What To Serve With Mac And Cheese: 21 Ideas

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Planning a delicious meal around everyone’s favorite cheesy pasta? We’ve got plenty of ideas for what to serve with mac and cheese! From hearty main courses like meatloaf or chili to lighter sides like brussels sprouts or cucumber salad, there are so many options for crafting your perfect mac and cheese spread. Get ready to indulge in some serious comfort food in style!

Chicken sandwich, meatloaf, chicken thighs, and cucumber salad.


Craving cheesy, creamy comfort but not sure what to serve with mac and cheese? This collection will help you plan a delicious meal around everyone’s favorite cozy pasta dish!

If you’re looking for a hearty, filling meal, options like meatloaf, chili, or even ribs are always a crowd-pleaser. Or, if you want to keep things lighter, try serving this classic comfort food alongside a simple salad, roasted Brussels sprouts, or broccoli.

No matter what kind of meal you have in mind, this list has the right dish to complement your mac and cheese. Let’s find your perfect pairing!

Meatloaf with sauce.

1. Meatloaf

Make your homemade mac and cheese a full meal with this delicious meatloaf recipe. Thanks to the air fryer, this hearty dish develops an amazing crust on the outside while staying beautifully moist on the inside. When you top it with the crave worthy ketchup sauce, it’ll become an instant family favorite!

Cooked meatballs on a plate.

2. Meatballs

The beauty of this recipe is that it only requires 5 ingredients plus seasonings and can be ready in just 35 minutes! Best of all, the meatballs bake in the oven for a hassle-free process and even easier clean-up.

bacon wrapped smokies on a plate

3. Lil Smokies

Once you take a bite of a cocktail smokie wrapped in bacon, coated in brown sugar and spice, and air fried to crispy perfection, you’ll understand why these are sometimes called “crack little smokies!”

Hot dogs in a bun with mustard.

4. Hot Dogs

When you’re in the mood for classic comfort food, it’s hard to beat hot dogs with mac and cheese. Indulge your nostalgia with this quick and easy recipe that lets you cook a full pack all at once. A great main dish that goes with mac and cheese.

Bowl of chili.

5. Chili

Need something that’s guaranteed to warm you up on a chilly day? A big, beefy bowl of this simple copycat Texas Roadhouse chili topped with plenty of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream is sure to do the trick!

Cooked chicken breast on cutting board.

6. BBQ Chicken

Looking for a high-protein option that’s full of juicy flavor and ready in under 20 minutes? An easy seasoning blend and generous slathering of BBQ sauce make this air fryer chicken breast a healthy and downright delicious dish!

Plate of sliced pork.

7. Pork Tenderloin

Sick of dry pork that has the texture of sawdust? The secret to perfectly tender and juicy pork tenderloin is cooking it at just the right temperature. A simple seasoning rub gives the meat a delicious pop of flavor!

A plate of chicken thighs.

8. Chicken Thighs

Crispy skin, succulent meat, and just the right blend of seasonings make this easy dish an instant family favorite. Best of all, the prep time only takes a few minutes, and oven-baking the chicken makes clean-up a breeze!

Plate of chicken tenders.

9. Chicken Tenders

For ultra-crispy breading that will have even the pickiest of eaters begging for seconds, you have to try using Bisquick! This delicious meal can be ready in about half an hour, making it great for busy weeknights. And if you are really in a hurry, try these frozen air fryer chicken tenders.

10. Sloppy Joes

A recipe that only requires 5 ingredients and tastes even better than sloppy joes in a can? Talk about the perfect family meal! This dish also freezes beautifully, so you can whip up an extra-large batch for future ready-to-go dinners.

11. Simple Salad

Looking for something on the lighter side? It’s hard to go wrong with a classic house salad! Crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, sharp red onion, crunchy croutons, and fresh cucumbers topped with bacon crumbles and cheese always hit the spot.

12. Brussels Sprouts

Treat yourself to caramelized and crispy Brussels sprouts that only require 10 minutes of prep! If you grew up hating brussels sprouts, this easy method for roasting them will completely change your mind.

13. Broccoli Salad

This no-cook recipe combines crisp broccoli florets with bacon crumbles, dried cranberries, red onion, cheddar cheese, and sunflower seeds all tossed in a simple vinegar dressing for an irresistible side!

cabbage slaw on a plate

14. Red Cabbage Slaw

The three Cs of a good slaw are Creamy, Colorful, and Crunchy. This red cabbage slaw definitely delivers on all accounts! The added carrots, sunflower seeds, fresh parsley, and green onions provide amazing texture and tangy flavor.

Broccoli in a steamer basket

15. Broccoli

Thanks to the magic of the Instant Pot, this broccoli comes out tender and delicious every time. It’s a great way to add veggies to your meal in a flash because the whole recipe is ready in about 5 minutes!

Cucumber salad with onions and tomatoes.

16. Cucumber Salad

Treat your tastebuds to some bright Mediterranean flavors! Fresh cucumbers, grape tomatoes, red onion, olives, and feta cheese tossed in a simple olive oil and lemon dressing is a great way to brighten up your meal.

Cooked ribs with BBQ sauce.

17. Baby Back Ribs

Have you ever tried making baby back BBQ ribs in the oven? The process is delightfully simple, and you get tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs every time! If you’ve gotten mixed results on the grill, you absolutely have to try this easy baking method.

Sandwich bun with chicken.

18. Shredded Chicken Sandwich

I bet a lot of people will remember this dish from their childhoods! Tender shredded chicken is combined with creamy soup and crispy potato chips and served warm on hamburger buns for the definition of classic comfort food.

Bowl of shredded beef, bowl of noodles and broccoli.

19. Shredded Beef

Using a slow cooker is the key to turning chuck roast into this absolutely mouthwatering dish! Despite the short ingredient list, the beef is still packed with flavor and comes out unbelievably tender.

20. Green Beans

Crispy green beans in 15 minutes? That’s right! This recipe will show you how to cook them to crisp-tender perfection every time, plus it includes 7 different variations in case you want to play around with the flavor. One of the best sides for macaroni and cheese.

Bread with garlic on cutting board.

21. Garlic Bread

With the help of the air fryer, you can have this classic, cozy side dish ready to serve in about 5 minutes! Sliced Italian or French bread that’s topped with butter, garlic, parsley, and seasonings and fried to golden perfection is every bit as delicious as it sounds.

More side dishes to try

What will you be pairing with your macaroni and cheese?

More ideas for pasta night

Chicken sandwich, meatloaf, chicken thighs, and cucumber salad.
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What To Serve With Mac And Cheese

By Heather
Ideas on what to serve with macaroni and cheese. From main dishes to side dishes, these recipes go with mac and cheese including this easy roasted asparagus.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  • Cut off the tough ends of the asparagus stalks.
  • Place cleaned asparagus stalks on the baking sheet. Make sure to place in a single layer.
  • Drizzle over olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Roast for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks.


Calories: 85kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 231mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 858IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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