94 Barbecue Sides Perfect for a Potluck

Updated: Jun. 11, 2024

Ready or not, summer's here! And these barbecue sides spotlight the season's best ingredients. Bring these potluck-ready dishes to your next event, and we guarantee you'll go home with an empty pan.

We love summer entertaining. The fresh flavors, al fresco ambiance and endless nights make even the simplest party feel special. That’s why we searched high and low to find the best barbecue sides for your summer bash.

From potato salads to corn on the cob and baked beans to pickles, we have all of the essentials. Each dish serves several guests and is packed with delicious summer flavors. Now, who’s ready to dig in?

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Jalapeno Popper Corn Salad

I created this recipe for a wedding I was catering, and it's a good thing I made buckets of it, because I couldn't stop eating it! This chilled creamy salad combines all the best flavors of jalapeno poppers with the delicate sweetness of fresh corn. —Amanda Miller, Hutchinson, Kansas

Discover more of our best summer side dishes to take to your next potluck.

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Black-Eyed Pea Tomato Salad

Spending time in the kitchen with my late aunt was so much fun because she was an amazing cook and teacher. This black-eyed pea salad was one of her specialties. It is easy to make and is a nice alternative to pasta or potato salad. Add cooked cubed chicken breast to make it a meal on its own. —Patricia Ness, La Mesa, California
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Stir-Fried Zucchini

I plant many vegetables to use in cooking. Zucchini is among our favorites. That is why this zucchini stir-fry is so popular at our house. —Deborah Elliot, Ridge Spring, South Carolina
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Grandma’s Creamy Potato Salad

My grandma makes the best potato salad, but she doesn’t use a recipe! So I watched while she put together “a little of this and a little of that” and jotted a creamy potato salad recipe that comes close. The dressing also works well for making deviled eggs. —Jill Steiner, Hancock, Minnesota

Try more of our favorite potato salad recipes, too.

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Pickled Green Beans

This recipe produces zippy little pickled green beans, preserving my veggies for months to come … if they last that long. I crank up the heat a bit with cayenne pepper. —Marisa McClellan, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Tomato Cobbler

I make this tomato cobbler recipe during the height of summer, when tomatoes are abundant and super flavorful. The topping is a cross between that of a crisp and a cobbler. It’s a delightful way to use up fresh garden produce, and it’s one of my favorite BBQ sides. —Mohammad Abdullah, Fremont, California
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Crispy Fried Onion Rings

We use this onion rings recipe as a burger topper to add an extra element to already fantastic burgers. These onion rings are also perfect for giving your salads a little crunch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Caprese Pasta Salad

This easy Caprese pasta salad is always a favorite, especially when summer tomatoes are at their peak. It comes together quickly, but if you can make it ahead of time, the flavors seem to get better after it’s chilled for a few hours. —Debby Harden, Lansing, Michigan

Psst! Have you heard of the best picnic salad in every state?

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Juicy Watermelon Salad

This fruit salad has such a surprising yet fabulous mix of flavors that friends often ask for the recipe. Combine seedless watermelon varieties in yellow, red and pink for a colorful twist. —Heidi Haight, Macomb, Michigan
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Slow-Cooker Sauerkraut

This slow-cooker sauerkraut recipe was made by a special someone in my life. I was never a fan of sauerkraut until I tried this and fell in love. It’s terrific as a side dish or on Reuben sandwiches. —Karen Tringali, Minooka, Illinois
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Colorful Cornbread Salad

When my garden comes in, I harvest the veggies for tasty BBQ sides. I live in the South, and we think bacon and cornbread make everything better, even salad! —Rebecca Clark, Warrior, Alabama

We found the best brand of cornbread mix to use in this recipe.

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Cherry Tomato Pasta with Avocado Sauce

Heart-healthy avocado makes this pasta dish feel indulgent without being overly rich. The flavorful sauce is so luscious, you’ll think there is cream hiding in there. It’s guilt-free and dairy-free, but with a texture and consistency that’s similar to traditional cream-based sauces. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
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Maryland Corn Pops

Fresh-picked sweet corn is a big thing in Maryland. Here’s my homespun version of Mexican street corn that brings in local bay flavors. —Kristie Schley, Severna Park, Maryland

Find the best of the bunch using these corn-picking tips.

