You’ve decided to make macaroni and cheese for dinner but don’t know what to serve with it.
Sometimes it’s not good enough to simply serve this comfort food alone. What can you add when making mac and cheese as the main dish?
Well, since you’re already going to be eating pasta, to make it even better, you can make a variety of sides including meat and vegetables.
Here are 12 side dish ideas and suggestions that go well with mac and cheese.
Best Sides To Serve With Mac and Cheese
1. Green Bean Casserole
This side dish is an old family favorite from way back. It is commonly served at holiday dinners but is a good side for mac and cheese anytime.
It incorporates the flavors of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and crispy French fried onions in a creamy sauce.
The recipe itself comes from Campbell’s website since it’s the soup of choice.
2. Broccoli Salad
Broccoli Salad is a great side dish to serve with mac and cheese, whether it is a family dinner or a special event.
This recipe combines broccoli, bacon, cheddar cheese, red onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and a creamy dressing for a crunchy, flavorful dish. It is easy and simple to make in under 20 minutes.
3. Corn On The Cob
This basic dish needs no recipe. You can cook the corn a few different ways. You can boil it on the stovetop, bake it in the oven, or wrap it in foil and toss it on the grill.
When the corn is hot, brush with a stick of butter and sprinkle a little salt, parmesan cheese, or garlic salt for flavor.
Fresh corn is very flavorful, but if you have family members that can’t eat it on the cob (dentures, etc.), the corn kernels can be cut from the cob after cooking.
Related | How To Reheat Corn On The Cob
4. Pigs In A Blanket
Instead of vegetables, you can add a meat side to your dish. You might be asking, “what meat goes with mac and cheese?”
These mini crescent dogs, Pigs in a blanket, whichever name you prefer, makes a nice accompaniment to macaroni and cheese.
These little mini hot dogs are well-loved by school children and just about everyone else. The recipe incorporates Pillsbury crescent rolls, hot dogs, and American cheese slices.
They are the perfect leftovers and lunch box additions for the coming week.
But they probably won’t last long enough to become leftovers, so you might want to make an extra batch for yourself.
5. Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joes are another classic comfort food that everyone loves. Even picky kids love these and will eat them up with mac and cheese. They can be made with a commercial sauce or homemade with ingredients in your kitchen.
The recipe calls for ground beef, chopped onion, bell pepper, and some condiments and seasonings. Cheese lovers can add an extra sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. This dish can be made ahead of time and reheated just before serving.
This sloppy joe recipe goes together in about 30 minutes.
Related | What To Serve With Sloppy Joes
6. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are a simple side dish consisting of just hot dogs, buns, and your favorite condiments. They are cheap to put together and easy to serve with mac and cheese.
Put these together by boiling the hot dogs and topping with ketchup, mustard, and pickle relish. Or wrap the hot dogs with a slice of bacon and put under the broiler. Or wrap the hot dog in a slice of cheese before placing in the bun.
Related | Hotdogs
7. Smoky Sausage Links
Smoky links are mini smoked sausages cooked in barbecue sauce and make a great side dish for picnics and potlucks.
These little sausages require no prepping and simmer in a crockpot with barbecue sauce for 2 hours to absorb the flavors and let the sauce thicken.
You can serve them with toothpicks, cocktail forks, or bake them in your mac and cheese dish.
Related | How To Cook Sausage In The Oven
8. Chili Mac And Cheese
Chili is a great side dish for winter or summer and just about any occasion. This dish is also very versatile as you can make a homemade version with beans and ground beef or opt for convenience and use canned chili.
Either version will work as a pairing with macaroni and cheese. A kid’s version of this combines macaroni and cheese with chili for “chili mac.”
Top your chili with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions, sour cream or diced avocado.
9. Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are small round vegetables that resemble little cabbages. They are delicious when cooked in the oven with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Place them on a sheet pan and roast them in a hot oven for 45 minutes for a delicious addition to your meal.
10. Buffalo Wings
Think making buffalo wings is hard? Think again! Rather than frying these crispy wings in hot oil, which can be very messy and frustrating to get right, these are oven-baked and much easier to accomplish.
These can be made ahead of time and served cold or reheated in the microwave. The recipe is straightforward, just hot sauce, butter, and honey, and the wings are baked, tossed with sauce, and broiled for a crispy exterior.
11. Tater Tots
Tater tots are a favorite childhood side for many main dish meals. They can be made from scratch but are a little bit labor-intensive. However, if you have the time and want to make them from scratch, they are definitely worth the effort.
You will need baking potatoes, olive oil, flour, garlic and onion powders, salt, dill, oregano, and parsley.
They are delicious, and you may never want to buy the frozen variety after making them at home.
This meatloaf recipe is another family favorite from cherished childhood memories. Meatloaf and macaroni and cheese go great together to make a hearty, filling dinner that will have everyone feeling full and satisfied.
You can use a glaze for the meatloaf or simply top it with ketchup or tomato sauce before baking.
Related | What To Serve With Meatloaf
Final Thoughts On Macaroni And Cheese
Don’t worry if you have leftovers. All of these sides will last in the refrigerator for a day or two.
They can be used in school lunches or taken to work with the hubby. Leftover meatloaf can be frozen if you have too much, as well as the sloppy joe mixture.
The vegetables can be frozen as well, except for the broccoli salad. Whatever doesn’t get eaten after a day or two, put in the freezer for longer storage.
Tips For Making These Sides:
Aluminum Foil – To make cleanup easy and care-free, use aluminum foil to line your oven pans and baking dishes. You can lift the foil out to plate the food, and there is no pan to wash.
Parchment paper – parchment paper is a special paper used in the oven to line baking pans, so you don’t have a difficult mess to clean. The meatloaf and tater tots can be baked on parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
Pastry brush – use a pastry brush to add butter to corn on the cob, to sauce the wings, and to add the glaze for the meatloaf. It makes applying sauces and condiments easy and mess-free
Mac and cheese is a comfort food dish that goes good with many sides. You can change things up and add a meat side or a vegetable side for a change of pace. These recipe ideas will delight your family and give you endless meal creation ideas for years to come.