The Best Summer Side Dishes
Summer is finally in sight, and we can’t wait. From backyard cookouts to church potlucks and Fourth of July celebrations, summer is full of opportunities to show off your cooking skills using the season’s freshest produce. These side dishes showcase farm-fresh tomatoes, squash, zucchini, corn, peaches, and more of your favorite fruits and veggies. Whether you need a quick coleslaw recipe to bring to a last-minute neighborhood block party or you want to have the most beautiful summer salad at the Labor Day cookout, these are our best recipes to show off. With plenty of no-cook and five-ingredient options, these are also the easiest ideas ever. So go ahead and send out the e-vite for your annual cookout—These are our favorite summer side dishes that use the most of the season’s bounty.
Old-School Squash Casserole Recipe
Squash casserole is a staple dish found at meat-and-three diners and at church covered-dish suppers.
Sesame, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad
Your guests will love this updated version of a classic tomato-cucumber salad.
Roasted Tomato Macaroni and Cheese
Use those tomatoes fresh from the farmers’ market for this fun grown-up mac and cheese recipe.
Spicy Grilled Corn Salad
Recipe: Spicy Grilled Corn Salad
Kick up the cookout with this Mexican street corn-inspired salad.
Zucchini Noodle Salad
Recipe: Zucchini Noodle Salad
Rethink your zucchini with a fresh salad that will work well with any and every main dish you might cook up this summer.
Recipe: Strawberry-Tomato Salad
The only instructions required for this beautiful side dish? “Stir together all ingredients.” We call that a last-minute party win.
Spicy Pineapple Slaw
Recipe: Spicy Pineapple Slaw
Spicy jalapenos and sweet pineapple are a match made in side dish heaven with this crunchy slaw that will liven up any cookout.
Field Pea and Pasta Salad
Recipe: Field Pea and Pasta Salad
No summer cookout is complete without pasta salad on the lineup, and this one with fresh veggies is perfect for the season.
Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad
This light, fresh salad will be your summer party go-to.
Halloumi-and-Summer Vegetable Kebabs
Until you’ve tried grilled Halloumi cheese, you haven’t experienced the full potential of those veggie kebabs you’ve been serving alongside your burgers.
Recipe: Tomato-and-Watermelon Salad
This no-cook salad is delicious in its simplicity.
Southern-Style Potato Salad
Recipe: Southern-Style Potato Salad
It isn’t a potluck without a bowl of potato salad, and this recipe is our most classic version of the dish.
Classic Fresh Field Peas
Recipe: Classic Fresh Field Peas
You only need five ingredients for this timeless Southern side, but ham hocks are the most important one for that smoky, home-style flavor.
Georgia Peach Deviled Eggs
Recipe: Georgia Peach Deviled Eggs
Give your classic deviled eggs a summer makeover with farm-fresh peaches.
Strawberry Caprese Salad
Recipe: Strawberry Caprese Salad
This refreshing salad can be served with French baguette slices or over arugula or mixed greens for serving options to last you through every summer party.
Recipe: Baked Beans
No backyard barbecue is complete without baked beans, and you only need a handful of ingredients to make this crowd-pleasing side.
Grilled Zucchini with Tomatoes and Mint
If you’re already grilling burgers or steak, why not amp up your side dish game with gorgeous grilled veggies?
Recipe: Permanent Slaw
This make-ahead coleslaw recipe is permanently on our go-to potluck dish list.
Street Corn Salad
Recipe: Street Corn Salad
If you’re in a last-minute bind but don’t want to show up with something store-bought, this colorful corn salad is your rescue.
Field Pea Cakes with Tomato-Ginger Jam
These fresh field pea cakes would be absolutely divine topped with fresh grilled shrimp.
Cornbread Panzanella with Squash
Recipe: Cornbread Panzanella with Squash
Everyone will ask for your recipe after trying this Southern summer spin on panzanella.
Herbed Cucumber-and-Tomato Salad
Recipe: Herbed Cucumber-and-Tomato Salad
This Greek-inspired salad is full of fresh herbs that complement the timeless tomato-cucumber combo.
