~ Whether you’re hosting a cookout, or just throwing together a quick burger night for the family … easy, tasty side dishes elevate those hamburgers to something memorable and special! Choose from classic sides like sweet potato fries, dill pickles and macaroni salad. Or, go for a completely unique, new side that’s sure to win “wows”! ~
Burgers are always a fun meal. From a Father’s Day or Fourth of July cookout, to a relaxed Friday night with your whole family gathered round the table together.
Burgers just feel like a little bit of a party.
And they’re one of those meals that don’t really follow a lot of rules.
Burgers can be ultra-beefy, or they can feature lean turkey or chicken … or they can go off-script as a veggie burger or our scrumptious Asian Salmon Burger recipe.
Plus, you can go classic and simple with just ketchup, pickles and mustard. Or pile practically anything you can think of on top. Italian Hamburgers loaded with grilled peppers and onions and melty fresh mozzarella? Yessss! Fajita Burgers dolloped with fresh guacamole? Also yes, yes, yes!
There’s practically no way you can go wrong with burgers. Creatively, the sky’s the limit.
What to Serve with Hamburgers to Create an EXPERIENCE
The same thing’s true with side dishes for burgers – the sky’s really the limit, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming.
Even very easy sides can really elevate the whole burger experience and add that perfect, special finishing touch. You can create practically any vibe you want, just by switching up what you serve with hamburgers.
- Wanna go classic? Try french fries or potato salad. Maybe some homemade dill pickles you’ve got waiting in the fridge.
- For a Mexican vibe, a fresh corn salsa or Mexican Street Corn Salad would be spot-on perfect!
- Wishing you were sunning yourself on the Greek Isles? Okay! Try some Mediterranean Quinoa Salad and Greek fries.
- Carefully guarding your summer swimsuit figure? I hear ya! Go with a lovely fresh fruit salad and a lightened-up No-Mayo Coleslaw. (Pssssst … and rest assured … true to the spirit of THK, all the recipes below were carefully vetted to be more nutritious, as well as delicious!)
I could go on and on here, but you get the idea.
Pairing your burgers with one or two terrific side dishes can truly elevate a humble hamburger into a memorable experience.
All you have to do is choose where to start …..
51 Best Sides for Burgers
Firing up the grill to took some burgers and hot dogs? Then why not grill your side dish, too? Grilling sweet corn is easy, and the roasty caramelization you get from the grill is truly "next level" delicious! We've got lots of tips on our very favorite method (hint: no husks).
Cool pasta salad is a classic, perfect side for a warm, juicy burger (like the fantastic Italian Burger in our photo). This recipe's a true family favorite! It's got all the big, bold flavors you love, with a few simple tweaks to keep it a bit lighter, too. Plus, it keeps well for several days, so it's a great make-ahead for busy weeknights or summer party planning. (Need a pasta salad that goes perfectly with vegan burgers? We've got a fantastic collection of Vegan Pasta Salads to try, too.)
Air Fryer Blooming Onion
Soooooo ... you know that Bloomin' Onion at a certain restaurant? The one that's so, so good with a big, beefy burger ... but that's also so darn greasy and heavy you just wanna curl up under the table and take a nap? How about making it at home? And even better: in your air fryer! Checks alllll the boxes, doesn't it?!? (No air fryer? Or just want regular ol' onion rings instead of a whole bloom? No problem – these Oven Baked Onion Rings are great with burgers, too.)
If you're a bit tired of typical french fries, try these super-simple potatoes! High-heat oven roasting is a great way to cook potatoes to a toasty, golden-brown with great texture and flavor.
And while we're talking about oven roasting ... if you're looking for an EASY side dish, give these a try! You basically need one main ingredient: green beans! But, although they’re the ultimate in simplicity, they don’t taste simple at all. You’ll be surprised how complex and delicious they are, with deep, caramelized flavors. Be warned: these disappear really fast, so you might want to make a double batch!
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
So quick to prep ... just toss sliced sweet potatoes with olive oil, cornstarch, and seasoning, and then bake. There's no need to peel the sweet potato! Great tips for making them crispier and avoiding soggy fries, too. Wanna use your air fryer? Try these Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries instead.
