The beauty of this potluck fixture is how it relies on the ease of opening cans, plus its sweet-tart dressing. And it only gets better as it sits.

Get Recipe: Three Bean Salad

Pull-Apart Corn Cheese Pigs in a Blanket

<p>Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe</p>

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Mashups don't get more playful than this. Pigs in a blanket meet corn cheese, a melty-rich Korean bar snack. After all, why do the hot dogs have to be limited to the grill?

Get Recipe: Pull-Apart Corn Cheese Pigs in a Blanket

Homemade Veggie Dip

<p>Simply Recipes / Lori Rice</p>

Simply Recipes / Lori Rice

Oof, have you see how much a veggie tray from the deli is these days? This easy veggie dip and a little knife prep will save you some bucks, plus give you a fresher, prettier, and far better veggie tray that'll magnetically draw everyone as they wait for their grillables.

Get Recipe: Homemade Veggie Dip

Caprese Pasta Salad

Sally Vargas
Sally Vargas

Have you noticed that the inclusion of fresh basil often equates with lots of people loving a recipe? Add in the fresh tomato and fresh mozzarella combo and you have a big hit in the making.

Get Recipe: Caprese Pasta Salad

Easy Grilled Peppers

<p>Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

Grilled peppers are delicious warm or at room temp. They work solo or can top burgers, dress up grilled salmon, or sidle up nicely to steak.

Get Recipe: Easy Grilled Peppers

Tortellini Salad

<p>Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel</p>

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Tortellini isn't just for main dishes, though if you love those little pasta bundles with their cheesy middles, you can hog half the bowl and hope no one notices.

Get Recipe: Tortellini Salad

Grilled Artichokes

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

You're either an artichoke person or not. If you fall in the former camp, then you know what a thrill it is to arrive at a celebration and find artichokes on the menu. They key to these being tender is steaming them prior to their stint on the grill.

Get Recipe: Grilled Artichokes