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Cauliflower Potato Salad

Cauliflower in potato salad? You bet, along with carrots, olives and other yummy surprises. —Mike Schulz, Tawas City, Michigan
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Patio Pinto Beans

Any time Mom had the gang over for dinner, she made these pinto beans. Once she made a batch for my cousin’s birthday and he ate the entire thing. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Golden Apple Potato Salad

This potato salad with apples is a wonderful variation on an American summertime standby. Since Idaho is the potato state and a lot of apples are also grown here, I thought this would be an excellent recipe to represent my area. —Mary Pipkin, Melba, Idaho

Do you know how to pick the best potatoes for potato salad?

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Watermelon Rind Pickles

“Waste not, want not” has always been smart advice—especially when it produces picked watermelon rind that’s so refreshing. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Special Creamed Corn

This corn has earned a permanent place on our special-occasion menus. While my whole family loves it, my son would be especially disappointed if I forgot to include our corn dish. It’s one of our best BBQ sides! —Deb Hauptmann, Mohnton, Pennsylvania
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Make-Ahead Hearty Six-Layer Salad

This salad is an all-time favorite. I reach for the recipe whenever I need a dish to pass. It is easy to make, can be assembled ahead of time and looks marvelous. —Noreen Meyer, Madison, Wisconsin
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Slushy Fruit Salad

A fresh fruit salad can take some time to prepare and needs last-minute assembly. That’s why I often rely on this make-ahead frozen fruit salad when entertaining a crowd. —Judy McHone, Springfield, Illinois
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Fiesta Corn

Corn with tomatoes and jalapenos is one of the first BBQ sides I cooked for my husband. Don’t like heat? Use green bell peppers instead of jalapenos. —Cassandra Ramirez, Bardstown, Kentucky

Take this salad to the next level by learning how to grill corn.

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Creamy Macaroni Salad

When we grill, my mother asks me to make this creamy macaroni salad. To make it extra creamy, I like to keep a small amount of dressing separate and stir it in just before serving. —Carly Curtin, Ellicott City, Maryland
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Watermelon Feta Flag Salad

BBQ sides don’t get any more festive! Our family celebrates the Fourth of July with a watermelon salad that resembles the flag. Here’s an all-American centerpiece that’s truly red, white and blue. —Jan Whitworth, Roebuck, South Carolina
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Favorite Bread & Butter Pickles

I made these pickles while growing up and love them because you can eat them with just about anything. Now, both of my children love these pickles too. I think you'll enjoy them as much as we do! —Linda Weger, Robinson, Illinois
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Yummy Corn Chip Salad

Corn chips give a special crunch and an unexpected flavor to this potluck favorite. Bacon adds a hint of smokiness, while the cranberries bring a touch of sweetness. It’s the perfect picnic companion! —Nora Friesen, Aberdeen, Mississippi
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Summertime Tomato Salad

My crazy good salad has cherry tomatoes, squash and blueberries together in one bowl. Then I layer on the flavor with fresh corn, red onion and mint. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey

Here are more recipes to make using cherry tomatoes.

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Baked Sweet Potato Chips

The next time you have the hungries, don’t reach for high-fat junk food. Instead, spend a few minutes preparing these oven-baked sweet potato slices from our Test Kitchen.
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Buttery Horseradish Corn on the Cob

For a July Fourth barbecue, I whipped up a butter and horseradish topping for grilled corn. People actually formed a line to get seconds. —Trish Loewen, Bakersfield, California

Here’s everything you need to know about cooking corn on the cob.

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Creamy Coleslaw

For me, this is the best coleslaw recipe because a package of shredded cabbage and carrots really cuts down on prep time. This coleslaw recipe is great for potlucks or to serve to your family on a busy weeknight. —Renee Endress, Galva, Illinois
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Pressure-Cooker Summer Squash

We love squash, but I got bored with fixing plain old squash and cheese. I decided to jazz it up a bit by adding seasoned croutons and bacon. This was a huge hit with the family. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Mom’s Sweet Potato Salad

My mother used to make this sweet potato salad recipe. We all liked it back then—and now my family likes it, too! —Willard Wilson, Woodsfield, Ohio
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Heirloom Tomato Pie

My green-thumbed neighbors like to share produce with me. I return the delicious favor by baking tomato pies for all. —Angela Benedict, Dunbar, West Virginia
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Grilled Veggies with Caper Butter

We love BBQ sides you can toss on the grill. And we enjoy the tart, peppery taste of capers. No one likes a bland veggie, and caper butter helps peppers, squash and zucchini shine. —Danyelle Crum, Indian Trail, North Carolina
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Caprese Skewers

Trade in the usual veggie platter for these fun kabobs. In addition to preparing these for get-togethers, I often make these as snacks for my family. And because assembly is so easy, the kids often ask to help. —Christine Mitchell, Glendora, California
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Corn ‘n’ Cucumbers Salad

This was one of my mother’s BBQ sides and I think of her whenever I make it. It’s a nice change from a regular cucumber salad. —Jean Moore, Pliny, West Virginia

By the way, do you know how to boil corn?

