What Goes With Mac And Cheese?

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What goes with mac and cheese?

Oh please! People should ask instead, “What doesn’t go with mac and cheese?”

Because, of course – what doesn’t? 

What Should You Serve With Mac And Cheese?

What is America’s favorite side dish?

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food – soft, melt-in-your-mouth creamy macaroni combined with ooey-gooey cheese. 

America’s favorite side dish!

It’s the food that brings childhood memories. The coziest of all comfort foods. 

It’s a bowl full of goodness you can enjoy as a weeknight meal all by itself or as a favorite side dish on a Sunday soul food menu

So let the entire family dig in and discover what goes with mac and cheese!

What Goes With Southern Soul Food Mac And Cheese?

What is America's favorite side dish?

What is the definition of comfort food?

Comfort food is often associated with Southern and soul food cooking

Southern food can be described as down South, home-cooked comfort food recipes where you can taste the hospitality.

Where did mac and cheese come from anyway?

Macaroni and cheese is one of the many soul food cuisines turned American dishes. And this yummy dish has a really old history.

Known initially as macaroni pie, mac and cheese was created by James Hemings, an African American enslaved person trained as a culinary chef in France.

Did a Black person invent mac and cheese?

James Hemings was a highly trained chef known to many modern-day cooks and culinary historians. 

He was a notable African American chef who helped create and define American cuisine as we know it today.

What is considered the very first macaroni and cheese dish?

What is considered the very first macaroni and cheese dish?

According to Netflix’s soul food documentary High On The Hog, where an all-Black creative team tells the story of African American food. 

Mac and cheese (formally known as macaroni pie) was initially cooked by Hemings in a mixture of boiling water and milk, then baked over an open fire. 

What state is known for mac and cheese?

My home state of Virginia! The state where esteemed Chef James Hemings first created macaroni pie.

Is mac and cheese a side or main dish?

Is mac and cheese a side or main dish?

Mac and cheese is a main dish, yet it’s so versatile that it’s also a side. Hence the question, what goes with mac and cheese? 

What meat goes with mac and cheese?

For more substance, it pairs incredibly well with any of your favorite proteins from chicken, beef, or fish!

 

Macaroni and cheese

Mac and cheese is the quintessential comfort food and the main attraction, even as a side, on any Southern soul food dinner menu

Soul Food Southern Mac And Cheese
African American grandmas and moms have been producing great pots of soul food Southern mac and cheese for years!
It just might've gotten lost how impactful this recipe is to the Black community.
Check out this recipe!
Soul Food Southern Mac And Cheese

Baked macaroni and cheese

A combination of two of the best carbs, macaroni noodles and cheese, baked together as a creamy casserole dish.

Black Folks Soul Food Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Soul food baked mac and cheese is made with a rich & creamy homemade cheese sauce & yummy Southern spices. Southern comfort food the Black folks way!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Southern Baked Mac And Cheese
Black Southern Mac And Cheese
Black Southern mac and cheese has a rich African American history and is one of the recipes that’s shaped American food culture. It's also known as Southern baked mac and cheese.
Check out this recipe!
Baked Macaroni And Cheese - The Soul Food Pot

What goes well with homemade mac and cheese?

Homemade macaroni and cheese is one of the most popular meals in American cuisine. 

It’s a staple among families among all cultures spanning generations.

Here’s what goes with mac and cheese. Southern soul food dishes you can serve for a yummy flavorful twist.

What goes well with homemade mac and cheese?

What goes with mac and cheese: Main dishes

Fried Chicken

Southern fried chicken and mac and cheese is undoubtedly one of the best combinations of all time. 

Southern Fried Chicken
What is Southern fried chicken?
Battered in flour and deep-fried in oil, its uniqueness is that the crispy outer skin is just as flavorful as the inside tender, juicy chicken!
Check out this recipe!
Southern Fried Chicken

Southern-style chicken

Chicken is always the perfect choice for dinner, especially when accommodating several guests. In this case, a Southern-style whole chicken – rotisserie, baked, or roasted might just be the best choice!

