No summer picnic is complete without a towering plate of lobster rolls. Now that you’ve boiled, cracked and prepared the shellfish salad for those iconic sammies, you’re likely wondering what to serve with lobster. Depending on the application—like a grilled lobster tail drenched in butter or lobster mac and cheese—the perfect side varies. But generally speaking, lobster pairs well with crunchy slaws and salads, lemon-kissed pastas, roasted potatoes and vegetables, cheesy breads and biscuits and, best of all, juicy seared steak. Read on for 21 of our favorite side dishes for the fancy seafood main.

RELATED: The 29 Best Lobster Recipes to Impress with All Summer Long (or Whenever)

Erin McDowell

1. Easy Homemade Potato Chips

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, make ahead
Let’s start with the most essential, shall we? If you’re making lobster rolls, potato chips are a no-brainer, but they’re also a great match for seafood salad and broiled lobster tail.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

2. One-Pot, 15-Minute Pasta Limone

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, one pot, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly
Toss a few chunks of lobster meat in garlicky lemon butter, then make them the crowning glory atop this super simple pasta dish.

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Katherine Gillen

3. Skillet Salad Pizza

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, beginner-friendly, vegetarian, special occasion-worthy
This skillet pie covers your veggie and carb sides in one fell swoop. It’s prime for serving with grilled lobster at an alfresco dinner party (with a bottle of Pinot Grigio, obvi).

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Erin McDowell

4. Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly
Just like the ones from Red Lobster, only loaded with crispy crumbled bacon bits. (In other words, better than the ones from Red Lobster, but don’t tell the chain that.) Zhuzh them up by adding sliced scallions to the dough.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

5. Light and Tangy Coleslaw

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, make ahead
Pulled pork, salmon burgers, hot dogs, brisket—this catch-all side pairs seamlessly with just about every protein, lobster included. Did we mention it’s made with rice vinegar and Greek yogurt instead of gloppy mayo?

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

6. Grilled Corn with Spicy Aioli

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser
The lobster is already drowning in butter, so why give your corn on the cob the same treatment? Opt for garlicky sriracha mayo instead (and a spritz of lime, if you’re fancy).

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

7. Zucchini Rice

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, beginner-friendly
Cauliflower who? Use summer squash instead, which is grated, drained, sautéed and seasoned until tender and flavorful. (Thanks, Parmesan cheese.)

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

8. Herby Shoestring Fries

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, vegan
Simple, satisfying and shareable, though we wouldn’t blame you for scarfing them down all by yourself. Frying them in olive oil instead of vegetable oil gives them a major flavor boost.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

9. 15-Minute Gazpacho with Cucumber, Red Pepper and Basil

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegan
For when it’s too damn hot out to turn on the stove. (To go the no-cook route with lobster, buy it precooked at the grocery store, so all you’ll need to do is dress it in melted butter or pile it onto lobster roll buns.)

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

10. Mango Guacamole

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, no cook, <10 ingredients, make ahead
Buttery avocado and tart-sweet mango are just the match for mild lobster meat. Dare we suggest using the guac instead of mayo on a lobster roll?

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

11. 15-Minute Lemony Broccolini Pasta

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, special occasion-worthy
Thanks to the toothsome pine nuts, fresh basil and grated Parm, your guests will have no idea how little effort the pasta took. Serve it with all the buttery lobster claw you can handle.

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Katherine Gillen

12. Ranch Potato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, vegetarian
The homemade ranch is equal parts tangy, herbaceous and creamy. We’re betting it’d taste divine used as the dressing in a lobster roll or on a seafood salad.

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Katherine Gillen

13. Corn and Tomato Salad with Feta and Lime

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly
Bring your roomiest tote bag to the farmers market—we’re going to fill it to the brim. Substitute frozen or canned kernels in the off-season, but spring for fresh in the summertime.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

14. Cold Lemon Zoodles

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients
If you thought lemon pasta was a solid match for broiled lobster, wait until you try this zucchini alternative. Thyme adds a punch of herby goodness, while radishes offer both crunch and color. Plus, if you’re trying to eat low-carb (er, lower-carb), this dish makes for one satisfying way to round out your meal.

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Lizzie Mayson/The Italian Deli Cookbook

15. Tomato and Yellow Zucchini Risotto

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan, special occasion-worthy, dairy free
Believe it or not, this decadent dish doesn’t contain any cream, butter or cheese. Here, cooked-down zucchini is the secret to its rich texture.

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Robert Bredvad/The Secret Ingredient Cookbook

16. Caesar Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly
Zingy, light and crisp—it’s everything you want in a seafood side, and it keeps you from having to choose between tender pasta and leafy greens. Win-win.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

17. Gluten-Free Cheese and Cauliflower ‘Breadsticks’

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, kid-friendly, sheet pan recipe, <10 ingredients
Who knew a head of cauliflower could do all *this*? The key to creating the “dough” is eggs and two types of cheese.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

18. Cheese and Bacon Baked Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly
File this one under Side Dishes That Never Get Old. Instead of piling on a slew of extra ingredients, we serve ’em Hasselback-style (aka cut like an accordion) to spice things up.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

19. Zoodles with Summer Vegetables

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegan, beginner-friendly, one pan
Teeming with summer corn, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini, this dish is a shoo-in for your next alfresco gathering. Buy premade zoodles to save yourself the spiralizing.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

20. 15-Minute Cucumber-Avocado Blender Soup

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, vegetarian, beginner-friendly
We love clam chowder just as much as the next guy, but we love no-cook cold soups that come together in our blender just a little bit more. Don’t skip the crusty Asiago baguette.

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Photo: Eric Moran/Styling: Erin McDowell

21. Grilled Flank Steak with Lemon-Herb Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, high protein, crowd-pleaser
Whether the main event is decadent lobster mac and cheese or buttery lobster tail, you can never go wrong with surf and turf. Consider the steak’s marinating time a built-in cocktail hour.

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RELATED: The 20 Very Best Lobster Rolls in NYC

For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.

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