BBQ Chicken Side Dishes

Nothing says summertime quite like bbq chicken cooking on the grill. The aroma of the smokey chicken wafting through the air is enough to make your mouth water. While the juicy, tender chicken thighs or legs are often the star of the show, the side dishes served with bbq chicken are just as important. The sides can complement the flavor of the chicken, provide texture contrast, and balance out the meal.

When planning a bbq chicken dinner, you’ll want to choose sides that match the casual, laidback vibe. Fresh salads, grilled veggies, picnic-style sides and dippers are all great options. You also can’t go wrong with classics like potato salad, cornbread, coleslaw and baked beans. Beyond the usual suspects, get creative with globally-inspired sides that liven up the plate.

After cooking up dozens of bbq chickens this summer, I’ve narrowed down a list of my top 16 favorite sides to serve with bbq chicken. Keep reading for delicious recipe ideas, tips and serving suggestions. Now let’s get grilling!

BBQ Chicken Thighs Recipe

While you can use any cut of chicken for bbq, I’m partial to bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. The skin gets super crispy from the grill while the meat stays incredibly moist and tender.

If using boneless, skinless thighs, they will still pick up plenty of flavor from the bbq rub and sauce. Simply grill them for a shorter amount of time compared to bone-in.

Regardless of the cut, coat the chicken in a sweet and tangy bbq rub. Let it marinate while you prep the sides. Grill the thighs over indirect heat for 15-30 minutes until cooked through and charred. Brush bbq sauce on during the last 5 minutes. The bbq chicken is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Feel free to double or triple this chicken recipe depending on how many people you are serving. Now onto the main event – the sides!

Elotes Style Corn with Furikake

Inspired by Mexican street corn elotes, this recipe combines grilled corn on the cob with creamy spice. A topping of Japanese furikake seasoning adds even more umami flavor.

Grill shucked corn over direct heat, turning occasionally until lightly charred on all sides. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, Cotija cheese, chili powder, cayenne, cilantro and lime juice. Slather the corn with the mixture and sprinkle with furikake.

For a spin on the classic, serve the corn cut off the cob as a salad or side. The mixture of sweet corn, heat and creaminess pairs perfectly with bbq chicken.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch

This main-dish bbq chicken salad is chock-full of flavor and textures:

  • Tender grilled bbq chicken
  • Crisp romaine lettuce
  • Sweet corn
  • Creamy avocado
  • Crunchy tortilla strips
  • Savory black beans and cotija cheese

Toss the salad with a tangy Greek yogurt ranch dressing made with lemon juice, garlic, dill and other fresh herbs. With each bite, you’ll get a mixture of cool, creamy, crunchy and salty flavors – an ideal complement to bbq chicken.

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread with Miso

Warm from the oven, this cheesy cornbread makes the perfect accompaniment to bbq chicken dinner. With a kick of jalapeño and umami miso paste worked into the batter, every bite bursts with sweet, spicy and savory flavors.

The cornbread cuts nicely into wedges for serving. Be sure to enjoy it fresh from the oven and slathered with butter or honey. The blend of textures and flavors pairs wonderfully with the juicy bbq chicken and sauce on your plate.

Bacon Cheddar Hasselback Potatoes

Crispy yet creamy Hasselback potatoes are my new favorite bbq side dish. Thinly slice russet potatoes almost all the way through. Nestle slices of bacon between the potatoes and top with cheddar cheese.

Roast the loaded potatoes until the bacon is crispy and cheese is melted. Finish them with a dollop of crème fraîche, fresh chives and black pepper.

Every bite of these cheesy bacon potatoes has a perfect balance of textures – fluffy interior, crispy edges and gooey cheese. The bold flavors hold up well to the bbq chicken.

10-Minute Sautéed Broccolini

When you want something green and fresh tasting next to the rich bbq chicken, quick-cooked broccolini is the answer.

Trim the ends and sauté the broccolini in olive oil over high heat. Cook for 5 minutes until bright green and slightly charred. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt.

The tender-crisp broccolini offers nutrition along with a pop of color on the dinner plate. It comes together quickly while the chicken is on the grill.