This speedy recipe is so delicious and incredibly versatile! You can toss it together with fresh, raw corn or you can use toasty, grilled corn. And you can serve it as a dip with chips, or as a side salad. LOTS of options! (And that to-die-for burger cozied up with it in our photo? That's our Grilled Fajita Burger, which I highly recommend!)
Easy and Healthy Macaroni Salad – Deli Style
This recipe slashes the amount of mayo used in traditional recipes. But Ed (the genius behind this recipe) vows that you'll never notice the upgrade, promising, "This tastes like the real deal." Your burger (and your waistline) will thank you!
How to Grill Onions: 3 Ways
Three great methods for making onions to top those juicy burgers! From grilled red onion rings to perfect wedges ... even how to grill a whole onion in foil. Not firing up the grill? No worries. Try these Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions or Air Fryer Onions.
Refreshing, sweet and crowd-pleasing! Yet this easy recipe has just 6 simple ingredients, and takes only 10 minutes. A perfect summer side dish!
German Potato Salad
With creamy red potatoes, sautéed onions and celery, and a tangy mustard-vinegar dressing, this classic hamburger side dish is bursting with flavor. Although you may think of German-style potato salad as a hot side dish, you can also enjoy this warm or cold – it's super versatile. Tons of great tips, and yummy ideas for substitutions and variations, too!
This recipe is the perfect middle ground between creamy, deli-style coleslaws and tangy vinegar slaws. It features a lightened-up Greek yogurt dressing with notes of tangy-sweet apple cider vinegar. Even better? It needs just a few simple ingredients and only takes about 5 minutes to toss together!
Instant Pot Vegetarian Baked Beans
Hamburgers and baked beans are a classic combo, for sure. This version leverages your pressure cooker to create beautifully textured, flavorful beans in a fraction of the time. But they're so jam-packed with flavor, you’d think they'd been cooking for hours on the stove!
Crispy Air Fryer Potato Wedges
Whether you call them steak fries or jojos or ... well, just potato wedges, one thing's for sure: these guys are basically a hamburger's BFF. Great tips for choosing the right type of potato, keeping your fries crispy, and swapping in different spices. No air fryer? Try these Oven-Baked Sesame Potato Wedges. Either way, skipping the deep fryer is a great option that's less messy and more healthy (but still so delicious)!
As with so many salads, the dressing can really ratchet up the calories if you're not careful, even when you're noshing on nutritious broccoli. That's where this recipe comes in! It cleverly lightens up the dressing, yet Julie promises her version has even more flavor than traditional recipes!
When it comes to healthy sides, vegetables are an obvious win, and this gorgeous, colorful mixture has plenty of veggie choices to satisfy everyone at the table. It's so very simple to make, but bursting with flavor. And it's one of those veggie sides you can make all year through, since it relies on the oven instead of the grill and uses vegetables commonly found at the grocery store.
All the great flavors of Mexican elote – in a uniquely tasty salad. And after extensive testing, we’ve found a couple handy tricks for keeping it lighter, too! (Pssssssst ... For even more sweet corn recipes, check out our whole collection of our Favorite Corn Salads.)
This super EASY salad recipe gets an extra boost of flavor from vibrant, crunchy peppers. It’s a signature summer recipe from one of the very best cooks I’ve ever known – my Oma! And, it only takes 5 minutes to make!
Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Gotta have great pickles with burgers! These mouthwatering no-cook pickles require no canning – just soak cucumbers in a simple brine and refrigerate. Don't miss the variations for spicy pickles, different seasonings, and interesting additions like cauliflower or bell peppers.
This beautiful, vibrantly delicious quinoa salad is both healthy and also so easy! Quinoa and confetti greens are accented with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, pine nuts, and both feta cheese and parmesan cheese ... all pulled together with a fabulous balsamic vinegar dressing.
Chimichurri Potato Salad
Take a break from classic potato salad! This unique, bright and flavorful potato salad combines crispy roasted potatoes, sautéed onion, red bell pepper, and a fresh homemade chimichurri. It's simple and wonderfully versatile, since it can be served either warm or chilled.
This is a great side when you need something fast, without firing up the grill or the oven. (Although, if you don't have an air fryer, our Easy Oven Roasted Asparagus will get you nearly identical results.) Be sure to read Tip #7 for yummy customization ideas to add pops of flavor to match the type of burger you're making.
