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22 Easy Side Dishes in 8 Categories (+ Tips)

Are you looking for a delicious side dish to round up your meal? Well, a good side dish makes all the difference. After all, no family dinner is complete without some tasty veggies on the side. Yet, you’re probably running late and need a simple, quick recipe. Read on to find easy side dishes.

We’ve got you covered. In this article, we have a list of easy side dishes in 8 different categories. We’ll also let you in on secret tips for serving them.

Best Easy Side Dishes You Need to Try

Best Easy Side Dishes You Need to Try

We’ve included a lot of easy side dishes in different categories, so you can easily pick one that compliments your main course.

The best part is that most of the ingredients you’ll need are probably lying around your kitchen right now. That said, here are some of the best easy side dishes you need to try.

Easy Vegetable Side Dishes

Easy Vegetable Side Dishes

Veggies go well with almost any main dish, and they’re so versatile that you can use them for a hundred different dishes. That’s why they are always the first option for side dishes. Here are some of our favorite vegetable side dishes.

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

This is one of our all-time favorite potato recipes and the best part? It’s so easy to make. You’d have to be careful not to get carried away devouring these little tasty potatoes and forget your main plate.

Red potatoes work best in this recipe. You can start by cutting the potatoes into halves. Then, give them a quick bake in your oven after covering them with olive oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, and basil.

Pro tip: add some Parmesan cheese on top to take your dish to the next level. You can also use any other cheese you like but don’t go overboard. Once your baked potatoes are golden brown, take them out of the oven and give them a quick stir in butter.

Now that your cheesy potatoes are ready, you can garnish them with some parsley. All in all, you should serve this dish as soon as it’s cooked. You want to eat this while it’s still hot and buttery.

Caramelized Garlic Broccoli

Caramelized Garlic Broccoli

Have you ever seen kids devouring broccoli? This recipe will make the impossible happen because it’s incredibly delicious. To prepare this recipe, heat some olive oil in a deep skillet and cut your broccoli in haves.

Then, put the broccoli in a skillet, cut side down, and add a pinch of sugar. After that, cover the skillet and cook the broccoli on medium heat until the bottom turns brown. Next, flip the veggies on the other side, add some water, and let them cook for around seven minutes.

Secret tip: add another tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper (optional) to make the recipe even tastier. You can also add a drizzle of lemon juice on top before serving for a sour hint.

Spicy Corn Salad

Spicy Corn Salad

The spicy corn salad is the perfect side dish with a chicken or meat main course. This recipe checks all the boxes. It’s sweet, sour, and spicy. It might sound like a complex recipe, but it’s easy to make. You’ll grab a punch of ingredients, mix them, and voila.

Easy Side Dishes for BBQ

Easy Side Dishes for BBQ

Sides are often overlooked in cookouts, but not anymore. Your side dish will be the star of the show at your next barbecue. Take your BBQ to the next level with these easy sides.

Classic Potato Salad

Classic Potato Salad

The classic potato salad is a staple at summer cookouts and BBQs. While there have been many versions of this recipe, we always stick with the classic one. It’s creamy, tangy, and crunchy.

The trick is to pick the right potato type. We highly recommend using waxy potatoes for this recipe. Red potatoes, fingerlings, and Yukon Golds work best, as they don’t crumble apart after boiling.

Do you want to save more time? Don’t peel the potatoes. Waxy potatoes tend to have delicate skin that melts in your mouth. Besides, the skin helps the pieces hold their shape during the cooking and mixing.

Cheddar Corn

Classic Grilled Corn is Great – but it’s Even Better with Cheese

There’s something about corn that makes it perfect for cookouts. Of course, classic grilled corn is great, but we wanted to make it cheesier. In this case, cheddar was the best option.

So, you start by grilling your corn with salt and butter. Then, top it off with some cheddar and cover it to melt. Finally, we finish it with a drizzle of ranch sauce.

Tangy Vegetable Skewers

Tangy Vegetable Skewers

Do you have some extra veggies lying in your kitchen? Well, it’s time for vegetable skewers. We love using red onion, zucchini, and a combination of colorful bell peppers. You can also use mushrooms, tomatoes, and eggplant.

It’s a simple recipe, but it’s very tasteful, especially when you give your skewers a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. A brush of fresh garlic herb sauce would make them more mouthwatering. On top of that, you can dip them in any sauce you have, and they’ll taste even better.

Easy Side Dishes for Steak

Easy Side Dishes for Steak

What makes a steak dinner complete is an appetizing side that compliments the main course. There are tons of options when it comes to steak side dishes. Here are our top picks.

Garlic Green Beans

Garlic Green Beans

This green bean recipe is as easy as it gets. You’ll only need some green beans, garlic, and olive oil. That’s all, but it doesn’t mean this recipe is tasteless. The garlic green bean recipe is full of flavors.

