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23 Side Dishes For Grilled Chicken (in < 20 Min)

Choose delicious side dishes for grilled chicken that will take your BBQ chicken dinner from ordinary to great. All the recipes are simple, unique, vegetarian, colorful, customizable, and made in 20 minutes or less.

We organized the side dishes into 5 categories. I typically choose at least two sides (or 3 if you include a sauce).

  1. grilled side dishes
  2. salad and fruit sides
  3. 5-ingredient sides
  4. sauces
  5. classic sides (with a twist)
collage of side dish recipes for grilled chicken

What to expect

Below you will see a variety of well-tested easy side dishes made with fresh produce that pair well with your grilled chicken dinner.

  • All can be made in 20 minutes or less except for a few classics which take about 30 minutes.
  • All recipes have make-ahead instructions for easier meal prep.

Since grilled chicken comes in infinite forms – saucy, spicy, marinated, smokey, sweet, and tangy – pairing the right sides with the chicken recipes you are making is a good idea. We included suggestions at the end of this article about what to consider when choosing your favorite sides.

And check out our presentation tips to add visual appeal and a bit of flare to your side dish recipes.

Finally, keep in mind that these side dishes are also great with fish, pork, and beef. So feel free to use this guide whenever you are wondering ‘What should I make with__?’.

If you have room on your grill for chicken and veggies, grilled sides can be a great option. My favorite grilling tool, used in two of the recipes below, is the grill basket. It makes grilling veggies a breeze without worrying about the vegetables slipping through the grates or flipping the veggies every few minutes. You just need to stir them once or twice. So easy.

Grilled Carrots With Balsamic Glaze

grilled balsamic glazed carrots on plate
These vibrant, sweet, tender, caramelized grilled carrots with balsamic vinegar glaze add a little drama to the table. A great side dish for BBQs and potlucks.
Time: 20 minutes
Great side dish for: cedar plank chicken
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Easy Sliced Zucchini on the Grill (3 ingredients)

grilled seasoned zucchini slices heaped on white plate.
Fire up the grill for this effortless sliced zucchini made with just three simple ingredients – garden-fresh zucchini, a dry rub, and olive oil.
Time: 15 minutes
Perfect side dish for: grilled or baked sweet Thai chili wings
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Grilled Potatoes and Veggies

grilled veggies and potatoes in grill basket
Next time you're grilling chicken or steak, try these super easy grilled potatoes and veggies – a two-in-one side dish. Dinner in a flash with whatever veggies you have lying around.
Time: 15 minutes
Great option for: homemade peri peri chicken (grilled or baked)
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Grilled Peaches Recipe

grilled peach halves on plate
This grilled peaches recipe will transform summer peaches into a bit of magic. The true taste of summer! One of my faves that I think goes with every main dish!
Time: 9 minutes
Crowd favorite with: marinated chili lime chicken wings
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Easy Grilled Cauliflower (15-Minute Florets)

grilled cauliflower garnished with green onions on plate with lemon wedges.
Transform your cauliflower into something special with a wonderful blend of spices and a bit of char. Grilled cauliflower is an easy healthy side dish for chicken or any meal. The trick to this recipe is using a grill basket.
Time: 15 minutes
Great side dish for: BBQ boneless chicken thighs
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Grilled Sliced Eggplant (Sweet & Tangy)

grilled sliced eggplant on cutting board.
Eggplant lovers will rave about this grilled sliced eggplant recipe with a sweet and tangy glaze. The beautiful bold colors make this an impressive side dish at any BBQ or picnic.
Time: 18 minutes
Perfect match for: grilled Mediterranean chicken
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Easy Hasselback Sweet Potatoes (15 min)

Showcase these unique hasselback sweet potatoes in the star supporting role at your next BBQ or gathering. Choose one of four delicious seasoning combinations to take them to the next level.
Time: 15 minutes
Great side for: smoked chicken thighs (without a smoker)
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These are lighter sides, perfect for spring and summer cookouts. I love fresh fruit with chicken and meat, particularly peaches, mango, pineapple and oranges. If you want more choices, check out our full list of salad recipes (some may take more than 20 minutes).

