We know how amazing a great, juicy burger is by itself. But what self-respecting establishment sells a burger without side dishes? We’ve checked out the facts and the favorites, and we’ve come back with a list. Here are the top four best sides for burgers, along with some alternates and some honorable mentions of what to serve with burgers.
We see the appeal of the crisp crunch of lettuce, the tangy dressing, the sweet and savory toppings. Salads can stand up as a meal of their own, but they’re also make great side dishes.
The humble garden salad comes with a variety of toppings that match the burger you can get. This delicious salad mimics the iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and cheddar cheese of a traditional burger. And anything you use to spice up your burger can be used to spice up your salad, from crumbled feta cheese to extra bacon.
With a good garden salad, you can mix and match the toppings you want on your burger with the toppings you want in your salad to get a whole host of flavors you wouldn’t get otherwise. But honestly, there’s so much more to offer than just a simple salad.
For a creamy, cooling option, coleslaw is one of the sweet and tangy options in your arsenal. A good coleslaw has so much flavor to complement, not mimic, the savory warmth of a good burger. It’s considered traditional for a reason – it’s one of the sides for burgers that isn’t going away for a long time.
Mix n’ Match
A cool, refreshing salad isn’t the only salad option, as much as people make fun of the 50’s for it. If you look into your local restaurant’s options, you may find some types you weren’t expecting. Far from the sophisticated Caesar salad, you may find everything from grilled vegetables to cucumber salad to fruit. And speaking of fruit, our next option might be found in a fruit salad.
On sunny summer days, there isn’t much more refreshing than cool and juicy watermelon to pair with a sizzling burger. This sweet melon is a summer staple for a reason: it quenches your thirst while providing great flavors!
Watermelon can be cut up and served in a fruit salad. Especially in the summer, when other fruits and melons are ripe and ready, having a bowl of grapes, cantaloupe, and watermelon is all you need to pair perfectly with burger night. You can also cut up watermelon and serve it by itself, displayed in a bowl made by the rind, or in slices!
By far the most popular way to have watermelon, and the easiest way to hold with a hot-off-the-grill burger in your other hand, is watermelon slices. Refreshing and easy to bite into, slices are also the perfect way to easily personalize your melon! A lot of people surprisingly like watermelon with…Salt! Others prefer a touch of lime or lemon juice on the sweet melon. However you are preparing your burgers, you can add to your melon to match!
#2: Sweet Corn
Especially at family barbeques, corn is the best hot side dish to add. When you’re already on the grill, why not add some corn on the cob over those coals? When cooked in the husk, the charred exterior hides a burst of flavor that pairs amazingly with everything from butter and herbs to parmesan cheese.
Elote/ Mexican Street Corn
Mexican street corn is one of the best, if messiest, ways to have corn on the cob! This tangy grilled corn is cooked directly on the grill, husk removed, to get the delicious smoky flavor right on the cob. Smeared with a creamy sauce of Mexican crema, lime juice, and fresh herbs like cilantro, then served dusted in chili pepper and cojita cheese, this savory dish is the perfect pair with a burger in hand.
Corn Off The Cob
When you’re all sitting together at the table, there’s no need for the fuss of hand-held foods. Simple corn makes great and versatile sides for burgers. Corn can be eaten as a side by itself, sautéed with onions and peppers, mixed into cowboy caviar, or even mixed as a Mexican street corn salad, and it’ll always be a huge hit.
There are almost too many great sides for burgers to let us list just four! We picked our set of the best sides for burgers, but there are some good ones we just couldn’t let slide:
Especially in this Eastern Idaho area, fried pickles hit the spot for a crunchy, juicy, savory side. They pack a punch of flavor in a crisp pocket – all the benefits of a pickle wrapped in all the goodness of fried foods.
Who could forget classic baked beans as a side dish? These slightly sweet, golden brown bits can come with everything from onion to bacon, and they are a warm, delicious staple of a great barbeque.
We’ve already mentioned salad, but there’s a specific type of pasta salad that needs its own mention: macaroni salad. It’s a pretty polarizing dish! With its sweet tomatoes and creamy dressing, it can be a cool, refreshing side dish.
Also under the macaroni umbrella is mac and cheese, one of the kings of American cuisine. Whether baked or made over the stove, with one or several kinds of cheese, mac and cheese is one of the quality burger side dishes we could never part with.
Of course, the number one side dish for burgers are french fries. While a myriad of potato sides treat our tastebuds, fries outlast your classic potato salad, baked potatoes, and even mashed or smashed potatoes. They even take the cake over other fried foods like onion rings. Hot, salty, crisp, and soft, classic french fries are definitely to die for. We’ll even allow sweet potato fries up here, with the right dipping sauce.
There’s a reason you can get french fries alongside any burger; it’s the classic burger side dish. A classic combo that can’t be beat. It even has variations for you to enjoy: thickly sliced steak fries, thin matchstick fries, skin-on potato wedges, baked, cooked in an air fryer, or deliciously deep fried. The ultimate burger side pairs with any type of burger, from the fancy to the OG. Frankly, they just make us grateful that potatoes exist to make burgers just a bit better.
What are your thoughts? Is this the complete list for a barbeque for the whole family – or even the whole neighborhood if you feel – or is there something we missed? Which one is the perfect dish?
If you want to see some serious food styling on what to serve with burgers, come to see us at Burger Theory, where we’ve taken flavor and fancy into account to give you the taste experience you’ve been looking for.