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe – The Southern Way
How to make a whole chicken in the Instant Pot – the Southern way! 
It's more than just a traditional chicken recipe – flavorful, tender & juicy – it's more of a soul food kick!
Check out this recipe!
Instant Pot Southern Chicken Recipe For Beginners

 

BBQ Ribs

What do you think about making a side of sticky ribs for your mac and cheese dinner?

Whether it’s a cookout with friends or a movie night marathon at home alone. You can be sure to pair protein-packed sweet, savory, and saucy BBQ ribs with a mac recipe to round up your dinner menu. 

Black Folks Soul Food BBQ Ribs Recipe
Soul food BBQ ribs are a perfect crowd pleaser and an all-time favorite main dish for potlucks, tailgates, game days, or a Black BBQ cookout menu. 
Check out this recipe!
How do you survive a Black BBQ?

Does mac and cheese go with fish?

Yep! Try it with favorites like tuna, salmon, or fried fish.

Tomato Watermelon Salad

This light and refreshing Southern salad goes very well with anything, and mac and cheese is no exception. Mac and cheese with a tomato watermelon salad is summertime’s answer to sweet comfort food! 

Southern Soul Food Tomato Watermelon Salad
Add to the menu tangy and sweet tomato watermelon salad for your next outdoor BBQ party!
Summertime is all about the refreshing flavors of juicy watermelon and tangy tomatoes. 
This recipe for tomato watermelon salad with feta cheese, pickled onions, pickled peppers, and zesty cilantro is a classy Southern dish, perfect for any occasion!
Check out this recipe!
Tomato Watermelon Salad

What goes with mac and cheese: Side dishes

Why consider serving side dishes for mac and cheese?

Because America’s favorite side dish goes with everything!

Coleslaw

Crisp, cool, creamy, and tangy, coleslaw is a classic mac and cheese pairing. It also just so happens to be a particular favorite around the South. 

Just chop up some cabbage, onion, celery, and carrots and mix with dressings like mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

And you’ve got a tangy recipe alongside a Southern pasta favorite!

Black Folks Soul Food Southern Coleslaw Recipe
How do Black people make coleslaw?
With lots of flavor!
Black folks’ soul food Southern coleslaw is a classic recipe perfect for pairing with smokey BBQ meats and a great accompaniment with a pulled pork sandwich. 
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Soul Food Southern Coleslaw Recipe

Mashed potatoes

Everybody loves comfort food. It’s one of life’s little pleasures to wrap your hand around a big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes served with a Southern mac and cheese pairing.

Black Folks Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Who has the best mashed potatoes? This Black folks creamy mashed potatoes recipe is the best I've ever had & my family's favorite too!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Potato salad

Black folks’ Southern potato salad recipe is a must-have for any Black cookout, family reunion, picnic, or potluck.

The same places where there’s also guaranteed to be a pot of homemade Southern mac and cheese!

Black Folks Southern Potato Salad Recipe
Black folks Southern potato salad recipe is a must-have for any African American cookout, family reunion, picnic, or potluck! It’s a creamy yet tangy dressing balanced by soul food seasonings and flavors. AKA Black cookout potato salad! 
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Potato Salad Recipe

Green beans

Green beans are a healthy, delicious, and easy way to round up your meal. 

Using a soul food recipe, green beans are seasoned to perfection and are the perfect balance for Southern mac and cheese.

Black Folks Southern Green Beans In The Instant Pot
Black folks, Southern green beans are not just another bland green vegetable!
And with Instant Pot, they're ready in only 2 mins with no compromise to the irresistible Southern soul food flavors!
Check out this recipe!
Southern Green Beans

Collard greens

Collard greens are the darling dish of the South. So you know they’re essential for enjoying with soul food Southern macarini and cheese.

