When the main dish is bacon mac and cheese, you know it’s going to be good.
But what do you serve with something so indulgent?
- Do you go with a salad, or something light?
- Do you opt for a rich side that plays up the decadence of the mac and cheese?
- Do you just throw your hands in the air and order delivery pizza?
We’ve got you covered no matter what approach you want to take.
Here are eleven side dishes that pair perfectly with bacon mac and cheese, from salads to starchy sides and veggies.
What to Serve with Bacon Mac and Cheese?
Bacon mac and cheese is a classic comfort food that pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Some popular options include baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Other more creative options include stuffed peppers, fried okra, and jalapeno poppers.
Bacon Mac and Cheese and Bacon-wrapped green beans are two of life’s greatest joys.
The smoky, salty flavor of the bacon is delicious on its own, but it also brings out the creaminess of the mac and cheese, and gives a little crunch to the texture when you’re eating it.
If you want to combine these two foods for a complete meal, try wrapping the beans in applewood smoked bacon (or hickory smoked for a stronger flavor), broiling them until the bacon is cooked through, and then adding some chopped bacon to your mac and cheese.
2. French Fries
There’s not much better than a hearty dish of bacon mac and cheese, especially when it’s paired with crispy French fries.
What makes this pairing work?
First off, they’re both comfort foods—you can’t help but feel relaxed when you’re eating either one, and they both remind you of childhood. Plus, they’re both easy to prepare.
These are the perfect dish for those nights when you don’t want to put in a lot of effort at the stove.
If you’re planning a meal that pairs these two dishes, try combining them by serving them alongside each other on the plate.
The contrast between the mildness of the pasta and cheese and the salty, meaty bacon is intensified by the crunch of the fried potatoes.
You’ll find yourself craving this combo over and over again!
Some tips on how to combine these two foods:
- If you’re willing to put in the extra work, try making your own French fries instead of buying them frozen. Your taste buds will thank you!
- For a healthier twist on the dish, try baking instead of frying your French fries.
I know what you’re thinking: “Brussels sprouts?! Really?!”
But hear me out on this one! Brussels sprouts have a slight bitterness to them when cooked correctly, which pairs beautifully with the richness of the cheese sauce in macaroni and cheese.
If you can get past your preconceived notions about this vegetable (or find yourself craving something healthier), this might just become your new favorite side dish for macaroni and cheese!
Mac and cheese is one of my favorite dishes. It’s rich, savory, and hearty. Add in some sweet potato fries, and you’ve got a meal that’s perfect for a cold night.
I think the key to combining these two items is the combination of textures—you want your mac and cheese to be creamy and soft, while your fries should have a nice crunch to them.
You also want to complement the saltiness of your mac and cheese with something sweet (or at least not as salty).
Sweet potatoes are a great way to do that!
A common mistake I see people making when they serve bacon mac and cheese is using too much sauce on their pasta.
Since you’re going to be adding in bacon, which has a high fat content, you really don’t need a ton of extra sauce.
Bacon Mac and Cheese may be the ultimate comfort food, but it’s not very healthy all on its own.
If you’re looking to create a complete meal that’s just as tasty and satisfying as it is nutritious, we recommend pairing this dish with a side of Arugula Salad.
Just mix some baby arugula with anything that sounds good to you—red onion, pepper, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds—and toss it in your favorite vinaigrette dressing.
It only takes a few minutes to prepare and will add the perfect amount of crunch and freshness to your plate.
Some people think that Arugula Salad is too simple for a meal like this, but we think it adds just the right amount of brightness without distracting from your rich and delicious Bacon Mac and Cheese.
If you’re wary of biting into something so bitter as raw arugula or are unsure about how it will taste with the other ingredients, try starting with a smaller salad and adding more arugula bit by bit until you’ve found the right balance for your tastes.
You can also consider adding some grilled chicken or salmon on top if you want even more protein.
Combining these two foods is easier than you think.
All you need is a simple spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
The bacon in the mac and cheese compliments the earthy, slightly bitter taste of the spinach, while the balsamic vinaigrette adds a sweet note that plays well with the creamy cheddar in the pasta.
A common mistake people make when preparing this meal is making too much mac and cheese.
