What Goes With Ribs for Dinner? 10 Perfect Side Dishes.

Ribs pair well with a variety of side dishes including coleslaw, baked beans, mac and cheese, corn on the cob, and potato salad. Looking for the perfect side dish to complement your succulent, slow-cooked ribs?

While it largely depends on your personal preferences, the options are endless. From traditional dishes like coleslaw, baked beans, and mac and cheese to more creative choices like grilled veggies and unique pasta salads, there are plenty of tasty options to choose from.

Whether you prefer something sweet, spicy, tangy, or savory, the right side dish can take your ribs to the next level. So, fire up the grill and get ready to create a delicious, mouth-watering meal that is sure to please.

What Goes With Ribs for Dinner? 10 Perfect Side Dishes.

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Classic Bbq Side Dishes

When it comes to serving ribs, nothing quite beats the classic bbq side dishes. These dishes are packed with flavour and perfectly complement the taste and texture of ribs. Here are the top three classic bbq side dishes that can be paired with ribs:

Mac And Cheese

Mac and cheese is a classic comfort food that is perfect for pairing with ribs. Here are some characteristics that make this dish a good fit for ribs:

  • The creamy texture of the mac and cheese goes well with the meaty texture of ribs
  • The rich and cheesy taste of mac and cheese perfectly complements the smoky flavour of the ribs
  • The combination of the two dishes creates a filling meal that satisfies all your taste buds

To make your mac and cheese stand out, you can try adding these variations:

  • Add some bacon or ham for extra flavour
  • Top the dish with some breadcrumbs or crushed potato chips for a crunchy texture
  • Mix in some herbs like thyme or rosemary for some added taste


Coleslaw is a popular side dish for bbqs, and it is a perfect companion for ribs. Here are some characteristics that make coleslaw a great fit for ribs:

  • The crunchiness of the coleslaw adds texture to the meal and complements the soft texture of the ribs
  • The acidity of the dish pairs well with the fatty taste of the ribs, creating a balanced flavour profile
  • The freshness of the vegetables in the coleslaw helps to cut through the heaviness of the meat

If you want to add some unique twists to your coleslaw, try these tips:

  • Use different types of cabbage, like purple or savoy, for a diverse flavour profile
  • Add fruits like apples or raisins for some sweetness and extra crunch
  • Mix up the dressing with unique flavours like honey mustard or sesame ginger
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Baked Beans

Baked beans are another classic bbq side dish that is perfect for pairing with ribs. Here are some reasons why this dish is a good fit for ribs:

  • The sweetness of the beans contrasts with the savoury flavour of the ribs, creating a well-rounded taste experience
  • The beans provide a source of protein, which complements the protein found in the ribs
  • The combination of the two dishes creates a hearty meal that keeps you full for longer

To give your baked beans an extra edge, you can try out these variations:

  • Use different types of beans, like navy beans or black beans, for a unique flavour profile
  • Add some hot sauce or chili flakes to spice up the dish
  • Mix in some bacon or ground beef for extra flavour and protein

Ribs are the perfect main dish for a summer bbq, and they are enhanced perfectly with the classic bbq side dishes of mac and cheese, coleslaw, and baked beans. With a few tweaks to these classic dishes, you can create a meal that is truly unforgettable.

Fresh And Light Sides

Suggest Lighter, Fresher Side Dishes That Can Complement The Richness Of Ribs Such As Grilled Vegetables, Fruit Salad, And Green Salads.

If you’re looking for a meal that perfectly balances rich flavors and fresh ingredients, ribs are an excellent choice. But, to take the meal to the next level, adding a side dish that offers a light and refreshing contrast to the savory, smoky meat is crucial.

Here are some ideas for fresh and light sides that can complement the deliciousness of ribs.

Grilled Vegetables:

  • Grilling veggies brings out their natural sweetness and enhances the flavor.
  • Try grilling asparagus, corn, zucchini, bell peppers, and onions.
  • Season the veggies with some salt, pepper, and olive oil before grilling.

Fruit Salad:

  • Fruits are refreshing and sweet, balancing out the richness of ribs.
  • Use a mix of fresh fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, kiwi, and grapes.
  • Add a tangy dressing with some lemon juice and honey.

Green Salads:

  • Add some greens to your meal to create a perfect balance of nutrition and flavor.
  • Use lettuce, spinach, arugula, or mixed greens.
  • Add some crunch with toasted nuts or seeds.

To make the most of these fresh sides:

  • Season the sides with salt, pepper, and olive oil to enhance their flavor.
  • Serve the sides chilled to add a refreshing contrast to the warm ribs.
  • Arrange the sides beautifully on a platter and garnish them before serving, adding a touch of elegance to the meal.

Fresh and light sides work wonders with ribs by providing a refreshing contrast to the richness of the meat. Grilled vegetables, fruit salad, and green salads are perfect complements that can take your meal to the next level. Don’t hesitate to try out these options to create a perfect balance of flavors and nutrition.

