13 Best Side Dishes for Mac And Cheese

Macaroni and cheese, a beloved American classic, is often enjoyed as a standalone dish. However, with a little creativity, it can be elevated into a satisfying meal by pairing it with a variety of complementary options.

From comforting classics like fried chicken and BBQ ribs to sweet treats like brownies with ice cream, the possibilities are endless. And let’s not forget about savory favorites like meatloaf, sloppy joes, and chili. Even some lighter options like salads and roasted broccoli can provide a delightful contrast to the rich flavors of mac and cheese.

Fried Chicken

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The harmonious union of fried chicken and mac and cheese is a match made in culinary heaven. The combination may seem simple, but it requires just the right balance of ingredients. To create this delightful dish, you’ll need chicken breasts, flour, buttermilk, baking powder, salt, pepper, and oil. Start by coating the chicken in a mixture of flour and spices, then immerse it in buttermilk for a few minutes to add moisture and flavor. Next, coat the chicken in a mixture of baking powder and seasonings, before frying it in hot oil until crispy. Serve the fried chicken with creamy mac and cheese on the side, accompanied by a dollop of ketchup for added zest.

BBQ Ribs

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When it comes to pairing with mac and cheese, BBQ ribs are an unbeatable combination. The harmonious blend of savory and sweet flavors creates a rich texture that perfectly complements the creamy pasta. The visual appeal alone is enough to grab attention at the table – just imagine the tender ribs smothered in tangy BBQ sauce alongside your comforting mac and cheese. With the help of an instant pot, you can easily whip up these ribs in no time. After taking a bite, you might find yourself struggling to resist the temptation for another (or three) – it’s that good.

Apple Pie

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For a matchless ending to your mac and cheese meal, consider indulging in a warm and inviting apple pie. With just a few simple ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, butter, and apples at hand, you can easily whip up this delightful dessert. Simply combine the mixture with a pie crust, then bake for approximately 45 minutes to achieve perfection. The result is an unparalleled apple pie that serves as the perfect finale to your comforting mac and cheese meal. To elevate the experience even further, be sure to pair it with a generous serving of rich vanilla ice cream.


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When it comes to deciding what to pair with a creamy mac and cheese recipe, meatloaf is an ideal match. This classic combination offers the perfect blend of flavors and textures that will leave you feeling cozy and satisfied. The comforting union of tender meatloaf and velvety mac and cheese is particularly well-suited for chilly winter days when a hearty, warming meal is just what’s needed. With its rich flavors and satisfying bite, this duo is sure to become a staple in your household.

Brownies with Ice Cream

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There’s something undeniably magical about pairing a warm, comforting mac and cheese with a rich, velvety brownie on the side. It’s a match made in heaven! And the best part? You don’t need to be a master baker or chef to create this indulgent treat. With just a handful of ingredients – including sugar, eggs, butter, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt – you can whip up a batch of brownies that will perfectly complement your mac and cheese. Simply combine the ingredients, pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes, and voila! You’ll be left with a tray of fudgy, gooey goodness. And let’s not forget the pièce de résistance: a scoop (or two) of creamy ice cream to top it all off. This dessert is the perfect way to cap off a satisfying meal, and its ease of preparation means you won’t have to sacrifice quality for convenience. Try pairing it with your favorite mac and cheese recipe – we think it’s the perfect combination!

Sloppy Joes

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Satisfy your inner child and indulge in the comforting goodness of sloppy joes paired with creamy mac and cheese. This match made in heaven will transport you back to a simpler time, reminiscent of family gatherings and warm, fuzzy feelings. The rich, savory flavor of the sloppy joes perfectly complements the velvety texture of the mac and cheese, creating a culinary experience that will leave your taste buds doing the happy dance. And the best part? This crowd-pleasing combination is easily scalable to feed a large group, making it an ideal choice for gatherings with friends and family. So if you’re looking for a classic recipe that never goes out of style, look no further than this nostalgic pairing of sloppy joes and mac and cheese.


