26 Perfect Side Dishes to Serve with Kalua Pork Sandwiches

If you want to serve a unique sandwich to feed your family or guests, Kalua pork sandwiches are one of the most delicious and my personal favorite. 

Kalua pork is a popular dish among people who love Hawaiian-style cuisine. To make this traditional dish, pork is cooked low and slow until it’s fall-apart tender, then served in a bun with barbecue sauce. While the main attraction of this hearty meal is certainly the sandwich itself.

Here are some of the perfect side dishes to pair with your kalua pork sandwiches. I am sure that these ideas will take your meal to the next level. 

In short - What to Serve with Kalua Pork Sandwiches

Fruit Salad, Macaroni Salad, Pineapple Salsa, Coleslaw, Baked Beans, Sweet and Sour Slaw, Crispy Fried Onions, Avocado Slices, Pineapple Chunks, Pickled Onions, Creamy Hot Sauce, Tangy BBQ Sauce, Tomato slices, Bacon, Arugula Salad, Cheese, Hummus, Guacamole, Chipotle Mayo, Mustard, Caramelized Onions, Roasted Red Peppers, Pickled Jalapenos

What are kalua pork sandwiches? What do kalua pork sandwiches taste like?

Kalua pork sandwiches are a popular Hawaiian dish. The dish is made with slow-cooked, shredded pork shoulder that has been cooked in an underground oven using the traditional “imu” method. This cooking process gives the pork its signature smoky flavor and tender texture.

Kalua pork is usually served on sweet rolls or other types of bread. The sandwich can also be served with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and avocado for extra flavor and texture.

When it comes to taste, kalua pork sandwiches offer a unique combination of sweetness from the sweet rolls combined with the savory and slightly smoky flavors from the pork shoulder, which has been cooked in an underground oven.

26 Amazing sides to serve with kalua pork sandwiches

1. Fruit Salad 

A light and refreshing fruit salad is the perfect accompaniment to kalua pork sandwiches. Start by picking a combination of your favorite fruits, such as apples, oranges, strawberries, and blueberries. 

fruit salad
Fruit Salad

Then add some diced pineapple for an extra tropical flair. Once you’ve chopped all of your ingredients, mix them together in a large bowl with some freshly squeezed lime juice for zest. Top it off with some honey or agave syrup for sweetness, and voila—you have a delicious fruit salad that pairs perfectly with your kalua pork sandwiches! 

Feel free to get creative with additional ingredients like mint leaves or dried cranberries

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2. Macaroni Salad 

This classic side dish goes great with kalua pork sandwiches. Macaroni salad typically consists of cooked macaroni noodles tossed together with mayonnaise, diced vegetables like celery and onion, spices like paprika or garlic powder, and pickles or olives for an extra tangy kick.

Mix up this simple yet tasty dish ahead of time so that it has enough time to chill before serving. This will ensure that all of the flavors come together nicely! 

3. Pineapple Salsa 

A twist on the traditional salsa recipe, pineapple salsa adds a unique tropical taste to any meal.

Pineapple Salsa
Pineapple Salsa

Start by dicing up some fresh pineapple into small cubes and adding it to a bowl along with finely diced red onion, cilantro leaves, jalapeno peppers (or more if you want more heat!), freshly squeezed lime juice, salt, pepper, olive oil.

Mix everything together until combined; then serve as a topping for your kalua pork sandwiches or scooped-up tortilla chips! 

4. Coleslaw 

Nothing goes better with pulled pork sandwiches than a cool and crunchy coleslaw. This simple side dish only takes minutes to prepare, so it’s great for busy weeknights or when you have unexpected company over for dinner.


All you need are some shredded cabbage and carrots, mayonnaise (or Greek yogurt if you prefer an easier option), vinegar, sugar, and salt. Mix all of these ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy! 

5. Baked Beans 

What would barbecue night be without baked beans? Not only are they full of protein and fiber, but they also provide that smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with any type of pulled pork sandwich.

Baked bean
Baked beans

Make sure you use plenty of molasses or brown sugar for sweetness as well as ketchup for tanginess. Throw in some diced veggies like celery and onion for extra flavor before baking them until bubbly! 

6. Sweet and Sour Slaw

Sweet and Sour Slaw is perfect for serving with a kalua pork sandwich. Shredded cabbage, carrots, and onions are tossed in a tangy and sweet dressing of sugar, vinegar, and mayonnaise to create the perfect topping for Kalua Pork Sandwiches.

