Red Lobster Side Dishes Ranked From Worst To Best, According To Customers

Red Lobster has earned a reputation for specializing in decent-tasting seafood that you won't always find at your local American dining establishment. But what about its side dishes? Are they any good?

That depends. We've done a bit of digging and have discovered that, like most restaurants, Red Lobster hovers somewhere between having awesome side dish fare to dishing up food we're inclined to give the side eye. In this post, you'll find a list of side dishes found at our local Red Lobster eatery, along with common customer opinion regarding each dish. And while we haven't tried every side dish ourselves, we have tried some, so you'll likely find us giving our own two cents here and there as well. We've also gone out of our way to glance over the pricing on the menu to see how the dish stacks up against other sides offered at lower or higher rates.

So, without rambling on too much further, let's get into the details concerning Red Lobster side dishes ranked worst to best.

15. Baked potato

We think it's hard to mess up something as simple as a baked potato, but somehow, Red Lobster manages to do it. Across the board, customers shun the fact that the restaurant offers its baked potatoes overcooked more often than not. This results in a disagreeable texture that often leaves customers reeling, wondering what happened. Some customers even claim that the baked potato isn't only overcooked but, at times, may even show up cold.

Despite these complaints, you can at least add some toppings to your baked potato seemingly for free -– at least when you order online, anyway. According to the website, it looks like you can add sour cream, cheese, and butter for no cost, but the trio of bacon, cheddar, and green onions will add another $1.49 to your order. Still, despite these yummy toppings, it may or may not be enough to disguise the taste of an overcooked tuber — you might be better off making your own baked potato — but we'll let you be the judge on that one.

14. Mashed potatoes

The mashed potatoes at Red Lobster are a bit of a mystery. After all, there's no real description of what they contain on the company's website, and we find it a bit suspect that traditional toppings like butter are considered extras. On the positive side, it does seem that you can at least add the butter, optional cheese, and optional sour cream onto your mashed potatoes at no cost, although adding a bacon, cheddar, and green onions combo will cost you as much as an extra $1.49 at the time of publication. Since the potatoes are already $3.49 per order, your mashed potatoes may cost you a little more than you bargained for, especially considering that customer reviews of them aren't so great.

Yup, we hate to break it to you, but customers don't seem very happy with the mashed potatoes served here. Some refer to them as simply decent, while others think they're downright gross. One patron insists that these mashed potatoes are nothing but watery, instant potatoes. Yikes!

We hope this isn't true of Red Lobster mashed potatoes, but we've yet to find many glowing reviews concerning this side dish. Bummer.

13. Sea-salted french fries

The sea-salted french fries at Red Lobster come off pretty basic, judging by their description, and as avid french fry purists, we're not so sure that's a bad thing. Fries salted and cooked to perfection sound just right to us, but, unfortunately, it seems Red Lobster may not be pulling off these fries quite as expected.

According to some reviewers out there, the fries aren't crispy and seem to limp out pretty easily. They also soak up a lot of grease at times, which definitely isn't our idea of an appealing salted fry. Of course, these fries aren't a premium side, so at least you'll get them free with your meal without any upcharge. If you do happen to purchase them on their own, expect to pay around $3.49 for fries a la carte. Is it worth it? Eh, probably not. Still, if you can't live without your fries when it comes to sampling fish, this will be your best and only option when dining at Red Lobster.

12. Orzo rice

Orzo rice is usually such a great side dish. It pairs beautifully with light meals like chicken and seafood and is oftentimes a really great break from the traditional rice-style fare. With that said, the orzo rice at Red Lobster does not get as much praise as we had hoped from those who have tried it. Instead, people seem quite disappointed, though the reviews on this particular side dish are somewhat limited.

Reading further into what is irking people about Red Lobster's rendition of orzo rice, we've come to a few conclusions. The first is that the orzo rice is rather bland. Several reviewers have mentioned the flat taste of the orzo, which is unfortunate given its commonly tasty flavor. The second tiff that taste testers have is that the orzo rice is either under- or overcooked once it's served up. We don't know about you, but neither option is what we had in mind to pair with a luxurious seafood dinner.

Look, we know it's Red Lobster, and we really shouldn't expect fancy fare, but come on, Red Lobster — do better. We'd recommend you go for another side dish instead of potentially wasting money on this orzo rice; from what it sounds like, it may not do wonders for your taste buds, no matter how you slice it.

11. Creamy lobster baked potato

Given Red Lobster's track record for overcooked baked potatoes, we weren't quite sure what to expect when it came to its creamy lobster baked potato. After all, if the base potato isn't right, then throwing a bunch of sauce and lobster over the top isn't going to make things much better, right?

