Fried chicken is the ultimate comfort food.
In theory, it is as simple as any kind of food can be – chicken coated in either batter or flour and fried until it’s crispy and perfect – but in practice, it can be difficult to get exactly right.
There are so many different ways of frying chicken, but the southern fried variety is generally regarded as one of the best!
So let’s say you’re about to set up a dinner or BBQ where you’ll be serving fried chicken (see also ‘16 Best WingStop Menu Items‘).
Providing you can get it right there should be no complaints about the chicken – but what about when it comes to sides?
What goes well with fried chicken? Are there specific dishes to gravitate towards or to stay away from?
If you’re wondering about these questions, then don’t panic because you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’re going to be taking you through a list of the 18 best side dishes to complement fried chicken.
We’ll link a recipe for each to give you some extra ideas, and we’ve also included a short FAQ section to help answer any questions you may have left over at the end.
1. Corn On The Cob
This is a classic complement to fried chicken that has been a staple of southern diets for a long time.
The real strength of this dish is how utterly simple it is to make and the long list of different ways you can prepare it.
The recipe we’ve linked uses the oven to slowly roast the corn and is served with melted butter.
You can really change up the details and make something that fits the theme of the dinner you’re making, but we hope this can be a good starting point for you.
This is another southern classic that is very commonly paired with fried chicken. Southern fried biscuits are a type of biscuit that originated in the south.
These biscuits were originally baked in cast iron skillets, and then deep-fried until golden brown.
Today, they are often referred to as “deep-fried” biscuits. This recipe is fairly simple and will allow you to make the perfect accompaniment to your fried chicken dinner.
Gravy is usually served on the side, which is another great combo for chicken.
3. Mac And Cheese
Mac and cheese is a dish that consists of pasta mixed with cheese sauce. It is often eaten at dinner time and is considered comfort food.
There are many different types of mac and cheese recipes, some of them being baked, fried, and even grilled!
Whilst it might seem like a meal in itself, a small portion of mac and cheese (see also ‘15 Tasty Side Dishes To Serve With Mac And Cheese‘) served with fried chicken is a great match for your southern meal.
The recipe we’ve picked here uses a grill, gruyere cheese, and sharp cheddar.
Coleslaw is a mixture of shredded cabbage and mayonnaise. It’s a great side dish for any meal, especially if you’re looking to add some extra flavor to your food.
You can make coleslaw at home using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
The recipe we’ve chosen here includes a mix of red and white cabbage, onion, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar.
5. Macaroni And Potato Salad
Macaroni and potato salad is a classic American side dish consisting of pasta (macaroni) and potatoes mixed together with mayonnaise, sour cream, celery, green onions, salt, pepper, and sometimes bacon bits.
It’s often served cold, although some people prefer it warm.
The name comes from the fact that the ingredients were originally combined in a bowl shaped like a small pot. Macaroni and potato salad is a great side dish for fried chicken.
You can make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Just remember not to add any mayonnaise to it so that it doesn’t spoil ahead of time.
6. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a great side dish for fried chicken. You can make mashed potatoes out of any type of potato, but russets are the best.
If you want to get fancy, you can add some garlic, rosemary, thyme, or even sage to give them a little extra flavor.
The recipe we’ve chosen here includes Yukon Gold potatoes (which can be a little hard to find), but feel free to use anything you have in your pantry.
The secret ingredient here is cream, which will make your mashed potatoes extremely smooth.
Cornbread is a type of bread that is often associated with Southern cuisine. It is traditionally made with cornmeal and contains no leavening agents.
However, some modern recipes may use baking soda or baking powder instead of yeast.
Cornbread is commonly eaten at breakfast time, especially in the South, but it can also be a strong pick as a side dish for your southern fried chicken dinner.
The recipe we’ve chosen here can be made in around half an hour, with an extremely quick prep time.
One of the main benefits of cornbread is how simplistic the ingredients are, so you won’t have to find anything too exotic to make it.
8. Green Beans
For the second vegetable on our list, we have green beans. Green beans are a southern side dish that is often paired with fried chicken, pork chops (see also ‘16 Of The Tastiest Side Dishes For Pork Chops‘), ham, or sausage.
There are many different varieties of green beans including wax beans, snap beans, string beans, and others.
These beans are grown in pods and have been cultivated since ancient times.
In fact, they were first domesticated in China around 6500 BC. Today, these beans are still commonly eaten in the south and in other parts of the world.
Our chosen recipe for this one here includes butter and garlic to really spice up what can be a little dull if not created with care.
One main tip we have is to make sure you serve them hot. They don’t take a long time to cook, so should get them to your guests as soon as they’re done!
9. Peach Cobbler
If you’re not from the south then this dish might be new to you. In short, peach cobbler is a dessert consisting of peaches baked with a biscuit topping.
