26 Make-Ahead BBQ Side Dishes to Bring to Your Next Cookout

Summer is officially here which means the arrival of backyard potluck season! Whether a pool party, friends’ barbecue, neighborhood block party, or family reunion it seems like every weekend is an opportunity for someone to play host. This also means you likely have been tasked with bringing some sort of side dish to complement the group meal. While a trip to the prepared foods aisle may be a last minute option, it is always nice to have some easy make-ahead recipes in your back pocket to really impress your friends. Whether it’s a salad that gets better with time in the fridge to let the flavours comingle or a prepped dish that just needs a quick cook the day of, these super tasty recipes are your answer to the busy summer entertaining season ahead.

Appetizers & Sides

Chilled Soups – make ahead and chill until ready to serve:

A spin on baked beans – reheat when ready to serve, or serve at room temp:

Other summer barbecue musts:


Most of these salads are without traditional salad greens, making them easy to prepare ahead of time fully dressed – the ingredients, particularly the lentils, will hold up and soak in the flavours without getting soggy and make them even tastier the next day!


You can’t forget a sweet finish to a meal – everyone will save room for these delish endings that can be made ahead and reheated, finished before serving, or even grilled on the barbecue to really add a wow factor.