What to Eat With BBQ Meatballs: Best Side Dishes to Serve!

Ah, BBQ meatballs – the perfect combination of sweet, tangy, and savory that has everyone coming back for seconds. But what about the sides? Choosing the right accompaniments can take your meatball feast to a whole new level of deliciousness.

In this blog post, we’ll explore top side dishes that perfectly complement your succulent BBQ meatballs. From classic favorites like coleslaw and baked beans to more creative options such as skewers with pineapple and bell peppers, you’re sure to find inspiration for your next meal featuring these mouthwatering morsels.

Key Takeaways

1. There are multiple popular side dishes that can be served with BBQ meatballs, including Greek yogurt coleslaw, mashed potatoes, cornbread, grilled corn on the cob, macaroni salad, and baked beans.

2. Other options for pairing with meatballs include asparagus, fried cabbage, egg noodles, Peperonata, and broccoli.

3. Creamy mashed potatoes and potato salad are both good choices to serve with meatballs.

4. Grilled veggies, such as zucchini and bell peppers, can add some color and flavor to your meal.

5. Baked beans are a classic side dish that pair well with BBQ flavors.

6. Bread and buns can be used to make sandwiches with the meatballs.

7. Garlic-buttered noodles and easy macaroni salad recipes are both simple and delicious options to try.

8. Skillet cornbread is a Southern-style side dish that complements the sweet and spicy flavors of BBQ meatballs.

9. Crock pot rice is a convenient and easy option for busy nights.

10. There are many variations of meatballs that can be made with different sauces and seasonings to pair with various side dishes.

Top 5 Classic And Creative Best Side Dishes To Serve With BBQ Meatballs

Coleslaw, baked beans, grilled corn on the cob, macaroni salad, and garlic mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes are classic side dishes that pair well with BBQ meatballs. For more creative options, you can also serve the meatballs skewered with pineapple and bell peppers or as a slider/sandwich.

There are plenty of alternative side dishes for those with dietary restrictions or preferences such as quinoa salad for vegans/vegetarians and roasted veggies for gluten-free/low-carb options. Additionally, topping BBQ meatballs over rice/noodles or adding them to a salad creates a satisfying meal.

Here are some of the great side dishes to serve with your BBQ meatballs: coleslaw, baked beans, grilled corn on the cob, macaroni salad, and garlic mashed potatoes. 


Coleslaw is a classic and versatile side dish that pairs exceptionally well with BBQ meatballs. Its crisp, fresh texture and tangy flavor profile complement the rich, savory taste of the meatballs, offering a perfect balance to your meal.

For those looking to add extra flair to their coleslaw, consider incorporating various herbs like dill or cilantro for added freshness. You might also want to experiment by adding crunchy elements such as toasted almonds or sunflower seeds for an added burst of texture. You can also add sour cream for a more creamy texture. 

Some people enjoy adding fruitier components like raisins or diced apples for a pop of sweetness amidst the tanginess of the dish.

Baked Beans

Baked beans are a classic side dish that pairs perfectly with BBQ meatballs. The sweetness of the baked beans complements the savory flavor of the meatballs, creating a perfect balance of flavors.

You can make your own baked beans from scratch or use canned ones for convenience. To add some extra kick to your baked beans, try adding chopped bacon, diced onions, brown sugar, and molasses before baking them in the oven.

Baked beans also work well as a vegetarian option if you substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth and omit any bacon or pork products.

Grilled Corn On The Cob

Grilled corn on the cob is a classic good side dish that pairs perfectly with BBQ meatballs. The combination of smoky and sweet flavors is unbeatable. To make this delicious side, simply coat fresh ears of corn with olive oil and grill over medium heat until charred on all sides.

For some added flavor, try brushing the corn with melted butter or sprinkling it with Parmesan cheese before grilling.

Incorporating grilled vegetables like corn into your meal not only adds variety but also provides important nutrients like fiber and vitamin C.

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is a classic side dish that pairs perfectly with BBQ meatballs. This creamy and tangy pasta salad is made with elbow macaroni, mayonnaise, vinegar, and various veggies or herbs such as celery, onion, and parsley.