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For those seeking a satisfying accompaniment to their mac and cheese, a savory dish is essential to balance out the richness of the meal. One such option is this hearty chili recipe, which not only takes mere 30 minutes to prepare but also yields an abundance of leftovers for future meals.

To craft this flavor-packed delight, simply combine ground beef with sautéed onion, followed by the addition of garlic and diced tomatoes. Then, let the mixture simmer for approximately 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together in perfect harmony.

With a mere handful of ingredients – including ground beef, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper – you’ll be well on your way to creating a match made in heaven. Pair this savory chili with your mac and cheese for a truly unforgettable meal.


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You don’t need a mountain of pasta to experience the delight of a satisfying meatball meal. A more intriguing combination is pairing meatballs with creamy mac and cheese. This easy-to-make option will leave you feeling full and content, without overwhelming your plate. The beauty of this dish lies in its versatility, offering countless opportunities to mix and match flavors, ensuring you’ll never tire of the same old thing. Simply serve baked mac and cheese alongside a batch of savory meatballs, and you’ll be sure to impress your dinner guests. If you’re looking for a fresh twist on traditional macaroni cheese, give meatballs a try.

Little Smokies

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While pigs in blankets are always a crowd-pleaser, these little smoky delights take the classic combination to the next level. The key is using sausages that have been carefully seasoned with just the right balance of flavors. To make them, you’ll need only two ingredients: a bag of Little Smokies and a can of crescent rolls. Simply wrap the dough around each sausage, place them on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes. The result is a mouthwatering treat that’s perfect for parties, gatherings, or even as a unique addition to mac and cheese – just be prepared for rave reviews!


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A perfect companion to rich mac and cheese sauce is a revitalizing coleslaw. This effortless side dish effortlessly balances out the meal’s heaviness. To prepare it, you’ll only need some basic ingredients that are likely already in your pantry, including cabbage, carrots, onion, sugar, white vinegar, and salt.

Moreover, coleslaw provides an excellent opportunity to utilize leftover ingredients from previous meals, making it a thoughtful way to reduce food waste. If you’re seeking a healthy and invigorating side dish to pair with mac and shredded cheese, look no further than this classic slaw recipe.

Pigs in a Blanket

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Savor the rich flavors of baked macaroni and sharp cheddar cheese by pairing it with this mouth-watering pigs in a blanket recipe. This crowd-pleaser is surprisingly easy to prepare, requiring only a few simple ingredients: pre-made croissant dough, sausage, and cheese. Simply wrap the dough around the sausage, bake for approximately 20 minutes, and you’ll be rewarded with a meal that rivals even the finest restaurants. When seeking an effortless yet tantalizing accompaniment to your macaroni and parmesan cheese, look no further than this tried-and-true pigs in a blanket recipe.

Roasted Broccoli

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When it comes to pairing broccoli with mac and cheddar cheese, roasting the broccoli brings out its natural flavors in a stunning way. For a quick and easy side dish that’s also nutritious, simply drizzle your broccoli with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. This method yields a deliciously caramelized vegetable that beautifully complements the creamy pasta. If you’re seeking a healthy and flavorful option to accompany your mac and cheese, roasting broccoli is an excellent choice.


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Pairing a salad with mac and gruyere cheese is a match made in heaven, requiring minimal effort to bring together a harmonious culinary experience. The beauty of this combination lies in its simplicity, allowing the natural flavors of the greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and light dressing to shine through while complementing the rich and creamy mac and cheese with crunchy bread crumbs. Additionally, salads are an excellent way to utilize leftover vegetables, reducing food waste and adding a touch of creativity to mealtime. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of a salad, however, is its versatility – the ability to craft different variations keeps the dish fresh and exciting, never growing old or stale.

What To Serve With Mac and Cheese (+Little Smokies)

Gather your loved ones around the table and indulge in these delightful recipes. We’d love to hear your thoughts on them! These mouth-watering dishes are sure to satisfy any appetite, whether you’re cooking for family, friends or just looking for a quick fix.

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