Do you ever look in your refrigerator and see a box of mac and cheese, but then groan when you try to think about what to serve on the side?
Even though mac and cheese is delicious all by itself, sometimes having it as part of meal with other side dishes can give it a whole new life.
But where should you start looking for sides that will pair perfectly with classic comfort food favorite?
Don’t worry – if you’re feeling perplexed we’ve got 15 delicious recipes here that will make the perfect accompaniment for your next bowl of creamy goodness.
So read on and get ready to spruce up any day with some mac-and-cheese plus sides!
What to Serve with Mac and Cheese? 15 Delicious Side Dishes
1. Southern Grilled Barbecued Ribs
If you’re looking for a delicious and easy recipe to try this summer, look no further than southern grilled barbecue ribs.
This dish is packed with flavor and is sure to be a hit at your next cookout or picnic.
And best of all, it’s relatively easy to make.
The key to making great barbecue ribs is to cook them low and slow.
This allows the flavors of the rub to penetrate the meat and also prevents the ribs from drying out.
I like to use a gas grill for this recipe, but you can also use a charcoal grill if you prefer.
Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Another important tip is not to overcook the ribs.
They should be tender and juicy but not falling off the bone.
If they are cooked too long, they will dry out and become tough.
So if you’re looking for an easy and delicious recipe to try this summer, give southern grilled barbecue ribs a try.
You won’t be disappointed.
2. Pigs in a Blanket
Pigs in a blanket are the perfect dish to make when you want something that is both easy and delicious.
This dish is traditionally made with hot dogs wrapped in pre-made croissant dough, but you can also use puff pastry or even regular bread dough.
The best part about pigs in a blanket is that they can be customized to your liking.
You can add different kinds of cheese, meats, or vegetables to the wraps before baking them.
One reason why pigs in a blanket are such a great dish to try is that they are so versatile.
You can really make them your own by adding different ingredients.
Another reason why they are so good is that they are perfect for any occasion.
Whether you are looking for something to make for a party or just a casual snack, these will hit the spot.
When it comes to flavor, pigs in a blanket always deliver.
The combination of the crispy dough with the savory filling is unbeatable.
If you want to take things up a notch, you can always dip them in ketchup, mustard, or your favorite sauce.
Making pigs in a blanket is pretty simple.
Just preheat your oven to the required temperature, and then start wrapping your hot dogs in the dough of your choice.
Once they are all wrapped up, bake them for the prescribed amount of time.
And that’s it.
In no time at all, you’ll have yourself some delicious pigs in blankets.
3. Roasted Broccoli, Asparagus
If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy side dish to accompany your mac and cheese, look no further than roasted broccoli or asparagus.
Both of these vegetables are packed with nutrients and are incredibly easy to roast.
Simply toss them in a bit of olive oil and sea salt, then bake in the oven until they’re tender and slightly browned.
The great thing about roasted broccoli and asparagus is that they can be served hot or cold.
If you’re short on time, you can roast them ahead of time and then serve them at room temperature.
They’ll still taste great.
These vegetables also have a wonderful flavor that pairs well with cheesy dishes like mac and cheese.
The slight bitterness of the broccoli is offset by the creamy cheese, while the asparagus adds a touch of sweetness.
If you’re looking for an extra boost of flavor, try roasting your broccoli or asparagus with garlic cloves.
The garlic will infuse the vegetables with its signature flavor and make them even more delicious.
4. Creamy Coleslaw
If you’re looking for a delicious and easy side dish to serve with your mac and cheese, look no further than creamy coleslaw.
This dish is packed with flavor and only takes a few minutes to prepare.
Plus, it’s a great way to add some extra veggies to your meal.
Creamy coleslaw is made with shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, and a variety of other seasonings.
The result is a dish that is both creamy and tangy, with a slight crunch from the cabbage.
It’s the perfect complement to rich and cheesy macaroni and cheese.
Here are a few tips for making the best creamy coleslaw:
- Be sure to use freshly shredded cabbage for the best texture and flavor. Pre-shredded cabbage can be watery and bland.
- Add in some shredded carrots for extra sweetness and color.
- Use full-fat mayonnaise for the creamiest texture.
- Season generously with salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste.
5. Crispy Fried Chicken
There’s nothing quite like crispy fried chicken.
The taste is unlike any other — a perfect blend of savory and crunchy.
And the texture is perfection — each bite is juicy and full of flavor.