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7. Crispy Fried Onions

Thinly sliced onions fried in canola oil until golden brown provide a crunchy variation to top off Kalua Pork Sandwiches.

8. Avocado Slices

Fresh avocado slices add creaminess to your sandwich and provide a unique texture when paired with the smoky flavors of kalua pork sandwiches.

9. Pineapple Chunks

Pineapple Chunks.
Pineapple Chunks

Sweet chunks of pineapple give your kalua pork sandwiches a tropical twist that perfectly complements the taste of kalua pork.

10. Pickled Onions

Quickly marinate red onions in vinegar for an extra tangy topping for your kalua pork sandwiches that adds a nice zing of flavor without overpowering the rest of the ingredients.

11. Creamy Hot Sauce

Creamy hot sauce serves well with kalua pork sandwiches. Combine equal parts hot sauce, mayonnaise, and yogurt for a creamy sauce that provides just enough heat without being too overwhelming for those who don’t love spiciness!

12. Tangy BBQ Sauce

Mix honey with smoky BBQ sauce for an extra kick that goes perfectly with kalua pork sandwiches!

13. Tomato slices

Juicy slices of fresh tomatoes add sweetness and crunch to each bite you take from kalua pork sandwiches 

14. Bacon

For an extra indulgent treat, fry up some bacon strips until they’re nice and crispy and place them on top of kalua pork sandwiches!

15. Arugula Salad

Lighten up your meal by adding peppery arugula salad as another layer on top of kalua pork sandwiches – it will help cut through some of the bread’s heaviness while also providing a healthy balance to all the other flavors present in each bite!

16. Cheese 

Add some melted cheese onto the kalua pork sandwiches before you toast it – either cheddar or mozzarella would pair wonderfully with this dish!

17. Hummus

Hummus goes excellent with kalua pork sandwiches. Spread creamy hummus onto both sides of the bread – its nutty flavor is a great way to bring out even more depth from all the other components present in this dish!

18. Guacamole

Guacamole pairs well with kalua pork sandwiches. Mash avocados together along with diced tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil & salt – then spread it over both sides of the bread before you toast it – bringing together everything into one delicious concoction!

19. Chipotle Mayo

Mix together mayo with a bit of chipotle powder for an extra smoky kick to kalua pork sandwiches!

20. Mustard

Spread spicy mustard onto both sides of the bread before you toast it – adding even more depth of flavor to this dish!

21. Caramelized Onions

Sauté thinly sliced onions in butter or oil until golden brown and sweet – then add them on top of kalua pork sandwiches for an added bit of sweetness!

22. Roasted Red Peppers

Thinly slice some red peppers and roast them in the oven for a few minutes – then add them to kalua pork sandwiches for an extra bit of crunch, sweetness, and flavor!

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23. Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled jalapenos are excellent to serve with kalua pork sandwiches. Slice jalapenos into thin rings and marinate them in vinegar for an added kick of heat that will bring out all the flavors present on your sandwich even more!

24. Charred Corn

Grill or char fresh corn until slightly blackened – then top kalua pork sandwiches with it for a smoky, sweet crunch.

25. Feta Cheese

Sprinkle some feta cheese on top of kalua pork sandwiches for an added salty, tangy boost that goes perfectly with all the other flavors present in this dish!

26. Slaw Dressing

Make a creamy slaw dressing by combining mayonnaise, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, sugar and celery seed – then spread it generously over both sides of the bread before you toast it!

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What are the best flavors to go with kalua pork sandwiches?

One of the best flavors to pair with kalua pork sandwiches is a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. A smoky chipotle mayo or garlic aioli will also provide some great flavor for your sandwich. 

Other delicious additions can include pineapple salsa, mango chutney, teriyaki sauce, or even a sharp cheddar cheese spread. Whatever you choose, it’s sure to be an amazing combination! 

For an extra kick of spice, try adding diced jalapeños or sriracha mayo to give your sandwich that extra bit of heat. With all these great options available, you’re sure to create a one-of-a-kind sandwich experience!

How do you jazz up kalua pork sandwiches?

One easy way to jazz up kalua pork sandwiches is by adding a variety of different toppings. Fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, and red onions are great additions that will add a nice crunch and flavor. You can also top the sandwich with some flavorful condiments like BBQ sauce, mustard, or mayonnaise. 