Best Citrus Salad With Greens

Sweet oranges and tangy grapefruit tossed in vinaigrette over salad greens make this delicious citrus salad a lovely all-season salad. Refreshing and pretty! We use a simple citrus vinaigrette for zip, nuts for crunch and creamy avocado for a contrasting texture. Quick, easy and beautiful. 
Time: 15 minutes
Great with: everything! and definitely crispy hot honey wings

Simple Thai Mango Salad (10 MInutes)

Thai mango salad on black plate
Prepare for an explosion of fresh flavors and textures with this simple Thai mango salad. Silky ripe mango, crisp bean sprouts, green onions and peppers in a sweet, spicy, tangy, umami dressing.
Time: 10 minutes
Perfect side dish for: Vietnamese grilled chicken
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Arugula Peach Salad With Walnut Dressing

arugula peach salad with walnut dressing in bowl.
This beautiful arugula peach salad puts those juicy ripe peaches of summer in the spotlight and is easy to prep ahead. Just add the deliciously rich, nutty walnut dressing before serving.
Time: 20 minutes
Great option for: juicy whole grilled chicken (cedar planked)
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Pesto Orzo With Vegetables (20 Minutes)

pesto pasta with veggies in bowl with tomatoes beside it
Pesto orzo with vegetables is a simple pasta salad that can be served as a side or main dish. It's packed with flavor and made with orzo, basil pesto, spinach, green beans and tomatoes.
Time: 20 minutes
Serve with: ground chicken burgers with mango salsa
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Peach Compote Recipe (No-Cook, 5 Minute Prep)

peach compote in white bowl.
It's like eating a bit of sunshine. Super easy, no-cook peach compote is a simple and delicious combo of juicy fresh peaches, a touch of brown sugar, zesty lemon juice, and a hint of cinnamon.
Time: 5 minute prep
Perfect with: spicy honey lime chicken
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Who doesn’t love recipes with just a few ingredients? All of these go great with barbecue chicken. If you’re interested, check out our other 5-ingredient recipes.

Easy Fried Potatoes and Onions (20 Minutes)

fried potatoes and onions in white bowl.
Fried potatoes and onions – also known as home fried potatoes – is a quick and easy recipe with a couple of tricks. Crispy golden outsides, creamy insides and a mild onion flavor. Fuss-free and delicious comfort food. 
Time: 20 minutes
Great option for: lemon herb chicken (with an easy cool technique)
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Microwave Green Beans (that everyone loves)

top view of green beans on white plate with chopped almonds on top
Microwave green beans have to be one of the easiest ways to make green beans. Dress them up the way you like – or don't. They're a popular and simple side that adds adds something healthy and green to the plate.
Time: 8 minutes
Great with: peanut butter chicken I prefer thighs for this recipe, but chicken breasts are fine too.
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How To Roast Zucchini

This recipe is my go-to for how to roast zucchini. It's simple. It's light. And it honors this lovely summer squash by transforming it from tasteless to delicious in short order. A great way to use up those summer garden zucchini. 
Time: 20 minutes
Great side dish for: chicken bulgogi
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Fire Roasted Tomatoes (Grilled or Roasted)

fire roasted tomatoes sitting on wire rack over baking sheet.
With minimal effort, fire-roasted tomatoes on the grill or in the oven will add a rich, smoky flavor with charred bits to recipes you already make or in a simple side dish.
Time: 25 minutes (oops, sorry, this one is more than 20 minutes!)
Great topping for: grilled chicken burgers
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I am a huge sauce fan. I like sauce on everything! Here are a few that pair beautifully with certain grilled chicken dishes, particularly plainer recipes that need a flavor boost.

Herb Sauce in 5 Minutes

small white dish of herb sauce with spoon
This 5-minute fresh herb sauce is my go-to super versatile condiment. Herb-y, spicy as you like, zesty and garlic-y. Use it for anything that pairs with fresh herbs.
Get the recipe

Savory Peach Sauce Recipe

peach sauce on spoon over jar of serving jar of peach sauce
Dijon, lemon, thyme, garlic and chili flakes give this savory peach sauce recipe a great depth of flavor. A delicious pairing with chicken, turkey and pork.
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Honey Hot Sauce Recipe (2 Ingredients, 1 Minute)

hot honey sauce being drizzled over grilled chicken.
This homemade honey hot sauce recipe is sweet, spicy, crunchy, and delish, but calling it a recipe is a bit of a stretch I realize. Simply combine honey and chili crisp, and warm it for a few seconds in the microwave. That's it!
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Cherry Tomato Sauce (spicy Moroccan-style)

cherry tomato sauce in skillet
Sweet cherry tomatoes and Moroccan spices come together in 20 minutes to make a rich, rustic, spicy cherry tomato sauce that you just want to put on everything!
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Potato salad, coleslaw and corn are classic sides for grilled chicken which is why I had to add them to complete our best sides list. They do, however, take a tiny bit longer than 20 minutes (but not much). The recipes for these classics are a bit off the beaten path. If you dare to be different, they are delicious!

