Savory, juicy brisket is the star of any meal, whether you prepare it in your oven or on the grill. However, the age-old question of what to serve with brisket is key to creating a delicious, balanced meal all of your guests will rave about.
The right brisket sides can elevate the meat—while the wrong ones will call the quality of your whole meal into question.
Luckily, we’ve got the perfect list of sides for brisket that will complement the bold flavors of this slow-roasted, tender cut.
Whether you prefer traditional side dishes or modern interpretations, there is something on this list for you.
Is any holiday meal complete without potatoes?
We don’t think so. One of the best ways to prepare potatoes is scalloped potatoes, a casserole dish of thinly sliced, layered potatoes.
This creamy, savory potato dish screams comfort food and nostalgia.
After you’ve spent all day in the hot kitchen waiting for the brisket to cook, the last thing you want to do is spend time on a fussy side dish. Your guests probably don’t want a heavy side alongside rich brisket.
That’s why coleslaw is one of the best brisket side dishes.
This cool, refreshing salad of thinly sliced cabbage and carrots tossed in a creamy dressing is a crowd-pleaser at any barbecue.
Tip: You can make coleslaw several hours ahead, which will save you time when scrambling to get food on the table!
If you’re making brisket for a barbecue, one of the best vegetables to serve alongside it is corn.
Creamy, sweet corn is in season in late summer, perfect for barbecue season. Instead of sticking to boring corn on the cob, switch it up with this recipe for corn pudding.
Making corn pudding is very simple. All you have to do is mix together eggs, butter, sugar, milk, cornstarch, canned creamed corn, and corn kernels.
Usually, corn pudding is slightly sweet, but you can make it savorier by adding herbs such as thyme.
When most people think of brisket, they think of Texas. So, when you’re thinking about what goes with brisket, why not add some Tex-Mex flavors with this black bean salad?
Black bean salad uses a base of canned black beans for structure. The secret as to why this salad is so delicious?
You can adjust it completely to your tastes! Add other vegetables like chopped tomatoes or corn, Tex-Mex staple herbs like cilantro, or even a crumble of queso for savory flavors.
5. Baked Beans
Baked beans are often the answer to what is traditionally served with brisket. A smoky, saucy pot of baked beans and some smoked brisket is the stereotypical cowboy diet.
That doesn’t mean that you have to stick to boring old traditions.
Add plenty of flavor to your homemade baked beans with smoked paprika and chilli powder, top with some slices of bacon, or even add a splash of bourbon for more depth of flavor.
Brisket is great comfort food, but you know what else is comforting? Macaroni & cheese. Warm, cheesy, bubbly mac & cheese takes so many people back to their childhoods.
The mild flavor and creamy texture pair well with the often-strong flavors of brisket.
Tip: The best secret to making macaroni & cheese delicious is to add toppings.
Start with a base recipe of cooked noodles and a bechamel-based cheese sauce, then add your choice of toppings such as healthy broccoli, savory bacon, or even decadent lobster.
When most people think about what to eat with brisket, they go to creamy, decadent sides like macaroni & cheese. But don’t you secretly want some fresh, healthy vegetables after indulging in rich brisket?
The bitterness of brussels sprouts pairs well with the rich flavor of brisket and the sometimes-sweet flavor of the BBQ sauce.
Despite your unpleasant childhood memories, here’s a secret: brussels sprouts taste delicious when you sauté them in a pan with plenty of salt and balsamic vinegar until they caramelize.
If you’re making brisket on the grill for a summer barbecue, then compliment the dish with a summer vegetable like corn.
Not only is corn on the cob delicious, but it is also fun to eat.
The sweetness of corn pairs well with the sweetness of BBQ sauce while balancing out brisket’s intense savory flavors.
You have a few options for preparing corn on the cob. You can toss it onto the grill or boil it.
Just cover the cobs in butter and salt once they’re done for extra flavor.
9. Dinner Rolls
No holiday dinner table is complete without soft, pillowy rolls. Bread rolls are delicious for eating on their own, but you can also use them to mop up brisket’s savory juices and sauce.
You can always buy ready-made dinner rolls, but where’s the fun in that, especially when making them is so easy?
Just make a yeasted dough, let it rise, then shape it into balls and bake.
Tip: Activate the yeast with warm milk and sugar before adding the other ingredients.
10. Roasted Carrots
Poor carrots. They always get outshined by other vegetables or are relegated to playing a supporting role in a dish.
That changes with this recipe, which roasts carrots in the oven to bring out their natural sweetness, which pairs well with the intense meaty flavors of brisket.
Roasted carrots are one of the best easy ideas for brisket sides because all you have to do is slice the carrots, season them, and then bake for 18-20 minutes until browned and tender.
Enhance the sweetness with a maple syrup glaze, or season with savory herbs.
11. Creamed Corn
How many ways can you prepare corn and still have it pair well with brisket? Creamed corn is yet another way to serve this great vegetable.
