By Carl Hanson
May 13, 2015

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

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

Spicy Peach Coleslaw
Photo by lutzflcat

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

Tomato Watermelon Salad
Photo by lutzflcat

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

Bean and Bacon Salad
Photo by lutzflcat

Three Ways It Wows: ROTEL, ham, hot sauce

Easy Cowboy Beans Frijoles Charros
Photo by lutzflcat

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

Asian American Slaw with Peanuts and Jalapenos
Photo by Baking Nana

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

Crunchy Cauliflower and Tomato Salad
Photo by lutzflcat

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

Thai Carrot Salad
Photo by lutzflcat

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

Caribbean Sweet Potato Salad
Photo by slmcm

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

Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Photo by lutzflcat

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

Three Ways It Wows: Hot dogs, olives, Cheddar

Cold Macaroni Salad with Hot Dogs
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.

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

Old Fashioned Potato Salad
Photo by lutzflcat

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

A glass bowl piled high with creamy macaroni salad
Photo by Latina Cook
| Credit: Latina Cook

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

Boston Baked Beans
Photo by lutzflcat
| Credit: lutzflcat

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

Restaurant Style Coleslaw
Photo by LaurenM

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

Grilled Corn on the Cob
Photo by Molly

Check out our complete collection of Summer Side Dish Recipes.