* If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

What To Serve With Kalua Pork – 15 Best Side Dishes

This article was updated on the 13th of September 2023 for clarity and freshness.

If you’re wondering what to serve with your kalua pork, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 15 of the most popular side dishes for kalua pork.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best side dishes to serve with kalua pork are a bowl of simple coconut rice, red cabbage slaw, sweet potato fries, or some brioche buns. For a Hawaiian-themed side dish options, you can try lomi lomi salmon, Hawaiian baked beans, ulu chips, or a Hawaiian macaroni salad.

For each side dish, I’ve provided alternative options to cater to various diets and lifestyles, including vegan, quick and easy, and health-conscious options.

Starchy Sides

Kalua pork and starchy sides are a match made in heaven, so it’s no surprise that we have a roster of carb-loaded sides that’ll complete your meal!

Coconut Rice

4.8 ⭐️ (6 ratings) | 20 mins

There’s nothing like a bowl of delicious fluffy rice to match your tender kalua pork. And you can forget about plain old rice because this coconut rice is amazing!

It has a subtly sweet, nutty flavor and a delicate creaminess that highlights the smokiness of your pork. The fluffy rice also soaks up all the juices from the meat, ensuring each bite is extra flavorful.

Hint of Healthy uses jasmine rice for this dish, but you can use any other long-grain rice like Basmati.

What readers are saying…

“I made this coconut rice tonight and I really liked it. I didn’t have mango but I ate the rice with a good curry.”

“I have made rice the same way for 50 years, taught to me by my grandmother from Indonesia. But, I tried your way and…it turned out fantastic!”

“Easy recipe to follow, thank you👍🏼 Had with rendang chicken!”

🍚 Coconut Quinoa
🌿 Coconut Lime Cauliflower “Rice”

Hawaiian Baked Beans

5.0 ⭐️ (3 ratings) | 55 mins

Are you looking for a hearty combo? A Hawaiian meal made of baked beans and tender kalua pork should do the trick.

This version has sweet notes from the pineapple, some spice from the jalapenos, and the same smokiness you’re used to from the molasses and bacon. Yum!

You can serve it in a bowl on the side, but I prefer mixing the kalua pork in with the beans for the ultimate meal. I also like serving some Hawaiian rolls on the side to mop up all the sauce.

What the chef says…

Yes, you can (cook these beans in the crockpot)!  Just add a ½ -1 cup water to the sauce ingredients, whisk the sauce together, throw all the goodness in your slow cooker, stir together and set your slow cooker on low for 4-5 hours.

🍅 Heinz Baked Beans
🥵 Spicy Baked Beans

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

4.8 ⭐️ (130 ratings) | 1 hr 10 mins

Hawaiian macaroni salad is an iconic side dish that’s a no-brainer to serve with kalua pork.

It shares mostly the same ingredients with the American version, except it calls for more mayo, making it extra creamy.

Additions like a splash of milk and a pinch of sugar are also unheard of in the American versions, but they’re a must for Hawaiian mac. These help achieve that slightly sweet, creamy flavor that mellows out your pork’s bold, smoky flavors.

Psst make this tasty pasta dish ahead of time to give all the ingredients a chance to meld.

What readers are saying…

“This is the only recipe I used for macaroni salad!”

“This was easily everyone’s favorite side dish at today’s cookout, and it couldn’t be easier to throw together! Definitely making this one a regular dish in our house!”

“Seriously an amazing recipe! Better than the restaurants! Definitely will be making this for years to come.”

🌱 Dairy-free Macaroni Salad
🍅 Caprese Orzo Pasta Salad

Brioche Buns

5.0 ⭐️ (16 ratings) | 1 hr

Fancy some Hawaiian-inspired pork sliders? Make some brioche buns for your earthy kalua pork. Stuff the buns with the shredded pork, and creamy coleslaw, add some mustard, and enjoy.

I would even consider melting some cheese in there. Buttery Havarti sounds fabulous with kalua pork!

Just be sure to make enough brioche buns, because people will be coming back for seconds.

What readers are saying…

 “I just love making brioche, it’s such a rewarding bake seeing them puff like crazy with all the yeast. I love the gloss on your brown buns.

Soft and gorgeously golden. Great and easy to follow recipe.

I don’t normally post comments for anything but I loved this recipe so much, I just had to let everyone else know how incredibly delicious it is.”

🍍 Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
🧘‍♀️ Keto Bread Rolls

Ulu Chips (Breadfruit)

5.0 ⭐️ (16 ratings) | 1 hr

A Hawaiian luau meal wouldn’t be complete without a basket of ulu (breadfruit) chips. So if you happen to come across breadfruit anytime soon, grab it and seize the opportunity to make these healthy delights.

They crisp up like potato chips, adding a crunchy contrast to your tender, juicy kalua pork.

And if you’re not in the mood for chips, you can slice the breadfruit a bit thicker and make it into fries instead.

Super Natural Agriculture keeps the seasoning simple with just salt and pepper, but I like using a Cajun spice blend for a zesty kick.

