What to Serve With BBQ Meatballs? Best Side Dish Ideas


BBQ meatballs are more than just a tantalizing treat; they’re a culinary chameleon in the world of comfort food. These little spheres of delight, drenched in a rich, smoky barbecue sauce, have the power to transform any ordinary meal into an extraordinary feast. The beauty of BBQ meatballs lies in their versatility. Whether they’re the star of a backyard barbecue, a cozy family dinner, or a festive party platter, they adapt seamlessly to any setting or cuisine style.

Their ability to pair with a wide array of side dishes makes them a favorite for both home cooks and professional chefs. From the classic mashed potatoes to more adventurous pairings like zucchini noodles, BBQ meatballs can be the centerpiece of a hearty winter meal or a light summer fare. This versatility not only makes them a practical choice for any meal but also a canvas for culinary creativity, allowing flavors and textures to blend in delightful and unexpected ways.

Starchy Side Dishes

When it comes to creating a well-rounded meal with BBQ meatballs, starchy side dishes play a pivotal role. These sides not only add substance to your meal but also beautifully complement the rich, smoky flavors of the meatballs. Here’s a look at some classic starchy sides that can elevate your BBQ meatball experience:

Mashed Potatoes:

  • A timeless favorite, mashed potatoes offer a creamy and smooth texture that pairs wonderfully with the tangy BBQ sauce of the meatballs. Their buttery richness balances the bold flavors, making for a comforting and satisfying combination.


  • Simple yet versatile, rice acts as a perfect backdrop for the meatballs, absorbing the sauce and enhancing the overall taste. Whether it’s fluffy white rice, aromatic basmati, or nutty brown rice, it’s a side that harmoniously blends with the meatballs.

Crusty Bread:

  • There’s nothing quite like sopping up the delicious BBQ sauce with a piece of warm, crusty bread. It adds a delightful crunch and heartiness to the meal, making it more fulfilling.

Potato Salad:

  • A classic at barbecues, potato salad offers a cool and creamy contrast to the warm, spicy meatballs. Its tangy and slightly sweet flavors provide a pleasant balance to the dish.

Mac and Cheese:

  • This cheesy delight is a crowd-pleaser and pairs excellently with BBQ meatballs. The creamy, cheesy texture of the macaroni complements the meaty and saucy meatballs, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

Baked Potatoes:

  • Baked potatoes, with their fluffy interior and crispy skin, serve as a fantastic side. They can be loaded with various toppings, offering a customizable side that everyone can enjoy.

Baked Beans:

  • Baked beans bring a sweet and savory element to the table. Their saucy consistency and comforting taste make them a great companion for meatballs.

Sweet Potato Fries:

  • For a sweeter twist, sweet potato fries are an excellent choice. Their natural sweetness and crispy texture add a unique dimension to the meal.


  • Whether it’s spaghetti, egg noodles, or a spiralized vegetable noodle, they provide a delightful base for the meatballs, making the dish more substantial and varied in texture.

Each of these starchy sides not only adds its unique flavor and texture to the meal but also ensures a satisfying and hearty experience when served alongside BBQ meatballs. For those interested in making their own meatballs from scratch, check out this Homemade Meatball Recipe, which can be a great addition to your cooking repertoire.

Non-Starchy Side Dishes

While starchy sides are a classic pairing with BBQ meatballs, incorporating non-starchy side dishes can bring a refreshing and lighter touch to your meal. These sides add a burst of freshness and texture, balancing the richness of the meatballs. Here are some non-starchy sides that are perfect for complementing your BBQ meatball dish:

Leafy or Chopped Salads:

  • A crisp, fresh salad can cut through the richness of BBQ meatballs. Whether it’s a simple green salad or a more elaborate chopped salad with various vegetables, it adds a refreshing element to your meal.

Greek Yogurt Coleslaw:

  • Traditional coleslaw gets a healthier twist with Greek yogurt. This side dish brings a creamy texture and a tangy flavor that pairs beautifully with the smoky BBQ meatballs, offering a delightful contrast in flavors.


  • The sharp tanginess of pickles can be a perfect palate cleanser when enjoying BBQ meatballs. Their acidity and crunch provide a nice balance to the soft and savory meatballs.

Green Beans:

  • Lightly sautéed or steamed green beans offer a crunchy, vibrant addition to the meal. Their natural sweetness and slight crunch complement the tenderness of the meatballs.


  • With its distinctive tangy flavor, sauerkraut can add an interesting dimension to your BBQ meatball dish. It’s especially fitting if you’re aiming for a German-inspired meal.

Sautéed Greens:

  • Greens like spinach, kale, or Swiss chard, sautéed with a bit of garlic and olive oil, provide a nutritious and flavorful side. Their earthy taste pairs well with the hearty meatballs.


  • Steamed or roasted broccoli is not only healthy but also has a texture and flavor that works well with BBQ meatballs. Its slight bitterness and crunchy texture make it a great side.


  • Slices of creamy avocado can add a rich, buttery texture to your meal. It’s a simple yet luxurious addition that pairs well with the meatballs.