Black Folks Soul Food Collard Greens Recipe
What is a soul food collard greens recipe?
A Black folks collard greens recipe is the quintessential dish of any Southern soul food dinner.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Soul Food Collard Greens Recipe
The Best Southern Soul Food Sides
Soul food sides are comfort food & tradition on the table & don’t have to be difficult to make. These are easy for anyone to make & everyone to love!
Check out this recipe!
The Best Southern Soul Food Sides

Cornbread

Another Southern staple that goes well with mac and cheese is homemade cornbread

Cornbread goes hand in hand with macaroni cheese. It has a sweetness that balances the saltiness of the cheese.

Cornbread is another signature taste of the South and goes far and beyond what goes with mac and cheese.

The Best Black Folks Soul Food Cornbread Dressing Recipes
What is a Black folks soul food cornbread dressing recipe? It’s the most flavorful & seasoned dressing recipe (or stuffing) you’ll ever taste!
Check out this recipe!
The Best Black Folks Soul Food Cornbread Dressing Recipes

What goes with mac and cheese: Desserts

Apple pie

What favorite American dessert goes best with America’s favorite pasta dish? 

Apple pie, of course! 

Mac and cheese is a warm, filling meal that will leave you with a smile. A favorite for many, especially when paired with a delectable apple pie dessert.

Soul Food Apple Pie Recipe
What makes this apple pie a Black folks’ soul food specialty?
The flavor! This soul food apple pie recipe features fresh apples sweetened with brown sugar and spiced with a blend of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Seasoned to perfection, the apples are roasted and then baked in the pie to leave you reminiscing on the best Southern dinners!
Check out this recipe!
Soul Food Apple Pie Recipe

Banana pudding

Bananas are a staple in the South. Southern banana pudding is a delicious dessert that can be whipped up in minutes. It’s perfect for any occasion and pairs well with favorite dishes like mac and cheese! 

Black Folks Southern Banana Pudding
How to make banana pudding the Black way
You'll never be able to look at other banana pudding the same way once you've tried this soul food delicious delight – Southern banana pudding prepared the Black way!
Check out this recipe!
Black Southern Banana Pudding

What are some alternative recipes for macaroni and cheese?

Try delicious protein additions like lobster or crab meat!

Soul Food Lobster Mac And Cheese
Even with the addition of decadent lobster meat, there’s no compromise to the Southern soul food flavors customary to this meal. In other words, this is still baked macaroni and cheese made the Black folks way!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Soul Food Lobster Mac And Cheese

What do you eat with seafood mac and cheese?

What goes with seafood mac and cheese, a deliciously rich dish. Often with additions of sweet crab or lobster meat! 

It’s perfect for serving at any family gathering or party and ideal for a buffet. 

What do you eat with seafood mac and cheese?

The accompaniments for seafood mac and cheese are the same as classic mac. 

Collard greensmashed potatoes, and homemade cornbread.

What are some good recipes for homemade macaroni and cheese?

  1. Black folks’ soul food baked macaroni and cheese
  2. Black Southern mac and cheese
  3. Soul food Southern mac and cheese
  4. Soul food lobster mac and cheese
  5. Soul food crab macaroni and cheese
  6. Southern baked macaroni and cheese
  7. White cheddar mac and cheese

Kitchen equipment for Southern baked mac and cheese

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Instant Pot Comparison

Shop my kitchenware!

Instant Pot Duo Nova  |  The Pioneer Woman measuring bowls  |  Pyrex measuring glass  |  Kate Aspen heart-shaped measuring spoons  |  Amazon small rubber spatula  |  Amazon large serving spoon  |  Anthropologie similar dish towel  |

Ingredients for Southern baked mac and cheese 

Ingredients for Southern baked mac and cheese 

  • 3 cups of water
  • 4 ¼ cups of milk (divided into 1 ¼ cups & 3 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (divided into 1 tablespoon & 3 tablespoons)
  • 8 oz. uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded by you or pre-shredded cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded Colby-jack cheese
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  •  ½ teaspoon of salt 
  •  ½ teaspoon of black pepper
Instructions for Southern baked macaroni and cheese