What the chef says…

“More often used in its unripened state, ‘ulu as it is named in Hawaiian, is prepared and eaten as a starch. It can be steamed, baked, mashed, fried, and is essentially a viable substitute for a root vegetable, as its flavor and texture is similar to that of a potato.”

🥔 Air Fryer Potato Chips
🧘‍♀️ Baked Zucchini Chips

Sweet Potato Fries

5.0 ⭐️ (7 ratings) | 1 hr

While French fries are a fool-proof side dish for any meal, I believe sweet potato fries work best with kalua pork.

The sweeter notes help balance out the earthy flavor of the pork. The only catch is these baked sweet potato fries aren’t as crispy as the deep-fried version — only the edges get a prominent crunch, but at least they’re tasty and healthy!

These sweet potato fries are even better with a dipping sauce (recipe included), although you can always use them to soak up the juices from your tender pork.

What readers are saying…

Tried these on a whim today and they were so delicious! Right combination of spice and flavor. Will definitely make them again!

“Best sweet potato fries and dipping sauce recipe by far and Ive tried LOTS!!! Thank you for sharing!”

By far the best sweet potato fries recipe and I’v gone through a lot of recipes in search of a good one. This one’s a keeper and My kids loved it

🍟 Potato Wedges
😇 Baked Jicama Fries

Light and Healthy Sides

It’s essential to have something light and healthy alongside a rich, meaty dish like kalua pork. They add a fresh contrast and will fill you up without weighing you down. And as a bonus, these are packed with vitamins and nutrients to complete the meal.

Red Cabbage Slaw

5.0 ⭐️ (5 ratings) | 10 mins

Like with the classic pulled pork, kalua pork pairs perfectly with a crisp, mayo-based slaw.

The cabbage provides a refreshing crunchy contrast to the tender meat, while the creaminess from the dressing complements the smoky notes perfectly. Plus, it brings a vibrant pop of color that’s guaranteed to brighten up any meal.

And what I love about this slaw is it’s easily customizable. You can also change it up and add green cabbage and carrots for another layer of color and crunch. Chopped cilantro is also great for a citrusy kick.

What readers are saying…

“Adding parsley!!! Genius!! I’m not super good at following recipes, I tend to just take all the ingredients as suggestions and use my best “measuring” judgment.”

“Colorful, easy, & so tasty!! I like it as a side, but my hubby loves it in his burgers!”

“This red cabbage slaw looks so fresh and delicious! The perfect side!”

🥬 Kale Apple Slaw
🥭 Mango Jicama Slaw

Lomi Lomi Salmon

4.5 ⭐️ (62 ratings) | 20 mins

Lomi lomi salmon is another traditional Hawaiian side dish.

It’s a nourishing combination of salted raw salmon, green onions, and tomatoes. You can also add some spicy peppers to the mix if you want some heat. It’s simple yet flavorful, and it comes together in no time.

But my favorite thing about this dish is how it’s prepared. The name ‘lomi lomi’ means to ‘knead’ or ‘massage’, so you need to gently massage or knead the other flavors into the salmon with your bare hands!

What the chef says…

“You can add more/less of any ingredient if your prefer. My dad loves tomatoes so he uses more tomatoes. I love salted salmon, so I often increase the amount of salmon. Feel free to change up the ratios till you find the one you like best.”

🇲🇽 Pico de Gallo
🥬 Tabbouleh

Atchara (Filipino Pickled Papaya)

5.0 ⭐️ (8 ratings) | 1 day 45 mins

Add a delicious Filipino flair to your juicy kalua pork with a side of atchara or pickled papaya.

This side dish is similar to your regular quick pickles, except its flavor leans more sweet than tangy. The carrots and peppers also add an extra hint of sweetness to every bite, which helps cut through the richness of the pork and keep the meal from getting too heavy.

And if you can’t find papaya, you can also use jicama in a pinch.

What readers are saying…

“Loved this recipe! I’ve made this several times already, very similar to my late mom’s recipe.”

🥬 Quick Pickled Cabbage
🌶 Pickled Banana Peppers

Buttered Braised Cabbage

4.9 ⭐️ (22 ratings) | 20 mins

Want to add your daily dose of greens to your kalua pork meal? Keep things simple with some easy buttered cabbage.

All you need is one pan and three simple ingredients – shredded cabbage, butter, and a pinch of pepper. It’s simple, but the cabbage develops a sweeter flavor when cooked, which gets enhanced with the addition of butter.

I admittedly find this side dish a bit plain, so I like adding an extra pinch of salt and a dash of hot sauce for some flavor and a bit of color. You can also add other greens like leeks or even jalapeno peppers.

What readers are saying…

Great recipe!! I was trying to figure out a good way to cook some cabbage. This is good and easy plus it’s low in sodium so it works well for me.”

“Made this for dinner tonight, it was sooo good. Will definitely be making it again.”

“So Good! Was really surprised this was as good as it was. Cooking time was a bit more for me than written but otherwise, really good.

🥘 Braised Kale
🇺🇸 Southern Collard Greens

Parsnip Puree

5.0 ⭐️ (38 ratings) | 50 mins

This parsnip puree is one of my favorite mashed potato alternatives. It has fewer calories but still has that same creaminess that pairs superbly with the smokiness of Kalua pork.