It was first created in the early 1900s at the White House. In the 1950s, it became popularized by restaurants throughout the United States.
Today, peach cobbler is considered a classic American dessert (see also ‘30 Easy Recipes For Classic American Desserts‘).
The recipe we’ve chosen here is based on bourbon, which adds a great alcoholic southern taste that will really wow your guests with its distinct flavor.
One thing to note is that peach cobbler is more of a dessert to have after fried chicken, and not something you’d want beside it on a plate.
10. Baked Potatoes
We’re going to finish our list off with something very simplistic. Baked potatoes are some of the easiest food to make.
In the highly unlikely scenario, you’re not aware of them, a baked potato is a type of potato that has been cooked in its skin.
A baked potato is often referred to as a “baking potato” because they are cooked inside its skin.
Most people think of potatoes as being starchy foods, but potatoes actually have a lot of vitamins and minerals.
Potatoes are high in vitamin C, fiber, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, and folate.
Now, the version we’ve chosen for this article includes a stuffed version, which adds cheese, bacon, sour cream, and onion.
This can be a great addition to your fried chicken meal, but if you want something more simplistic then you can just go with baked potatoes with lots of melted butter on top!
11. Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas
This southern-style Black-Eyed peas recipe is a great side dish if you want to add a bit of extra fiber and protein to your meal.
We particularly like the addition of ham hock here – but you can always remove it if you feel like it’s too much meat.
Don’t skip out on the chicken broth here, it really makes this recipe shine!
12. Hush Puppies
This hush puppies recipe is another southern classic. They are small balls of flaky batter that are best when crispy on the outside and delicate on the inside.
They’re very easy to make and a perfect side dish to make before you begin frying your chicken.
You can also use the oil that you’re frying your chicken in to make these after or before, just make sure that it doesn’t get too dirty before you begin!
13. Southern Fried Okra
Okra is one of those southern herbs that you can do a surprisingly long list of things with.
You probably never thought that you could fry it to crispy perfection and that it can be a great side dish to compliment your fried chicken.
This recipe uses okra pods, cornmeal, flour and a few simple spices to make an incredible side dish.
14. Collard Greens With Bacon
We hear you – collard greens can be very dull. But that’s why we’ve chosen this recipe to include bacon and show you quite how delicious it can be!
One of the best parts of this recipe is how it uses hot sauce to give an extra kick to the greens and bacon.
The most important thing is to not overdo your collard greens here, else they’ll become excessively watery and not that appetizing.
15. Buttery Lima Beans
Lima beans are another great southern staple, and this is easy to make if you want something quick and tasty.
This one uses large lima beans, ham hock (see also ‘36 Delicious Side Dishes That Pair Well With Ham‘), water, salt, and black pepper – that’s it!
All you have to do is take some time to boil it down and make sure that it comes out creamy and delicious.
Don’t miss out on the ham here, it’s really vital for the overall flavor.
16. Skillet Corn Medley With Peppers And Onions
Medleys are a great way to use up some of the things that are left in your pantry.
The most integral part of this recipe is the corn kernels, but outside of this, you can add some vegetables that work well to fry with, mix it all together and throw in some spices!
17. Cornbread Salad
Did you know that you can make a salad out of cornbread?
The recipe we’ve picked here works well for a large dinner, but you can always reduce it in size if you want something a little smaller.
If you have some cornbread that you want to use up, this is a perfect way to do that. It uses layers of ranch dressing to give a gorgeous, full-bodied southern flavor.
18. Southern Fried Chicken Gravy
Now we know that we’re kind of cheating here – in a way this can be called a condiment instead of a side dish – but is fried chicken ever complete without delicious gravy?
This recipe is going to give you all the tips you need to make gravy that will be something similar to KFC.
It takes a while to make but is completely worth it and goes incredibly well with fried chicken!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Southern Cuisine?
Southern cuisine is defined as the food and cooking styles of the American South. It is characterized by its use of fresh ingredients and simple preparations.
In addition to being home to many famous chefs, the south is known for its rich history and culture.
What Are Some Examples Of Southern Cuisine?
Examples of southern cuisine include fried chicken, grits, collard greens, black-eyed peas, cornbread, and sweet potato pie.
These foods are staples of the south and are commonly eaten at any meal time.
How Can I Get Started Learning About Southern Cuisine?
You can start learning about southern cuisine by watching videos online. There are many websites where you can find recipes and information about southern cuisine.
You can also read books about southern cuisine.
So there you have it! We hope that this article has given you some ideas for great side dishes (see also ‘29 Scrummy Side Dish Ideas To Go With Meatloaf‘) that will properly accompany your fried chicken.
We’ve tried to make sure each dish has some kind of southern element to it for authenticity. If you still have some questions, check our short Frequently Asked Questions Section.
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