20 Easy Party Sides That Work For Any Occasion

Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs
Photo: GREG DUPREE

Whether you're planning a backyard barbecue or a lavish birthday gathering, you're going to need plenty of party sides to round out the celebration. Sure, the main dishes are important too, but as any good host knows, stellar sides can really elevate an event. Plus, they're a great way to ensure that guests with any dietary restrictions have enough to eat.

In this gallery you'll find classic party sides like deviled eggs and potato salad, as well as easy side dishes that are vegan, dairy-free, and vegetarian. No matter what you're celebrating, we've got you covered with a bevy of party side dishes that can be enjoyed all year round!

01 of 20

Spicy Deviled Eggs

Spicy Deviled Eggs
Philip Friedman; Styling by Colleen Riley

Pimientos give these deviled eggs a bit of a kick, and they're sure to keep guests munching and talking throughout the event. Keep an extra batch in the fridge to replenish your plate when they inevitably disappear.

02 of 20

Lemony Cucumber-and-Herb Pasta Salad

Lemony Cucumber-and-Herb Pasta Salad
Greg DuPree

This refreshing and stunning pasta salad could be a meal in itself, but it's a stellar side at any cookout, picnic, or pot luck. Be generous with the fresh herbs, and reserve a feta-free portion for any vegan guests.

03 of 20

Orange Chili Shrimp Cocktail

Orange-Chili Shrimp Cocktail
David Prince

Shrimp cocktail turns a simple gathering into a party, and you can make it so easily! This shrimp cocktail can be served with chips or toothpicks, and offers a tingly acidity that feels oh-so-sophisticated.

04 of 20

Garlic and Herb Potato Salad

Garlic Herb Potato Salad in a yellow bowl with red speckled serving spoon.
Greg DuPree

A gooey potato salad may sit sadly on the shared table uneaten, but this gourmet take will be the talk of everyone's plates. Go for new potatoes or baby potatoes to add some fun shape and color to this side dish.

05 of 20

Zucchini Tzatziki Slaw

Zucchini Tzatziki Slaw
Greg DuPree

Two sides in one, this salad combines the elements of the classic Greek dip with a more classic American coleslaw. It's healthy, it's crunchy, and it goes with everything.

06 of 20

Toasted Israeli Couscous with Corn and Herbs

Toasted Israeli Couscous With Corn and Herbs Recipe
Greg DuPree

This dish is as delicious as it is flexible—use whatever grain you want (like barley or wild rice), play with the herbs, and decide if you want your veggies cooked or raw. It's great leftover too, so make enough for leftovers. For an elegant meal, plate roast fish or meat right on top and let those juices soak in.

07 of 20

Sweet and Tangy Baked Beans

Sweet & Tangy Baked Beans
Greg DuPree

Bacon adds savoriness and pineapple adds sweetness to these beans that are just way too good. Serve them with grilled meat or even on meatloaf night. Everyone will be asking for the recipe.

08 of 20

Peach, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

Peach, mozzarella, and basil salad on a white background.
Ngoc Minh Ngo

To create a sweeter summer salad, swap out the classic Caprese tomatoes for ripe peaches. This can also be made on kebabs for easy sharing.

09 of 20

Crispy Roasted Mushrooms

Crispy Roasted Mushrooms
Danny Kim

Mushrooms are everywhere in 2022, and for good reason. These crisp mushrooms are restaurant-worthy, and shareable at any type of food-centric function.

10 of 20

Barbecue Meatball Sliders

Super Bowl Snacks: Barbecue Meatball Sliders
Paul Sirisalee

Ditch the standby cheeseburger sliders in favor of tangy meatballs tossed in barbecue sauce and topped with a crunchy slaw.

11 of 20

Roasted Eggplant with Miso and Sesame Seeds

Roasted Eggplant With Miso and Sesame Seeds
Antonis Achilleos

Prep this dish a day or two before your gathering, and just pop it in the oven before it's time to eat. This eggplant is excellent steaming hot or cold, and any leftovers can be blended with some olive oil into a dip.

12 of 20

Cornbread Panzanella

Cornbread Panzanella
Greg DuPree

The classic Italian bread salad gets a fun twist, thanks to cornbread croutons! Improvise with your favorite seasonal veggies for a bowl that will make its way around the table more than once.

13 of 20

Tortellini Basil Salad

Tortellini Basil Salad Recipe
Jennifer Causey

Cheese-stuffed pasta is always a hit. And this pasta dish technically counts as salad! Double host points.

14 of 20

Mini Hasselback Potatoes

hasselback-potatoes-recipe
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Serving guests an entire baked potato is ambitious (unless it's potato night, which by all means, make it the star). But shrunken-down Hasselback potatoes add that crispy goodness, plus some adorableness to a party.

15 of 20

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Lisa Hubbard

Wow everyone with this fried green tomatoes recipe that evokes nostalgia and gets mouths watering. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.

16 of 20

Spinach and Artichoke Quinoa Casserole

Spinach-Artichoke Quinoa Casserole
Antonis Achilleos

Turn the classic dip into a creamy casserole that everyone can share. The crushed potato chips on top add to the fun. And surprise - this dish is vegan!

17 of 20

Spiced Rice with Crispy Chickpeas

October 2020 Recipes: Spiced Rice With Crispy Chickpeas
Caitlin Bensel

Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you need to whip up some extra carbs for a crowd. Made from pantry staples, this flavorful rice is crunchy and satisfying, pairing with pretty much anything else on your plate.

18 of 20

White Bean and Farro Salad

White bean and farro salad served in a white bowl.
Jennifer Causey

A fiber-packed dish that's as good as it tastes as it is good for you, this refreshing salad is perfect for a luncheon, picnic, or vegetarian meal.

19 of 20

Tempura Vegetables with Lemon Soy Dipping Sauce

Tempura Vegetables With Lemon-Soy Dipping Sauce Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

We're not saying you need to fry vegetables to get your friends to like you more, but they'll certainly appreciate it. If you have an open kitchen, cook these tempura veggies à la minute to really be impressive.

20 of 20

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Grapes and Feta

whole roasted cauliflower with grapes and feta
Greg Dupree

Play restaurant with this beautiful platter that will inspire "oohs" and "aahs" as it's passed around to share.

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