You can also use butter or ghee instead of olive oil for extra flavor. Of course, a fresh, perky green bean is always better than a sad, floppy one. Keep that in mind while picking out your beans for the recipe.

Do you want to add some extra crunch to your recipe? Don’t use a garlic crusher, and let your garlic bits become crispy. More importantly, you’ll want to stir the dish well so that each green bean carries enough garlic.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Fries are always good next to a steak, but how about something a little sweeter? Sweet potatoes are among our top steak side dishes. And the best part is that you can make this side in no time. All you need to do is cut your potatoes and toss them in oil and spices.

For spices, we love using garlic powder, paprika, and, of course, black pepper. Then, you can throw all that in your air fryer, and that’s all it takes. Your healthy side dish will be ready in a matter of minutes.

Special tip: add some Parmesan cheese on top while the sweet potatoes are still hot for an extra layer of melted goodness.

Garlic Mashed Potato

Garlic Mashed Potato

This smooth, garlicky mashed potato recipe is one of our favorite side dishes to go along with a steak dinner. It’s creamy, velvety, buttery, and super delectable. To make the creamiest mashed potatoes, always go for a combination of Yukon gold and russet.

You can also add cream cheese or sour cream to make your mashed potatoes smoother. Of course, you can’t skip out on some milk. You’ll be floating on clouds of silky, smooth potatoes with a sour hint. For a good presentation, use fresh parsley as a garnish.

Easy Sides for Chicken and Chicken Wings

Everything goes well with chicken, but some side dishes will take your protein main course to a whole other level.

If you’re eating hot wings, a cold side dish would be perfect to turn down the heat, and don’t forget about that icy drink. So, here are some side dishes you must try with chicken and wings.

Classic Pasta Salad

Classic Pasta Salad

A classic, no-fuss pasta salad is the perfect side dish next to a plate of hot wings. It’s light, cool, and can turn down the heat in your mouth. Generally, the creamier the salad, the better. So, go crazy with the cheese and mayo.

Don’t forget to add plenty of veggies. You can use bell peppers, red onions, cherry tomatoes, and olives. Chop those veggies while your pasta boils, and your side dish will be ready in less than 20 minutes.

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

Fried rice is a staple in many Asian cuisines, but it also goes well with chicken dishes. You can serve it with Asian-style chicken wings. It might seem like a hard-to-make side dish, but, in fact, it only takes around 15 minutes to prepare.

However, you need to plan this ahead, as you’ll need to use chilled, cooked rice. If the rice is hot, it won’t fry well, and the recipe may turn into a mishap. Moreover, you might want to try using butter instead of oil. It adds a lot of flavor to the recipe.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

You can never go wrong with a side of mac and cheese. It’s such a delightful yet effortless recipe, and it pairs well with chicken. The combination of crispy chicken with the velvety cheese pasta is a match made in heaven.

Whether you’re going for the boxed stuff or you’ll be making the recipe from scratch, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. If you’re making it from scratch, make sure to add at least two different types of cheese to make your dish thick and creamy.

Easy Sides for Burgers

Easy Sides for Burgers

Most people think that fries are the perfect side dish next to a burger. Well, fries are great, but you’re missing out on incredible sides that pair exceptionally well with burgers. Let’s take a look at some of these dishes.

Coleslaw

Coleslaw

Burgers are rich and contain a lot of fat, so some veggies on the side would balance things out. Coleslaw is a classic side that pairs well with any type of burger. It’s colorful, crisp, and yummy, not to mention the amazing hint of sweetness it has.

With some cabbage and basic ingredients that are lying around your kitchen, this will be your go-to side dish with any burger.

Although it’s super easy to make, it needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour. For the best results, you should leave it overnight in the refrigerator. So you should skip out on this one if you’re in a hurry.

Baked Onion Rings

Baked Onion Rings

Are you looking for a crispy, guilt-free side dish to replace the boring fries? This baked onion rings recipe will make its way to your all-time favorite sides.

The trick is to use sweet onions and avoid using too many spices. Generally, I love using paprika, dried thyme, and a pinch of garlic powder. That’s it.

For the best results, we recommend soaking the rings in a bowl of icy water for at least 30 minutes. Then, dip your rings in the usual mixture of eggs and spices, but make sure to give them a double coat of crumbs.

Finally, bake them for around 20 minutes, or until golden brown. You can also put them in your air fryer for extra crispiness.

Mini Stuffed Peppers

Mini Stuffed Peppers

If you want to spice your burger up, this side dish is for you. It’s hot, cheesy, but not greasy. Just grab some tiny peppers and give them a quick bake. Then, stuff them with your favorite cheese and maybe ground beef.

