When you’re planning your next barbecue, check out this list of the best sides for burgers! It has both classic favorites and innovative dishes.
Hamburgers are a typical American meal, and they have a long history in the US. In fact, in the 1870s, a dish called a “hamburger steak” started popping up on menus.
Hamburger steaks were patties made from ground beef and onions, so they looked like modern burgers. But instead of sitting on bread, cooks just served them directly on a plate.
As well, the name “Hamburger” comes from the German city of Hamburg. Supposedly, the best beef cows came from the countryside near there.
Before the 1880s, most cooks ground the beef by hand. But once meat grinders became more popular, it was easier to grind meat, and hamburger steaks gained popularity.
It’s hard to believe, but in New York in 1887, you could buy “a bowl of coffee, hamburger steak and bread” for just a dime!
I’ve compiled a list of sides that taste great with burgers. For instance, some classics include French fries, potato salad, or baked beans.
Also, I have other hearty dishes like Buffalo Wild Wings mac and cheese. Or, if you want something healthy, there are lots of delicious vegetable sides to choose from on this list.
01. Buffalo Wild Wings Mac and Cheese
When your tummy is rumbling for some comfort food, grab a juicy burger and a scoop of this incredible macaroni and cheese.
In addition to a rich, cheesy sauce, this mac has shredded chicken and veggies for a well-rounded meal. And with the crunchy topping, no one can resist a bubbling dish of this!
02. Pasta Salad
On a hot day, you might want cold pasta instead of hot mac and cheese. In that case, this bacon ranch creamy pasta salad will hit the spot!
It’s loaded with flavor from the bacon and ranch powder. And as a variation, you could add other mix-ins like parmesan cheese, steamed asparagus, corn, or capers.
03. Potato Salad
You can be sure to please your guests when you serve classic dishes. After all, they’re classic for a reason!
And this Southern potato salad is no different: the mustard, relish, and vinegar give it spice, tang, and sweetness.
For a summery cookout, I love to serve this potato salad alongside an avocado salad, melon, and chocolate chip cookies. That way, even vegetarians will feel full!
04. French Fries
If there’s one side you can always find with a classic burger, it’s French fries. But don’t reach for the deep-fryer yet: these homemade French fries get broiled!
By soaking the raw potatoes in ice water, you remove some of the starch. This, in turn, gives you really crispy fries.
Then, season them with oil and spices, and pop them under the broiler.
05. Hot Dogs
You can’t have a cookout without the burger’s brother: the hot dog. And this recipe makes a campfire classic positively gourmet.
The secret to this tasty side is the caramelized onion topping. While it takes almost an hour and a half to properly cook the onions, it’s worth the wait.
06. Fried Pickles
Instead of classic French fries as a side dish for your burger, try fried pickles!
To get the pickle chips crispy, make sure you pat them dry with paper towels before breading to remove extra moisture. Then, bread and deep fry them.
Finally, dip them in your favorite sauces, like ranch, ketchup, honey mustard, or barbecue sauce.
07. Sweet Potato Fries
Change up your fries with sweet potatoes! These seasoned spuds are full of flavor and extra crispy from a secret ingredient: cornstarch.
Also, for a smoky flavor, use smoked paprika instead of sweet. Or, change up the seasonings with your favorite blends, such as Cajun seasoning or Old Bay.
08. Grilled Potatoes
When you already have the grill fired up for burger night, toss some potatoes on, too! Simply coat parboiled potatoes with spiced butter and grill them on the barbecue.
Then, serve them hot alongside your burger patties. As well, I like to make a refreshing salad with lots of veggies for something healthy.
09. Cucumber Salad
When you’ve been sweating over a hot grill, this delicious salad will cool you right down. The sour cream and dill dressing is tangy, and the fresh cucumbers have a delightful crunch.
The easiest way to slice the cucumbers is with a mandolin. However, you can use a regular kitchen knife if you don’t have one.
10. Corn and Avocado Salad
When I’m tired of pasta salads, I like to try other starches. And this salad tastes amazing with fresh summer corn.
The dressing is Southwest-inspired with lime juice, cilantro, and red chile flakes. When you combine it with the corn, avocado, and tomatoes, you get a great salad or dip for tortilla chips!
11. BBQ Baked Beans
Homemade with fresh ingredients, barbecue baked beans beat any canned brand. But because you start with 2 cans of pork and beans, this is also a super easy recipe.
For a little heat, add a dash of cayenne pepper. Or, for a little freshness, throw in some chopped cherry tomatoes.