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Southwestern Rice

I created this colorful side dish after eating something similar at a restaurant. It complements any Tex-Mex meal wonderfully. Sometimes I add cubes of grilled chicken breast to the rice to make it a meal in itself. —Michelle Dennis, Clarks Hill, Indiana
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Refrigerator Garden Pickles

Canning isn't necessary for these crisp-tender, tangy pickles. Keep them in the fridge and eat them up within a month. —Linda Chapman, Meriden, Iowa
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Summer Orzo Salad

I’m always looking for fun ways to use the fresh veggies that come in my Community Supported Agriculture box, and this summer orzo salad is one of my favorite creations. I like to improvise with whatever I have on hand, so feel free to do the same here! —Shayna Marmar, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Bacon and Broccoli Salad

You'll want to serve this family-friendly broccoli salad with bacon year-round. The broccoli gets a big-time flavor boost from bacon, toasted pecans, dried berries and a mayo dressing. —Cindi Read, Hendersonville, Tennessee
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Grilled Cabbage

The first time I made this, I couldn’t believe how good it was! We served it with grilled burgers and our dinner was complete. I never thought I’d skip dessert because I was full from too much cabbage! —Elizabeth Wheeler, Thornville, Ohio
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Grilled Potato Packets

Potatoes require a little extra time on the grill, so remember to give these pouches first dibs on the flames. —Anna Bjornn, Rexburg, Idaho
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Three-Bean Baked Beans

I got this recipe from my aunt and made a couple of changes to suit my taste. With ground beef and bacon mixed in, these satisfying beans are a big hit at backyard barbecues and church picnics. I'm always asked to bring my special beans. —Julie Currington, Gahanna, Ohio
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Santa Fe Salad

People always ask for this Santa Fe salad recipe when I bring it to potlucks. The zippy dressing and mix of crunchy veggies with beans is a winning combination! —Gail Park, Newport News, Virginia
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Boston Baked Beans

Simmered in molasses, these slow-cooker Boston baked beans are perfect to take to your next potluck. The sauce is sweet, dark and rich and they complement anything you serve with them.—Darlene Duncan, Langhorne, Pennsylvania
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Creamy Jalapeno Corn

This comforting and creamy corn side dish is appealing to almost everyone. It gets its spicy kick from jalapeno peppers.—Judy Carty, Wichita, Kansas
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Honey Garlic Green Beans

Green beans are a reliable standby, but they can seem ordinary on their own. Just a couple of extra ingredients give them a sweet and salty attitude. This is definitely my family's favorite way to enjoy them. —Shannon Dobos, Calgary, Alberta
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Jalapeno & Cotija Cheese Potato Stack Pie

Pie isn't just for dessert anymore. Stacking thinly sliced potatoes with layers of minced jalapenos and crumbled Cotija cheese helps turn ordinary spuds into something truly spectacular—especially when served with salsa and sour cream. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Dill Pickle Potato Salad

This creamy dill pickle potato salad makes a flavorful and attractive addition to a Fourth of July picnic or church supper.—Nancy Holland, Morgan Hill, California
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Four-Cheese Mac and Cheese

I adapted this four-cheese mac and cheese recipe from one a friend gave to me. It has a distinctive blue cheese taste and is very filling. I like to serve it with chicken. —Darlene Marturano, W. Suffield, Connecticut
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Eddie's Favorite Fiesta Corn

When sweet corn is available, I love making this splurge of a side dish. Frozen corn works, but taste as you go and add sugar if needed. —Anthony Bolton, Bellevue, Nebraska
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Sweet and Spicy Baked Beans

This recipe is a hit with guests and family. It's sweet, simple and delicious, and someone always asks for the recipe. —Elliot Wesen, Arlington, Texas
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Asparagus and Green Beans with Tarragon Lemon Dip

Tarragon balances the tangy flavor from lemon in the creamy sauce covering colorful asparagus and green beans. I serve this as a side dish as well as an appetizer. —Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
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Italian Spaghetti Salad

This attractive, fresh-tasting Italian spaghetti salad recipe can conveniently be prepared the night before. It makes enough for a crowd! —Lucia Johnson, Massena, New York
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Pepper Mango Salsa

