27 Stellar Side Dishes for Chicken

April 16, 2021

So, you’re making chicken for dinner. Maybe it is oven-fried or feta-brined or milk-braised. But it is chicken and it needs a side. That’s where these 27 recipes come in.

1. Citrus Salad With Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Dates & Almonds

This sweet and sour citrus salad, with juicy oranges, sticky dates, and crunchy almonds, is the perfect foil to rich, fatty roast chicken. Or crispy chicken cutlets, sliced into strips.

2. Garlicky Sautéed Asparagus With Toasted Sesame

Sure, you could sauté asparagus with just oil and salt. But things get infinitely more interesting with thinly sliced garlic, toasted sesame seeds, and a squeeze of lime.

3. Grilled Zucchini With Big Beans, Kale & Mustard Vinaigrette

A side dish that might steal the show. (Don’t tell the chicken.) Next time you’re grilling breasts or thighs, whip up this mustardy grilled zucchini salad to go with.

4. 3-Ingredient Bacon Biscuits

Made with just self-rising flour, rendered bacon fat, and buttermilk, these biscuits would very much like to be teamed up with fried chicken or chicken nuggets.

5. Potato Salad

A humble potato salad that gets along with everyone it meets. Don’t skip the diced chives or onion powder—both bring a super-savoriness that will have you coming back for seconds.

6. Swirly Cheese Bread With Black Pepper & Chives

Oh, cheese bread! Pair a slice (or three) with literal chicken salad or salady chicken.

7. Grilled Chicory Salad With Chile-Fennel Vinaigrette

Because if you’re grilling chicken, you might as well grill your salad, too. Bitter chicories love a bold char, and don’t even get us started on the fennel-seedy dressing with chiles and garlic.

8. Easiest Breakfast Potatoes

But wait! you say. I’m eating this chicken for dinner, not breakfast! That’s a-okay. These simple-as-heck, strategically spiced potatoes are excellent anytime of day.

9. Crisp Lemon-Saffron Potatoes With Black Peppercorns

The secret to these stunners from Yasmin Fahr? The braising liquid, which “reduces down to a thick consistency that coats and infuses the potatoes, also giving them a bright, orangey color.”

10. Meyer Lemon Rice With Candied Garlic From Michael W. Twitty

Culinary historian Michael W. Twitty recommends serving his Genius rice with chicken, and who are we to disagree? Make extra candied garlic if you know what’s good for you.

11. Asparagus & Fava Beans With Tonnato

Italian tonnato sauce is traditionally served with veal, so you bet your bottom dollar that it’s A+ with chicken, too. Especially when spring jewels like asparagus and fava beans are involved.

12. Mom’s Creamed Spinach à la Julia

A riff on Julia Child’s creamed spinach. The creaminess comes not from cream, but from flour’s thickening prowess, plus butter (because if it’s inspired by Julia, of course it involves butter).

13. Ina Garten’s Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

The only roasted broccoli recipe you’ll ever need. That’s it!

14. Salt & Vinegar Mashed Potatoes

Just like a really good bag of salt-and-vinegar potato chips—only instead of crunchy and crackly, soft and plush. A simple roast chicken would thank you kindly.

15. Sweet & Smoky Roasted Carrots

“If you love smoked paprika, the odds are high that you’ll love these carrots,” writes Dorie Greenspan. “They’re roasted in a hot oven after they’ve been rolled around in a mix of honey, vinegar, cumin, cayenne, and smoked paprika.”

16. Seared Mushrooms With Lemon-Cumin Labneh

For leaner (aka blander) chicken cuts, like breasts, a rich side dish is just the ticket. Think: meaty mushrooms, creamy labneh, and enough puckery lemon to grab your attention.

17. Broccoli Salad With Pesto, Apples & Walnuts

Sure, you could roast or sauté or boil broccoli. But you could also leave it alone, like in this crunchy salad. Feel free to swap in whatever fruit or nut you have on hand.

18. Miso Butter Onions

A minimalist masterpiece from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage. The ingredient list is in the title: miso and butter and onions and that’s it.

19. Persian-ish Rice From Samin Nosrat

“Since traditional Persian rice can take years to perfect and hours to make,” writes Samin Nosrat, “I’m including this Persian-ish variation, which I accidentally devised one night when I found myself with a few extra cups of just-boiled basmati rice on my hands.”

20. Roasted Carrots & Beets With Crispy Buckwheat & Dill Yogurt

Why yes, this dill yogurt would go great with your chicken, too. This crispy-creamy template from Abra Berens would work well with any roasted veg, from fennel to cauliflower.

21. Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Sometimes simple does it. If your chicken recipe has a lot going on already, opt for a pared-down side dish like these sprouts.

22. Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Peperonata & Greens

Sweet potato wedges get treated to a jammy peperonata and peppery greens. This would be excellent with a cold glass of white wine.

23. Creamed Corn

No cream is needed for this decidedly creamy corn dish. Indeed! Our senior food stylist Anna Billingskog will explain the rest.

24. Skillet Scallions From Edna Lewis

Scallions need no more than a hunk of butter to become their best selves, slouchy and sweet—it’s impossible to eat just one.

25. Coleslaw

Summer chicken, we’re ready for you. This coleslaw gets its extra-good looks from two types of cabbage (green and red), plus orangey carrots and emerald parsley.

26. Roasted Radishes With Garlic & Caraway

“If you’ve never had cooked radishes before, you’ll be delighted,” writes Darra Goldstein. “Though they retain some crunch, their flavor mellows, and the muted red of their skin is alluring.”

27. Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage

Meek cabbage? No more! Sauté with cream, onion, ginger, and garlic for a, ahem, suspiciously delicious result.

What's your go-to side with grilled chicken? Let us know in the comments!
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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.