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What To Serve With Mac And Cheese – 42 BEST Side Dishes

If you’re wondering what to serve with your mac and cheese, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I list 42 of the most popular side dishes for mac and cheese.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best side dishes to serve with mac and cheese are BBQ baby back ribs, meatloaf, lemon butter broccoli, and Autumn crunch salad. You can also serve hot dogs, Italian roasted veggies, or garlic swirl rolls. For holiday dishes, try bourbon glazed ham or butter poached lobster.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

BBQ baby back ribs

The combination of fall-off-the-bone ribs with luscious mac and cheese is a classic, and for good reason!

All you need is a good-quality rack of ribs and a spice rub made up of all your favorite flavors (this brown sugar, paprika, and cayenne pepper).

Pro-tip: I prefer pork ribs, but you can also use beef for a more robust flavor. 

Why we love this recipe: you can cook the ribs on the grill or use the oven.

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BBQ baby back ribs
Bring out the air fryer
Air fryer country-style ribs
Make it Korean-style
Korean braised short ribs


Your creamy mac and cheese will also pair superbly with a hearty meatloaf.

The tangy ketchup glaze tastes great once it’s mixed into the cheesy sauce.

This recipe involves an extra step of cooking a sofrito base made of chopped onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. You can skip it, but I think it adds too much flavor to skip.

Why we love this recipe: it turns simple ingredients into something delicious.

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Classic meatloaf
Make it healthy
Turkey meatloaf
Make it vegan
Vegan lentil loaf

Lemon butter broccoli

This broccoli dish is the perfect healthy addition to your mac and cheese. 

The florets are bright and buttery, with a satisfying crisp-tender texture. 

You can serve them on the side, but I like tossing them in with the mac and cheese for a one-pot meal. 

Psst… make them even healthier by using coconut oil instead of butter. 

Why we love this recipe: this dish only takes 10 minutes to prep and cook.

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Lemon butter broccoli
Skip the broccoli
Lemon sauteed spinach
Fire up the oven
Oven-roasted broccolini

Autumn crunch salad

With how rich and decadent mac and cheese is, sometimes all you want is a light leafy salad on the side.

And salads aren’t just for summer!

This one has a more wintery feel with ingredients like radicchio, fennel, and radish.

It also features a fabulous tart champagne vinaigrette that brightens the whole dish.

Why we love this recipe: it adds a delightful burst of colors and flavors to your main dish.

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Autumn crunch butter lettuce salad
Make it savory
Shaved brussels sprout salad with bacon
Keep it simple
Easy garden salad

Parmesan zucchini and corn

This zucchini and corn dish is an excellent nourishing addition to your mac and cheese. 

This dish is packed with salty flavors from the parmesan, plus a mild sweetness from the veg.

It also has a slight zesty note, courtesy of the lime juice, that prevents your meal from getting too heavy. 

Why we love this recipe: it’s ready to serve in 10 minutes, so perfect for busy weeknights.

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Parmesan zucchini and corn
Add more veggies
Corn succotash
Make it Tex Mex
Cowboy caviar

Butter poached lobster

Elevate your humble mac and cheese by serving it with poached lobsters. 

You can poach these in plain water, but using butter will make your lobsters even more decadent. 

Pro-tip: they don’t need to cook long – five minutes is enough to infuse them with tons of buttery goodness. 

Why we love this recipe: lobster makes any meal feel and taste luxurious.

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Butter poached lobster
Swap the lobster
Shrimp scampi
Fire up the oven
Baked lobster tails

Garlic swirl rolls

If you love garlic knots, these rolls are a must-try.

They’re like cinnamon rolls, except they’re filled with garlic butter and parmesan.

Serve them with your mac and cheese for an easy and comforting meal. 

Psst… make enough because these are incredibly morish. 

Why we love this recipe: it’s a fun way to enjoy garlic bread.

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Garlic swirl rolls
Back to basics
Homemade garlic bread
Make it low-carb
Keto garlic knots

Spiral hotdogs

Mac and cheese with hotdogs is an easy weekend dinner for a game or movie night.

You can spoon the mac and cheese over the hot dogs to make a loaded dog, or just serve them side by side.

And don’t forget the other toppings for your hotdogs like pickle relish, mustard, ketchup, sour cream, and crispy onions.

Why we love this recipe: who doesn’t love hot dogs?!

