You’ll never settle for carrots and celery again.

By Mary Shannon Wells
June 25, 2020
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Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Chicken wings are not a dish you make at home for one. The presence of chicken wings means there’s a family gathering, football game, or neighborhood cookout. The smell of chicken wings is a sign that good times are ahead. When you order chicken wings in a restaurant, they’re simply accompanied by carrots and celery. But what do you serve with chicken wings when you’re hosting at home? We’ve got your back.

First of all, you need to decide what flavor chicken wings you’re going to serve and how you’ll prepare them. You can’t beat classic buffalo chicken wings, but we’ve got tasty recipes that make the case for preparing Asian-inspired wings in your slow cooker or baking tangy, sweet wings in your oven. Reveal your inner pitmaster with smoked chicken wings or pick the quick option with Instant Pot chicken wings.

Jennifer Davick

Once you have the main event locked in, it’s time to decide what goes alongside your chicken wings. One of our favorite new ways to serve chicken wings is with a presentation similar to those gorgeous charcuterie boards from Instagram. Arrange wings, dipping sauces, kettle chips, celery, carrots, and other fresh crudités on a large wooden cutting board or jelly roll pan for impressively easy presentation.

Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

When serving chicken wings, you can’t ignore the importance of dipping sauces. If your wings are hot buffalo-style, go with our Herbed Buttermilk Ranch Dressing or Blue Cheese-Buttermilk Dressing to get some relief, and our Nashville Hot Chicken Dip to fire it up even more. Going with grilled or smoked wings? Try something new with our Fiery Sweet Dipping Sauce or Creamy Honey Mustard.

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Toni Brogan

Since wings are often spicy, it’s always a good idea to serve a side dish that will help guests cool off between drumsticks. One of our favorite sides to offset buffalo wings is a tangy cole slaw. Try our Permanent Slaw for a make-ahead option, our Quick Pickled Slaw for a trusty last-minute recipe, or our Creamy Broccoli Slaw for a fun twist.

Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Not into slaw but need refreshing options to serve with spicy chicken wings? We suggest our crisp Grilled Wedge Salad with Buttermilk-Blue Cheese Dressing or our Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad for some colorful crunch.

Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

On the opposite end of the side dish spectrum, add something fried for a true sports-bar meal. No one is ever going to complain about a side of crispy, classic French fries, but you can opt for the lighter Grilled Sweet Potato Fries or Baked Zucchini Fries. Not in the mood for fries? Our Crispy Fried Sweet Onion Rings and Fried Pickle Chips are both guaranteed to please.  

Furthermore, since chicken wings are a common cookout food, you can pair them with any of our favorite barbecue side dishes, like our Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese, Grilled Potato Salad, or Chubba Bubba’s Broccoli Salad.

WATCH: How to Make Dry-Rubbed Smoked Chicken Wings Photo:

Whether you prefer your wings spicy or smoked, we have endless side dish options your family will love. You’ll never settle for carrots and celery again.