Macaroni salad can be made in advance and chilled until ready to serve at your BBQ party or family dinner. You can try different variations of the recipe by adding sweet pickle relish, hard-boiled eggs, bacon bits or diced ham for additional flavors.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that can be served with BBQ meatballs for an added layer of flavor and texture. Creamy and savory, garlic mashed potatoes are made by mixing together boiled potatoes with minced garlic, butter, milk or cream, salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste.

To make your garlic mashed potatoes even more delicious, consider garnishing them with chopped chives or green onions for some added color and freshness. Or try adding in some grated Parmesan cheese or bacon bits for extra richness and depth of flavor.

Skewered With Pineapple And Bell Peppers

For a tropical twist on your meatball dish, try serving them skewered with pineapple and bell peppers. The sweet and tangy flavor of the pineapple complements the savory taste of the BBQ meatballs perfectly.

Plus, the addition of colorful bell peppers adds both freshness and crunch to your meal. This side dish is perfect for summer BBQs or outdoor gatherings since it’s easy to prepare ahead of time and can be grilled up quickly when needed.

Simply thread pre-cooked meatballs onto skewers with alternating chunks of fresh pineapple and bell pepper slices, then grill until heated through and lightly charred.

Served As A Slider Or Sandwich

Another great way to serve BBQ meatballs is as a slider or sandwich. Sandwiches are the best side dishes to serve with meatballs. You can add BBQ meatballs with grilled sandwiches to complete your meal with a side dish that goes well with many other food items. 

For those who prefer a heartier meal, try creating a sub-style sandwich by adding peppers, onions, and melted cheese to the mix that goes well together.

The key to making this dish even more delicious is choosing the right sauce. Stick with classic barbecue sauce of the meatballs for an authentic flavor profile that pairs well with any type of bread.

Overall, serving BBQ meatballs as sliders or sandwiches are quick and easy-to-make options that will surely satisfy anyone’s hunger cravings.

Topped Over Rice Or Noodles

Another great way to serve BBQ meatballs is by topping them over rice or noodles. This option provides a heartier meal and offers more variety for those who prefer something different than traditional side dishes.

For example, garlic-buttered noodles pair perfectly with the sweet and spicy flavors of BBQ meatballs. You can use any type of noodle, such as spaghetti or fettuccine, and toss it in some butter and minced garlic before serving.

It’s a great option if you prefer rice and BBQ meatballs together! Try making crockpot rice for a convenient and easy option on busy nights. Simply mix uncooked white rice with chicken broth in a slow cooker and let it cook until tender.

Whatever you choose, topping your BBQ meatballs over rice or noodles adds an extra dimension to this classic dish that will leave your taste buds satisfied. This can be your favorite side dish to add with barbecue meatballs. 

Added To A Salad

Another great way to serve the juicy meatballs is by adding them to a salad. This can add some protein and texture to an otherwise light and refreshing dish. A popular option is a mixed greens salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, shredded carrots, and crumbled feta cheese.

Top it off with sliced BBQ meatballs, drizzle some balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and enjoy! If you’re looking for something more substantial, try making a hearty Cobb salad with hard-boiled eggs, avocado slices, bacon bits, diced chicken breast, blue cheese crumbles – and of course – grilled BBQ meatballs.

Dietary Restrictions And Alternative Options

For those with dietary restrictions or preferences, there are plenty of alternative side dishes to consider, such as vegetarian and vegan options like quinoa salad and roasted vegetables, as well as gluten-free and low-carb options.

Vegetarian And Vegan Options

There are plenty of delicious vegetarian and vegan options to pair with BBQ meatballs. Here are some ideas:

  1. Grilled Vegetables: One way to add a side dish with delicious meatballs is to pair with grilled vegetables. Skewer some peppers, onions, zucchini, and mushrooms for a colorful and healthy side dish.
  2. Quinoa Salad: Mix cooked quinoa with chopped veggies, like tomatoes and cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette dressing for a protein-packed side.
  3. Roasted Sweet Potatoes: Cut sweet potatoes into wedges and roast in the oven until crispy for a tasty and satisfying side dish.
  4. Cauliflower “Rice”: Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice grains. Sautee with garlic and olive oil for a low-carb alternative to rice or noodles.
  5. Vegan Macaroni Salad: Swap out the traditional mayo for a vegan alternative and make a creamy macaroni salad that everyone can enjoy.

