What To Serve With Mac And Cheese: 13 Best Sides

March 29, 2021
what to serve with mac and cheese

When you’re planning what to serve with mac and cheese, there are a few key considerations you need to make. 

First of all, bear in mind that mac and cheese is a rich and creamy dish, so you’ll need something to balance that out and ensure that the meal isn’t too overpowering. 

Even the biggest lovers of gooey, cheesy deliciousness can find it too much if it’s the only component of a dinner! 

You should also consider the fact that macaroni cheese, despite being absolutely delicious, is fairly plain and beige in colour.

Adding a splash of vibrancy to your plate will make it more visually appealing, and more of a contender for your latest update on the ‘Gram! 

This meal can be a satisfying bowl of true comfort, and better still, it’s quick and easy to make. Some carefully selected side dishes and accompaniments can make it into something really special, and secure its place as a regular on your weekly meal plans. 

Let’s jump into some tasty ideas for what to serve with mac and cheese. Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat eater, we’ve got you covered… 

1. Steak 

Steak with mac and cheese is an easy meal to prepare, but always feels like a real treat. 

Your cut of steak is a personal choice, though I usually go for a ribeye. It has an abundance of rich marbling and thanks to the relatively high fat content, it’s absolutely full of flavour and delightfully tender. 

Pair this with the creaminess of macaroni cheese, and you’re on to a winner. 

Add plenty of seasoning before grilling or frying. 

mac and cheese side dishes

2. Sausages

You can’t beat a good old fashioned banger! 

There are so many high quality varieties available in the supermarket these days, so don’t be afraid to get experimental and try out different flavour combinations. 

Though a standard pork sausage will definitely do the job, you can keep your taste buds engaged by trying out offerings such as Guinness, beef and tomato, and chicken.

Increasingly, there’s an impressing range of vegetarian sausages available too, from Quorn to those made with a medley of seasonal veggies. 

Sausages are a particularly good side dish for mac and cheese when they’re barbecued. Keep this in mind for the next time that you plan to host a barbecue for friends and family! 


3. Piri piri chicken 

Piri piri chicken is a super spicy meal that you’ll just love if you’re a big fan of heat. 

It can pack a real punch though, so it’s perfectly complemented by mac and cheese if you want the option to cool things down a little. 

You can serve your piri piri chicken as bitesized pieces threaded on to skewers, like a kebab, or you can marinade and grill breast or thigh pieces. 

Add a salad, and you’re got a summery feast. 

syn free piri piri chicken skewers

4. Crispy bacon 

Crispy bacon goes so well with mac and cheese, it’s like a match made in heaven! 

You can chop it finely and stir it through the entire dish, or use it as a meaty garnish for your dish. 

The saltiness of the bacon perfectly complements the creaminess of the meal. If you’re trying to cut down on meat, you can find plenty of veggie bacon alternatives in the supermarkets that are worth a try. 

bacon side dish for mac and cheese

5. Crusty bread 

A buttery chunk of bread is ideal for dipping into mac and cheese and mopping up all that molten hot sauce. 

I really recommend the partly baked baguettes that you can buy. Just pop them in the oven for around ten minutes, and no one will ever guess that you haven’t baked it yourself from scratch! 

White bread is my favourite choice, though wholemeal and seeded options will work just as well. 

crusty bread roll

6. Minted chilli peas 

A pop of greenery on your plate is a strong option when you’re wondering what to serve with mac and cheese. 

Sweet peas, swirled with a little butter, and then garnished with fresh mint and some chilli flakes, makes for such an impressive side dish. 

It just goes to show that you don’t need fancy or expensive ingredients to make a meal that’s worth talking about. 

macho peas

7. Burgers 

Burgers are such a crowd pleaser, and a serving of mac and cheese makes them even better. 

Instead of adding a slice of cheese to create a traditional cheeseburger, spoon a generous portion of macaroni cheese on top of the patty, add some salad, and add your bun. 

You’ll see this burger and mac combo in lots of trendy restaurants these days, and it’s not surprising that it’s become so popular. 


8. Roasted broccoli with lemon and garlic 

Roasted broccoli with lemon and garlic can be whipped up in the oven in hardly any time at all,  and is tasty and delicious at any time of the year. 

If you’re feeling creative, you can even add extra veggies such as cauliflower and carrots. 


9. Salad 

A simple salad is a quick and easy option for what to serve with mac and cheese, and you can throw in any salad veggies that you love. 

Think lettuce, cucumber, beetroot, radish, carrot, red onion, beans, pulses, and your favourite dressing. 

Try adding some cherry or sun-dried tomatoes too. They’ll really bring out the cheesy flavours in your main dish. 

best salad for mac and cheese

10. Spare ribs 

If you’ve been to a rib house recently, you’ll almost definitely have noticed that ribs and mac cheese were an option on the menu. 

There’s a reason for that… Together, they’re so satisfyingly good! 

Make sure you cook your ribs low and slow for those tender, melt-in-the-mouth morsels of goodness. 

spare ribs

11. Pulled pork 

Pulled pork is the kind of thing that you can throw in a slow cooker for a few hours whilst you get on with your day, making it a fabulous option for a midweek meal for busy families. 

Serve it in a bun with coleslaw and salad, and make mac and cheese your side dish. 

Indulgent, but oh so good! 

pulled pork

12. Meatballs

Love meatballs, but bored of plain old pasta? 

Try mac and cheese instead! 

meatballs mac and cheese

13. Pizza

Pizza is a weekly treat for lots of families, and you’ve probably already done all the usual accompaniments like chips and onion rings. 

So why not try a serving of mac and cheese instead? 

Just put everything in the middle of the table, and let everyone dig in and help themselves. 

Making simple swaps like this to your usual menus can really shake things up and ensure that you don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to your meals. 

My ham and mushroom calzone is a twist on the classic recipe.  

slimming world pizza calzone

What are your favourite ideas for what to serve with mac and cheese? 

I’d love to hear about your go-to side dishes for mac and cheese, and how you make this simple but widely loved recipe into a satisfying meal. 

If you’ve got any suggestions that you’d like to add to the list, do leave a comment below. I love hearing about your culinary inspirations! 

Oh, and before you go, why not pin this image to one of our Pinterest boards? It’ll make these ideas easy to find if you want to return to them in the future! 

what to serve with mac and cheese pin

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