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Spiral hot dogs
Something messier
Sloppy joes
Go German
German bratwurst

Crispy tofu nuggets

Ease your way into meatless Mondays with a meal of mac and cheese and these tofu nuggets. 

They’re extra crispy, with an almost meat-like texture that can fool anyone into thinking they’re eating chicken! 

The key lies in pressing your tofu. 

Why we love this recipe: they’re baked, not fried.

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Crispy baked tofu nuggets
Fire up the grill
Grilled barbecue tofu skewers
Skip the tofu
Fried oyster mushrooms

Italian roasted mushrooms and vegetables

This recipe features a medley of juicy mushrooms, tomatoes, and cauliflower florets roasted with classic Italian herbs. 

Not a fan of this vegetable medley? Swap it out for your favorite veg (or for whatever you have handy in the fridge!). 

Why we love this recipe: it’s a tasty and healthy no-frill dish.

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Italian roasted mushrooms and vegetables
Change the flavor
Roasted Greek vegetables
Fire up the stove
Buttered vegetables

Red cabbage and carrot slaw

Looking for a veggie dish to complete your barbecue spread? 

You can’t go wrong with this colorful slaw. 

It’s crisp and has a vibrant, tangy flavor, courtesy of the apple cider vinaigrette, which perfectly contrasts the creaminess of your mac and cheese.

Why we love this recipe: it’s an insta-worthy BBQ side.

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Red cabbage and carrot slaw
Skip the red cabbage
French carrot salad
Make it different
Kale apple slaw

BBQ bacon-wrapped tater tots

Jazz up your plain old frozen tater tots by wrapping them in smoky bacon.

A brushing of homemade barbecue sauce makes these treats even tastier. 

They’re the perfect finger food, but it’s undeniable they round off a mac and cheese lunch perfectly.

Why we love this recipe: it’s an easy modification that really elevates your standard tater tots.

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BBQ bacon-wrapped tater tots
Go back to basics
Homemade tater tots
Make it healthier
Bacon-wrapped brussels sprouts

Lemon pepper chicken tenders

These tenders are irresistibly crispy, and the buttermilk brine does wonders in keeping the chicken meat juicy. 

Psst… you can dip these in a honey butter sauce or use them to mop up your mac and cheese’s creamy sauce. YUM.

Why we love this recipe: these homemade chicken tenders taste waaaay better than the fast food version.

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Lemon pepper chicken tenders
Make a classic
Buttermilk fried chicken
Fire up the grill
Grilled honey mustard chicken

Bourbon glazed ham

This glazed ham is an excellent show-stopping dish for a holiday dinner.

The bourbon glaze adds depth of flavor, and a creamy mac and cheese side is all you need to make it a complete meal.

Psst… save enough for leftover ham sandwiches the next day.

Why we love this recipe: it’s an impressive-looking dish that doesn’t require a lot of hands-on cooking.

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Bourbon glazed ham
Change the flavor
Apricot honey ham
Make it vegan
Glazed tofu roast

Other side dish options

Not everything made it to my list…. but here are a few more options: chili (bean or meat), burgers, brisket, and fried fish.

What meat goes well with mac and cheese?

Mac and cheese is fabulous with baby back ribs and chicken tenders. For holiday meals, try bourbon glazed ham, roast beef, or poached lobster. For a quick weeknight meal, try meatloaf. 

Best meat dishes to serve with mac and cheese

What vegetables go well with mac and cheese?

Lemon butter broccoli is my go-to vegetable side for mac and cheese. If you want something vibrant, try corn succotash or blistered tomatoes. Parmesan zucchini or Italian roasted vegetables are good options too. 

Best vegetables to serve with mac and cheese

Web Story: What To Serve With Mac And Cheese

What To Serve With Mac And Cheese

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your mac and cheese.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mac and cheese sides, what to serve with mac and cheese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 164kcal


  • 1 portion mac and cheese


  • Prepare your mac and cheese according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: bbq baby back ribs, meatloaf, lemon butter broccoli, autumn crunch salad, parmesan zucchini and corn, butter poached lobster, garlic swirl rolls, hot dogs, crispy tofu nuggets, Italian roasted mushrooms and vegetables, red cabbage and carrot slaw, bbq bacon-wrapped tater tots, lemon pepper chicken tenders, and bourbon glazed ham.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serving: 100g | Calories: 164kcal

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