Remember to experiment with different flavors and seasonings to find the best combination of meatballs and sides that work for you!

Gluten-Free And Low-Carb Options

For those with dietary restrictions or looking for healthier options, there are several gluten-free and low-carb side dishes that pair well with BBQ meatballs. Here are some tasty options to try:

  • Grilled zucchini and squash
  • Roasted broccoli or cauliflower
  • Cucumber salad with a low – carb dressing
  • Bacon – wrapped asparagus bundles
  • Cauliflower “rice” stir – fry with veggies
  • Avocado and tomato salad with lime vinaigrette

These options provide a variety of textures and flavors while still being healthy and gluten-free. Pairing them with BBQ meatballs can create a satisfying meal that doesn’t sacrifice taste for dietary needs.

Quinoa Salad

Another great option to serve with BBQ meatballs is quinoa salad. This healthy and flavorful side dish will add a pop of color and texture to your meal. You can mix cooked quinoa with chopped vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and red onions.

Add some fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro for extra flavor. Dress the salad with a simple vinaigrette made of olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

Additionally, you could also try adding diced avocado or crumbled feta cheese to the quinoa salad for some creaminess and tanginess respectively. The refreshing taste of this dish pairs well with the bold flavors of BBQ sauce used on meatballs.

Roasted Vegetables

Roasting vegetables is a flavorful and healthy way to elevate your side dishes for BBQ meatballs. Some popular options include roasted asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, and broccoli.

Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the veggies and gives them a delicious charred flavor. To roast, simply toss your veggie of choice in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before placing in the oven at 400°F for about 20 minutes or until they are tender.

Pairing a colorful mix of roasted vegetables with spicy BBQ meatballs creates an appealing contrast in both taste and texture.

Beverage Pairings For BBQ Meatballs

Pairing the right beverage with BBQ meatballs can be just as important as finding the perfect side dish. From a cold beer to sweet tea, we’ve got you covered with our top picks for BBQ meatball beverage pairings.


Beer is a classic beverage to serve with BBQ meatballs. The cold, refreshing taste of beer complements the smoky and spicy flavors of the dish perfectly. A light lager or pilsner pairs well with traditional meatball recipes, while a darker ale or stout can enhance bolder and spicier flavor profiles.

For those who prefer non-alcoholic options, there are many craft sodas available that can provide similar refreshment and flavor combinations. Some delicious options to try include ginger beer, root beer or cream soda.

In addition to beer or soda pairings at mealtime, you might consider making a great appetizer for your party with mini meatballs on toothpicks served right next to some tasty beverages.

Sweet Tea

Sweet tea is a classic beverage that pairs perfectly with BBQ meatballs. With its refreshing and sweet taste, it helps to balance out the spicy kick of the meatballs. A pitcher of cold sweet tea on your table will complete a perfect southern-style meal.

To make sweet tea, you’ll need a few simple ingredients: black tea bags, sugar, and water. Boil the water and steep the tea bags for several minutes before removing them and adding sugar to taste.

If you’re looking for other non-alcoholic beverage options to complement your BBQ meatballs, consider iced tea or lemonade as well.


Lemonade is a refreshing beverage that pairs well with BBQ meatballs. This sweet and tangy drink helps to cut through the richness of the meatballs and complements their smoky flavors.

For those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks, lemonade provides a great alternative to beer or other types of alcohol commonly served at BBQs. Plus, it’s a versatile drink that can be customized in many ways – from adding fresh herbs like mint or basil to spiking it with vodka for an adult-only twist.

Iced Tea

Iced tea is a refreshing beverage that pairs perfectly with BBQ meatballs. Its crisp, cool flavor cleanses the palate between bites of smoky and savory meatball goodness.

This classic summer drink can be served in various flavors, from sweetened to unsweetened, peach to raspberry. Iced tea has long been associated with Southern cuisine and complements BBQ dishes exceptionally well.

It also offers health benefits as it is high in antioxidants and low in calories when prepared without added sugar.

