What to Serve with Mac and Cheese

Is there any better comfort food than mac and cheese? Piles of tubular pasta, cooked to perfection in a rich cheese sauce, with a topping of golden toasted cheese and breadcrumbs. And that even before we get into different variations. That said, you might just like your mac and cheese ‘as is’… But it can get a little boring, and you want to know what to serve with mac and cheese? Well, fear not, I’ve got a plan. Here’s a list of great ideas for mac and cheese sides that will make it a meal to remember.

cracker barrel mac n cheese

16 Mac and Cheese Side Dishes

1. BBQ Ribs

bbq ribs

Is there anyone who doesn’t love ribs? The only downside is that there never seems to be enough of them. Unless you will make a Fred Flintstone-sized portion, it makes sense that they are paired with something substantial… Like Mac and cheese. We find that the BBQ ribs’ sweetness works really well with the mac and cheese’s creamy, savory flavors. Ribs can also be a little bit of a chore to make, so the fact that mac and cheese is so easy makes them the perfect combo. Plus, if you’re looking for sides to serve with ribs, we have you covered.

2. Sloppy Joes

If you combine your mac and cheese with sloppy joes, you’ve got an all American dinner right there. If you are making mac and cheese, you will already be a fan of using standard store cupboard ingredients. The good news is that sloppy joes sandwiches use things that you’ll find around the house. As the name would suggest, sloppy joes sandwiches are a little messy, so why not go the whole hog and top your sloppy joes with a layer of thick and creamy Mac and Cheese?

3. Coleslaw

kfc coleslaw

Ok, so we know that mac and cheese isn’t always the lightest dish, so maybe you want to dial back on the carbs just a little. Let us suggest a lighter alternative. Coleslaw goes great with mac and cheese. Aside from your waistline, you’ll also find that the strips of crunchy white cabbage, carrots, and onions work really well to cut through the richness of the cheese. For a large splash of color, try using red cabbage in your coleslaw instead of white cabbage to create a little contrast on the plate.

Coleslaw Recipes
1. KFC Coleslaw
2. Chick fil a coleslaw

4. Salad

leafy salad

Let’s stay low calorie (for the time being). Few dishes won’t work with a simple side salad. Mac and cheese is delicious, but it can be hard to make a plate look a little less ‘boring’. The ideal solution is to throw in a handful of leafy greens, succulent ripe tomatoes, and perhaps a nice dressing. Both ranch and blue cheese dressing go exceptionally well with a side salad, and it also works a treat with mac and cheese, who’d have thought. Give it a go!

5. Little Smokies

little smokies

Alright, we get it. Just sometimes, you want to add a little bit of meat to your meal. If this sounds like you, then check this for a treat. Little smokies are tiny sausages wrapped in a blanket of sweet bacon. They are crunchy, juicy, and delicious. And here’s the best bit, they are just perfect for dipping into mac and cheese! Served on their own little smokies are the perfect finger food for dipping, so imagine how good they will be with a thick and creamy cheese sauce?

6. Meatloaf

meatloaf recipe

Keeping on a meat theme, we absolutely love meatloaf, but it can be difficult to find the ideal pairing, just like mac and cheese. Well, why not combine them together to make a mega meal. Both are really easy to make, so if you are pushed for time or just want an easy afternoon, they can be prepared ahead and left ready to throw in the oven when the time comes. For a really hearty meal that will leave everyone in the mood for a good old snooze, mac and cheese paired with meatloaf fit the bill.

7. Bacon


Bacon is one of those things that we could never do without. When it comes to what to serve with mac and cheese, bacon sits high on our favorites. It’s so versatile. If you are looking for something really simple, just grill or fry rashers until they are sizzling and crispy and serve alongside. Alternatively, cut your bacon into thick chunks and stir it into the mac and cheese before cooking. Depending on your choice of cheese, mac and cheese can be mild. This works really well with the saltiness of the bacon. It’s like a meaty seasoning!

8. Meatballs

what goes with meatballs

So you like to dip and dunk, right? Well, meatballs are the perfect side for mac and cheese if dunking is your thing. The best bit is that you won’t even need to make a sauce. Meatballs with macaroni and creamy cheese sauce is about as good as it gets. For something slightly different, top your mac and cheese with the meatballs before baking to create a sort of delicious savory layer cake. Absolutely divine!

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9. Roasted Broccoli

Roasted Broccoli

For a splash of color and a healthy option, roasted broccoli can make the ideal side to serve with mac and cheese. They take about the same amount of time in the oven too, so this is a great option for added convenience. Aside from the color, roasted florets of broccoli make for an ideal little ‘broom’ to mop up all those patches of creamy cheese sauce.

