14 Barbecue Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker

643 Shares
14 Barbecue Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker
15 Start slideshow
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images.

Come summer, I’m all for cooking as much food on the grill as possible. I love the slightly charred taste of grilled food and the way it cooks just a little bit unevenly—vegetables that are blackened at the edges but still al dente inside, and meat with a charred crust and an almost-rare center. Plus, grilling outside keeps you from having to turn on the oven and add more heat to your already hot house.

The thing is, a grill can only fit so much food at once, so while it’s great for cooking up a main dish, there isn’t always room for sides. Plenty of summer side dishes don’t need to be cooked at all—think umami-packed tomato and burrata salads, or crispy coleslaw with just enough mayo—but for those that do, I prefer to use a slow cooker.

MORE: 7 Lazy Ways to Step up Your Summer Entertaining Game

If you think ‘summer slow cooker’ is an oxymoron, I don’t blame you. One of the slow cooker’s best and most famous tricks is that it can turn inexpensive, tough cuts of meat into tender, pull-apart piles of wintry stews and braises. The results are pretty damn impressive, but not exactly the kind of thing you crave in warmer summer months.

The thing is: The slow cooker can do pretty much everything your oven does (except turn your kitchen into a midsummer sauna). Plus, the set-it-and-forget-it nature of the slow cooker means that it’s great for preparing party side dishes ahead of time and not having to think about them until it’s time to eat.

MORE: 21 Simple Summer Punches to Serve Guests (Or Sip Solo)

Whether your cooking for two minutes or 20, here are the 14 summer slow cooker side dishes you need to know about.

0 Thoughts?
1 of 15
STYLECASTER | 14 Barbecue Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Pin it!
Pin it!

14 Barbecue Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | @stylecaster

STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Easy Slow Cooker Cornbread
Easy Slow Cooker Cornbread

No summer barbecue is complete without a big pile of cornbread. And sure, it’s pretty easy to bake your batter in a skillet, but it’s even easier to pour that batter right into a slow cooker and let it do it’s thing. You won’t have to worry about burning the edges or the top, either, since the slow cooker method means that everything will cook more evenly.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Fuss Free Flavors.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Corn on the Cob
Slow Cooker Corn on the Cob

Full disclosure: With this recipe, you won’t get intermittently charred kernels like you do when you cook corn on the grill, which is a bummer. That said, corn for a crowd takes up a whole lot of grill real estate that might be better used for cooking up burgers or dogs, so this set-it-and-forget-it alternative is great for a party. Plus, the cobs cook in a bath of melted butter, so you know they’ll be delicious.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Cooking Maniac.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Barbecued Green Beans
Slow Cooker Barbecued Green Beans

Far more delicious than the green bean dish you might eat on Thanksgiving (in my opinion, anyway), this one is studded with bacon and sauced with a tangy mixture of ketchup and barbecue sauce.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Spicy Southern Kitchen.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

Ever tried a hot dog topped with mac and cheese? If not, you should definitely add it to your summer to-do list.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: The Cookie Rookie.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Bourbon Baked Beans
Slow Cooker Bourbon Baked Beans

Can you heat canned baked beans to serve alongside your burger spread? Sure. Will those canned beans be laced with booze and bacon? Nope.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Plain Chicken.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Ratatouille
Slow Cooker Ratatouille

If you think ratatouille sounds fancy and French, that’s because it is. While traditional ratatouille involves precise knife cuts and several pots and pans, this more rustic slow-cooker version cuts way back on the effort but still produces a hearty, umami-packed summer vegetable stew.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: The Kitchn.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes
Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes

Whether you serve the baked potatoes as is, or dice them up for potato salad, these no-fuss spuds come out perfectly every time.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Cooking Classy.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | DIY Homemade Ketchup
DIY Homemade Ketchup

No, you don’t need to make your own ketchup from scratch. But if you do, it’s a surefire conversation starter. Plus, the slow cooker does all the work for you.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Don't Waste the Crumbs.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Garlic Parmesan Potatoes
Garlic Parmesan Potatoes

Meat and potatoes make a great pair, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cook one on the grill and the other in your slow cooker.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: The Magical Slow Cooker.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Creamy Polenta
Slow Cooker Creamy Polenta

Polenta is most often served with braised meat, but if you’re slow cooking a big cut of beef or pork on the grill, you’ll end up with a similar kind of super tender meat that works really well with this creamy side.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Just a Little Bit of Bacon.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Bacon Cauliflower
Slow Cooker Bacon Cauliflower

Cauliflower is the trendiest vegetable around, and this is the perfect way to include it in any summer spread.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: 365 Days of Slow Cooking.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Classic Tomato Soup
Slow Cooker Classic Tomato Soup

Maybe you don’t think of tomato soup as a side dish and, well, you’re not wrong. But, if you find yourself with a plethora of peak-season tomatoes and need a way to serve ‘em up, this easy recipe is great as a side for grilled cheese (obviously), or as a first course to keep your guests happy while your meat rests.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Real Housemoms.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Corn and Jalapeño Dip
Slow Cooker Corn and Jalapeño Dip

It isn’t a party without dip, and this sweet-spicy version is great for both scooping up with chips as an appetizer, and then later alongside a perfectly charred steak.

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Damn Delicious.
STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole

What pairs well with buffalo chicken tater tot casserole? I think the better question is: What doesn’t?

Get the recipe here.

Photo: Slow Cooker Gourmet

Next slideshow starts in 10s

The Most American Celebrity Outfits to Copy This July 4

The Most American Celebrity
Outfits to Copy This July 4
  • STYLECASTER | 14 Barbecue Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Pin it!
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Easy Slow Cooker Cornbread
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Corn on the Cob
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Barbecued Green Beans
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Bourbon Baked Beans
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Ratatouille
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | DIY Homemade Ketchup
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Garlic Parmesan Potatoes
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Creamy Polenta
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Bacon Cauliflower
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Classic Tomato Soup
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooker Corn and Jalapeño Dip
  • STYLECASTER | 14 BBQ Sides You Can Make in the Slow Cooker | Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole

Promoted Stories

share