Tell your taste buds to buckle up for a wild and wonderful ride! This spin on the ever-popular Cowboy Caviar theme features a lemon-Dijon soy sauce dressing that highlights the red pepper, corn, edamame, black beans, cilantro, and quinoa. It's one of those perfect side dishes that does double duty as both a dip and a salad. Wins raves every time we serve it!
Air Fryer Greek Fries
This recipe upgrades classic french fries with a Greek-style combination of spices, plus a sprinkling of feta cheese and a creamy tzatziki dipping sauce.
This deceptively simple recipe is an updated riff on the beloved Bean Salad served at the iconic Nick Anthe’s restaurant for more than 30 years. It’s surprisingly addictive. But with no cooking and just a bit of quick chopping, it’s also ultra-fast. Great as a make-ahead since it keeps beautifully for several days.
Skillet Fried Mushrooms
I am such a total sucker for burgers that are piled colossally high with toppings. So, yeah ... to me these aren't technically a side dish ... I'd want them cascading all down from the heights of my piled-up burger. *happy sigh* But I'd be thrilled to have extras served on the side, too. Can't go wrong, either way!
If you're looking for an impressive recipe for a cookout or potluck, this is sure to win you some ooooohs and aaaaahs! Piled high in a trifle bowl, it’s got loads of wow factor, but we’ve got shortcuts and make-ahead tips to ensure that it’s quick and simple, too! Try it with our Tex-Mex Burgers or our adorable little Taco Burger Sliders.
I love pairing a fruit salad with main dishes like hearty, savory burgers. It's a great way to balance out the flavors and add refreshing sweetness to the meal. This decadent Grape Salad is simple to make all year 'round. (But if you're planning a hamburger cookout for a summer party like Memorial Day or the 4th of July, be sure to check out our showstopper Red, White and Blue Fruit Salads, too.)
Baked Parsnip Chips
Skip the same-old-same-old bag of store-bought potato chips, and up your chip game with surprisingly sweet parsnips! The recipe helpfully includes air fryer directions as well as traditional oven instructions.
All the great flavors of buffalo chicken dip, in a satisfying pasta salad. (Yes ... yum, yum, yum!) Plus, it’s easy to prep ahead and can even be served without the chicken for a vegetarian option.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
Take your everyday veggies and make them exciting again! Thick-cut veggies are chargrilled and then tossed in a flavorful dressing. If you're hosting burger night for a crowd, you can easily double or triple the recipe as needed.
Air Fryer Eggplant Fries
Give your ketchup a new dipping buddy with these crunchy Eggplant Fries! Easy to make, with no need to peel the eggplant. And, be sure to check out all the ideas for different seasonings, gluten free options ... even how to turn these fries into chips!
Summer Beet & Tomato Salad
This gorgeous side dish recipe celebrates the best farmers' market produce. Enjoy summer on a plate with sweet, earthy beets and vibrant tomatoes, fresh herbs, pearl barley and a simple but flavorful vinaigrette.
Baked Sweet Potatoes on the BBQ
Try this foolproof method for perfect baked potatoes every time! Recipe creator Lo promises, "You literally cannot mess it up." This is also a great prep-ahead recipe for camping cookouts — simply wrap a few sweet potatoes in foil and bring them out to the campsite.
A shredded Brussels sprout blend is tossed with irresistible mix-ins like crunchy pistachios and sweet-tart dried cranberries … and then drizzled with a delicious Maple-Balsamic Dressing. I think this one might really surprise (and delight!) you, and it's a great way to offset a big, beefy burger with some superfoods nutrition, too. Oh — and it's ready to go in about 5 minutes flat!
This is an impressive grilled side that can double as a vegetarian main or a hearty, party-starting appetizer. Packaged polenta is topped with creamy mozzarella, and heaped with balsamic-soaked cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. A great accompaniment to our Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Burgers. (Indoor broiling option, too.)
Absolutely the very BEST Buffalo Cauliflower Wings, piled sky-high with extra flavors. And they take just 5 minutes of prep work (with no messy batter). Especially perfect if you're serving burgers for game day!