It’s no wonder that this dish has become one of the most popular comfort foods around.
So what makes the fried chicken so special? For starters, the key to success is in the quality of the chicken.
A good chicken should be well-seasoned and have a delicate crust.
It should also be cooked to perfection, with a juicy interior and a crisp, golden exterior.
When it comes to fried chicken, there’s simply no substitute for quality ingredients and careful cooking.
That’s why this dish will always be one of our favorites.
6. Spring Mix Salad
Looking for a light and refreshing salad to serve with your mac and cheese? Try this spring mix salad.
It’s filled with delicious seasonal ingredients like strawberries, oranges, and radishes.
The sweetness of the fruit is balanced out by the bitterness of the greens, making it a perfect side dish for rich and creamy dishes like mac and cheese.
To make this salad, start by mixing together some spring mix greens, diced strawberries, diced oranges, and thinly sliced radishes.
For the dressing, whisk together orange juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
This salad is best when made with fresh and in-season ingredients.
However, you can also use frozen fruit if necessary.
If you do use frozen fruit, be sure to thaw it completely before adding it to the salad.
Otherwise, your salad will be too watery.
7. Classic Fruit Salad
When it comes to side dishes, there are some that just never go out of style.
A classic fruit salad is one of those dishes.
It’s perfect for a summer barbecue or picnic, and it’s also a great way to use up any ripe fruit you have lying around.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to what kind of fruit you can include in a fruit salad.
But some of the most classic and delicious combinations are watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, and berries.
You can also add in some diced pineapple or mango for a bit of sweetness and tropical flavor.
To make a classic fruit salad, simply start by chopping up all of your fruit into bite-sized pieces.
Then, add everything to a large bowl and give it a gentle stir.
If you’re making this ahead of time, you can store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
Just be sure to give it another stir before serving so that the flavors can mingle.
8. Sweet Potato Salad
Looking for a delicious and healthy side dish to serve with your mac and cheese? Look no further than this sweet potato salad.
This dish is packed with nutrients and is sure to please everyone at the table.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber.
This salad also contains healthy fats from olive oil and avocado and protein from the black beans.
The combination of all these ingredients makes for a balanced and satisfying side dish.
This salad has a sweetness from the sweet potatoes, a creaminess from the avocado, and a little bit of spice from the jalapeño.
The lime juice adds brightness and freshness.
I like to top mine with some chopped cilantro for an extra pop of flavor.
To make this salad, simply roast the sweet potatoes in the oven until they are soft.
Then, add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix everything together.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.
9. Zucchini Fritters
Zucchini fritters are a great recipe to try if you’re looking for something new and delicious.
These fritters are packed with flavor and are sure to be a hit with everyone.
The best part about this recipe is that it’s relatively easy to make.
When it comes to the flavor of these fritters, they are definitely on the savory side.
The zucchini is the main star of this dish, so you’ll definitely get a good amount of that veggie’s natural flavor.
But, the fritters are also seasoned with garlic, onion, and Parmesan cheese.
This combination of flavors creates a delicious and well-rounded dish.
If you’re looking for tips on how to make these fritters, here are a few:
- Be sure to squeeze all the excess moisture out of the zucchini before adding it to the batter. Otherwise, your fritters will be too wet.
- Add the zucchini to the batter in small batches so that it doesn’t overwhelm the other ingredients.
- Fry the fritters in batches so that they have plenty of room to cook evenly.
- Serve these fritters with a dipping sauce or your favorite condiments.
10. Simple Arugula Salad
If you’re looking for a simple, yet tasty salad to make, look no further than this recipe for arugula salad.
Arugula is a nutrient-rich green that is packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a great addition to any meal.
This salad is also very easy to make and only requires a few ingredients.
One of the best things about this salad is that it is very versatile.
You can add whatever toppings you like, such as diced tomatoes, croutons, or shredded cheese.
The possibilities are endless.
And if you’re feeling extra creative, you could even add some fruit to the mix.
Another great thing about this salad is that it can be made ahead of time.
Simply prepare all of the ingredients and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
This makes it perfect for busy weeknights or lunch on the go.
11. Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Almonds
Looking for a new side dish to serve with your mac and cheese? Why not try sauteed broccoli rabe with almonds? This dish is healthy and flavorful, and it’s easy to make.
Broccoli rabe is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K.
It’s also rich in fiber and antioxidants.
Almonds are a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Together, these ingredients make a delicious and healthy side dish.