Appetizers And Sauces To Serve With BBQ Meatballs

Include BBQ sauce as a must-have for meatballs, but also offer some creative alternatives such as honey mustard and ranch dressing. You can also serve them with kimchi fried rice that complements BBQ meatballs really well. 

BBQ Sauce (a Must-have!)

No BBQ meatball dish is complete without a delicious BBQ sauce. From sweet and tangy to smoky and spicy, there are many different types of BBQ sauces available to suit your taste.

Some popular options include honey mustard, teriyaki, chipotle, and classic tomato-based sauces. You can also try making your own homemade BBQ sauce using ingredients like ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and liquid smoke.

Honey Mustard

When it comes to BBQ meatballs, serving them with honey mustard can add a tangy and sweet flavor to the dish. This classic sauce is simple to make and complements the flavors of the meatballs perfectly.

Simply mix honey, dijon mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a bowl until well combined.

Honey mustard sauce can also be used as a dipping sauce for other appetizers like deviled eggs and fried pickles.

Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is a classic and beloved condiment that pairs well with many dishes, including BBQ meatballs. The creamy and tangy flavor of ranch complements the savory flavors of the meatballs, making it an excellent choice for dipping or drizzling over them.

Ranch can also be used as a dip for vegetables or bread on the side. Making your own ranch dressing at home is easy and allows you to customize the flavor to your liking by adjusting the level of herbs and spices added.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs may seem like an unexpected side dish to serve with BBQ meatballs, but they’re actually a favorite among many. The creamy and tangy filling pairs well with the smoky flavors of the meatballs.

To make deviled eggs, boil a dozen eggs for 12 minutes, then peel and halve them lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and mix them with mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you prefer.

Deviled eggs are also versatile when it comes to variations; you can add bacon bits, diced jalapenos or pickles for extra flavor.

Caprese Skewers

Switch up your traditional meatball sides with a Caprese skewer, filled with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil. The combination of the juicy tomatoes and creamy cheese pairs perfectly with the savory BBQ flavors of the meatballs.

This side dish brings a burst of summertime freshness to your meal and is an excellent option for vegetarians or those looking for lighter fare.

Fried Pickles

Another option for a delicious appetizer or side dish to pair with BBQ meatballs is fried pickles. These crispy and tangy treats are made by dipping sliced pickles in batter and frying them until golden brown.

They can be served on their own or paired with a dipping sauce, such as ranch dressing or honey mustard.

For those looking for a healthier alternative, try baking the pickle slices instead of frying them. This reduces the calorie count while still providing that satisfying crunch.

Another variation to try is using different types of pickles, such as dill or bread-and-butter slices, to mix up the flavor profile.


1. What side dishes pair well with BBQ meatballs?

Some popular side dishes that pair well with BBQ meatballs include coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, potato salad, spaghetti squash and grilled vegetables.

2. Can I serve BBQ meatballs as a main course dish?

Yes, you can serve BBQ meatball meal as a main course dish along with sides such as mashed potatoes or rice to make it a complete meal.

3. How do I make sure my BBQ sauce complements the flavor of the meatballs?

To ensure that your BBQ sauce complements the flavor of your meatballs, consider using a sweet and tangy sauce for beef or pork-based meatball recipes while opting for spicier sauces to complement turkey or chicken-based recipes.

4. Are there any vegetarian options available for serving alongside BBQ meatballs?

For vegetarians looking to enjoy this classic dish without compromising on their dietary preferences, some great alternatives include grilled tofu skewers or veggie kabobs made with mushrooms, peppers, onions and zucchini – all seasoned with your favorite herbs and spices before grilling.


In conclusion, there are plenty of scrumptious side dishes to choose from when serving BBQ meatballs. Whether you prefer classic options like coleslaw and baked beans, or more creative choices such as grilled corn on the cob and skewered with pineapple and bell peppers, or mac and cheese, there’s something for everyone! And don’t forget about alternative options that cater to various dietary restrictions.

Make sure to serve meatballs with beverages like beer, sweet tea, or lemonade, and serve delicious appetizers like fried pickles or Caprese skewers alongside your BBQ meatballs.

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