BBQ meatballs are a beloved family favorite in my house. The tangy, sweet barbecue sauce coating those tender meatballs is simply irresistible. However, a plate of BBQ meatballs on their own can seem a little lonely. That’s why I always like to accompany my BBQ meatballs with a variety of tasty side dishes.
In this article, I’ll suggest over 7 easy and delicious sides that pair perfectly with BBQ meatballs. From classic picnic salads to warm, comforting carbs, these recipes complement the rich, saucy meatballs flawlessly. I’ve also included some tips for efficiently cooking the meatballs and sides together for a fuss-free meal. Read on to find over 7 sensational recipes to serve alongside your favorite BBQ meatballs!
Grilled Corn on the Cob
What better side for BBQ meatballs than grilled corn on the cob? The sweet, smoky kernels are a classic complement to the saucy meatballs.
To make it, simply coat shucked corn with a little oil and grill over medium high heat for about 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on all sides. The corn should release a nutty aroma and the kernels will turn a golden brown. Remove from heat and finish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
The charred corn provides a pleasant contrast to the rich, tender BBQ meatballs. The natural sweetness also balances the tangy barbecue sauce. Grilled corn is always a hit during warmer months and pairs perfectly with a meaty, saucy meal.
Creamy macaroni salad is another quintessential side for BBQ meatballs. The cool, crunchy pasta salad helps cut through the richness of the meatballs.
To make an easy homemade version, simply boil macaroni until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta with shredded carrot, diced celery, shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
The tangy, creamy macaroni salad provides great contrast to the savory umami flavors of the BBQ meatballs. The pasta salad also makes for excellent leftovers, so you can enjoy it alongside meatballs for days to come.
Crock Pot Rice Pilaf
For an effortless side to serve with saucy BBQ meatballs, whip up a crock pot rice pilaf. Simply combine rice, chicken or vegetable broth, diced onion, and seasonings like garlic powder, oregano, basil, and parsley in your slow cooker.
Cook on high heat for 2-3 hours or low heat for 5-6, until the rice has absorbed the broth and is light and fluffy. The rice will infuse with delicious flavors and make the perfect bed for piping hot BBQ meatballs.
I love making crock pot rice pilaf alongside the meatballs to save time and dirty dishes. The rice turns out perfectly tender with outstanding depth of flavor from the onion and herbs. It soaks up the rich, tomatoey barbecue sauce drizzled over the meatballs beautifully.
Homemade Egg Noodles
Tender, homemade egg noodles pair wonderfully with saucy BBQ meatballs. The noodles provide the perfect texture contrast to the juicy meatballs.
To make homemade noodles, simply combine flour, egg, salt, and milk in a mixing bowl. Knead into a smooth, elastic dough. Roll out the dough very thin and cut into long strips to make noodles. Cook the fresh noodles for just 1-2 minutes until tender when ready to serve.
These effortless homemade egg noodles cook up in just minutes to become the perfect partner for slow-cooked BBQ meatballs. The noodles soak up the rich barbecue sauce for incredible depth of flavor in every bite.
For a fun twist, serve BBQ meatballs piled high on slider buns made with sweet, fluffy Hawaiian rolls. Simply form the rolls into patties and layer the saucy meatballs, tangy slaw, and any other desired toppings between two buns.
To make the rolls, combine milk, water, sugar, butter, egg, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually stir in flour until a soft dough forms. Allow to rise for 1 hour, then shape into rolls and let rise another 30 minutes. Bake at 350°F until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
The sweet, tender Hawaiian slider buns complement the bold BBQ flavors beautifully. They make for the perfect hearty, hand-held meal featuring your mouthwatering BBQ meatballs.
For some crunch and acidity, homemade coleslaw is another fantastic side to serve with saucy BBQ meatballs. The crisp shredded cabbage in a tangy dressing provides the ideal contrast.
To make a simple coleslaw, finely shred green cabbage along with some carrot. Toss with a dressing of mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Chill for at least an hour before serving to let the flavors marry.
The cool, creamy coleslaw balances out the warmth and richness of the BBQ meatballs wonderfully. It adds nice texture and acidity as a palate cleanser between bites of the meaty sauced meatballs.
One Pot Mac and Cheese
Ooey, gooey mac and cheese is always a crowd-pleasing side. For an easy version, make a one pot stovetop mac and cheese to serve alongside your saucy BBQ meatballs. Simply cook macaroni in milk over medium heat until tender. Then stir in cheese like cheddar, parmesan, and/or american until it melts into an ultra creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
The indulgent, cheesy mac and cheese makes the ultimate comfort food partner for savory BBQ meatballs. The rich pasta cushions the meatballs beautifully and absorbs all that incredible barbecue flavor.
You can’t have a classic BBQ meal without something sweet to finish it off. After savoring juicy BBQ meatballs and sides, add the perfect ending with easy homemade cookies or brownies. The chocolatey desserts pair wonderfully with the smoky, tangy flavors of the BBQ.
Chewy chocolate chip cookies or fudgy brownies make for a sweet treat to look forward to after polishing off those amazing BBQ meatballs and sides. A cold glass of milk or coffee also complements the cookies or brownies perfectly.
BBQ meatballs are an always popular entree, but they need the right sides to make them a well-rounded meal. In this article, I suggested over 7 delicious options like grilled corn, macaroni salad, crockpot rice pilaf, homemade egg noodles, Hawaiian rolls, coleslaw, one pot mac and cheese, and dessert. Savoring juicy, saucy meatballs alongside any of these sensational sides will lead to an incredible barbecue feast.
With this variety of easy, tasty recipes, you can mix and match to create the perfect meal to complement your favorite BBQ meatballs. Better yet, many of the sides can be made efficiently in advance or alongside the meatballs. So try out these sensational ideas to take your BBQ nights to the next level!