And the best part? This recipe from Love and Lemons doesn’t use heavy cream or even yogurt to achieve this silky consistency. It gets its creaminess from a head of steamed cauliflower, making this puree even healthier. Now that’s a win-win.

Pile your kalua pork high over a bed of this parsnip puree for a nourishing lunch.

What readers are saying…

Great recipe!! I was trying to figure out a good way to cook some cabbage. This is good and easy plus it’s low in sodium so it works well for me.”

“Made this for dinner tonight, it was sooo good. Will definitely be making it again.”

“So Good! Was really surprised this was as good as it was. Cooking time was a bit more for me than written but otherwise, really good.

Beet Puree
🧘‍♀️ Cauliflower Puree

Vegetable Stir-Fry

5.0 ⭐️ (57 ratings) | 20 mins

Bring a delicious Asian twist to your kalua pork with this vegetable stir-fry.

You can use any veggies you like, but this dish is all about that stir-fry sauce. Dinner at the Zoo’s version uses a mixture of soy sauce, honey, and vegetable broth, infusing the veggies with a savory, umami kick.

Pro-tip: cook the larger, heartier veggies first (broccoli, carrots), and the softer ones (like peppers) last for the perfect crisp-tender bite.

What readers are saying…

“SO GOOD! I love this recipe because the sauce is so simple, yet flavorful. I double the sauce recipe because I love it extra saucy. Taste great over rice and so healthy!”

“Great flavours, and textures and so so easy! You have literally picked all my favorite veggies to use in stir-fries! And that sauce is so simple yet effective!”

“This one is a keeper and going into the rotation.”

🧈 Buttered Vegetables
🌶 Steamed Vegetables with Chile Lime Butter

Sweet Treats

End your meal on a sweet note with a serving of these tropical-inspired treats!

Pina Colada Fruit Salad

Total Time: 15 mins

Kalua pork can be quite rich, so sometimes you’ll just want something light like a salad. And what’s more Hawaiian than a pina colada salad? Don’t worry; it’s alcohol-free!

This fun salad is super easy to throw together and you can use whatever fruits you have on hand. Just don’t forget the pineapples because they’re the star of the show. The other highlight of this salad is the dressing made of two ingredients: cream of coconut and pineapple juice. It’s so good, you’ll be tempted to drink it straight out of the bowl.

Serve the salad alongside the pork for a sweet and savory main. Or keep it as a dessert — either way, it’s guaranteed to be delish!

What readers are saying…

“I made this fruit salad for Easter and it was so so easy and So yummy! Everyone loved it!”

The dressing and coconut take a regular fruit salad to new heights in the universe. SO GOOD !!! The fruit bowl was the first thing emptied and every family asked for the recipe.

“Thank you so much for the best fruit salad I’ve ever had! This is heavenly!”

🍸 Margarita Fruit Salad
🥥 Coconut Fruit Salad

Frog Eye Salad

4.5 ⭐️ (39 ratings) | 30 mins

Throwing a luau soon? Serve this potluck classic, frog eye salad.

It’s made with little balls of acini pasta mixed with homemade pineapple custard, Cool Whip, and mini marshmallows.

Whether you eat it before your kalua pork or after, this fluffy frog eye salad is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. And if you have no acini di pepe pasta on hand, you can substitute it for orzo.

Pro-tip: A candy thermometer is a must for the homemade custard.

What readers are saying…

“I’ve made this in past and it was always a hit.

“Finally a frog eyed recipe that is pretty close to my family one! We use fruit cocktail instead of mandarin oranges and colored mini marshmallows to add more color!”

Love this. Thank you. I made it exactly the way you said to and added a 16oz container of cottage cheese just to sneak it in where the kids wouldn’t see it. They loved it and asked for seconds.

🍒 Ambrosia Salad
🩷 Jello Salad

Watermelon Otai

4.5 ⭐️ (39 ratings) | 30 mins

How about a cold beverage to go with the melt-in-your-mouth pork? I’d recommend an easy watermelon otai.

It’s a refreshing drink made with shredded watermelon, crushed pineapple, and coconut. Unlike smoothies and milkshakes, the fruits aren’t blended. They’re mixed with coconut milk, creating a drink you’d have to enjoy with a spoon!

You can definitely count on this drink to cool you off on hot days.

What readers are saying…

“Dang this drink looks soooo good. i think im gonna go make it when i get home.”

“We loved it!so refreshing, love the small bits in this drink!”

“What a deliciously refreshing drink. Perfect for these hot summer days.”

💚 Coconut Key Lime Pie Smoothie
🌺 Hibiscus Tea

What To Serve With Kalua Pork

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your kalua pork.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Keyword: kalua pork side dishes, what to serve with kalua pork
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 410kcal


  • 1 portion kalua pork


  • Prepare your kalua pork according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it!
  • Side dishes include: coconut rice, Hawaiian baked beans, Hawaiian macaroni salad, brioche buns, red cabbage slaw, ulu chips, lomi lomi salmon, pina colada salad, pickled onions, sweet potato fries, buttered cabbage, frog eye salad, or a watermelon otai.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 410kcal

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating