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19 Best Side Dishes for Chicken in 9 Categories

When you’re not sure what to make for dinner, chicken is always a safe bet. It’s versatile and tasty, and there are countless ways to prepare it. But how can you choose the ultimate side dish to pair with your chicken dinner? Find out in this article, plus the best appetizers.

Side dishes can truly make or break meals – after all, what would a roast chicken be without potatoes? Choosing the right side dish for chicken is an art.

After all, you need to think about how the flavors and textures of the chicken will meld with the flavors and textures of the side dish to create a harmonious pairing.

Side dishes that go with crispy chicken wings are different from side dishes that go with succulent roast chicken, but all can be equally delicious. We’ve collated our top sides for different types of chicken dishes, so you can be sure of the perfect pairing for any occasion.

Side Dishes for Chicken Wings

Side Dishes for Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are always a crowd-pleasing and versatile dish, suited to a huge range of sides. Whether you’re making classic crispy wings, sticky barbecue wings, or spicy Korean wings, chicken wings are the ultimate finger food.

Ideal for a casual dinner gathering, a game day snack, or even a regular weeknight dinner, these sides are easy to throw together and are perfect for elevating your chicken wings.

Crispy French Fries

Crispy French Fries

Who doesn’t love French fries? The crispy, golden outside, the soft, tender, and fluffy interior, the salt, the crunch – what could be better?

Thanks to their simple flavor profile, French fries are perfect to pair with any type of wings. The best part? they’re so easy to make. Whether you prefer to make them from scratch with fresh potatoes and a deep fryer or use quality frozen fries and an air fryer, they’ll be a definite hit.

Coleslaw

Coleslaw

Picking the perfect side is all about contrast, and coleslaw provides the ideal contrast to crispy chicken wings. It’s creamy, tangy, and crunchy, making it the perfect counterpoint to the crispy, savory, and spicy flavors of the wings.

Best of all, coleslaw is infinitely variable, so you can easily switch up the flavors to ensure you get the best pairing. While the base of coleslaw is always finely shredded carrots and cabbage, there are countless additions you can make to get the perfect flavor combination:

  • Blue cheese dressing – A creamy, salty, and tangy coleslaw with blue cheese dressing is the perfect side for crispy fried chicken wings
  • Classic coleslaw – Classic coleslaw with a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing is perfect to go with the tangy, spicy kick of buffalo wings
  • Spicy coleslaw – If you’re making wings with a sticky, sweet sauce, like Teriyaki wings, for example, a spicy coleslaw is the perfect accompaniment.

Chicken Sides for BBQ

Chicken Sides for BBQ

Chicken is one of the most popular barbecue dishes and definitely one of our favorites. There’s just so much you can do with it, ranging from spicy grilled chicken skewers to barbecued chicken drumsticks.

The great thing about barbecuing is that it opens up a whole new world of delicious side dishes. Whether you’re looking for simplicity or complex flavors, there’s a BBQ side to suit every preference.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Grilled Corn on the Cob

This classic BBQ dish instantly evokes the taste of summer. The sweet, juicy kernels explode in your mouth, combined with the savory, smoky flavors from the grill – perfection.

It’s the ideal accompaniment to chicken, with the tender, juicy meat pairing perfectly with the crunch from the corn.

Corn is also infinitely variable; you can easily make additions to ensure it pairs perfectly with your preferences and the type of chicken you’ve made. Here are some of our top additions:

  1. Butter and salt: This is a classic for a reason. A thick slathering of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt is the perfect pairing for any type of chicken
  2. Chilli and lime: Add a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of chili flakes for a spicy twist
  3. Parmesan cheese: Ideal to pair with barbecued chicken wings, try adding some grated parmesan to your buttered corn for an indulgent side dish.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

Sometimes, you want your chicken side dishes to be simple and light, like corn on the cob. But other times, complex and hearty is the way to go.

Baked beans are the perfect combination of savory, hearty, and comforting. The creamy, soft texture is the perfect contrast to the juicy, succulent chicken, and the strong, smoky flavors make them the ideal addition to any summer BBQ.

