27 Cozy Sides to Serve With Meatloaf

Make it a meatloaf meal to remember

Cheddar Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

The Spruce

When meatloaf's on the menu, you know you're in for a cozy, satisfying dinner. Whether you make meatloaf ahead and freeze it, or bake it up to order, these delicious side dishes are just the thing to round out your dinner plate. From perfectly fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes to indulgent vegetable gratins and lighter sides, you'll find plenty of good sides for meatloaf here that will transform the meal into a satisfying family dinner. Some of the recipes come together quickly for a busy weeknight meal, others set up in your slow cooker all day. All of them, however, taste great with this most classic of American comfort foods.

  • 01 of 27

    Mashed Potatoes

    Mashed potatoes

    The Spruce

    As traditional as cherry pie for Independence Day, mashed potatoes go perfectly alongside meatloaf. This recipe includes some tasty variations so you can customize yours to suit your family's faves.

  • 02 of 27

    Baked Macaroni and Cheese

    Classic baked mac and cheese

    The Spruce 

    Creamy baked macaroni and cheese will turn dinner into a feast. Make it gluten free by using a different pasta and omitting the breadcrumbs, if you have dietary restrictions. We like cheddar cheese, but you can use other good melting cheeses for a different take.

  • 03 of 27

    Creamed Peas With Mushrooms and Onions

    Creamed peas with mushrooms and onions

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray


    Frozen green peas are often a childhood side to meatloaf. Without too much effort beyond defrosting a bag of peas, you can take it to another level with creamed peas, mushrooms, and onions that have far more flavor and an indulgent texture.

  • 04 of 27

    Mashed Cauliflower and Leeks

    Creamy mashed cauliflower and leeks

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Mashed cauliflower makes a great, lower-carb substitute for potatoes. Adding leeks gives them an even more buttery, earthy flavor while garlic lends a little kick. If you can't find leeks, chopped green onions will also work.

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  • 05 of 27

    Honey Glazed Baby Carrots

    Simple honey glazed baby carrots

    The Spruce


    The Thanksgiving table would be incomplete without honey glazed carrots, but they're simple enough to make on weeknights, too. For a different twist, add a little cinnamon or ground ginger to the glaze, or use small heritage carrots instead of the baby variety.

  • 06 of 27

    Slow Cooker Carnival Squash

    Baked carnival squash

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Pretty carnival squash has a lovely sweetness that complements the umami of meatloaf wonderfully. Make it in the slow cooker to free up oven space for the main event or bake it up alongside. For even more interest, add a little maple syrup or brown sugar.

  • 07 of 27

    Lemon Garlic Broccoli

    Lemon and garlic broccoli

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Add a little green to your diet with this super-simple broccoli side. Enhance it with lemon juice, garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes to give the basic crucifer more zip. Steam the florets just until crisp tender. You know they're done when they turn a vivid bright green.

  • 08 of 27

    Toasted Garlic Bread

    Toasted garlic bread

    Brett Stevens / Getty Images

    It's so easy to make crisp, fragrant, toasted garlic bread. Use a French or Italian loaf for this side dish or appetizer that goes great with any hearty meal including tomato sauce, from meatloaf to spaghetti dinners. Top it with melted cheese, if you like, for a kid-pleasing treat.

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  • 09 of 27

    Cheddar Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

    Cheddar cheese scalloped potatoes

    The Spruce

    Cheesy, hearty, and comforting cheddar scalloped potatoes will really hit the spot. Add some chopped ham or bacon for a meatier side or mix up the cheeses for a different flavor.

  • 10 of 27

    Slow Cooker Root Vegetables

    Crock pot roasted veggies

    The Spruce

    Root vegetables lend themselves well to long, slow cooking because they get soft, tender, and slightly caramelized. Use carrots, potatoes, onions, or any combination you like best, and don't skimp on the garlic. Just try to cut the veggies into similar-sized pieces so they cook evenly.

  • 11 of 27

    Pan Roasted Asparagus

    Pan roasted asparagus with sea salt and lemon zest

    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic

    Pan roasting tender asparagus over high heat gives the ends a little char, just like you would by grilling or roasting it in the oven. A little flaky sea salt highlights their natural flavor, or you can add some garlic and fresh-squeezed lemon juice to punch it up.

  • 12 of 27

    Creamed Spinach With Parmesan Cheese

    Creamed Spinach With Parmesan Cheese

    The Spruce / Chosen Posture

    Frozen spinach makes this classic creamed spinach dish a snap to make. It's perfectly flavored by Parmesan cheese, a little garlic, and a hint of nutmeg. Serve it with meatloaf for a nutritious weeknight dinner, as a holiday side with roast turkey, or to round out a steak and potato dinner.

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  • 13 of 27

    Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts

    Air fryer Brussels sprouts with a sprinkle of sesame seeds

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Air frying Brussels sprouts gives them the same crispy, charred edges as deep-frying, but with less fat and mess. Some chile paste, garlic, and honey will add Asian-inspired flavors.