Starchy And Comforting Sides

When it comes to serving ribs for dinner, choosing the perfect side dishes is crucial to balance out the meal’s rich flavors. Starchy and comforting sides such as cornbread, potato dishes, and bread rolls work well with ribs. Here are some ideas to get creative with these classic sides:

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  • Cornbread: This is a deliciously sweet and savory staple in southern cooking. It complements the smoky flavors of ribs perfectly and adds some crunch. Elevate your cornbread by adding jalapenos, cheese, or even bacon bits.
  • Potato dishes: Baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, or mashed potatoes are great options to serve with ribs. They add some creaminess to the dish, which helps cut through the fat. Jazz up your potato dishes by topping them with sour cream, chives, bacon, or even chili.
  • Bread rolls: Freshly baked bread rolls are warm, comforting, and help soak up the delicious rib sauce. Add some garlic butter or herbs to enhance the flavor.

A well-chosen starchy and comforting side dish can make all the difference in a rib dinner. So don’t be afraid to experiment and try new variations to elevate the classic sides.

Global And Ethnic Sides

Explore Some International And Ethnic Side Dishes That Can Be Paired With Ribs Such As Mexican Corn, Korean Kimchi, And Jamaican Rice And Peas

If you’re looking to add some global flair to your rib dinner, explore these delicious international and ethnic side dishes. These dishes not only add unique flavors to your meal but also provide a glimpse into the diverse cultures around the world.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Mexican corn: This crispy and sweet corn on the cob is a popular mexican street food, and a perfect accompaniment for ribs. You can prepare it by grilling or baking the corn cobs and then brushing them with a mixture of butter, chili powder, and lime juice.
  • Korean kimchi: If you’re a fan of spicy food, kimchi is the perfect addition to your rib dinner. This traditional korean side dish is made with fermented vegetables like cabbage and radish, and flavored with chili flakes and ginger. You can make your own kimchi or buy it from a korean store.
  • Jamaican rice and peas: This classic jamaican dish is rice cooked with coconut milk and red kidney beans. It’s a great source of protein and carbs, and pairs well with ribs. To make it, cook the rice and beans with garlic, onion, and thyme, and then add coconut milk and simmer until the rice is tender.

Tips On Sourcing Ingredients And Preparing These Dishes

Now that you have some ideas for global side dishes, here are some tips that will help you prepare them:

  • For ingredients that are not commonly found in your local grocery store, look for specialty markets or online stores that specialize in international cuisine.
  • When buying fresh ingredients like vegetables, choose seasonal produce for optimal taste and quality.
  • Always follow the recipe instructions carefully, especially for dishes that require fermentation or special preparation techniques.
  • When presenting the food, try to pair contrasting colors and textures to create a visually appealing plate.
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By incorporating these global and ethnic side dishes into your rib dinner, you can add depth and variety to your meal. These dishes can also be a great conversation starter and an opportunity to explore different cultures through food.

Vegetarian And Vegan Sides

For those who don’t eat meat, finding the perfect side dish can sometimes be a bit challenging when ribs are on the menu. But fear not, as we have got you covered with some of the most delicious vegetarian and vegan sides to perfectly compliment your ribs.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Grilled portobello mushrooms are an excellent choice for a vegetarian side dish that will complement your ribs perfectly. These meaty and flavorful mushrooms can mimic the taste of beef, making them an ideal choice for those who don’t eat meat.

Simply brush them with some olive oil, add some seasonings and grill them till they are tender and juicy.

  • Coat portobello mushrooms with olive oil, black pepper, and salt
  • Grill them to well-done for a smoky flavor
  • Top them with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme for added flavor.

Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet potato hash is a sweet and savory combination that pairs well with any rib recipe. This dish can be easily made vegetarian or vegan by adding or subtracting some ingredients to your liking. It’s perfect for adding some sweetness to your plate and a great way to get some healthy carbs and other nutrients.

  • Peel and dice your sweet potatoes into small pieces
  • Fry them with garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes
  • Add some salt and black pepper to taste
  • Serve hot and enjoy.

Vegan Mac And Cheese

Elevate your barbecue game with this indulgent vegan mac and cheese. This classic comfort food is the perfect dish to share with your rib-loving friends or family that don’t eat meat. Made with a cashew cheese sauce, which is creamy and delicious, this vegan mac and cheese is the perfect comfort staple that will make everyone happy.

  • Blend cashews, nutritional yeast, and almond milk in a blender for the cheese sauce
  • Stir in cooked macaroni and bake in the oven for 10 minutes
  • Top with fresh herbs and serve hot.

By incorporating these vegetarian and vegan sides into your next rib dinner, you can create a complete meal that everyone will enjoy. Not only do they taste great, but they also provide a balanced diet and make even the non-meat lovers feel satisfied.

So go ahead and give them a try next time you make ribs!


After exploring the various options that complement the succulent flavor of ribs, it is clear that the possibilities are endless. From classic sides like baked beans and cornbread to influential flavors like asian-inspired slaw and teriyaki rice, there is truly something for everyone.

By experimenting with different combinations and incorporating personal preferences, enjoying ribs can be a multifaceted dining experience. Moreover, it is important to consider the occasion and environment when deciding on the best sides to complement your ribs. Whether it is a backyard barbecue with friends or a formal dinner party, there is an appropriate accompaniment for every situation.

So, whether you are a traditionalist or a foodie at heart, there is no excuse for a bland and uninspired rib dinner. With the plethora of options available, creating a memorable and delicious meal has never been easier.