For an extra kick, add some hot sauces such as sriracha or jalapenos! To make the sandwich even more filling, layer it with cheese slices or avocado slices. Finally, top off the sandwich with your favorite artisan bread, and you’re good to go! Enjoy your delicious Kalua pork sandwiches.

For an even more creative twist on this classic dish, try using Hawaiian sweet rolls instead of regular bread for the sandwich. The sweet rolls bring an added depth of flavor to the sandwich and pair perfectly with the smoky kalua pork. Other creative topping ideas include grilled pineapple, mango salsa, coleslaw or pickled jalapenos.

How do you display kalua pork sandwiches on a platter?

To display kalua pork sandwiches on a platter, create an attractive presentation by arranging the sandwiches in an eye-catching pattern. Separate each sandwich with thin slices of fresh pineapple, bell pepper strips and/or leafy greens. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the top for a flavorful garnish. Finally, place small sprigs of cilantro or mint around the edge of the platter for added color and flavor. Enjoy!

For an extra special touch, consider making your own Hawaiian slaw to complement your kalua pork sandwiches. Simply mix shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix with diced apples, pineapple chunks, carrots and green onions. Mix in some mayonnaise, honey mustard and/or teriyaki sauce and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Serve the slaw on the side of your platter for a delicious accompaniment!

As they say in Hawaii, “onolicious!” Enjoy your kalua pork sandwiches! Mahalo!

Do you really need side dishes to pair up with kalua pork sandwiches?

No, side dishes are not necessarily needed to enjoy kalua pork sandwiches. The sandwich itself can be a complete meal if made with high-quality and flavorful ingredients. However, adding a side would definitely enhance the flavor and presentation of the dish, as well as make it more filling. 

Some good sides to pair up with kalua pork sandwiches include coleslaw or roasted vegetables such as carrots and bell peppers. Salads or chips also make great accompaniments.

Wrap Up on What to eat with Kalua Pork Sandwiches

Kalua pork sandwiches are hearty enough on their own, but why not take them up a notch by adding some delicious sides? From sweet like fruit salad or something savory like baked beans, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy. 

Try out one (or all) of these ideas next time you serve up this delicious Hawaiian dish – we guarantee you won’t be disappointed! With just a few simple ingredients, you can transform this classic sandwich into an unforgettable meal that’s sure to impress even the toughest food critics!


How many kalua pork sandwiches per person?

The amount of kalua pork sandwiches per person depends on how hungry everyone is. Generally, each person should plan on having two or three sandwiches. 

If you are serving a large group, you can multiply the number of people by three for a good estimate of how many sandwiches to make. You can also add some extra rolls in case someone wants seconds! Enjoy your kalua pork sandwiches!

What kind of cheese do you put on a pulled pork sandwich?

The type of cheese you put on a pulled pork sandwich is largely a matter of personal preference. Some popular choices are cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, pepper jack and American cheese. 

You can also get creative with other types of cheeses like blue, brie or goat cheese. Experimenting with different cheeses can add an interesting flavor twist to your sandwich! Additionally, adding freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese can give the sandwich a sharp and salty kick. 

What are the best buns for pulled pork?

There are many delicious buns to choose from when making pulled pork sandwiches. Soft potato buns, Hawaiian sweet rolls, brioche buns, and pretzel buns are all excellent options for pulled pork. Potato buns provide a classic flavor and texture that pairs nicely with pulled pork. 

Hawaiian sweet rolls have a subtle sweetness that complements the savory flavors of the pork. Brioche buns offer a buttery richness that elevates the sandwich experience. And pretzel buns add an extra crunchiness to each bite. Depending on your choice of burn, it will elevate your pulled pork sandwich. Enjoy!

What vegetables go well with pulled pork?

There are a variety of vegetables that pair well with pulled pork. Roasted sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, grilled asparagus, sautéed mushrooms and onions, steamed broccoli, coleslaw or potato salad all make great side dishes to accompany pulled pork. 

Other options include roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted bell peppers, grilled corn on the cob and crispy fried okra. For a more substantial side dish, you could also serve macaroni and cheese or baked beans alongside your pulled pork. With this array of sides, you’ll be sure to have a delicious meal depend up on your choice of vegetables.

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