To make this dish, simply saute the broccoli rabe in olive oil until it’s tender.
Then, add the almonds and cook for an additional minute.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve alongside your favorite mac and cheese recipe.
12. Cabbage Apple Slaw with Honey-Lime Dressing
This dish is perfect for those who are looking for a lighter side dish to accompany their mac and cheese.
The cabbage and apples provide a crunchy texture, while the honey-lime dressing adds a touch of sweetness and acidity.
This dish can be made ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The key to this dish is to make sure that the cabbage and apples are properly coated with the dressing.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with a dry slaw.
I like to use a Mandoline to thinly slice the cabbage and apples, but you can also do this by hand.
If you’re using a knife, make sure to slice the cabbage as thinly as possible.
The apple slices should be about ¼ inch thick.
To make the dressing, simply combine all of the ingredients in a jar or small bowl and whisk until combined.
Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
When you’re ready to serve, simply toss the cabbage and apples with the dressing and voila.
You’ve got yourself a delicious and healthy side dish.
13. Garlicky Parmesan Sweet Potatoes
This Garlicky Parmesan Sweet Potato recipe is a delicious and easy side dish that is perfect for any meal.
The sweet potatoes are roasted to perfection and then topped with a garlicky Parmesan cheese sauce.
This dish is sure to please everyone at the table.
The key to this dish is roasting the sweet potatoes until they are nice and soft.
This allows the cheese sauce to easily coat them.
The Parmesan cheese adds a delicious flavor to the dish, and the garlic rounds it out perfectly.
If you are looking for a simple but flavorful side dish, this is it.
To make this dish even more amazing, I like to top it with some chopped green onions and bacon bits.
This takes it over the top and makes it even more irresistible.
Trust me, you will not be able to stop eating this once you start.
14. Cowboy Caviar
This recipe for cowboy caviar is the perfect dish to try if you’re looking for something new and delicious.
This dish is packed with flavor, and the best part is that it’s so easy to make.
The key to making this dish is to use fresh ingredients.
This will ensure that the flavors really pop.
When it comes to the flavor of this dish, it is definitely on the bold side.
There is a bit of a spice to it, but it is balanced out by the sweetness of the corn and tomatoes.
If you’re looking for a little extra flavor, you can always add in some additional seasonings.
As far as tips go, one of the most important things to remember when making this dish is to let the flavors marinate.
Once everything is mixed together, let it sit for at least an hour before serving.
This will give the flavors time to really come together.
15. Apple-Bacon Slaw
Looking for a delicious and easy side dish to go with your mac and cheese? Try this Apple-Bacon Slaw.
It’s the perfect balance of sweetness and savory, and it’s sure to be a hit with everyone at the table.
The key to this dish is to use good quality ingredients.
For the apples, I recommend using a crisp variety like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith.
And for the bacon, make sure to get thick-cut bacon so that it doesn’t get lost in the mix.
To add even more flavor to the dish, I like to use a combination of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.
The mayonnaise adds creaminess and body, while the Dijon provides a nice kick.
If you’re looking for an extra bit of sweetness, you can also add a tablespoon or two of honey to the dressing.
This slaw can be made ahead of time, which is always helpful when you’re trying to get dinner on the table.
Simply combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
When you’re ready to eat, give everything a good stir and enjoy.
So those are 15 delicious side dishes that go great with mac and cheese.
Next time you’re stuck on what to make for dinner, give one of these a try.
And if you’re really feeling lazy, just grab a box of mac and cheese and call it a day.
We won’t judge.
What to Serve with Mac and Cheese? 15 Delicious Side Dishes
- 1. Southern Grilled Barbecued Ribs
- 2. Pigs in a Blanket
- 3. Roasted Broccoli Asparagus
- 4. Creamy Coleslaw
- 5. Crispy Fried Chicken
- 6. Spring Mix Salad
- 7. Classic Fruit Salad
- 8. Sweet Potato Salad
- 9. Zucchini Fritters
- 10. Simple Arugula Salad
- 11. Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Almonds
- 12. Cabbage Apple Slaw with Honey-Lime Dressing
- 13. Garlicky Parmesan Sweet Potatoes
- 14. Cowboy Caviar
- 15. Apple-Bacon Slaw
- Select your favorite sides from the list above.
- Prepare the side dish according to the recipe instructions.
- If you’re short on time, some of these can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving.
- Serve and enjoy!
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!