Lettuce Cups:

  • For a lighter option, serving BBQ meatballs in lettuce cups can be a fun and healthy way to enjoy them. It’s a great low-carb alternative that doesn’t skimp on flavor.

Zucchini Noodles:

  • For those looking for a low-carb, veggie-forward option, zucchini noodles are an excellent choice. They provide a pasta-like experience without the heaviness, complementing the BBQ meatballs beautifully.

These non-starchy sides not only offer a healthier alternative but also bring a variety of flavors and textures to the table, making your BBQ meatball meal both balanced and delicious. For those looking for healthier side dish options, this guide on Healthy Side Dish Options offers a variety of choices that can complement your BBQ meatballs.

Meal Ideas To Serve With BBQ Meatballs

BBQ meatballs are incredibly versatile, allowing for a myriad of meal combinations that can suit any taste or occasion. From classic comfort food to more adventurous, globally-inspired dishes, here are some meal ideas that showcase the best ways to serve BBQ meatballs:

Classic Meal with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans:

  • This is the quintessential comfort food pairing. Creamy mashed potatoes and crisp green beans create a perfect balance of textures and flavors alongside the savory BBQ meatballs. It’s a traditional, heartwarming meal that never disappoints.

Diner Style with Sweet Potato Fries and Coleslaw:

  • For a fun, casual meal, try BBQ meatballs with crispy sweet potato fries and a side of creamy coleslaw. This combination brings a delightful mix of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors, reminiscent of a classic diner experience.

Summer Dinner with Salad and Crusty Bread:

  • On warm summer evenings, pair BBQ meatballs with a light, refreshing salad and some crusty bread. This lighter option is satisfying without being too heavy, perfect for outdoor dining.

German-Inspired with Potato Salad and Sauerkraut:

  • Give your meal a German twist by serving BBQ meatballs with a tangy potato salad and sauerkraut. This pairing offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures, with the sauerkraut adding a unique zing.

Simple Dinner Bowl with Rice and Greens:

  • For a quick and easy meal, serve BBQ meatballs over a bed of rice, accompanied by sautéed or steamed greens. This simple yet satisfying bowl is a great way to enjoy a balanced meal with minimal fuss.

what to serve with bbq meatballs

  • Recreate the essence of a campfire cookout by pairing BBQ meatballs with baked potatoes and baked beans. This hearty combination is perfect for a cozy night in or a backyard camping adventure.

Comfort Food Dinner with Mac and Cheese and Broccoli:

  • Combine the indulgent flavors of mac and cheese with the nutritional goodness of broccoli for a well-rounded meal. Adding BBQ meatballs to this mix creates a comforting and satisfying dinner that’s sure to please everyone.

Asian Inspired with Noodles and Stir-Fry Vegetables:

  • For an Asian twist, serve BBQ meatballs over a bed of noodles, accompanied by a mix of stir-fried vegetables. This fusion meal brings together the best of both worlds, offering a unique and flavorful dining experience.

Low Carb Options:

  • For those watching their carb intake, consider serving BBQ meatballs in lettuce wraps or with a side of zucchini noodles. These low-carb alternatives are both delicious and health-conscious, ensuring a guilt-free enjoyment of BBQ meatballs.

Each of these meal ideas highlights the versatility of BBQ meatballs, offering creative and delicious ways to enjoy this beloved dish in various culinary contexts.

FAQs About What to Serve With BBQ Meatballs

What are the best sides to complement BBQ meatballs?

When considering the best sides for BBQ meatballs, it’s important to think about balance. Starchy sides like mashed potatoes, rice, or mac and cheese are excellent because they provide a comforting base. Additionally, incorporating non-starchy sides such as salads, green beans, or coleslaw adds a refreshing contrast. Essentially, the key is to balance the rich, savory flavor of the meatballs with sides that can either absorb the sauce or provide a light, crisp counterpoint.

How can I make a balanced meal with BBQ meatballs?

To create a balanced meal with BBQ meatballs, it’s crucial to include a variety of food groups. Firstly, pair the meatballs with a starchy side like baked potatoes or noodles for energy. Then, add a non-starchy vegetable like steamed broccoli or a leafy salad for vitamins and fiber. This combination ensures a meal that is not only satisfying but also nutritious and well-rounded.

Are there any low-carb options for serving with BBQ meatballs?

Indeed, there are several low-carb options that pair well with BBQ meatballs. For instance, consider serving them with zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, or in lettuce wraps. These alternatives provide the same satisfying experience without the high carbohydrate content, making them ideal for those following a low-carb diet.


In conclusion, the art of pairing sides with BBQ meatballs is all about balance and creativity. From the comforting embrace of mashed potatoes to the crisp freshness of a green salad, there’s a multitude of options to suit every palate. Furthermore, remember that the best pairings are those that complement the flavors and textures of the meatballs while adding their unique character to the meal. Therefore, don’t be afraid to experiment and find your perfect combination, making each BBQ meatball meal an exciting and delicious adventure in taste.

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