Instructions for Southern baked macaroni and cheese

  1. Turn the Instant Pot on the sauté setting for 25 minutes (although you may not need this entire amount of time).
  2. Fill the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot with 3 cups of milk, water, and 1 tablespoon of butter. 
  3. Pro tip- For baked macaroni and cheese, the soul food way, use milk to coat the macaroni and give it a smooth, silky texture. Perfect for layering on cheese!
  4. Once the liquid begins to simmer, add the macaroni and cook according to the package directions, occasionally stirring to ensure the macaroni doesn’t clump & stick. 
  5. Drain the macaroni and set it aside.
  6. Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the empty inner pot and turn it back on the sauté setting.
  7. When the butter is melted, add the flour, 1 ¼ cups of milk, and seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried mustard, and paprika) and whisk until smooth. 
  8. Change the Instant Pot cook setting from sauté to slow cook for 1 hour (although you will not need this entire amount of time).
  9. While the cook setting changes from sauté to slow cook, allow the ingredients to simmer for about 3 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly.
  10. Stir in the cheese to make the cheese sauce (reserve some for topping when baking).
  11. Close the Instant Pot with the lid and let slow cook for 5-10 minutes until the cheeses are blended.
  12. Open the lid to add the cooked pasta and the heavy cream to the inner pot, stirring the mixture to blend evenly.
  13. Transfer the pasta mixture into an 8-inch cast iron skillet or baking pan.
  14. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  15. Bake in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Or bake in the conventional oven for 25 minutes or until mac and cheese is golden and bubbly.
  16. Optionally, garnish with a sprinkle of dry thyme or 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs.
  17. Serve Southern baked macaroni and cheese right away, and enjoy!

 

What's the best pasta for mac and cheese?

What goes with mac and cheese FAQs

What’s the best pasta for mac and cheese?

Elbow macaroni is commonly used, but you can use any pasta to make homemade mac and cheese! 

Then add a drizzle of olive oil to the water to keep the noodles from sticking.

Try substituting any of your favorite pasta varieties in place of elbow noodles for your stovetop or baked mac and cheese.

Here are a few options that work well with this dish.

  • Elbow macaroni noodles
  • Rotini noodles
  • Macaroni shells
  • Penne rigate
  • Bow tie pasta
What can you add to mac and cheese if you don't have milk?

What can you add to mac and cheese if you don’t have milk?

Milk coats the macaroni and gives it a smooth, silky texture. Perfect for layering on cheese!

While whole milk is the best liquid version for a mac and cheese recipe because it’s the creamiest, water will still work to boil the noodles.

What cheese is best in mac and cheese?

Most people believe that sharp cheddar is the best cheese for macaroni and cheese. Because sharp cheddar has a low melting point, creating a smooth and creamy texture. 

Additionally, sharp cheddar has a bold, cheesy flavor associated with classic mac and cheese.

What cheese is best in mac and cheese?

Is American cheese the same as cheddar cheese?

American cheese is a processed food that combines different cheeses, including cheddar cheese, washed curd cheese, and Colby cheese. 

How do you keep mac and cheese creamy?

There are several ways to ensure that your mac and cheese stays creamy. One of them is cooking your noodles in milk rather than water. 

Milk has much more fat than plain water, so the resulting mixture will have a creamier texture.

How do you cut richness in mac and cheese?

What goes with mac and cheese to cut the rich cheesy taste?

Southern mac and cheese is made from scratch. First, prepared with a combination of soul food seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, flour, milk, and a mix of cheeses to cut the richness of just cheese. 

Then the dish is most commonly baked until creamy on top and golden brown on the edges. Yum!

Soul food baked mac and cheese recipes also commonly interchange evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk.

What are some spices for macaroni and cheese?

What are some spices for macaroni and cheese?

Soul food Southern macaroni and cheese recipes add flavor with seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried mustard, and paprika. 

What can you add to mac and cheese?

The options for macaroni and cheese toppings are endless. 

From crunchy to creamy, spicy to sweet, there’s a topping out there for everyone! 

Take a look at some top favorite combinations.

  1. Bacon bits
  2. Panko bread crumbs topping
  3. Fresh tomatoes, sliced thinly
  4. Chopped green onions
  5. Diced bell peppers or pimientos
  6. Dry thyme or fresh thyme sprigs
  7. Shredded or grated parmesan cheese
What goes with mac and cheese, a spoon or fork?

