15 Southern Side Dishes for Summer Picnics
Once the weather warms up in the South, it's officially picnic season. Break out the checkered blankets and Tupperware, and get outside to enjoy the great outdoors. Once you've picked your main dish, round out your meal with our collection of 15 Southern picnic side dishes. From creamy slaw to crunchy cucumber salad, we've got all your cravings covered.
Southern Pimento Cheese
Tangy, creamy, and with a hint of spice, you can't beat pimento cheese when it comes to classic Southern side dishes. Serve it with crackers for dipping, or smear on toast points for a fancier presentation.
Best-Ever Texas Caviar
No fish are required for this beloved Texan dish. Black and pinto beans, along with corn, make up the base. Each bite is seasoned with peppers, cilantro, and a zippy sweet and sour dressing. This makes a great picnic dish in the South because there's no mayo to keep cool.
Irresistibly crunchy, deep-fried peanuts are the salty side dish that you didn't know you needed. "Passed down through generations, this is sure crowd pleaser," says Kristi Whittington.
Easy Broccoli Bacon Salad
You can't have a true Southern picnic without this salad. Fresh broccoli is tossed with salty bacon, sweet raisins (you could use dried cranberries), and crunchy sunflower seeds, all tossed in a creamy dressing.
Don't let the recipe name throw you off. Savory baked beans are given a sweet twist in this unique dish. "This is a favorite at potlucks and barbeques," says recipe creator OHHCANDY. "I've often wondered if I get invited for my company or my Cola Beans!"
Shoepeg Corn Salad
No cooking required for this refreshing side salad. Reviewer lutzflcat says, "The shoepeg corn is crisp, and the dressing has a nice tang to it. This was a welcome change from my typical mac or potato salad that I often serve with grilled chicken."
Chef John's Buttermilk Biscuits
Can it really be a Southern get together without a few biscuits? If you need a bread side dish, opt for these buttermilk baked goods. You'll love pulling apart each flaky layer.
Zucchini Corn Fritters
If your backyard garden is overflowing with zucchini and corn, then throw together these flavorful fritters. The texture is light and fluffy, great for enjoying as-is or with a creamy dipping sauce.
Classic Macaroni Salad
Don't go to the deli counter to satisfy your macaroni salad craving. You can recreate the classic dish yourself. This one features a mayo-based sauce balanced out with a splash of vinegar and dash of sugar.
Alabama Fire Crackers
If you need a crunchy side to pair with creamy salads or layered up sandwiches, then this is the recipe for you. Your basic saltines are dressed up with ranch seasoning, red pepper flakes, and other spices for a fiery snack.
Sweet Restaurant Slaw
Southern coleslaw is often creamy and sweet, with this recipe being no exception. Using a bag of pre-shredded cabbage and only needing a few ingredients for the dressing make it a cinch to throw together.
Georgia Cracker Salad
If you're not from the Peach State, you may have never heard of cracker salad, but one bite will make it a new favorite. Reviewer CookinGood raves, "FABULOUS! I took it to a church function and it was gone!"
Marinated Cucumber, Onion, and Tomato Salad
Highlight summer's fresh produce bounty with this colorful and flavorful salad. Cucumber, tomatoes, and onions are all marinated in a vinegary dressing that's equal parts sweet and sour.
Southern Deviled Eggs
Buttermilk Potato Salad
This is a potato salad that will leave everyone at the picnic asking, "Who made this?" Featuring a tangy buttermilk dressing, each bite is loaded with crispy bacon, sharp Cheddar, and herby chives.