Herbed Potato Salad (no eggs, no mayo)

bowl of herbed potato salad in garden
Herbed potato salad is a delicious classic side dish that's quick and easy to make and bursting with lemon, garlic and fresh herb flavors.
Time: 30 minutes
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Grilled Purple Cabbage Slaw (Bold & Beautiful)

grilled purple cabbage slaw on white plate.
Purple cabbage slaw is transformed on the grill into our version of a super flavorful, no mayo coleslaw. The vibrant colors of the red cabbage, julienne carrots, green onion  and sesame seeds make a stunning vegetarian side dish.
Time: 22 minutes
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Charred Corn Salad With Lime and Cilantro

charred corn salad in a white bowl garnished with cilantro.
Grilled fresh corn on the cob – tossed with bell peppers, avocado, lime zest, fresh cilantro, sriracha and green onions – make this bold-flavored charred corn salad a perfect summer side.
Time: 20 minutes (plus a bit of rest time to meld the flavors)
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How to choose the right side dishes

Ultimately, choosing the best side dishes for your grilled chicken comes down to personal taste – yours and your guests. There are a few things, however, that are worth considering:

Balance the Flavors: If your chicken is heavily spiced or marinated, choose a lighter side like a fresh salad, fresh fruit or steamed vegetables. Chicken with a tangy BBQ sauce would be great with a creamy coleslaw. If the chicken is fairly plain like a seasoned grilled chicken breast, go for a bold sauce, glaze or spicier side dish. In other words, complement the flavors of the chicken.

Pair a starch and vegetable side: My mother always taught me never to serve two starchy sides at the same time (potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, corn). That lesson stuck and, unbeknownst to me at the time, was good nutritional advice!). I like to serve one starch and 1-2 veggies with grilled chicken or any protein. Choose your starch wisely. For example, a Mediterranean marinated chicken might pair well with couscous, while a BBQ chicken would be better with corn or garlic bread.

Think seasonal: Take advantage of the fresh veggies and fruits that are in season. These will be less expensive, fresh, and in the case of certain produce like tomatoes and peaches, juicier and more flavorful.

Keep it simple: You want your grilled chicken to shine, so keep side dishes in a supporting role and let the main dish take center stage.

Know your guests: Always consider the taste and dietary needs of your guests. If you have vegan or vegetarian guests, ensure that at least one or two side dishes are suitable for them. Likewise, if you have guests who avoid certain allergy-inducing foods like gluten, nuts, dairy, etc., be sure to offer alternatives.

Presentation Tips to Up Your Game

I am a huge believer in ‘we eat with our eyes’ so I always try to present a beautiful plate with visual appeal and flare. I tend to use 3 simple strategies:

  1. Color: I LOVE a bold-colored plate with contrasting colors. I choose sides that pop with each other or with the main dish. For example, I might serve a bright yellow corn dish with vibrant green snap peas and deep orange-sauced BBQ chicken.
  2. Garnish: My go-to is chopped fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro or chives which add a great splash of color with little effort. But don’t stop there. Experiment with other colorful and textured accents like pomegranate arils, citrus zest, diced bell peppers, microgreens, cherry tomatoes, sliced radishes, toasted nuts, and sesame seeds.
  3. Drizzles: Of course, the drizzle has to match the sides and main course you are serving – and you have lots of options. One of my favorites (so dramatic!) is a zig-zag drizzle of balsamic reduction/glaze (there are some good ones you can buy). Other good options are a hot honey sauce drizzle, a pesto drizzle, a sriracha-aioli drizzle or a tahini drizzle.

We have a TON more favorite side dishes to suit all taste buds! Enjoy your feast!

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