You won’t believe how good this combination tastes. There’s a perfect balance of spiciness from the peppers and creaminess from the cheese. The ground beef is optional, but it can take your mini peppers to the next level.

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

With Thanksgiving around the corner, you’ll need some easy side dish recipes to pair with your turkey. We’ve got you covered. Here are some easy Thanksgiving classics that will keep your family asking for more.

Quick Cornbread

Quick Cornbread

There’s no Thanksgiving without some good old cornbread. It goes perfectly well with almost any meal, and it’s unbelievably easy to make. It’s almost foolproof, and you probably have all the ingredients.

Grab everything, combine them in a bowl, and throw the mixture in the oven. It’s as simple as that.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Sweet Potato Gratin

Sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving classic, but they can get a little boring. So, how about we give them a twist and turn them into sweet potato gratin? The recipe is similar to the original gratin, but we’ll use sweet potatoes instead.

The mixture of sweet potato slices, cheese, and cream sauce is out of this world. Your taste buds will be grateful for this burst of smooth flavors.

Garlic Roasted Carrots

Garlic Roasted Carrots

Put these potatoes aside and give roasted carrots a try. You won’t believe how delicious these carrots are. The roasting makes the edges sweet and crispy. That, along with the garlic, tastes just magical. You can take it to the next level with some Parmesan on top and a squeeze of lemon.

Easy Potluck Side Dishes

Easy Potluck Side Dishes

Need a crowd-pleasing side dish for a large party? These recipes will make you the star of the show. They’re simple but super tasty, and they’ll leave your guests wanting more. Let’s check them out.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

Baked beans are a potluck classic. The thing is, these beans are super easy to make. You just need to mix your ingredients in a baking dish and throw them in the oven.

When it comes to baked beans, it’s all about the add-ins. We recommend adding barbecue sauce for a little tanginess and brown sugar for a hint of sweetness. For an extra kick, add some classic mustard and chopped onion.

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

If you’re looking for a mouthwatering salad for your next potluck party, chickpea never disappoints. With multiple layers of flavors, your guests will devour this dish in a matter of minutes.

All the spices, herbs, and tahini create an exceptional flavor profile. The best part is that you don’t have to use the classic cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber combination. Instead, just add any fresh produce you have.

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

The good old shepherd’s pie has been the crowd’s favorite for years. Typically, the traditional shepherd’s pie calls for ground lamb, but you can keep it green with veggies only. You can also try adding mozzarella cheese on top.

Secret ingredients: Add a small amount of Worcestershire sauce to your ground beef along with some minced onions. These ingredients will make your shepherd’s pie taste 10 times better.

Easy Dinner Sides

Easy Dinner Sides

A perfect dinner calls for a unique side dish to compliment the meal. No matter what you’re having for dinner, a light side dish can make all the difference.

We know that it’s the end of the day and you’re probably exhausted, so we included super easy sides that you can make in no time. Let’s check them out.

Roasted Vegetable Mix

Roasted Vegetable Mix

It’s time to use those veggies that have been sitting in your fridge for days. You can use any produce in this recipe. We like broccoli, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini. The trick is to drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top, along with your favorite spices.

Generally, you don’t want to go crazy with the spices. Keep it simple and enjoy the taste of these greens. Your veggies should take less than 15 minutes in the oven, and your side will be ready.

Ranchy Carrots

Ranchy Carrots

If you don’t have time for meal prep, this ranchy carrots recipe will only take you around five minutes to make. All you need to do is place baby carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet. Then, add parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and pepper on top.

After you bake the carrots, give them a quick stir in butter. This should take around one minute. Finally, add a drizzle of ranch on top. The thing is that you need to serve this dish immediately. Otherwise, it won’t taste as good.

Smoky Pintos

Smoky Pintos

Pintos are highly underrated, as black beans always tend to steal the spotlight. However, with a little bit of chicken broth, paprika, and cumin, you can change anyone’s mind about pinto beans.

Tips for Serving Easy Sides

Tips for Serving Easy Sides – Use Herbs and Spices

Do you want to make sure your guests are enjoying their meal? We’ll let you in on some secret tips for serving easy, delicious sides that your guests will happily devour.

  1. Always go for fresh ingredients rather than canned ones. Fresh ingredients, especially herbs, are more flavorful.
  2. Presentation is part of the experience. So, use herbs and spices for decorations.
  3. Pair your meal with a suitable beverage.
  4. Don’t go overboard with the spices.
  5. Plan your side dishes ahead, as some recipes need to sit in the refrigerator for a while before serving.
  6. Utilize the ingredients you have in your kitchen. You can always substitute some of the ingredients in most recipes.
  7. If your main course is creamy or soft, pick a crunchy side to balance the meal.
  8. A rich or fatty main dish calls for a veggie side dish.
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