You can always buy canned creamed corn, but where’s the fun in that when cooking it is so easy?
Just combine frozen corn with onion and garlic sautéed in butter, then make a dairy sauce.
The benefit of making creamed corn at home is that you can make the sauce as flavorful as you like by adding spices like nutmeg or even shredded cheese.
Were you thinking of asparagus when planning what to serve with brisket dinner?
This fresh spring vegetable seems as if it shouldn’t pair well with rich brisket, but the slight bitterness of the asparagus sprigs is the perfect side dish to balance out the meaty brisket.
Steaming asparagus with butter is one of the best ways to preserve the freshness and texture of the vegetable while cutting through some of the bitterness.
If you want a side dish with more tang, make a simple vinaigrette and use that to glaze the asparagus instead of butter.
13. Roasted Potatoes
You know the old saying about a “meat and potatoes” dinner? Then you know that there’s nothing more comforting than pairing brisket with crispy roasted potatoes.
Plus, roasted potatoes make for a great base to absorb the fat and the sauce from the meat.
Plus, there are plenty of shortcuts to make roasting potatoes easier than ever. Cut baby potatoes into small cubes and put them in the oven for 45-55 minutes—they will cook without needing boiling first.
Season with herbs and seasonings of your choice, including plenty of salt and garlic.
This Brazilian twist on a slaw uses juicy tomatoes and other fresh vegetables as a base. If you are using a spicy rub on your brisket, this is one of the best sides for brisket, thanks to the cooling vegetables that balance out the brisket’s intensity.
To make this slaw, just chop up tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumbers, scallions, and herbs like parsley.
Toss in a dressing made of lime juice, cider vinegar, and olive oil.
Tip: Make the slaw several hours ahead to let the flavors meld and to save time!
15. Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is a classic side dish for barbecues and cookouts of all kinds. It works particularly well with brisket because the cooling, acidic flavors of the salad balance out brisket’s richness.
To make pasta salad, start with a base of cooked noodles. Add chopped vegetables like broccoli, red pepper, and onion, then toss in a creamy dressing made of mayonnaise.
Tip: The beauty of pasta salad is how versatile the recipe is. Switch it up by adding your choice of vegetables or add ranch to the dressing for more tang.
16. Green Beans
Is it almost dinner time, and you still haven’t decided what to serve with smoked brisket?
Luckily, this green bean dish comes together in 15 minutes and is packed with fresh flavors that balance out the smokiness of brisket.
All you have to do is trim the green beans and bring them to a simmer. Once the beans are tender, sauté with butter and plenty of garlic for a flavorful, healthy side dish that’s done in minutes.
17. Potato Salad
Potato salad is another barbecue staple that pairs well with brisket, thanks to its creamy texture and tangy flavors. The basic ingredients are potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, celery, and green onions.
Most traditional recipes call for Yukon gold potatoes.
Do you want to know the secret ingredient to getting perfectly tangy potato salad dressing? Use Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise for extra creaminess.
White vinegar, celery seeds, mustard, and salt add even more flavor to the dressing.
If you’re looking for an answer to the question of what goes good with brisket and works as a starter, then French onion soup is your answer!
The creamy, comforting flavors of this soup are the perfect way to whet someone’s appetite for rich, meaty brisket.
Plus, the sweetness of the onions balances out any spicy marinades your brisket may have.
Making restaurant-quality French onion soup requires a bit of patience but not that much skill. For an extra-flavorful crust, top with a sharp cheese like Gruyere.
19. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a great side dish, no matter what you’re serving! Plus, you can use the mashed potatoes to absorb the sauce and juices from the brisket.
Almost everyone knows how to make mashed potatoes, but here are a few tips to make sure your mashed potatoes stand out. Boil your potatoes in salted water for more flavor.
Mash with heavy cream, then finishes with a drizzle of butter for extra creaminess.
Just like smokey brisket is a favorite at any barbecue, grilled potato skins are another dish that is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.
The great thing about grilled potato skins is that you can cook them so easily. Just slice in half, scoop out the flesh, microwave, and then finish on the grill.
Then, set up a toppings station with sour cream, cheese, and crispy bacon so everyone can customize their own meal!
- 3 lbs potatoes, thinly sliced
- ½ onion, thinly sliced
- 9 tbsps all-purpose flour, divided
- 6 tbsps butter, diced and divided
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 c whole milk, or as needed
- Prepare your working environment. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
- Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper or grease with butter. Thinly slice potatoes and onions. Arrange 1/3 of the potato slices in an even layer in the pan, then top with 1/3 of the onions. Sprinkle flour, salt, and pepper over the layer, then arrange about 2 tbsp of cut-up butter on top.
- Repeat step 2 twice until you use up all your potatoes.
- Heat 3 cups of whole milk until it is warm (not boiling). Pour the milk over the potatoes, stopping when the liquid reaches the top of the layered potatoes.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, when you prick them with a fork.