They’re also highly nutritious, and extremely easy to alter to suit your tastes. We love to add salty, smoky bacon to ours, but they’re also great with a kick from jalapeno or chili flakes. Add whatever you like to suit your taste.

Side Dishes for Baked Chicken

Side Dishes for Baked Chicken

Nothing says a hearty family dinner like a baked chicken. It’s a dish that the whole family will love – and best of all, it’s healthy and easy to prepare.

The sides are one of the best parts of a baked chicken, and while there is a huge range of options, our favorites are the ones that keep things simple. You don’t want to overpower the chicken, you want to complement its flavor and texture.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a classic pairing for baked chicken, but why not take things up a notch and add garlic? The strong, savory flavor of the garlic permeates the smooth, buttery potatoes, creating a side dish that’s both simple and delicious.

The creamy, fluffy texture of the potatoes is a match made in heaven with the succulent, juicy baked chicken. Each mouthful has the perfect blend of flavors and textures – we guarantee your guests will love it.

This dish is also incredibly flexible and easy to adapt; why not try making cheesy garlic potatoes, or adding herbs or spices to complement the flavors used in your baked chicken?

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a polarizing vegetable, but we think that’s just down to poor cooking techniques. The traditional method of boiling them is fine, but for truly elevated Brussels sprouts, roasting is the way to go.

It creates a perfectly caramelized exterior combined with a soft, tender interior – the ideal accompaniment to your juicy baked chicken.

You can roast them in good-quality olive oil and then sprinkle them with flakes of sea salt for a classic dish, but there are also a lot of ways to spice them up. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Cheesy goodness: Once cooked, sprinkle with parmesan or another cheese of your choice for a luxurious side dish
  • Add some tang: A drizzle of balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon will add a bright zingy facet to the Brussels sprouts
  • Try some bacon: Crispy bacon sprinkled over the sprouts adds a salty, smoky, and savory element that makes this dish truly special.

Easy and Quick Sides for Chicken

Easy and Quick Sides for Chicken

Life is all about contrast. Sometimes we feel like spending hours in the kitchen, meticulously crafting the perfect dish. Other times, we just want something quick and easy that can be thrown together in a few minutes.

When paired with a simple side dish, chicken can be a super simple, easy-to-make weeknight dinner. These simple side dishes may be a breeze to throw together, but they certainly don’t compromise when it comes to flavor.

Buttered Corn

Buttered Corn

Corn and chicken are one of the classic flavor pairings. The sweetness of the corn and the crunch of the kernels provide the perfect balance to the soft, juicy, and savory chicken.

While grilled corn on the cob is perfect for pairing with BBQ chicken, buttered corn is the ideal side for a quick chicken dinner.

It’s incredibly easy to make: just take either fresh, frozen, or canned corn kernels, heat them in the microwave or on the stovetop, and add butter, salt, and pepper.

If you want to add a little something extra, you can throw in some freshly chopped herbs or some grated parmesan, too. However, this dish is flavorful enough on its own.

Instant Pot Rice Pilaf

Instant Pot Rice Pilaf

Rice pilaf is a great pairing for chicken, and if you cook it in an Instant Pot it’s also incredibly quick and easy. The Instant Pot does all the work for you and frees up your time to attend to other parts of the meal or clean up your kitchen.

With fragrant herbs, onions garlic, and savory chicken broth, the pilaf perfectly complements the flavors of the chicken. It’s also infinitely variable; you can add whatever you like to make this dish your own. Here are some of our favorite variations:

  • Orzo pilaf: Replace the traditional rice with orzo pasta for a delicious twist on the traditional pilaf
  • Turmeric pilaf: Create a vibrant yellow pilaf with the addition of turmeric
  • Spring pilaf: Amp up the nutrients in your dinner by adding a variety of spring vegetables to your pilaf, such as peas, green beans, and asparagus
  • Spicy pilaf: Add garam masala and chili flakes to create a spicy kick in your pilaf. This adds extra dimensions of flavor to the chicken and elevates the dish instantly.