While it’s tempting to serve this dish right out of the oven, it’s best to let it sit for at least 20 minutes after baking so that everything has time to cool off and settle a little bit before serving.
It’s also important to remember that your guests will enjoy themselves if you don’t put too much pressure on yourself!
You’re supposed to be having fun, not stressing over dinner. So relax, invite some friends over, and enjoy this delicious meal!
This combination of bacon mac and cheese and roasted cauliflower gives you the perfect balance of savory, hearty, and fresh.
The key to making this dish a complete meal is to buy good quality thick cut bacon.
You want to be able to really taste the flavor of the meat in order to balance out the rich creaminess of the macaroni and cheese.
The cauliflower should be roasted with just a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper—you don’t want it to be too overwhelmed by spices or other ingredients!
This will also help you avoid another common mistake when pairing dishes: not giving enough attention to both sides.
While some people like their macaroni and cheese with a lot of spiciness in it, I would caution against going too overboard with the seasoning on this dish.
The last thing you want is for your taste buds to become overwhelmed by all those flavors when eating them together!
A classic pairing that works year-round is coleslaw.
The refreshing crunch of the cabbage, along with the creamy dressing, provide a great counterpoint to the rich flavor and texture of macaroni and cheese with bacon.
Just be sure to avoid one common mistake: using too much dressing!
You don’t want your coleslaw to be swimming in dressing, so just use enough to coat each piece of cabbage without overwhelming it.
9. Garlic Bread
When combined, these two make a meal that will have you coming back for seconds, thirds, and fourths.
The buttery crunch of the garlic bread perfectly complements the smoky goodness of the mac and cheese.
If you’re looking for an even more decadent side dish, consider replacing your garlic bread with tater tots!
One common mistake with these dishes is that people think they need to add more bacon to the mac and cheese.
Sometimes, however, less is more—and this recipe is one of those times.
10. Caesar Salad
If you want to create a complete meal, you should serve a salad as a side dish.
But there’s more to consider than just throwing together whatever greens you have on hand. Some pairings are better balanced than others.
A Caesar salad is an excellent complement to Bacon Mac and Cheese because it has the same hearty, rich flavors that the main dish does.
You can make the salad even more indulgent by adding bacon to the dressing or croutons made with bacon fat-soaked bread.
You can also add some crunchy croutons with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top—that way you get the flavor of the cheese in both dishes!
Just be sure to toast them in olive oil instead of butter so they don’t overwhelm all those other rich flavors you’re working with here.
When it comes to pairing fruit with bacon-based dishes, there are two things to keep in mind: first, contrast is key, so opt for fruits high in acidity or bitterness.
Second, you need just enough sweetness to balance out the savory and salty flavors in your meal.
That’s why we recommend a fresh fruit salad with a hint of honey drizzled on top.
Now let’s talk about some common mistakes people make when making fruit salad.
One mistake is not chopping the citrus fruits into small enough pieces; this can mean that the flavor of these fruits takes over the entire dish.
Another common mistake is adding too much honey or another sweetener; this can drown out the flavors of all of your other ingredients.
Just remember: contrast is key!
Why Serve Sides with Bacon Mac and Cheese?
There are lots of reasons to serve side dishes alongside your bacon mac and cheese.
Let’s go over some of them:
- Even though bacon mac and cheese is a complete meal, you might want to add something to round out the meal. Maybe you want a salad or some veggies. Maybe you want a glass of milk, or some fruit!
- You can switch it up by using different cheeses, like gouda or cheddar. Or even feta! You can also get creative with the herbs you use and mix in different spices like parsley, basil, thyme, and oregano.
- Bacon mac and cheese is so good, it’s hard to stop eating it once you start. By serving side dishes alongside your bacon mac and cheese, you can reset yourself after each bite with a little nibble of something else between spoonfuls of deliciousness. It helps extend the meal and keeps things interesting!
The possibilities are endless!
What sides will you serve with your bacon mac and cheese?
What to Serve with Bacon Mac and Cheese (11 Easy Sides)
- Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans
- French Fries
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Arugula Salad
- Spinach Salad
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Garlic Bread
- Caesar Salad
- A Fresh Fruit Salad
- Pick any of the side dishes from this list to serve with your tasty meal.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Be ready to munch in no time!