What goes with mac and cheese, a spoon or fork?

According to a survey by The Food Network, the preferred mac and cheese utensil among adults was a fork!

71% of adults said they eat mac and cheese with a fork. While only 28% favor a spoon. (I guess the remaining 1% uses sporks?)

Did you enjoy this guide about what goes with mac and cheese?

What are you making for Sunday dinner?

Are any of these favorite macaroni and cheese dinner ideas on the menu?

Comment below and lemme know. 

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What Goes With Mac And Cheese?
What Should You Serve With Mac And Cheese?

What Goes With Mac And Cheese? | Southern Baked Mac And Cheese Recipe

What goes with mac and cheese?
Instead, people should ask, "What doesn't go with mac and cheese? From baked mac and cheese to soul food Southern macaroni and cheese, America's favorite main dish/side dish goes with just about everything!
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Soul Food, Southern Food
Keyword: African American macaroni and cheese recipes, baked mac and cheese, baked mac and cheese recipe, Baked mac and cheese the Black way, baked macaroni and cheese recipes, Black folks baked mac and cheese, Black mac and cheese, soul food mac and cheese, What goes with mac and cheese?, What meat goes well with mac and cheese?, What meat goes with mac and cheese?
Servings: 6
Calories: 520kcal
Author: Shaunda Necole

Equipment

  • Instant Pot Duo Nova (optional)
  • Omni Plus Oven (optional)
  • 8-inch cast iron skillet or 8″ baking dish

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 4 ¼ cups milk divided into 1 ¼ cups & 3 cups
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided into 1 tablespoon & 3 tablespoons
  • 8 oz macaroni noodles uncooked
  • 2 tablespoons flour all-purpose
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Colby-jack cheese shredded
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard dried powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Instructions for Southern baked macaroni and cheese
  • Turn the Instant Pot on the sauté setting for 25 minutes (although you may not need this entire amount of time).
  • Fill the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot with 3 cups of milk, water, and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  • Pro tip- For baked macaroni and cheese, the soul food way, use milk to coat the macaroni and give it a smooth, silky texture. Perfect for layering on cheese!
  • Once the liquid begins to simmer, add the macaroni and cook according to the package directions, occasionally stirring to ensure the macaroni doesn’t clump & stick.
  • Drain the macaroni and set it aside.
  • Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the empty inner pot and turn it back on the sauté setting.
  • When the butter is melted, add the flour, 1 ¼ cups of milk, and seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried mustard, and paprika) and whisk until smooth.
  • Change the Instant Pot cook setting from sauté to slow cook for 1 hour (although you will not need this entire amount of time).
  • While the cook setting changes from sauté to slow cook, allow the ingredients to simmer for about 3 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Stir in the cheese to make the cheese sauce (reserve some for topping when baking).
  • Close the Instant Pot with the lid and let slow cook for 5-10 minutes until the cheeses are blended.
  • Open the lid to add the cooked pasta and the heavy cream to the inner pot, stirring the mixture to blend evenly.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture into an 8-inch cast iron skillet or baking pan.
  • Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  • Bake in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Or bake in the conventional oven for 25 minutes or until mac and cheese is golden and bubbly.
  • Optionally, garnish with a sprinkle of dry thyme or 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs.
  • Serve Southern baked macaroni and cheese right away, and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 520kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 537mg | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1094IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 519mg | Iron: 1mg
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Nutrition Facts
What Goes With Mac And Cheese? | Southern Baked Mac And Cheese Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
520
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
31
g
48
%
Saturated Fat
 
18
g
113
%
Trans Fat
 
0.3
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
8
g
Cholesterol
 
92
mg
31
%
Sodium
 
537
mg
23
%
Potassium
 
410
mg
12
%
Carbohydrates
 
40
g
13
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Protein
 
21
g
42
%
Vitamin A
 
1094
IU
22
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
519
mg
52
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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