Healthy Side Dishes for Chicken

Healthy Side Dishes for Chicken

Chicken is already one of the healthiest meats around. It’s high in protein, lower in fat than most other meats (particularly the breast), and has plenty of essential nutrients such as selenium, phosphorus, and niacin.

To make your chicken dinner even healthier, you can serve it with a nutrient-dense side dish.

These side dishes are not only packed with vitamins and nutrients, but they’re also a breeze to make. Eating healthy has never been so easy.

Quinoa and Kale Salad

Quinoa and Kale Salad

Both quinoa and kale are known for being superfoods, and combined they make a salad that’s a nutrient powerhouse. Quinoa is unique for being a grain that contains all nine essential amino acids, and kale is high in vitamins and antioxidants.

What’s more, they taste great together and make the perfect side dish for grilled or baked chicken. The quinoa and kale both have earthy, nutty flavor profiles, which go well with juicy, savory chicken.

This salad doesn’t have to be boring, either; there are an almost infinite amount of ingredients you can add to put your twist on this classic salad, including tangy dressings, crumbled feta, and dried fruit.

Steamed Asparagus

Steamed Asparagus

This side dish is not just healthy – it’s incredibly simple, easy to prepare, and absolutely delicious. To us, asparagus is the taste of springtime with its subtle, almost grassy flavor and bright green color.

It’s perfectly paired with a grilled chicken breast or a golden baked chicken, and best of all less truly is more when it comes to preparing this side dish.

Steaming it is the best option – just make sure you don’t overcook the spears. If you’re looking to add some extra flavor, we love to squeeze lemon juice, drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle black pepper and sea salt over the spears once cooked.

Vegetable Sides for Chicken

Vegetable Sides for Chicken

Vegetable sides are the perfect way to add color and flavor to your chicken dishes. No need for bland, flavorless steamed vegetables; these dishes are all bursting with flavor. In fact, they almost steal the show from the chicken, they’re that good.

Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli

When you think of broccoli, you might think of childhood dinners with mushy, overcooked florets. That certainly isn’t what you get with this dish.

Roasting broccoli slightly caramelizes the broccoli florets, creating a delicious crispiness that perfectly contrasts with the tender interior.

Before roasting, break your broccoli up into florets and then toss it with crushed garlic, lemon zest, and olive oil. After roasting until just caramelized and tender, the broccoli can be drizzled with fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Honey Glazed Carrots

Honey Glazed Carrots

If you like a burst of sweetness with your vegetable dishes, honey-glazed carrots are the ideal choice. Carrots are naturally sweet, and the honey glaze enhances this natural sweetness, resulting in a sticky, caramelized concoction that pairs beautifully with the lean protein of the chicken.

Make sure you sautee them slowly so that the honey glaze doesn’t burn, and add some butter to give a touch of richness to the dish.

We also love to add a sprinkle of herbs to the finished dish, like finely chopped parsley or thyme. A generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and flaky sea salt is also a must to give that finishing touch.

Chicken Pot Pie Sides

Chicken Pot Pie Sides

Does anything say ‘comfort food’ better than a homemade chicken pot pie? The combination of succulent chicken chunks melding with vegetables in a creamy sauce, all topped with tender, flaky pastry – delicious.

This classic recipe calls for classic sides that won’t overpower the showstopping main course, but offer a subtle complement to the savory flavors.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Another quintessential comfort food, creamy mashed potatoes are a classic pairing with chicken pot pie for a reason. The soft, creamy mash is the perfect contrast to the chunky filling of the pie.

The flavors of the two dishes don’t compete, but rather complement each other, adding depth and nuance to the flavor profile of the chicken.

While classic creamy mash is perfect for this dish, feel free to add your own twist to it- here are some of our favorites:

  • Make it cheesy: Add some cheese of your choice to the mash and stir until melted – we like parmesan and cheddar, but crumbled blue cheese is also delicious
  • Add some herbs: Finely chopped herbs are a great way to elevate this simple potato dish – just stir them in at the end right before serving. We like a blend of finely chopped parsley, rosemary, and thyme
  • Add toppings: Before serving your creamy mash, try topping it with crispy bacon crumbles or finely chopped green onions.

