What To Bring To A Backyard BBQ

It’s officially barbeque season! If you get invited to a barbeque, you should first say you’ll be attending, DUH, and second, never attend empty-handed. Party foul! Barbeques are a group effort, and you need to do your part. 

But we get it. Life happens, and one minute you’re tanning, and the next, you’re an hour away from the potluck, and you’re still empty-handed. Yikes! Whether you’re attending a last-minute party or you just forgot that you RSVPed to your friend and family soiree, we have a few last-minute options that you can throw together and still be the belle of the ball...or, in this case, barbeque. Of course, if you're type A and didn't forget and just want to bring the best dish around, we added a few of those too!

Side Dishes Galore

Appetizers for Procrastinators: 

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is the ultimate savory side dish to any picnic meal. If you missed the macaroni salad memo, it’s a dish similar to potato salad or coleslaw, but it uses elbow macaroni instead of potatoes.

If you have 15 minutes to spare, you can make Center Cut Cook's Macaroni Salad. 

Broccoli Salad

Any food item that makes us feel like we’re healthy, we’re into, especially when they give us an excuse to add bacon

Take 15 minutes to make Sugar Spun Run's Broccoli Salad

Caprese Salad

This classic salad is as simple as it sounds. Just add plenty of mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil to a bowl and drizzle with a vinaigrette. Warning: this salad is addictive.

Italian Pasta Salad

Got leftovers? Perfect. Throw them in a bowl and make it into an Italian Pasta Salad! There's nothing dainty about pasta salad; the traditional Italian pasta salad calls for a hearty combination of noodles, veggies, meats, and cheeses all bound together by a zesty dressing. Grill up some asparagus, grab some artichokes, and cut up some red onions, peppers, olives, and mushrooms for a salad your guests won't forget.

Get your creative juices flowing with an Italian Pasta Salad prepared in 15 minutes with Pinch of Yum's Pasta Salad recipe

Watermelon Salad

Fruit salad is always an option. And not only that, it happens to be one of the easiest side dishes out there where you can be as self-centered as you'd like by tailoring it to your taste preferences, and nobody will ask any questions. Not sure about you, but we think this is a win all around. You can grab oranges, mango, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, cherry, or cranberries for your fruit salad, or bring a refreshing summer theme to your cookouts with a watermelon salad sprinkled with feta cheese.

If you want some guidance, you can take a peek at this mouthwatering recipe from Fork Knife Swoon

7-Layer Dip

Dips are always crowd-pleasers. Guacamole and salsa are BBQ must-haves, but someone else is guaranteed to steal your thunder. 7-Layer Dip takes a tiny bit more time, so your friends will love it just a tiny bit more. Just bring a big bag of chips or vegetables to go with it, and you’ll look like a BBQ superhero! 

Shrimp Skewers

Shrimp kabobs are so deceptively simple. Just dunk your shrimps in some garlic butter or herbs, grill them up, shove them on a stick, and serve next to some cocktail dipping sauce.

Summer Orzo

Orzo is a tiny, rice-shaped pasta that's easy to cook and delicious in salads or pesto. You can find it at most grocery stores; look for the pasta aisle!

Baked Beans

An iconic dish that no barbecue should be without. With so many flavors in every single bite, baked beans are the perfect side dish because it’s the most flavor for your buck. And to top it off, it requires little to no work. Chop up some hot dogs to add to your concoction, slather it in sauce, and serve it up next to your favorite slaws.

Side Dishes for Planners:

Potato Salad

If you don’t love potato salad, you can see yourself out. Seriously, leave! Everyone loves a good potato salad. What is a barbeque without one? Well, not one we want to attend. Potato salad will beat out all of the other side dishes and have people worshiping you. Whether you prefer your potato salad with mustard or mayo, no BBQ would be complete without it.