  • 14 of 27

    Instant Pot Butternut Squash

    Instant Pot butternut squash with almond topping

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    The Instant Pot roasts up cubed butternut squash in a flash. Finishing them with crisp slivered almonds, cinnamon, and brown sugar creates a slightly sweet side for your meaty main.

  • 15 of 27

    Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

    Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

    Roasting cauliflower coaxes out a sweetness that contrasts beautifully with nutty Parmesan and zesty garlic. Even those who think they don't like cauliflower will enjoy it this way. Add some red pepper flakes for heat-seekers.

  • 16 of 27

    Fried Green Tomatoes

    Fried green tomatoes with Sriracha mayonnaise

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Southern home cooks already know how delicious green tomatoes taste when breaded and fried. They make a great side for any main, especially meatloaf and especially when served with a simple Sriracha mayo for dipping. The mayo also tastes great on meatloaf, to tie it all together.

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  • 17 of 27

    Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf

    Vegetarian wild rice and mushroom pilaf

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Mushrooms give this hearty wild rice pilaf a rich umami flavor that pairs well with just about any meal but especially meatloaf. For the best texture, rinse the wild rice under cool tap water until it runs clear. Almonds add a little crunch, but you can leave them out for those with allergies.

  • 18 of 27

    Green Bean Casserole

    Classic Holiday Green Bean Casserole

    The Spruce

    This classic green bean side dish uses cream of mushroom soup to give it that signature comforting consistency. You can also use any other creamed soup if you don't care for mushrooms. Don't forget the French fried onion topping.

  • 19 of 27

    Oven Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

    Oven roasted rosemary potatoes

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    These oven-roasted potatoes have a crispy exterior and tender insides. Rosemary gives them a slightly floral flavor that will also make your kitchen smell amazing. Just about any kind of potatoes will work, but red-skinned potatoes add pretty color.

  • 20 of 27

    Sautéed Mushrooms

    Savory sautéed mushrooms

    Roberto A Sanchez / Getty Images

    Mushrooms and meatloaf go together like bacon and eggs. You only need about 20 minutes, and a single pan, to make these savory sautéed mushrooms in a white wine, garlic, and herb sauce. Ladle them atop mashed potatoes to accompany thick slabs of meatloaf for dinner, or serve as a tasty topping for grilled burgers and steaks.

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  • 21 of 27

    Warm Halloumi, Green Bean, and Potato Salad

    Warm Halloumi, green bean, and potato salad

    The Spruce

    Complement meatloaf with this warm cheese and vegetable salad inspired by upscale pub fare. With slabs of soft, griddled Halloumi cheese, steamed new potatoes, string beans, cherry tomatoes, olives, and fresh herbs, it brings a Mediterranean flair when served as a side dish. Repurpose any leftovers for your brown-bag lunch, boosting the salad as needed with leafy greens.

  • 22 of 27

    Honey Glazed Moroccan Carrots

    Honey glazed Moroccan carrots

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    Roasting carrots is a great way to enhance the natural sweetness of this humble vegetable. This Moroccan-style dish transforms roasted carrots into something extra special by adding a simple honey glaze seasoned with cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and coriander. Topped with a generous amount of salty, crumbled feta cheese, and fresh mint leaves, it's a quick and easy vegetable side dish you can serve on busy weeknights or save for holiday meals.

  • 23 of 27

    Creamy Southern Succotash

    Creamy Southern succotash

    The Spruce / Diana Mocanu

    Brimming with vibrant vegetables, creamy succotash is a tasty way to add great texture to a plate of meatloaf. Use frozen corn and lima beans for this quick, year-round side dish that is versatile for tweaking with any extra veggies from the fridge or freezer, or diced cooked ham or bacon.

  • 24 of 27

    Mexican Cornbread

    Mexican Cornbread

    The Spruce

    Mexican cornbread with diced green chiles, sweet corn, and cheddar cheese is a little sweet, plenty savory, and a great companion to saucy barbecue meatloaf. Make it in a single pan or use a muffin tin for cornbread muffins that bake up quickly and freeze well for reheating anytime.

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  • 25 of 27

    Easy Skillet Green Beans and Bacon

    Green beans and bacon

     The Spruce

    Bacon is an easy way to instantly upgrade a simple side dish of green beans. This skillet vegetable sauté can be made with fresh or frozen beans, and is an excellent alternative to plain steamed green beans. Use a combination of green and yellow string beans, if you like, for a colorful presentation on the plate.

  • 26 of 27

    Crunchy Broccoli Salad

    Crunchy broccoli salad

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Raisins, sunflower seeds, and a tangy, slightly sweetened mayonnaise dressing make this crunchy broccoli salad a delicious dish for any season or occasion. Thawed frozen green peas are a fun addition, as are optional toasted walnuts or pecans to add crunch. Prep this salad a few hours (or up to a day) in advance, and chill in the fridge to allow flavors to blend before serving.

  • 27 of 27

    South Carolina Coleslaw

    South Carolina Coleslaw

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

    Tangy, creamy, and sweet all at once, South Carolina coleslaw makes a colorful accompaniment for meatloaf and a tasty topping for pulled pork sandwiches. Serve it at summer cookouts, or easy family dinners at any time of year, using your choice of green, red, savoy or Napa cabbage, or a combination.