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What goes good with seafood mac and cheese?

Seafood mac and cheese is a delicious combination of creamy, cheesy pasta and succulent seafood. With the right ingredients, it can be a delightful main course or side dish. But what goes well with seafood mac and cheese? There are many tasty options that complement and enhance the flavors of this dish. In this article, we’ll explore suitable sides, drinks, and desserts to serve with seafood mac and cheese.

Sides that Pair Well with Seafood Mac and Cheese

Side dishes are important for balancing out the rich creaminess of mac and cheese. Here are some excellent choices:

Fresh Green Salad

A crisp, green salad is a perfect light and healthy accompaniment. The fresh vegetables and vinaigrette will cut through the heaviness of the pasta. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, or arugula work well. Top with shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a lemon or herb vinaigrette.

Garlic Bread

Warm, buttery garlic bread is a classic favorite alongside mac and cheese. The crunch of the bread contrasts nicely with the soft pasta. Brush slices of French or Italian bread with garlic butter or olive oil and toast until golden brown.

Steamed Vegetables

Bright, fresh steamed vegetables like broccoli, green beans, or asparagus help balance the meal. A squeeze of lemon adds brightness.

Roasted Vegetables

For more flavor, roast vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, or butternut squash. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs before roasting to caramelized, sweet perfection.

Dinner Rolls

Soft, warm dinner rolls are perfect for dipping in the cheesy sauce. Choose favorites like Parker House rolls, French bread, or pretzel rolls.

Protein Options

Since seafood mac and cheese already contains protein from seafood and cheese, you may want to keep additional proteins light. Some good choices include:

Chicken Breast

A simply prepared grilled or baked chicken breast makes a nice accompaniment. The mild flavor doesn’t overpower the pasta.

Shrimp Skewers

Grilled shrimp skewers are a great way to add more seafood. Brush with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning before grilling.

Crab Cakes

Mini crab cakes are a delicious pairing. Their rich, creamy interior and crispy exterior are perfect with the mac and cheese.


Crisp, cooked bacon is a simple but tasty garnish for the pasta. Sprinkle crumbled bacon bits over each serving for a savory crunch.

Creative Vegetable Sides

If you want to go beyond basic steamed veggies, consider these unique vegetable side dishes:

Roasted Radishes

Roasting radishes mellows their peppery bite. Toss halved radishes with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400°F until caramelized and tender.

Carrots with Orange-Thyme Glaze

For a sweet side, roast carrot sticks tossed in olive oil, orange juice, thyme, honey and butter. Roast at 375°F until fork-tender.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Shredded Brussels sprouts roasted with balsamic vinegar develop a lovely sweet and tangy flavor.

Green Bean Almondine

Saute green beans with slivered almonds, lemon, thyme and butter for a classic French-inspired vegetable dish.

Honey-Glazed Carrots

For tender sweetness, simmer peeled young carrots in broth with honey, lemon juice and butter until glazed.

Breads & Crackers

Crunchy, savory breads and crackers enhance the texture contrast of the meal. Good choices include:


Focaccia wedges are perfect for scooping up the mac and cheese sauce. Find crispy herbed or garlic-flavored versions.


Warm, fluffy buttermilk biscuits beg to be smothered in cheesy sauce. Split them open to fill with mac and cheese.


Crostini topped with tomato, basil, and olive oil make a fresh, light accompaniment. The crunch plays well off the pasta’s richness.

Pita Chips

For casual dining, baked pita chips go nicely with hummus for dipping in the cheese sauce.

Table Crackers

Whole grain crackers add nuttiness. Choose varieties like wheat crackers, sesame crackers, or mini rice cakes.

Seafood Mac and Cheese Wine Pairings

Wine is a classic beverage pairing for creamy pasta dishes. Consider these varieties that work well with seafood mac and cheese:


Buttery, oaky Chardonnay has enough weight and creaminess to match the cheese sauce. It also complements any seafood.

Sauvignon Blanc

The bright acidity of Sauvignon Blanc cuts through the richness of the pasta. Choose a citrusy unoaked style.

Rosé Wine

Dry rosé provides fresh berry flavors and crispness to balance the dish. Look for a rosé with minerality.

Sparkling Wine

Bubbly and acidic, sparkling wines like Cava, Prosecco, or Crémant cleanse the palate. Opt for a brut style.

Light Red Wines

Lighter reds like Pinot Noir or red Sancerre have enough backbone for the seafood and cheese without overpowering.

Cocktail and Mocktail Options

Beyond wine, here are some excellent seafood-friendly cocktails and mocktails:

Bloody Mary

This savory tomato cocktail complements seafood beautifully with the addition of horseradish, lemon, and celery. Rim the glass with Old Bay for extra flair.

Classic Margarita

The bright, saline tang of a margarita highlights the briny seafood notes. Use high-quality tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur.

Pimm’s Cup

This British summer cocktail of Pimm’s, lemonade, and cucumber is crisp and refreshing alongside rich pasta.

Celery Gimlet

Muddle celery leaves with gin and lime juice for an herbal, vegetal gimlet that pairs elegantly with the mac and cheese.

Shirley Temple

For an alcohol-free option, you can’t go wrong with a Shirley Temple of ginger ale, orange juice, and grenadine. Add maraschino cherries for garnish.

Virgin Mojito

Mint, lime, and soda water give this virgin cocktail bright herbal flavors. The bubbles also cleanse the palate.

Desserts for Seafood Mac and Cheese

Seafood mac and cheese is quite heavy, so desserts should be light and fresh. Some top choices include:

Lemon Sorbet

Tart lemon sorbet provides the perfect palate cleanser after a rich meal. Garnish with fresh mint.

Mixed Berry Parfaits

Layers of yogurt, granola, and fresh berries make for a sweet but not-too-heavy dessert.

Poached Pears

Pears poached in a vanilla, cinnamon, and honey broth offer a warm, silky-smooth sweetness.

Panna Cotta

Creamy yet light Italian panna cotta flavored with vanilla and berries concludes the meal on just the right note.


Light, airy chocolate, vanilla bean, or fruit mousses provide ethereal sweetness after the hearty pasta.

Citrus Salad

A mix of orange and grapefruit segments, with a honey and mint dressing, delivers bright flavor and freshness.

Full Menu Suggestions

Here are three complete seafood mac and cheese menu ideas from appetizer through dessert:

Menu 1

Appetizer: Shrimp cocktail with lemon and cocktail sauce

Main: Lobster seafood mac and cheese

Side: Garlic bread and mixed greens salad with vinaigrette

Wine: Chardonnay

Dessert: Vanilla bean panna cotta

Menu 2

Appetizer: Bacon wrapped scallops

Main: Three cheese seafood mac with shrimp and crab

Sides: Roasted asparagus and dinner rolls

Drink: Rosé wine

Dessert: Lemon blueberry tart

Menu 3

Appetizer: Smoked salmon cream cheese toasts

Main: Cajun seafood mac and cheese

Sides: Corn on the cob, coleslaw

Drink: A cold beer or margarita

Dessert: Fresh fruit salad


Seafood macaroni and cheese makes for a rich, indulgent meal. With the right complementary sides, drinks, and desserts, you can create a well-rounded dining experience. Fresh vegetables, crusty breads, and light cocktails and wines prevent the pasta from becoming too heavy. End with a bright, sweet dessert for the perfect finish. Using these suggestions, you can build a delicious menu to showcase creamy, cheesy seafood mac and cheese.