Written by: Haley Roney

Edited by: Carly Richwagen

Summertime means a lot of things.  Schools out, time at the beach, and cookouts with friends and families. A successful cookout can lead to great memories. When it comes to planning the menu, there are the usual staples of hotdogs and hamburgers, but a successful cookout also includes a smorgasbord of side dishes to complete the meal.  The choice of which items to include can be difficult, which is why we’ve created this list of easy side dishes that that can prepared the day of!

1. Quick and Easy Potato Salad

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

This potato salad is really easy to make and has a nice, tangy flavor. It’s sure to be a hit at any cookout!

To make, take three 15-oz cans of diced potatoes (drained) and pour a mixture of 0.7 ounces of dry Italian salad dressing mix, ¼ cup tarragon vinegar, ¼ cup water, and 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil over the potatoes. Toss the mixture to coat and stir in 3 cups of mayonnaise, and if you’d like, chopped celery, bacon bits, chopped dill pickle, and chopped green onion.  Chill and then serve.

If you have the time the canned potatoes can be replaced with fresh potatoes. Just boil, drain and dice. 

2. Ham and Cheese Spirals

Ham & Cheese Spirals

Ham & Cheese Spirals

These spirals are an easy appetizer and a perfect substitute for picky kids. They’re quick to make and they can be eaten with your hands, so you won’t have to worry about utensils!  The best part about this recipe is you can customize it however you like with your favorite type of cheese and ham. You could even substitute the ham with another favorite deli-meat like turkey or roast beef, or if you really wanted to, all of them!

To make the spirals, place a piece of ham on an unbaked croissant role and sprinkle on shredded cheese.  Next, roll the croissants and bake according to the package directions.  It’s that simple!  You can prepare these spirals before the cookout and bake them directly before serving, or bake them ahead of time and reheat as needed. 

3. Pigs in a Blanket

A modern classic that is sure to leave everyone happy. You can even add a variety of dipping sauces for people to choose from to enhance the flavor of their pigs. Like the ham and cheese spirals, these require no utensils and are an easy and quick fix.

To make the pigs in a blanket, you’ll need a container of unbaked croissant dough and mini smoked sausages. Unroll the dough and cut each croissant into about 3 or 4 slices.  Then roll a smoky in each section and cook per the instructions on the croissant package.

4. Corn on the Cob

Corn on the Cob

Corn on the Cob

Corn on the Cob can be a salty or savory item to add to the menu. It’s tasty and it gives your cookout a healthy addition. It can even be cooked right on the grill at the same time as the hotdogs and hamburgers!

Simply take the ears of corn, shucked, and season with your favorite spices (salt and pepper work fine, or kick it up with a little paprika, oregano, or basil and parmesan).  Wrap each ear of corn in aluminum foil, and place them on the grill to cook for about 15 minutes, rotating every few minutes or so.

After you pull the corn from the grill, the aluminum foil will keep the corn hot until it’s ready to be served, so no need to hand it out right away. You can even grill some ahead of time and place it to the side so people can grab it at their leisure.

5. Potato Chips 

Potato chips are a classic side that requires no cooking and practically no preparation. You can either buy a few big bags of classic flavors, or get a variety pack of little bags so everyone has a probability of finding a flavor they like!  Serve them with various dips like french onion, salsa, guacamole or even buffalo chicken dip!

What’s YOUR favorite item to bring to a cookout that didn’t make the list?