Pan Fried Potatoes with Herbs

These simple pan fried potatoes are crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. Slice waxy potatoes into 1-inch rounds. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook the potatoes for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown. Toss them with fresh herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.

As a one-pan side dish, these pan-fried potatoes couldn’t be easier to whip up. Enjoy this crispy, savory potato recipe along with your favorite bbq chicken entrée.

Harvest Salad with Quinoa and Arugula

For a refreshingly healthy bbq chicken side, try this fall-flavored harvest salad. Toss together quinoa, arugula, goat cheese crumbles, toasted walnuts and dried cranberries.

Make a quick lemon vinaigrette dressing to drizzle over the top. The tangy, sweet and nutty notes in this salad provide the perfect crunch and texture contrast to juicy bbq chicken.

Sautéed French Green Beans with Furikake

In just 10 minutes, you can have these sautéed green beans ready as a bbq side dish. Cook the green beans over high heat until they begin to brown. Toss them with lemon juice and savory furikake seasoning.

The fresh, crisp beans balance out the richer flavors of the chicken. A sprinkle of furikake adds the final touch of umami. Enjoy this easy veggie recipe all summer long.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

For a simple roasted veggie, lightly coat asparagus spears in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400°F for 10-15 minutes until lightly charred. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and shaved parmesan cheese.

The crisp-tender asparagus offers bright green color and fresh flavor next to the bbq chicken. With just 5 minutes of prep time, the roasted asparagus cooks hands-off alongside the chicken for a quick and easy side dish.

Miso Mashed Potatoes

Creamy potatoes get an umami boost from miso butter, garlic and sage. Cook russet potatoes until tender, then mash them with the miso butter. The result is a rich, decadent batch of miso mashed potatoes that pair perfectly with smoky bbq chicken.

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad

Olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and Parmesan cheese lend big Mediterranean flavor to this pasta salad side dish. Toss with fresh basil, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Chill before serving alongside warm bbq chicken fresh off the grill.

As a vegetarian option, this hearty pasta salad can hold its own as a main or side dish for bbq chicken dinner. Make it up to two days in advance for easy entertaining.

Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts

For a heartier vegetable choice, try roasted maple bacon Brussels sprouts. Toss trimmed sprouts with olive oil, maple syrup and salt. Roast at 400°F for 25 minutes until caramelized. Toss with cooked bacon pieces and serve.

The balance of sweet and savory in these maple bacon Brussels sprouts makes them an ideal match for bbq chicken. They hold up well when kept warm too.

Spicy Kani Salad

This Japanese-inspired spicy kani salad offers great flavor, crunch and color on the bbq chicken dinner plate. Combine imitation crab, English cucumbers, crushed panko breadcrumbs and Kewpie mayo spiked with sriracha.

The cool crunch of the cucumbers, heat from the sriracha and umami from the panko gives this easy crab salad amazing texture and pop. Serve it inside avocado halves for an extra creamy element.

Furikake Shishito Peppers

Char-grilled shishito peppers are tossed in umami-packed furikake seasoning and lemon juice. The Japanese peppers offer a nice mix of sweet, savory and spicy flavors.

Grill the shishito peppers in a grill basket until blistered with bits of char. Quickly toss them in the furikake seasoning to serve. They pair nicely with the smoky bbq chicken flavors.

Homemade Seasoned French Fries

For a classic bbq side, homemade French fries with garlic, basil and other spices can’t be beat. Slice potatoes into fry shapes and soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes to remove starch. Pat the fries dry, then fry at 325°F until golden brown and crispy.

Toss the piping hot fries in a mixture of seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, dried basil and parsley. Enjoy these flavorful fries with creamy dipping sauces alongside your favorite bbq chicken dinner.


With so many options for sensational sides, you can serve up a different bbq chicken dinner every week of summer. Try out fun, globally-inspired flavors along with barbecue classics. Whip up a few recipes ahead of time along with the chicken so everything is ready to toss on the table.

Hopefully these bbq chicken side ideas have sparked some inspiration for your next cookout menu. From elotes corn salad to miso mashed potatoes, there are endless tasty ways to complement juicy grilled chicken. Now it’s your turn to fire up the barbecue, pop open some cold drinks and dig into a downhome bbq chicken feast with family and friends.

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