In forty minutes, you can whip up Jessica Gavin's All American Potato Salad Recipe


Whether you're looking for classic burgers or mini chicken sandwiches, sliders are a great pre-game for the main BBQ event. Top yours with avocado, or make them fancy with some honey and brie cheeseburgers. Anything can be a slider as long as it fits between two mini buns

Baked Mac and Cheese

Universal comfort food is always a good idea. Mac and cheese is always a good idea. So basically, what we're saying is, Baked Mac and Cheese is a really, really good idea, especially if you use a Chunky's Chef's recipe. But sorry, procrastinators, this recipe takes around an hour, so you're going to have to keep on scrolling! 

Jalapeno Cornbread

There's something incredible about the combination of heat and sweetness, especially when that combination comes together in Jalapeno Cornbread. Easy to make and even easier to eat, Jalapeno Cornbread is the ideal side for any barbeque. 

This is a baking recipe, which is strictly for those who have their lives together (no offense, procrastinators!) Take a look at this recipe, thanks to the Spruce Eats. 

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

If you were asked to bring desserts or you’re just better at baking, we’ve pulled together some easy crowd-pleasers. Of course, these take a little more time to prepare, so procrastinators, feel free to skip ahead. 

S’mores Rice Krispie Treats

Camping? Don’t know her. Good news for those who don't have ‘camping’ in their vocabulary: we found the ideal way to enjoy s’mores without the tent and sleeping bags. We bring you S’mores Rice Krispie Treats. Easily made in just ten minutes by combining a few delicious ingredients, you have yourself a little hand-held treat of deliciousness that you’ll enjoy all summer long. And, this homemade version gives the “real” thing a run for its money. 

Grab chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers, and top with ice cream for a cool summer refreshment.

Don't take our word; go look at what Broma Bakery has to say about her delightful treats. 

And, alas, if you’re into the traditional s’mores, you can also easily do that too without even having to bake. Just grab a few bags of each ingredient and be on your way!

Monkey Bread

Monkey bread got its name from how eating this sweet treat’s resembles monkeys grooming each other in the wild. Like monkeys grooming one another, you have to peel off a piece of the tasty treat with your fingers to enjoy this gooey goodness. While the image might not scream deliciousness, we can assure you that monkey bread is a favorite amongst children and adults alike.  Just wash your hands before and after. 

Go bananas for this recipe from Self Proclaimed Foodie. 

Store-Bought Pie

Listen... nobody needs to know. Head to your local grocery store, grab a pie, and heat it up at home. Stick it on a pie dish, and pretend it's your grandmother's recipe. Your secret is safe with us.

Lemon Bars

A summer dessert staple that everyone loves, Lemon Bars are tangy, sweet, and tart all at once. Because of its multitude of flavors, you can serve them to nearly anyone, and rest assured there’s something in them that they’re going to like. Even better, most lemon bar recipes don’t call for too many ingredients, most of which you likely already have. 

For our next BBQ, we have our eyes on this lemon bar recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Funfetti Cookies

We know that some people claim that funfetti is just vanilla with sprinkles, but we whole-heartedly disagree. There is something clearly more delicious about funfetti than a regular sugar cookie. For starters, funfetti has a delightful texture in flavor that you just don’t find in traditional old cookies. It’s like cake batter meets airy lightness and creates a denser, more delicious dough.  Plus they’re cute! 

Sprinkle in some fun with this recipe from Preppy Kitchen.


No BBQ is complete without booze, obviously, and homemade sangria will always make you the host's favorite guest. Mix wine, fruit, and ice into a large pitcher, and serve to your adoring fans.

Ice—No, Seriously

We all know BBQs are just as much about standing around drinking as it is about drinking… I mean eating. We also know that the most common objects are the ones that are often forgotten. If you don’t believe us, then clearly you’ve never seen the episode of Real Housewives of Potomac when they forgot napkins at a finger-lickin' bbq ribs kind of bbq. The takeaway: be the savior of bringing extra cups and ice. Not all heroes wear capes, and everyone will thank you.