Mixed Green Salad

Mixed Green Salad

Chicken pot pie and creamy mashed potatoes are both delicious and hearty dishes. What better side dish to offset the richness of the pie and the potatoes than a fresh mixed green salad?

The light, crisp greens add some variety to the textures of the meal, while a fresh, tangy dressing cuts through the richness of the pie and mash.

You can add anything you like to this salad; we like sliced cucumber, red onions, and cherry tomatoes, but bell peppers, scallions, and grated carrots are also common additions.

A simple vinaigrette is our favorite dressing, but if you prefer, you can experiment with creamy dressings like ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Best Appetizers Before Serving Chicken

Best Appetizers Before Serving Chicken

When you’re choosing appetizers to serve before your chicken dishes, think about the flavor profile of the dish you’re creating.

Your appetizer should complement the flavors of the main course without being too similar. These appetizers have harmonious, complimentary flavors to chicken dishes, perfect for piquing the taste buds for the feast to come.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

The perfect appetizer for a game day feast, buffalo chicken dip is a creamy, flavorful concoction that will disappear almost as soon as you put it out.

In its most classic iteration, it combines shredded chicken with ranch, hot sauce, cream cheese, and melted cheddar, creating a rich, spicy dip that will have your guests coming back for more.

Pair it with light, crunchy dippers such as celery sticks and crackers; the dip should be the star of the show. You can also add your own variations, such as topping the dip with blue cheese crumbles, crispy bacon, or sliced green onion.

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

If you want a sophisticated appetizer that won’t fill your guests up too much ahead of the main course, spinach and artichoke stuffed mushrooms are perfect.

The earthy, robust flavor of the mushrooms is perfect with the cheesy, flavorful filling. They’re also surprisingly easy to put together and come out looking incredibly impressive.

Add your choice of herbs and spices to the filling before stuffing the mushrooms to ensure the flavors complement your main dish.

Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas

Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas

Look, we get it. Thinking of what to make for dinner every single night gets tiring. That’s why we’ve included these easy chicken dinner ideas. They’re simple enough for anyone to make, and best of all they’re healthy, nutritious, and delicious.

Lemon Herb Roast Chicken

Lemon Herb Roast Chicken

There’s something about lemon that just goes perfectly with chicken. The bright, zesty flavor brightens the mild flavor of the chicken, elevating the flavor of the meat and creating a meal that both tastes and smells delicious.

To create this simple dish, just rub a whole chicken with lemon zest, olive oil, and the herbs of your preference, then place a halved lemon in the chicken’s cavity. Roast until golden and juicy, and serve with your favorite side dishes for an impressive yet easy dinner.

Chicken Alfredo Pasta

Chicken Alfredo Pasta

For a creamy and indulgent pasta dish, you can’t go wrong with chicken Alfredo pasta. It combines pan-fried chicken with a creamy, cheesy, luxurious sauce, which is then tossed with the pasta of your choice. Once served, top with a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley for a burst of freshness.

This dish is best served with a simple vegetable side dish that will cut through the rich creaminess of the sauce, such as steamed asparagus or a fresh green salad.

Sheet Pan Chicken and Vegetables

Sheet Pan Chicken and Vegetables

We love sheet pan dinners; they’re the perfect way to cook easy, healthy dinners that take minimal effort but deliver maximum flavor.

The best part about this dish is that it’s so customizable – you can choose any vegetables you like to make this dish your own.

We like to make this dish with chicken thighs, but any part of the chicken will work here. Vegetables that work well include sliced red onions, bell peppers, zucchini, squash, and even root vegetables like sweet potato or beets.

Just season your chicken and vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the spices of your choice, and cook on a sheet pan until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender. Best of all, there’s minimal cleanup afterward, so it’s ideal for those busy weeknights.

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