When planning your party menu, remember that easy side dishes complete the meal.

From traditional dishes for special occasions – think cranberries for Thanksgiving and potato salad for Independence Day – to new takes on familiar ingredients, your side dishes can be the surprisingly simple grace note in your mealtime melody!

Things to Consider When Choosing a Side Dish for Your Next Party

  • Plan for Plate Appeal. Think about color, texture and aroma. Vegetables like beets, carrots and leafy greens add a pop of bright color to a plate, offering a contrast to main dishes like fish or chicken. Conversely, a paler side like rice or potatoes can offer a counterpoint to dark main dishes such as roast beef.
  • Seek Balance. When a main dish is a dense or rich recipe, a lighter side dish can prevent a meal from feeling too heavy. A simple salad is a good accompaniment for lasagna, for example, while a lighter entrée, like grilled chicken breast, can benefit from a more substantial side, like roasted potatoes, to make a filling meal.
  • Avoid Culture Clash. Experimenting with the flavors and traditional cuisine of many cultures can be an exciting adventure! Often this means using bold flavors and seasonings, and mixing different tastes can create a complex and delightful experience. Use caution, however, as strongly contrasting flavors can overwhelm the taste buds. When in doubt, select main dish and side dish recipes from the same cultural tradition (e.g., Indian, Asian, French).
  • Be Mindful of the Method. Unless you have a commercial kitchen at your disposal, you probably need to consider your resources when planning a menu. Three dishes that bake at different temperatures can be problematic, while a meal that involves multiple cooking methods can be hard to manage. For simplicity, take advantage of dishes that can share the same space – beef and veggies roasted together, or meat and vegetables prepared on the grill.

When you are planning your next gathering, consider any of the following side recipes. You’re sure to find delicious dishes that all your guests will love.

Easy Party Sides

Air-Fried Sides

Use your air fryer to enjoy your favorite side dishes without added fat and calories.

Try this Air Fryer Asparagus
Air Fryer Asparagus
Try this Air Fryer Ranch Broccoli
Air Fryer Ranch Broccoli
Try this Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
Try this Air Fried Everything Sweet Potatoes
Air Fried Everything Sweet Potatoes
Try these Air Fryer Mixed Veggies
Air Fryer Mixed Veggies
Try this Air Fried Spaghetti Squash
Air Fried Spaghetti Squash

Grilled Sides

Scoot the hotdogs and burgers to the side and leave room on the grill for flavorful side dishes

Try these Cha Cha! Grilled Veggies
Cha Cha! Grilled Veggies
Try this Grilled Corn with Sí Sí Cilantro Butter
Grilled Corn with Sí Sí Cilantro Butter
Try these Nashville Hot Sweet Potato Wedges
Nashville Hot Sweet Potato Wedges
Try this Sí Sí Cilantro Grilled Zucchini
Sí Sí Cilantro Grilled Zucchini
Try this Ultimate Grilled Asparagus
Ultimate Grilled Asparagus
Try these Citrus Herb Grilled Veggies
Citrus Herb Grilled Veggies

World Flavors

Explore the distinctive tastes and dishes of international cuisines with these easy recipes.

Try this Italian Pasta Salad
Italian Pasta Salad
Try these Pesto Green Beans
Pesto Green Beans
Try this Mexican Bean Salad
Mexican Bean Salad
Try this Sí Sí Pico de Gallo
Sí Sí Pico de Gallo
Try this Fiesta Street Corn
Fiesta Street Corn
Try this Avocado & Corn Salad
Avocado & Corn Salad

Just Spuds

Is it really a meal without potatoes? There’s a wonderful world of ways to prepare this most popular side veg.

Try these Cha Cha! Chile Lime Waffle Fries
Cha Cha! Chile Lime Waffle Fries
Try these Cheesy Potatoes on the Grill
Cheesy Potatoes on the Grill
Try these Creamy Ranch Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Ranch Mashed Potatoes
Try these Dilly Potatoes
Dilly Potatoes
Try these Magic Roasted Potatoes
Magic Roasted Potatoes
Try these Perfectly Potatoes Au Gratin
Perfectly Potatoes Au Gratin

Bread Sides

A bun, a thick slice, a crispy crostini – whatever form it takes, bread is an always-welcome addition to meals.

Try these Bountiful Cheesy Biscuits
Bountiful Cheesy Biscuits
Try this Bountiful Corn Bread
Bountiful Corn Bread
Try these Garlic Pepper Breadsticks
Garlic Pepper Breadsticks
Try this Peppery Parmesan Toast
Peppery Parmesan Toast
Try these Bountiful Beer Bread Croutons
Bountiful Beer Bread Croutons
Try this Bacon Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread
Bacon Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread

Festive Holiday Sides

From Christmas to Independence Day to Thanksgiving – and all the holidays in between – super sides complement fab feasts.

Try these Champagne Glazed Carrots
Champagne Glazed Carrot
Try this Cranberry Apple Wild Rice Pilaf
Cranberry Apple Wild Rice Pilaf
Try this Dill Pickle Potato Salad
Dill Pickle Potato Salad
Try this Creamy Wild Rice Stuffing
Creamy Wild Rice Stuffing
Try this Bayou Sweet Potato Bake
Bayou Sweet Potato Bake
Try these Lemon Kissed Cranberries
Lemon Kissed Cranberries

Great Greens

A simple salad is always a refreshing choice to accompany any meal.

Try this Vidalia Onion Spinach Salad
Vidalia Onion Spinach Salad
Try this Broccoli Salad
Broccoli Salad
Try this Balsamic Cranberry Salad
Balsamic Cranberry Salad
Try this Fall Apple Salad
Fall Apple Salad
Try this Chopped 'Wedge' Salad
Chopped 'Wedge' Salad
Try this Creamy Cha Cha Power Slaw
Creamy Cha Cha Power Slaw

– kgm