Whenever I make this, the bowl is always left empty! The idea for a homemade mango sauce hit me after I saw a chef on television make something similar. It sounded so good, and it wasn't something I could find in a store at the time. The salsa is especially tasty served with artisan chips —the black bean and roasted garlic ones are my favorite. When strawberries are in season, I add them into the mix, too. —Wendy Rusch, Cameron, Wisconsin
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Yellow Squash & Watermelon Salad

I always like to bring this healthy option to parties and potlucks, and people seem to really appreciate that. No oil is necessary for this salad; the lemon juice combines with the feta to lightly coat the bright, fresh ingredients. —Camille Parker, Chicago, Illinois
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Easy Italian Potato Salad

You'll want to take this simple-to-assemble potato salad to all your picnics and outings. It's always on the menu when my tomato plants yield a bumper crop. Feel free to improvise by adding other fresh vegetables.
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Black Bean and Corn Salad

This colorful, crunchy black bean and corn salad is chock-full of nutrition that all ages love. Try it with a variety of summer entrees, or as a wholesome salsa! —Krista Frank, Rhododendron, Oregon
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Buffalo Chicken Deviled Eggs

My daughter Sara loves spicy Buffalo chicken and deviled eggs, so I combined the two. Make and chill a day ahead so the flavors mingle. —Robin Spires, Tampa, Florida
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Strawberry Corn Salsa

This recipe makes art in a bowl! All the colors of summer are captured in this salsa with a fresh, light flavor perfect for snacking between swims or to kick off a backyard barbecue. This can be served with chips or alone as a side dish. —Catherine Goza, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Tomato Fritters

I got the basic recipe for these fritters from a friend, then I tweaked it for my family's tastes. It's one of our very favorite things in the summer. We love them right after they've been fried, when they're still hot and crispy. —Pam Halter, Bridgeton, New Jersey
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Melon-Berry Salad

The best way to cool down on a warm day is with a chilled fruit salad. Serve this one for breakfast, brunch or dessert. Yogurt and coconut milk make the creamy dressing even more decadent. Wait until just before serving to garnish the salad. Otherwise the toasted coconut will get soggy. —Carrie Hirsch, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
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Skinny Quinoa Veggie Dip

Don’t let the name fool you. This good-for-you recipe may appeal to an athlete in training, but it has plenty of flavor to satisfy everyone. We use crunchy cucumber slices for dippers. —Jennifer Gizzi, Green Bay, Wisconsin
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Italian Bread Salad with Olives

This quick and flavorful bread salad always gets rave reviews from my friends and family. This panzanella-style dish is a timesaver during the holidays, as it can be made ahead. Just keep the bread cubes separate and add them right before serving. —Angela Spengler, Niceville, Florida
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Slow-Cooker BBQ Baked Beans

I was under a doctor’s orders to reduce the amount of sodium I was eating, but I just couldn't part with some of my favorite foods. After many experiments, I came up with this potluck favorite—and now everyone's happy! —Sherrel Hendrix, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
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Sweet Zucchini Relish

Classic relish is made with cucumbers, but this tangy and sweet zucchini relish is packed with zucchini, peppers and onions. I use it on burgers, on sandwiches and in any recipes that normally call for pickle relish. —Jyl Basinger, Cave City, Arkansas
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Tri-Color Pasta Salad

Tackle gatherings with a bright side dish. This tri-color pasta salad with broccoli, tomatoes, olives and a hardworking dressing is one of the easiest cold pasta salad recipes you could take. —Amanda Cable, Boxford, Massachusetts
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Tangy Baked Seven Beans

Everyone needs a go-to side dish for school events, picnics and potlucks. Here's mine. Freeze leftovers for future outings. —Rod Lundwall, Tooele, Utah
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Grilled Guacamole

If you’re a guacamole lover, try this fun grilled version that has a smoky flavor. The veggies tend to darken a bit when heated, so stir it gently to prevent further discoloration. —Lindsay Sprunk, Noblesville, Indiana
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Heirloom Tomato & Zucchini Salad

Tomato wedges give this salad a juicy bite. It's a great use of fresh herbs and veggies from your own garden or the farmers market. —Matthew Hass, Franklin, Wisconsin
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Overnight Layered Lettuce Salad

This layered salad is a family favorite from a church cookbook I've had for 40 years. The bacon adds a fabulous crunch. —Mary Brehm, Cape Coral, Florida
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Campers' Coleslaw

Crispy and crunchy, this old family slaw recipe makes a refreshing side dish for picnics and parties. —Kimberly Wallace, Dennison, Ohio
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Minty Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

Capturing the fantastic flavors of summer, this refreshing, beautiful watermelon-cucumber salad will be the talk of any picnic or potluck. —Roblynn Hunnisett, Guelph, Ontario
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Balsamic Green Bean Salad