10. Pigs in Blankets

pigs in blankets

Pigs in blankets are very similar to little smokies, except they aren’t made with brown sugar and therefore aren’t quite as sweet. But they are equally delicious. We like to brown our sausages and allow them to cool before wrapping them in bacon and grilling them to perfection. We use small chipolata style link sausages. However, you can also use full-size sausages to create mega pigs in blankets. These are great if you are wanting to create a much more substantial meal.

11. Chili

chili wendys

Who wants boring old rice with chili when you can have mac and cheese? If you are going to serve a pile of carbs, then you might as well make it tasty. Chili is a great accompaniment to mac and cheese. If you’ve made it a little spicy, you’ll find that the mac and cheese calms down a sizzling palate. For something rich and really filling, layer your chili on top of your mac and cheese before adding an additional topping of cheese and breadcrumbs. It’s like the best bits of Mexican and Italian rolled into one huge lasagna!

12. Fresh Bread

fresh bread

Maybe you want to keep it simple and have something really rustic. There are fewer joys in this world than a freshly baked crusty loaf, spread thickly with a layer of melting butter, ah bliss! You certainly won’t be hungry with mac and cheese paired with bread, and you can use chunks of soft and crispy bread to soak up all of that lovely cheese sauce. Is your mouth watering?

13. Green Beans

steamed green beans

If you are cooking mac and cheese, there’s a good chance you are looking for convenience. For a veggie hit that is also easy to make, give green beans a go. You can simply boil them. However, our favorite way to serve green beans as a side for mac and cheese is to parboil them before tossing them with melted butter, seasoning, and lemon juice. We roast them for 10 minutes along with the mac and cheese. They come out slightly crunchy with an acidic and sweet flavor that works, so well with creamy cheese and pasta.

14. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

brussel sprouts

Listen, don’t boil Brussels sprouts. It’s the best way to ruin them. Slice them finely and saute them in a large pan with a little butter, salt, and pepper, before giving them a quick blast in the oven to turn the loose leaves ever so slightly crispy. For an ultra-tasty addition, add some precooked bacon shards and perhaps a handful of crumbly toasted walnuts. The hardest part will be deciding what to eat first. The sprouts or the mac and cheese. May not have been obvious but it’s one of my favorite dishes for what goes with mac and cheese.

15. Steak

steak sides

We don’t know why but steak works really well with mac and cheese. Perhaps we just like the simple things in life? We love to cook our steak medium and find that the blushing pink interior looks so good on the plate with a large helping of mac and cheese. Plus if you want to know some great steak sides, some of these options on this page are also fitting.

16. Roasted Vegetables

roasted vegetables

Ever heard that people first taste food with their eyes? By serving a delicious heap of roasted vegetables along with mac and cheese, you’ll be creating a table that is bright, colorful, and perfect for just digging straight into. We cut carrots, sweet potatoes, red onions, and zucchini and give them a liberal toss in oil before seasoning and roasting for the same amount of time as our mac and cheese. Extra points awarded for cooking your vegetables al dente and leaving some of that crispness.

16 Mac and Cheese Sides

16 Mac and Cheese Sides

0 from 0 votes

Recipe by Laura Ritterman

Enjoy our delicious mac and cheese sides that you can cook up quickly to compliment your main course.


  • BBQ Ribs

  • Sloppy Joes

  • Coleslaw

  • Salad

  • Little Smokies

  • Meatloaf

  • Bacon

  • Meatballs

  • Roasted Broccoli

  • Pigs in Blankets

  • Chili

  • Fresh Bread

  • Green Beans

  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts

  • Steak

  • Roasted Vegetables


  • Choose your favorite side dishes for mac and cheese
  • Serve up with your dish in under 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy

Like this recipe?

Follow us @recipefairy on Pinterest

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Knowing what to serve with mac and cheese isn’t particularly difficult. You’ll find that it makes a great blank canvas to pair with other side dishes because of the mild flavors in the mac and cheese. What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

Originally posted at Recipe Fairy

What To Serve With Fried Fish

Never mind fish on a Friday! We love a nice piece of fried fish any day of the week. Fried fish is delicious. However, it can often use a little helping hand to take it from good to great. In this article, we will look at what to serve with fried fish and give you some delicious ideas for the next time you are serving the catch of the day.

Fried Fish sides

Fried Fish Sides

1. French Fries

five guys cajun fries

Let’s start with a classic! Fish and chips are about as traditional as it gets, and with good reason… It really works. If you are looking for a substantial meal, they don’t come much more filling than fish and chips. We like to parboil our french fries for about 2 minutes before draining. This makes the surface go all floury once they steam. We then fry them in boiling oil until they are lightly golden brown. The best bit? They are perfect for dipping into a nice dollop of ketchup served alongside.

