By Carl Hanson

Summer side dishes that bring the wow-factor

Main dishes might get top billing, but it's the side dishes than often steal the show. We've rounded up 11 crowd-pleasing recipes that have that certain something extra to make them stand out at any cookout. Find out what makes these recipes special, plus get five more classic summer side dish recipes that always go over big.

Summer's Sweet 16 of Side Dishes

1. Spicy Peach Coleslaw

Three Ways It Wows: Sweet fresh peaches, spicy Asian chile sauce, rice vinegar

Photo by lutzflcat

2. Tomato Watermelon Salad

Three Ways It Wows: Refreshing watermelon, mint, feta cheese

Photo by lutzflcat

3. Bean and Bacon Salad

Three Ways It Wows: Shredded cabbage, kidney beans, snappy dressing (and oh yeah the bacon)

Photo by lutzflcat

4. Easy Cowboy Beans (Frijoles Charros)

Three Ways It Wows: ROTEL, ham, hot sauce

Photo by lutzflcat

5. Asian-American Slaw with Peanuts and Jalapenos

Three Ways It Wows: Peanut butter, fresh ginger, soy-and-sesame-oil dressing

Photo by Baking Nana

6. Crunchy Cauliflower and Tomato Salad

Three Ways It Wows: Crispy cauliflower, garlic, tangy dressing

Photo by lutzflcat

7. Thai Carrot Salad

Three Ways It Wows: Thai red curry paste, rice vinegar, peanuts

Photo by lutzflcat

8. Caribbean Sweet Potato Salad

Three Ways It Wows: Sweet corn, crunchy cucumber, Dijon dressing

Photo by slmcm

9. Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Three Ways It Wows: Pomegranate-infused red wine vinegar, roasted red peppers, cumin

Photo by lutzflcat

10. Mexican Corn on the Cob (Elote)

Three Ways It Wows: Cotija cheese, creamy mayo, lime juice

VIDEO: Mexican Corn on the Cob (Elote)

11. Cold Macaroni Salad with Hot Dogs

Three Ways It Wows: Hot dogs, olives, Cheddar

Photo by lutzflcat

Bonus: 5 Classic Summer Side Dishes

Of course, sometimes it's the comforting classics you crave. So here are 5 familiar, never-fail summer sides.

12. Old Fashioned Potato Salad

"This is potato salad the old fashioned way - with eggs, celery and relish." - jewellkay

Photo by lutzflcat

13. Classic Macaroni Salad

"This is a salad that everyone seems to love. I always get lots of compliments." - Graden

Photo by Latina Cook

14. Boston Baked Beans

"Wonderful old-fashioned baked-bean flavor. Tastes great with fresh cornbread or biscuits and honey." - AJRHODES3

Photo by lutzflcat

15. Restaurant-Style Coleslaw

"Perfect coleslaw taste. Very, very creamy with a bit of sweet/tartness." - Marsha

Photo by LaurenM

16. Grilled Corn on the Cob

"An easy method for grilling corn on the cob. Very tasty and tender." - SUETEITSMA

Photo by Molly

Check out our complete collection of Summer Side Dish Recipes.