Serve up those green beans in a whole new way–with a green bean salad recipe! The tangy flavors and crunch of these balsamic green beans complement any special meal or holiday potluck. —Megan Spencer, Farmington Hills, Michigan
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Tomato & Brie Focaccia

Combine tender, golden yeast bread with creamy, melted brie and tomatoes, and you've got an appetizer that guests will line up for. It also makes a great side to soup, salad or pasta dishes. —Laurie Figone, Petaluma, California
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Macaroni Coleslaw

My friend Peggy brought this coleslaw to one of our picnics, and everyone liked it so much, we all had to have the recipe. —Sandra Matteson, Westhope, North Dakota
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Orange Gelatin Pretzel Salad

Salty pretzels pair nicely with the sweet fruit in this refreshing layered salad. It’s a family favorite that is a slam-dunk at potlucks. —Peggy Boyd, Northport, Alabama
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Favorite Mediterranean Salad

Got a crowd coming over for a backyard barbecue? This crisp, big-batch Mediterranean salad recipe makes a great accompaniment to any main dish you fix on the grill. —Pat Stevens, Granbury, Texas
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Melon with Serrano-Mint Syrup

This is just one of the BBQ sides I developed to take advantage of the fresh mint I grow nearly year-round. The serrano pepper is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the syrup and salad. —Jennifer Fisher, Austin, Texas
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Sour Cream Potato Salad

Italian dressing and horseradish make this sour cream potato salad different from most, plus those ingredients really add some zip! It’s perfect for picnics or potlucks. —Veda Luttrell, Sutter, California
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Simple Lime Gelatin Salad

Looking for a festive dish to light up the buffet? This pretty green gelatin salad is eye-catching and has a delightful, tangy flavor. —Cyndi Fynaardt, Oskaloosa, Iowa
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Potluck Macaroni and Cheese

You'll always have a winner at the potluck when you bring macaroni and cheese. Here's an extra-rich, creamy version for the slow cooker. —Jennifer Blondek, Chicopee, Massachusetts
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Favorite Cucumber Salad

Add a fresh-tasting touch to your menu with this favorite salad. The crunchy cucumbers are tossed with onion, green pepper and a sweet-tart dressing seasoned with celery seed.—Mary Lou Boyce,Wilmington, Delaware
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Sweet Macaroni Salad

A sweet out-of-the-ordinary dressing makes this macaroni salad special. My aunt gave me the recipe and it has become one of my favorites. I occasionally leave out the green pepper if I know that people don't like it, and it still tastes great. —Idalee Scholz, Cocoa Beach, Florida
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Creamy Blueberry Gelatin Salad

Plump blueberries and a fluffy topping star in this pretty, refreshing salad that was my mother's recipe. It was served at every holiday and celebration, and now my grandchildren look forward to sampling it at holidays. —Sharon Hoefert, Greendale, Wisconsin
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Bacon Macaroni Salad

This pleasing pasta salad is like eating a BLT in a bowl. Filled with crispy bacon, chopped tomato, celery and green onion, the sensational salad is coated with a tangy mayonnaise and vinegar dressing. It’s a real crowd-pleaser! —Norene Wright, Manilla, Indiana
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Watermelon Tomato Salad

Watermelon and tomatoes may seem an unlikely pair, but they team up to make a winning combination in this eye-catching salad. —Matthew Denton, Seattle, Washington
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Summer Garden Couscous Salad

This couscous salad makes the most of summer’s bounty. I used to prepare it with a mayonnaise dressing, but lightened it with lemon vinaigrette. It’s even better now! —Priscilla Yee, Concord, California
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Fruit Salad with Apricot Dressing

When I serve this lovely refreshing salad for picnics and holidays, the bowl empties fast. —Carol Lambert, El Dorado, Arkansas
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Grilled Jalapenos

When barbecuing for friends at home, I also use the grill to serve up hot appetizers. These crowd-pleasing stuffed peppers have a bit of bite. They were concocted by my son. —Catherine Hollie, Cleveland, Texas
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Avocado Salsa

I was planning a party and thought it might be fun to try a different kind of avocado salsa. This recipe was an absolute success. Scoop it up with chips, spoon it over chicken or steak, or eat it on its own! —Susan Vandermeer, Ogden, Utah
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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

This easy refrigerator pickles recipe is a great way to use cucumbers and onions from the garden. Here in upstate New York, we have an abundance of cucumbers. —Catherine Seibold, Elma, New York
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