Maybe. According to the reviews we've uncovered, the creamy lobster baked potato from Red Lobster may or may not be that great. On the one hand, we found a reviewer stating that the potatoes were "better than average," while another slammed the side, deeming it a desperate cry for help. With such uncertain reviews, we were curious as to how much Red Lobster was charging for this side dish. Lobster prices are high in general due to challenges in the seafood industry. So we can't say we came back surprised; the creamy lobster baked potato at Red Lobster will cost close to $8 when ordered a la carte and a whopping $5.49 extra when it comes to substituting it for a normal side.

Yeah, no thanks. Though this lobster-loaded baked potato may strike the fancy of some, for us, there isn't enough evidence to prove this potato is good enough to justify such a high price point.

10. Bacon mac and cheese

Not sure if you'll believe us on this, but despite the tempting description of this side dish, the bacon mac and cheese offered at Red Lobster isn't as well received as we would have assumed. Maybe it's just us, but we get a little giddy when it comes to anything mac and cheese-related, especially if it's topped with yummy goodies that would only work to amplify its flavor. What we've found, however, is that many people aren't happy with the mac and cheese at Red Lobster for a variety of reasons.

The first reason seems to be that the cheese is liquidy, very similar to what you'd expect from Velveeta, according to one diner. On top of this, some say that the bacon comes off as "fake" and that the mac and cheese, on the whole, tastes overly salty. And while these might not be deal breakers for everyone, we kind of had higher expectations for this establishment if we're being real. Oh, and don't forget that price point -– $5.99 for an a la carte order of bacon mac and cheese? Good grief!

Despite the delicious description on the menu, we're going to have to rank this one a little lower on the list of great options for side dish offerings from Red Lobster.

9. Coleslaw

A good ole coleslaw can be hard to come by, especially since so many people have varying expectations as to what actually makes a coleslaw good. We like a sweeter slaw ourselves, but others defer to tangier flavors, leaving expectations for what makes this side dish truly delicious hard to decipher.

Still, most of us can agree that any coleslaw that is too dry, overly sweet, or overly bitter is going to be a bad bite. Thus, we were relieved to hear that most people quite like Red Lobster's rendition of coleslaw, even if it isn't exactly the best they've eaten.

Most reviewers of this side dish state that the slaw at Red Lobster tastes sweet but could still benefit from a little something "extra." One person thought salt might be a good addition, while others thought a touch of acid (think vinegar or a splash of lemon juice) might work to balance the flavors instead. Either way, based on the opinions of others, we're thinking this one deserves a middle-of-the-road ranking. It isn't gross, but most people think it could use a little extra pick-me-up to become truly delicious.

8. Creamy lobster mashed potatoes

Creamy lobster mashed potatoes sound amazing, but is it really as good as it seems? Maybe. This uniquely offered lobster-infused mashed potato side is indeed luxurious-sounding, but people who have tried it contend that it's really the sauce the lobster is covered in that takes the mashed potatoes up a notch. As for the lobster itself, some reviewers claim it doesn't really stand out, and that any other meat, including shrimp, would likely taste just as good on the potatoes because it's the sauce overall that truly amplifies the dish.

Despite how people may feel about this side dish, we must warn you that ordering this luxurious treat comes with a hefty price tag. As you've seen with Red Lobster's similar side dish — the creamy lobster baked potato — this option, too, will cost you close to $8 a la carte and $5 for a simple side dish upgrade. We'll leave it up to you as to whether or not the extra bucks are worth it. 

7. Seasoned broccoli

"Seasoned" broccoli sounds like an interesting side dish, doesn't it? After all, not many places would refer to their broccoli as seasoned, as most come with salt, butter, and not much else. And while we won't pretend to know what Red Lobster's broccoli does entail (there's no description with the online menu) we do at least know that people tend to dig it.

To be honest, we couldn't find a ton of people going on about the broccoli here because, in all seriousness, this restaurant has a lot more interesting foods to discuss than this meager ole side dish. With that said, those who have taken the time to shout out the broccoli claim it's "fire," which indicates to us that it is really very good, and for something as mundane as broccoli, that can be hard to do!

We do wish Red Lobster was a bit more transparent about what encompasses its side dishes so we could get a better idea of what makes the broccoli so good. But for now, just know that Red Lobster tends to do well when it comes to this cruciferous side dish –- at least, according to the reviews we've read.

6. New England clam chowder

The most common reaction to Red Lobster's New England clam chowder we've found is, eh –- it's good. For some, the soup seemed to need a bit of doctoring up (aka salt and pepper), while for others, it simply serves as a good pick -– nothing more and nothing less. We did find one reviewer stating that the New England clam chowder was "on point" — so that's gotta count for something, right?

Either way, expect to cop this creamy clam chowder either in cup or bowl form, where it will cost you anything from $6.49 to $8.49 as of the time of this written post. It's served with crackers and can make for a yummy start to your seafood meal, though you should be advised that we don't see options to substitute it for a traditional side. This means you'll need to expect to tack on that extra $6-$8 to your bill — just something we think you ought to know!