2. Mashed Peas

mashed peas

Mashed peas are straightforward to make. They are quite heavy, so you don’t need to serve a huge portion. The nice thing about serving peas with fish is that it adds a much-needed splash of color to the plate. They are also relatively mild in flavor, so they will allow the star of the show, the fish, to truly shine. To make, just add peas to boiling water with a pinch of salt. After around 5 minutes, drain the peas, add some seasoning, and mash with a potato masher until they are lovely and mushy.

3. Coleslaw


Depending on what fish you are cooking, it can get a little oily. Nothing cuts through the richness like some deliciously crunchy, finely sliced vegetables. The main ingredient in coleslaw is white cabbage. This is ever so slightly acidic and works beautifully with fish. When twinned with luxuriant and creamy mayonnaise (and perhaps a squeeze of lemon), you have the perfect pairing. If you are looking for a slightly more eye-catching dish, you can mix white cabbage with red cabbage.

4. Tartare Sauce

Mcdonald's tartar

Tartare sauce is a traditional side dish to serve with fish. You have lots of familiar elements that combine to make one the ultimate’s in seafood side recipes. More than a hint of creaminess in the sauce goes well, especially with creamy white fish. It also stops your dish from being too dry. There are also acidity elements in the pickles and perhaps a hint of saltiness, too, if you have added chopped capers.

5. Salt and Vinegar Chips

salt chips

Salt and vinegar are a fish’s best friend. This works incredibly well if you have fried and battered your fish. The batter soaks up the vinegar and becomes slightly soft. It also makes little sticky patches that hold the salt, making each mouthful absolutely delicious. This works with chips too. To make, just finely slice potatoes into discs (leave the skin on).  Fry the discs in hot oil until golden and slightly crispy, then sprinkle with salt and some malt vinegar. Top tip, make sure you haven’t got a cut on your lip.

6. Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Fried fish is tasty, but it can be a little bit time consuming, so you may want a side dish to serve with fish that isn’t too cumbersome. Roasted cauliflower is the answer. Just boil florets for 5 minutes before transferring to the oven with a sprinkle of seasoning and some olive oil. Bake for around 20 minutes until the tops begin to brown slightly.

7. Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes

It doesn’t come much simpler than mash potatoes. It is ideal as a fish side dish for several reasons. First, they are great at soaking up juices. If you are serving your side dish with a sauce, you can ensure that it all gets mopped up. Secondly, you can ‘pimp’ your potatoes. We like to add a handful of cooked peas to create a pea and potato crush before mashing. Alternatively, you could add cream cheese and some garlic powder to make something magical.

8. Lemon Roast Potatoes

Lemon Roast Potatoes

Lemon and fish are best friends. As we have said, there is something about acidic tastes that really works with fried fish. Combine the best of this with lemon and potatoes. Just parboil your potatoes and roast them for around 35 minutes in a lashing of oil. 5 minutes before they are due to come out, give them a squeeze of lemon juice, and grate some zest over them before finishing them off.

9. Rustic Bread Rolls

Rustic Bread Rolls

Simple is sometimes the best. A fried fish sandwich is one of life’s pleasures. Take a soft roll and split it. Make sure to apply liberal amounts of butter (and perhaps a pinch of salt and pepper). Stick your fried fish in the middle. Job done. A handheld picture of perfection.

10. Microwave Pickles


These are super easy to make and go with a range of seafood. Just microwave a sliced cucumber with a pinch of salt, some chopped onion, a splash of white vinegar, and a pinch of white sugar to taste. They will take around 6 minutes, with a tactical stir in the middle. The recipe is done when the onions have gone clear, sweet, and soft.

11. Sweet Potato Wedges

Sweet Potato Wedges

This is a slight variation on fish and chips. As the name suggests, these wedges have a slight sweetness with work so well with savory fried fish. The best bit is that they are a little healthier than traditional French fries. They also have a really vibrant orange color to enliven your plate.

What to Serve with Fried Fish

5 from 1 vote

Recipe by Laura Ritterman


  • French Fries

  • Mashed Peas

  • Coleslaw

  • Tartare Sauce

  • Salt and Vinegar Chips

  • Roasted Cauliflower

  • Mashed Potatoes

  • Lemon Roast Potatoes

  • Rustic Bread Rolls

  • Microwave Pickles

  • Sweet Potato Wedges


  • Pick one or tow of your favorite fried fish sides
  • Serve up and enjoy

Like this recipe?

Follow us @recipefairy on Pinterest

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The best thing about fish is that it typically has quite a mild flavor, so it works well with almost any side. Knowing what to serve with fried fish isn’t difficult. Go for a mixture of colors and work with either contrasting or complementary flavors. What is your favorite side dish to serve with fried fish?

Originally posted at Recipe Fairy