Fresh Corn Spoonbread
Summer Pasta Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
If you’re serving a crowd, you might want to double this pasta salad recipe because it will go fast.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried green tomatoes are a true Southern summer staple that everyone should learn how to make at home.
Grilled Asparagus with Bacon and Mushrooms
After trying this recipe, you’ll wonder how you ever ate asparagus without bacon and mushrooms to go along.
Recipe: Watermelon Salad
Chopped pecans add a welcome crunch to this pretty and fresh salad.
Recipe: Potatoes Patio
Every Southern cook needs an easy, cheesy potato casserole recipe up his or her sleeve, and this will be your new favorite.
Fresh Fruit Salad
Recipe: Fresh Fruit Salad
This simple fruit salad will brighten up any summer spread.
Recipe: Best-Ever Succotash
If you don’t have at trusty succotash recipe to use summer after summer, meet the only one you’ll ever use from now on.
Recipe: Hush Puppies
Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a shrimp po’boy or plate of fried catfish with a few hush puppies on the side?
Sautéed Squash and Zucchini
Recipe: Sautéed Squash and Zucchini
Sometimes, getting fresh veggies on the table can be daunting, but this super-quick side proves you can get a little veg on the table even on the busiest nights.
Field Pea-Tomato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Let your summer produce shine with a gorgeous, lightly dressed salad.
Roasted Broccoli Salad
Recipe: Roasted Broccoli Salad
This fresh take on broccoli salad will have the whole potluck asking how you came up with it (your secret is safe with us).
Grilled Ratatouille Skewers
Recipe: Grilled Ratatouille Skewers
Southerners are usually taking regular dishes and making them into casseroles, but we did the opposite with this portable recipe that’s perfect for cookouts.
Picnic Egg Salad
Grilled Peach-and-Arugula Salad with Feta
Sweet, juicy summer peaches take on a richer flavor when tossed on the grill (plus, they look really pretty).
Field Pea, Corn and Bacon Salad
Quick Pickled Slaw
Recipe: Quick Pickled Slaw
Don’t go for the bagged stuff—with this easy slaw recipe, you’ll never go store-bought again.
Toasted Couscous and Tomato Salad
Grilled Potato Salad
Recipe: Grilled Potato Salad
No offense to Mama, but this grilled tomato salad is going to blow her old-school recipe out of the park. Go easy on her, she didn’t know the potential potato salad had when you paired it with the power of the grill.
Golden Corn Fritters
Recipe: Golden Corn Fritters
This 1980s recipe has stood the test of time—it’s remained a consistent favorite for summer get-togethers.
Watermelon-and-Feta Orzo Salad
Zucchini, Squash, and Corn Casserole
We’re partial to old-fashioned squash casserole, but this cheesy dish manages to pack in even more summer flavor with fresh zucchini and corn.
Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
Recipe: Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
This five-ingredient salad has classic caprese flavor with cherry tomatoes instead of larger varieties for fun party presentation.
Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant with Basil Vinaigrette
This grilling recipe is everything a summer side dish should be—fresh, easy, and perfect for sharing with friends.
Lady Pea-and-Corn Patties
Recipe: Lady Pea-and-Corn Patties
These fresh little patties come together in your skillet for an easy-to-serve side dish.
Chubba Bubba's Broccoli Salad
Recipe: Chubba Bubba’s Broccoli Salad
This broccoli salad recipe is just how your guests will love it—with bacon and cheese.
Squash Ribbon Salad
Recipe: Squash Ribbon Salad
This no-cook side dish will save you time but won’t lack on presentation.
Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Corn on the Cob
Humble corn on the cob gets a zesty Tex Mex makeover with jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and lime juice.
Tomato, Peach, and Corn Salad
Recipe: Tomato, Peach, and Corn Salad
You can read the majority of the ingredients needed for this pretty salad in its name, and all you have to do with them is combine in a bowl and top with vinaigrette. Done!