Comfort food sides that make fried chicken a little jealous.
When it comes to fried chicken — the sides can be just as good, if not better than the main dish. From mac and cheese to baked beans to fried okra, it’s really a question of which side do you pick? The number of options can be overwhelming, but I’ve narrowed it down to 15 of the best side dishes for fried chicken. These classic sides are sure to impress even your Southern friends.
Related: How to Fry Chicken
"If you like greens you will love this recipe. The bacon and onions give them a wonderful flavor. Add more red pepper for a little more spice," says recipe creator Ken Adams. This technique can also be used for turnip or mustard greens. It doesn’t get more classic than this Southern side for your fried chicken.
Diana Swenson-Siegel says, "you can also fry up red tomatoes with this recipe but make sure they are not over ripe or they will be mushy." This is a great way to use up your unripe tomatoes at the end of the summer!
"Tender squash, gooey cheese and crunchy crackers make this a memorable side dish or a hearty main course. This is a great dish that can be made with low-fat ingredients and is still just as good," says recipe creator ROSECART. Zucchini can also be substituted for yellow squash and corn flakes can be substituted for crackers, making for a versatile summer side dish.
"I made this recipe as written," says reviewer cookygirl. "It was absolutely delicious melt in your mouth Southern green beans." Chef John recommends dipping your cornbread in the juices. Pair that with a little fried chicken and you have the quintessential Southern meal.
Reviewer Plumtickled says, "My family and I loved these fritters! I had no fresh corn on hand and used a can of sweet corn which came out fine. Would have been unbelievable had I used fresh!" This take on a classic side incorporates summer squash — which is always best fresh from the garden on a summer day.
Reviewer littlehemmy says, "I will gladly eat my lima beans from now on if they are prepared like this. Thanks so much for the great recipe!" Sweet corn, lima beans, and chile peppers combine to make a healthy veggie side to pair with your fried chicken.
Green bean casserole is meant for more than just the holidays! It’s perfect for rounding out your fried chicken dinner. This version of the classic casserole uses Cheddar cheese and French fried onions for a crispy, cheesy top layer. Reviewer Jayme says "I love green bean casserole, but I never thought of putting cheese in it before. Why, I don't know because cheese makes everything better!"
Baked beans are essential, not just for barbeque, but for fried chicken as well! This is a hearty side dish that’s ready in just over an hour. Sweet brown sugar and smoky bacon makes for a classic and delicious flavor combination.
9. Fried Okra
Fried chicken and fried okra go hand in hand. Try this top-rated recipe next time you’re in the mood for a signature Southern meal."This is the first year that I have grown okra in my garden, so of course a good ‘fried okra recipe’ was a must. I was not disappointed! Though simple, this recipe was delicious, even better than what I have had in restaurants (I am sure the freshness makes a difference)," says reviewer AMKNIGHT.
If fried chicken is on the table, then mashed potatoes probably are too. But how do you get them light and fluffy every time? Chef John is here to teach us. "This recipe will give you the proper techniques to turn out perfect mashed potatoes every time; always light, fluffy and lump-free," he says.
"This country fair award-winning recipe was perfected by my grandmother on the Northern Canadian prairies. Sadie's advice — leave little chunks of lard the size of peas when cutting the flour in. Can be served at breakfast, lunch, or dinner," says recipe creator PTRICK. Butter can also be substituted for the lard. Now all that’s needed is some Country Sausage Gravy.
Related: How to Make Tender, Fluffy Biscuits
Reviewer ettelehc says, "My husband's from Louisiana, and swears that these hush puppies are the very best he's ever eaten! Followed directions to a T, and will never make another recipe!" This classic Southern side gets its name because there was once a cook who tossed them to barking dogs to quiet them, so the story goes. Whether or not it’s true — these hush puppies are so good you’re guests will be quiet too (unless they’re telling you how great the hush puppies are)!
This mac and cheese definitely doesn’t come out of a box. Reviewer BLUEYS71 says, "I truly loved it, and I am a mac and cheese connoisseur. Very impressed! To use VELVEETA® and sharp Cheddar, made for a perfect combination!"
It’s everyone’s favorite side to bring (and eat) for potlucks. "This creamy salad is made with red potatoes, which give this dish — chock full of melt-in-your-mouth bacon, bits of hard boiled egg, crunchy celery and spicy onion — a delectable, firm texture," says recipe creator Donna.
"Just like the title says, this tastes like the real thing. If you love coleslaw (or even just like it), be sure to try this recipe," says reviewer Esmee Williams. Coleslaw is the perfect amount of light and tangy to balance out the rich fried chicken (and other sides) on your plate.