Our 22 Best Ever Summer Side Dishes

overhead view of Pasta Salad with homemade dressing served in a large bowl
Photo: Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Summertime calls for classic potluck recipes, portable foods, and dining al fresco. Want to dig into the best side dishes of the season and discover tantalizing flavors along the way? From pan-fried Southern fare to chilled, garden-fresh Spanish soup, we've compiled incredibly delicious offerings that will fill you up and minimize fuss during the dog days of summer. Find your new favorite summer side dish right here.

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Marinated Cucumber, Onion, and Tomato Salad

a low angle view of a bowl of Marinated Cucumber Onion Tomato Salad
Dotdash Meredith Food Studio

The beautifully fresh flavors of summer take center stage in this 5-star salad. A sweet, tangy vinaigrette dresses the vegetable trio for a bright and juicy bite. Simply slice, toss, and chill.

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Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

a close up, low angle view of a large bowl of old fashioned potato salad
Dotdash Meredith Food Studio

Enjoy a cookout classic with the all the familiar flavors you love. Sweet relish, mustard, and celery combine to make this creamy potato salad a delicious standout. Be sure to refrigerate and allow flavors to meld before serving.

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Easy Zucchini Fritters

Craving something crispy and cheesy on the side? You'll love these golden-brown zucchini fritters that make the most of your bumper crop. Dip them in sour cream or Buffalo sauce for a mouthwatering bite.

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Buttery Garlic Green Beans

a super close up view of a bowl full of buttery garlic green beans
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Simply seasoned green beans tossed with tender garlic and melted butter is a dish that pairs well with everything. With just five ingredients and 15 minutes cooking time, you'll have your hands free to enjoy fun in the sun.

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Squash Casserole

a large scoop of golden-brown yellow squash casserole on a blue plate sitting in front of 9x13 casserole dish
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Nothing beats a generous serving of creamy, crunchy, and decadent squash casserole. Buttery crackers, cheddar cheese, and chopped onion join tender yellow squash in this down home side dish that is baked to bubbling perfection.

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Red Cabbage Slaw

"Easy, excellent and mostly good-for-you ingredients, too!" says Ms Jean. "Tastes even better after a few days. I prefer more tangy than sweet so it's either more apple cider vinegar or less sugar — easy fix."

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Chef John's Gazpacho

Chef John's top-rated gazpacho recipe has all of the luscious flavor of late summer. Diced tomato, English cucumber, cayenne, and vinegar are blended for a beautifully fragrant taste of the season.

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Fried Okra

overhead view looking into a bowl of fried okra
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Dig into the crisp, salty decadence of this Southern classic all summer long. Serve fried okra with a creamy salad and burger for a complete backyard meal.

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Pasta Salad with Homemade Dressing

overhead view of Pasta Salad with homemade dressing served in a large bowl
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Take your summer picnic to the next level with a vibrant Italian pasta salad. Toss the rotini with cheese, vegetables, and herb dressing before chilling in the refrigerator — it's the perfect make-ahead meal or side dish.

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Cornbread Casserole

One slice of this buttery, homestyle cornbread casserole will make you a believer. Enjoy the hearty, slightly sweet taste of this old-fashioned recipe that's too delicious not to share.

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Sesame Noodles

Whether served hot or cold, this vibrant noodle dish is a certified crowdpleaser. Chili sauce, minced garlic, and toasted sesame seeds create the delectable flavor that you'll want on repeat all season long.

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Refreshing Watermelon Salad

a square dish of watermelon salad with cucumber, feta, and onion

Crumbled feta, cubed watermelon, and cucumber are tossed with quick-pickled onions and fresh herbs for an unforgettably delicious salad. Reviewers suggest using mint in place of cilantro to boost the refreshment factor.

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Mexican Corn on the Cob (Elote)

Salty crumbled cotija cheese, butter, and mayonnaise coat grilled corn on the cob in this incredibly tasty Mexican side dish. Finish with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a kiss of heat.

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Mid-Summer Italian Bread Salad

Juicy chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar, and day-old bread are tossed together for a lusciously tangy finish in this summer-friendly dish. Toast your bread before mixing it with other ingredients to ensure a deliciously sturdy salad.

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Boston Baked Beans

overhead angle, looking into a bowl of Boston baked beans
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

"Baked beans are the perfect addition to any outdoor cookout or barbecue," says recipe creator AJRHODES3. "These baked beans are slow-cooked in the oven with bacon, onions, and a sweet, syrupy sauce, resulting in an old-fashioned taste that everyone will enjoy."

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Pesto-Stuffed Grilled Portobellos

Looking for an easy and elegant side that pairs perfectly with grilled meats or plant-based entrees? Pesto-stuffed portobello mushrooms melt in your mouth and are a wonderfully garlicky, cheesy departure from standard side dishes.

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Greek Orzo Salad

"Amazing!' raves Alisa. "I took it to a party and the entire bowl was gone in five minutes. It was best on day 3, so it is a really great dish if you want to make something ahead of time."

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Stuffed Peppers My Way

Rice, green onions, and feta cheese fill roasted peppers in this hearty recipe. Rich, Italian-inspired flavor awaits in each bite of this vegetarian summer side dish.

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Grilled Pineapple Slices

Sticky-sweet grilled pineapple is sure to stand out in your barbecue or potluck spread. Make magic using only fresh pineapple, coconut milk, and cinnamon-sugar. Sprinkle the grilled slices with toasted coconut flakes for tropical flair.

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Dad's Creamy Cucumber Salad

overhead view of creamy cucumber salad served in a bowl
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Cold, creamy salad is a no-brainer for unbearably hot days, and this Allrecipes favorite features chilled cucumbers, onions, and a dill-mayo blend that's unbelievably good. Refrigerate cucumber salad while you fire up the grill, and set it out just before serving.

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a top down view of a bowl of fresh guacamole topped with diced tomatoes and parsley and served with tortilla chips.

You can't go wrong with guacamole as an easy summer side that's also a great salad-topper and sandwich spread. See why thousands of home cooks give this recipe five stars for bold, authentic flavor.

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Crusty Herb Potato Wedges

Why buy frozen when you have all the ingredients you need for crispy, sizzling hot potato wedges at home? This recipe uses herbes de Provence to lend a deep savory taste to every oven-baked fry.

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