Breaded Zucchini Sticks
These crispy, tender, chunky fries offer the added bonus of using up a bumper crop of summer zucchini! With directions for both standard frying and healthier air frying, too.
Easy Refrigerator Pickled Jalapeños
If you're anything like my hubby, then you want a good kick of heat with your hamburgers (and practically everything else, too). In less than 15 minutes, you can have these finished and stashed in the fridge, ready for your next grill party. They're so easy to make, using either your microwave or stovetop ... with no canning required!
If you've been having more than enough potatoes lately, and just aren't in a typical french fries mood (is that even possible??), well this might be just the thing! Sweet carrots and nutty parsnips join up with fluffy red potatoes in this easy side dish. Mix it up right on the sheet pan and finish it with a completely addictive honey-Dijon drizzle to bring all the flavors together!
This Middle Eastern salad has a zesty, bright flavor featuring fresh parsley and mint, lemon juice and sumac to accent the crisp romaine, sweet tomatoes, and refreshing cucumbers. Everything is cut into small pieces, creating a great texture. Try adding some crumbled feta cheese or chopped red onion for even bolder flavors!
Air Fried Oyster Mushrooms
Fried mushrooms are one of my guilty pleasures at our local hamburger joint, so I just had to include this recipe! And, thanks to the air fryer, they're perfectly golden and crunchy all over, but with just a fraction of the calories of deep-frying. The recipe includes an optional Bang Bang sauce, but you can dip them in any of your hamburger condiments, or just serve with lemon wedges.
Air Fryer Carrot Fries
Healthier than regular french fries, with a carrot-y sweetness that wins over both little kids and adults. Be sure to check out the suggestions for swapping in different seasonings (hint ... how about some brown sugar and cinnamon?).
Blissful summer simplicity, with absolutely no cooking needed! Delicious summer corn combines with sweet-tart cherry tomatoes and creamy avocado. Made with the season's very best produce, this has so much flavor with virtually no effort.
I love this post, filled with terrific tips like, "How to Make an Outrageous Asian Slaw Dressing" and even food styling pointers from a pro blogger to help you make an eye-popping, crowd-pleasing creation! (This slaw would be a marvelous side for our Asian Salmon Burger. Hint hint hint!)
Spaghetti Squash Tater Tots
How fun is this idea?!? It's a creative, healthy hamburger side dish that you can enjoy making (and then eating!) with your kiddos. A tasty and nutritious alternative to deep-fried, traditional tots!
Greek Cucumber Salad
This speedy salad is light and refreshing, and full of healthy ingredients. With minimal prep, it makes an easy side dish, and is even tastier made a little bit ahead.
Just a few ingredients elevate humble broccoli to a headliner side dish! Use both broccoli AND broccolini ... or go with just one of them. Either way, the caramelization you get from grilling is not-to-be-missed!
Baby carrots are a kid-approved side dish (that adults love, too). This is a great weeknight family dinner choice for busy evenings, since it requires just 1 main ingredient and 2 minutes of hands-on time … plus a surprisingly scrumptious technique!
A delightful combination of creamy-crunchy-smoky-sweet-tangy deliciousness. It offers enticing crunch to accompany a juicy hamburger, with smoked notes that are nice with grilled entrees. And the apple and cheddar flavors are terrific with beef. Seriously ... what's not to love here?!?
When you think of fries, you might not think of a rutabaga. But these slightly sweet, crispy, golden brown fries are a deliciously low-carb alternative to traditional french fries. This air fryer recipe includes alternate direction for a standard oven.
Even More Great Side Dish Ideas
• Check out our collection of summer-y Cookout Sides for a list of side dishes that pair well with burgers, as well as with hot dogs, steaks and chicken. (And if you’re grilling up hot dogs or sausages along with your burgers, take a peek at our collection of specific Hot Dog Sides.)
• If you’re serving up your favorite burgers at a star-spangled American holiday – maybe a July 4th potluck or a Memorial Day cookout – then you’ll want to check out all the ideas in our Memorial Day Food Recipes collection (lots of red, white and blue recipes)!
• Or take a peek at ALL our side dish recipe ideas!
So, what’s it gonna be?
Are you going with a classic burger side dish, or with one of the more unique, unexpected sides? (Hmmmmm … decisions, decisions …)
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