Ligand-stabilized gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) are promising materials for nanotechnology with applications in electronics, catalysis, and sensors. These applications depend on the ability to synthesize stable and monodisperse NPs. Herein, the design and synthesis of two series of dendritic thioether ligands and their ability to stabilize Au NPs is presented. The dendrimers have 1,3,5-trisubstituted benzene branching units bridged by either meta-xylene or ethylene moieties. A comparison between the two ligands shows how both size control and the stability of the NPs are influenced by the nature of the ligand-NP wrapping interaction. The meta-xylene-bridged ligands provided NPs with a narrow size distribution centered around a diameter of 1.2 nm, whereas the NPs formed with ethylene-bridged dendrimers lack long-term stability with NP aggregation detected by UV/Vis spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The bulkier tert-butyl-functionalized meta-xylene bridges form larger ligand shells that inhibit further growth of the NPs and thus provide a simple route to stable and monodisperse Au NPs that may find use as functional components in nanoelectronic devices.