The Best Fried Chicken Sides

We've declared August 11-22 Fried Chicken Fortnight. Look out for two weeks full of recipes for prime crispiness, chef tips and more.

A plate of fried chicken commands attention—and for good reason.

But like any good hero, your bird needs a sidekick. So the next time you fry up a batch, let cool watermelon salad be the Robin to your fried chicken's Batman. More of a stickler for tradition? Scoop a heaping serving of collard greens beside your drumstick.

These 11 side dishes only make your bird look better.

Elbow Mac 'n' Cheese

Leave the boxed mac on the shelf and pull together your own melty masterpiece (see the recipe) by raiding your cheese drawer and throwing it all in.

Hillside Slaw

Most say mayonnaise. Other say vinegar. Call the whole thing off and use yogurt like Austin, Texas-based chef Sonya Coté. And she doesn't stop there. She stirs kale, bok choy, daikon and fruit into her unconventional slaw (see the recipe).

Cheddar Waffles

The breakfast staple pairs so well with crispy poultry that chicken and waffles became its own thing (see the recipe). For this take on the dish, sub pancake batter and add cheddar for a meal suited to breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Collard Greens with Benne Seeds

Keep it classic with the Southern staple: boiled greens sweetened with a touch of honey and sprinkled with benne seeds (that's sesame seeds for the uninitiated) for a little crunch (see the recipe).

Fresh Corn Hush Puppies

You know what goes great with something fried? Something else fried, like these beignet-style hush puppies made with fresh corn kernels (see the recipe).

Pommes Aligot

In lieu of mashed potatoes, elevate the humble drumstick with a heaping side of pommes aligot (see the recipe), a classic French potato dish made with cream and plenty of melted Tomme cheese.

Pimento Cheese

While not a side per se, the creamy mixture of jarred pimentos, cheddar and mayo (see the recipe) tastes best when sharing fork space with a crispy bite of bird. Got chicken leftovers? Layer it all together on a sandwich.

Watermelon Salad

Fried chicken need not be eaten at a table. Pack it in a basket and take this watermelon, avocado and chèvre salad (see the recipe) along for the ultimate picnic.

Japanese Potato Salad

Swap that blue-topped jar of mayo for Kewpie. The rice vinegar in the beloved Japanese condiment brightens the usually heavy starchy side, as does the crunch of crisp cucumbers, carrots and onion (see the recipe).

Spicy Roasted Green Beans with Bacon Candy

Imagine how many more green beans you would have eaten as a kid if they were all topped with spicy bacon caramelized bacon (see the recipe).

Buttermilk Cornbread

Dust off the ol' cast-iron for chef Mark Steuer's cornbread sweetened with honey and sugar. It's balanced by the tang of buttermilk and sour cream (see the recipe). We'd say to enjoy the leftovers for breakfast, but there's no way you're not finishing the whole pan.