5. House side salad

Though it's a simple side salad, we've seen reviews raving about how good Red Lobster's house side salad truly is, and we have to say, we're surprised to hear it. When dining at a seafood restaurant like Red Lobster, the salad isn't usually the first thing customers mention. In this case, however, people tend to think it is incredible, with one diner calling it "the best house salad I've ever had."

In case you're curious about what the salad comes with, it honestly isn't anything super special. There are croutons, red onions, tomatoes, and a blend of cheeses all atop crisp lettuce. Dressing options include ranch, French dressing, Thousand Island, bleu cheese, and several others. From what we can tell, you'll pay around $4-$5 for a salad on the side, but if you replace your traditional side with this yummy and healthy option, it'll only cost you $1.99 at the time of publication.

Though this house salad is indeed delicious, we aren't willing to place a salad this basic as the No.1 pick. Still, this is a solid option, especially if you're looking to consume something a little lighter with your seafood meal.

4. Caesar side salad

Like the house salad, a Caesar salad isn't always something to get very excited about, but at Red Lobster, you Caesar salad lovers are likely to be well-pleased. Like most Caesar salads, this Red Lobster side dish grab comes meagerly topped — it comes with thinly shaved Parmesan atop romaine lettuce and brioche croutons. Still, despite its run-of-the-mill ingredients, customers seem to indicate that what truly makes this salad shine is the Caesar dressing.

The Caesar dressing at Red Lobster is apparently so good it has certain folks on Reddit on the hunt for what makes it so amazingly tasty. And while we aren't quite sure what the Caesar dressing tastes like, we know that many Reddit users have come back to the thread to confirm that the dressing is, indeed, incredible.

Take it for what it's worth, but the humble Caesar salad at Red Lobster is definitely worth trying out. Grab it for $4-$5 on its own, or upgrade the side dish that comes with your Red Lobster meal and get it for only $1.99 at the time of publication. From what it sounds like, you'll be glad you did!

3. Cheddar Bay biscuits

If there's one Red Lobster side dish you probably already know about, it's likely to be the restaurant's Cheddar Bay biscuits. People have been raving about these for years, and thankfully, for fans, Red Lobster seems to have no intention of getting rid of them. Available in half-dozen and full-dozen sizes, these cheesy cheddar biscuits make a great pairing to your seafood dinner. Those who have tried these biscuits say they're delicious with just the right amount of cheese, garlic, and salt. Their crispy exterior and pillowy interior texture only make them that much more enticing, keeping fanatics salivating and returning for more.

If we're honest, we've had these biscuits before and weren't that impressed. They tasted a little salty to us, but hey, we're more sweet Southern biscuit fans, anyway. Either way, we're outvoted opinion-wise when it comes to the public majority since most people have fallen head over heels for these biscuits and continue to gush over them even to this day.

2. Cheddar Bay stuffing

The Cheddar Bay stuffing sold at Red Lobster is a fairly new item that certainly had us feeling intrigued when we first heard of it. Of course, there were several people who ran out to sample it for the purpose of a review, and we're so happy they did. Before we dive into what those customers have to say, however, let's first assess Red Lobster's description of the meal. Yes, Red Lobster actually provided a description, stating that the stuffing contained brioche, bacon, mushroom, and, of course, crumbles of the ever-popular Cheddar Bay biscuits we all know and love.

So, what's the verdict? Customers really seem to like it. Despite it not having cheese directly in it, the stuffing still gives off those cheddary vibes, no doubt thanks to the biscuit crumbles. The flavors of the mushroom and bacon help pull everything together for a deliciously flavorful stuffing that would work as a dynamite pairing for any of Red Lobster's seafood meals. One tiny criticism one reviewer had was that it was slightly dry, which can be expected of stuffing from time to time. Still, the overall flavor was impressive, and most seemed pleased with this new offering from this popular seafood joint. Yum!

1. Crispy Brussels sprouts

Ew, Brussels sprouts! Right? Wrong. Well, at least at Red Lobster. A lot of Red Lobster's side dishes have gotten a bad rep, but despite what you may think, this traditionally shunned vegetable actually tastes great when ordered from this classic seafood joint.

So, what makes it so good? Its crispy texture paired with the delicious soy-ginger glaze makes all the difference. It also comes topped with crispy onions, which work as a nice texture and flavor addition when savoring this unexpectedly delicious side dish.

Reviewers confirm that these Brussels sprouts are indeed dynamite, though some admit that the smell may throw you off at first, especially if you aren't accustomed to eating Brussels sprouts. Nevertheless, with the sauce added over these enticingly cooked veggies, there's really nothing left to say except that these are incredibly tasty. Even so, we feel like we should mention that this side dish isn't priced the way other traditional sides are. Expect to pay about $5 per order of Brussels sprouts, or an extra $2.49 if upgrading from a traditional side.


Red Lobster side dishes ranked worst to best was constructed using information gleaned from popular customer opinion as well as our own experience when applicable. We also took into account pricing and other factors as needed to provide you with the best and most accurate information we could muster.