12. Baked Zucchini Chips
These baked zucchini chips are one of my favorite sides for burgers. They’re crispy and crunchy, but I feel great because I’m eating my veggies!
The simple seasonings are pantry staples like black pepper, onion powder, and paprika. But feel free to experiment with others, such as a pinch of garlic powder or a little cumin.
13. Mexican Street Corn
Instead of plain buttered corn on the cob, try elote instead! This Mexican-inspired recipe adds a ton of flavor to fresh summer corn.
To assemble this dish, drizzle grilled corn with a creamy sauce, lime juice, cheese, and cilantro. You’ll need a lot of napkins, but the flavor is worth it!
14. Fruit Salad
Take advantage of summer’s abundance with some healthy sides for burgers. This fresh fruit salad is a perfect side or dessert at your next cookout.
While you can use whatever fruits you have available, this combination is fantastic. Tropical fruits like mango, kiwi, and pineapple pair really well with mixed berries.
15. Quinoa Salad
As a gluten-free alternative to pasta salad, try this flavorful quinoa salad. With mixed veggies and a tart dressing, it’s a fun and funky addition to your next barbecue.
Also, it makes a terrific lunch for the next day! Because of this, I always make a double batch to save myself some effort.
16. Onion Rings
When I’m craving comfort food, I make these crispy little rings of heaven. Plus, they’re the perfect side dish for burgers!
The smoked paprika in the breading gives these onion rings a hint of heat that pairs perfectly with grilled beef. And if you want a little more spice, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder.
17. Roasted Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes take ages to make, but these tasty slices only need about an hour in the oven. And they’re perfect alongside or on top of your favorite burger.
I like to make them with olive oil rather than avocado oil. But you can use whichever oil you like best.
18. Pickled Veggies
Don’t reach for a jar of dill slices when you can make your own refrigerator pickles. These veggies are crunchy, savory, and salty: the perfect pairing for a beef burger!
I love my pickles spicy, but you can leave out the jalapenos if you prefer. Or, use red pepper flakes if you don’t want to cut a fresh pepper.
19. Steamed Asparagus
Steamed veggies make great sides for burgers because they’re healthy and quick. And when summer asparagus is in season, I can’t get enough!
Asparagus is a little tricky to make because you can easily overcook it. But if you pay attention to the size of your stalks, you’ll be fine.
Once you’ve cooked your asparagus, make sure you season it. A little salt and pepper is always a good choice, or add some fresh parmesan for an extra kick of flavor.
20. Mac and Cheese
Boxed mac and cheese is nothing like homemade baked mac and cheese. So, if you’ve never tried the real thing, make this gooey, cheesy recipe.
The rich sauce uses sharp cheddar and Gruyere, along with milk and half and half. And you season it with salt, pepper, and paprika.
21. Mozzarella Sticks
I like to serve something crispy with a burger meal. And instead of a regular side dish of French fries, sometimes I’ll make mozzarella sticks.
I love this recipe because it uses an air fryer instead of a deep fryer. That way, the mozzarella sticks are healthier and make almost no mess.
22. Corn on the Cob
With just 3 ingredients, you can’t get much simpler than corn on the cob. Just boil the corn in milk and butter, and dig in.
It’s also a great side dish for when you’re short on time. The corn only needs to cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, so you’ll have dinner on the table in no time.
A crispy bowl of fresh coleslaw is a perfect picnic side dish. But it also tastes amazing on burgers!
I top my burger with this tangy salad to add some crunch. As well, it’s fantastic on pulled pork or brisket sandwiches.
24. Creamed Spinach
Creamed spinach is one of my favorite side dishes for any occasion, so why not pair it with burgers? It’s rich and creamy, but you’re also getting lots of vitamins from the greens!
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the cream cheese, which adds tanginess. Also, the nutmeg is a classic spice in this dish, and it pairs really well with the cream sauce.
What to Serve with Burgers: 24 Tasty Side Dishes
- Buffalo Wild Wings Mac and Cheese
- Pasta Salad
- Potato Salad
- French Fries
- Hot Dogs
- Fried Pickles
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Grilled Potatoes
- Cucumber Salad
- Corn and Avocado Salad
- BBQ Baked Beans
- Baked Zucchini Chips
- Mexican Street Corn
- Fruit Salad
- Quinoa Salad
- Onion Rings
- Roasted Tomatoes
- Pickled Veggies
- Steamed Asparagus
- Mac and Cheese
- Mozzarella Sticks
- Corn on the Cob
- Creamed Spinach
- Prepare your favorite sides.
- Start your grill.
- Flip some burgers.
- Have a party!