If you’re wondering what to serve with chili, you’ve come to the right place. Serving chili to those who gather around your table can be such a delightful event. Chili is a warm, hearty meal that is lovely not only in the cooler months, but it is delicious year-round. There are so many flavors and recipes for chili. We’ll share some of our favorites with you.
If you’re planning a chili dinner, thinking about chili party menu ideas, looking for chili buffet ideas, or simply planning on chili for lunch, this is your ultimate guide for how to serve chili and the best sides for chili. We’ll look at bread that goes with chili, appetizers to go with chili, salad to go with chili, vegetables that go with chili, finger foods that go with chili, and the best desserts to serve with chili.
First, let’s take a look at how to eat chili.
Chili is traditionally served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon. If you want to dress things up a bit, consider adding a plate underneath the bowl that can serve as a charger. It’s also great place to add crackers, bread, and any other sides that you’ll want to have close by.
Chili can also be served in a more non-traditional way. Chili works well as a great dip with tortilla chips, served on tacos, quesadillas, or even hot dogs. If you know that chili will not be fully embraced by your eaters, especially younger eaters, consider some of these ways to eat chili and make chili seem lesser in how it’s served.
Toppings for Chili
Sometimes it’s fun to kick things up a notch. And serving chili can be that way too. You might be wondering what goes in chili, and we’ve included some of the best recipes below. But after your chili is finished cooking, you might like to add some additional toppings for additional flavor, texture, and visual interest. Here are some topping ideas for how to eat chili.
Cheese: Using orange cheese such as shredded cheddar, shredded Mexican cheese, or shredded Colby Jack adds to the color as well as the flavor of the dish. Sprinkle a pinch on top of the chili before serving it, rather than mixing it in.
Sour Cream: Adding a dollop of sour cream can add a bit of a tangy and cooling flavor to the dish, as well as another dimension of color.
Green Onions: Cutting the green tips of spring green onions and sprinkling them on the top is a wonderful garnish for the dish.
Crackers: Some people like to crumble their favorite kind of crackers over the top of chili, just as they would a bowl of soup. It adds to the texture and gives a bit of a crunchy aspect while eating it.
Croutons: Croutons can have a similar effect as crackers, they help add texture and dimension. If you like croutons on your salad, you might also like them to top off your chili.
Avocado: Adding some slices or chunks of avocado can add to the visual aspects of the dish of chili. It brings in more green color as well as vitamins and minerals that are naturally present.
Hot Sauce: It’s among the list of good things to put in chili, if you like heat.
What to Eat With Chili
Let’s get on to serving chili. What side dishes go well with chili? To make a chili meal or chili dinner, we’ve got some great side dishes for chili. Here are some ideas of the best side dishes for chili.
Does cornbread go with chili? Indeed, it does! In fact, cornbread is our number one choice to serve with chili. It’s a go to favorite for many. In our opinion it is the best bread to go with chili.
Whether you purchase it already made, bake it from a mix, or make it from scratch, there are many delicious add-ins that take it the extra mile as far as flavor is concerned.
Cornbread muffins use the classic cornbread batter except they’re baked in a muffin tin, which creates individual servings.
Easy skillet cornbread includes the art of baking your wonderful cornbread in a cast iron pan. It’s convenient because it’s poured into one pan and baked at once, and anything cooked in cast iron tastes delicious.
Add a bit of honey for a sweet honey cornbread and serve with butter for buttery cornbread.
Add green chiles to the batter for Green Chile Cornbread and add a few diced jalapenos and shredded cheddar to the batter to make jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins.
> Find our recipe for homemade cornbread mix here.
Breadsticks are a perfect side for most any soup, and a great bread to go with chili. Make them homemade or purchase them already made at your local grocery store. Either way, breadsticks are a natural complement to chili as well as soup in general.
> Here is one of our recipes for homemade bread that makes delicious breadsticks.
3. Soft Pretzels
Soft pretzels can be one of the favorite side items for chili. They can be made homemade using simple ingredients such as 1 ½ cups lukewarm water, 2 tsp instant dry yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp butter, and 3 ½-4 cups of all-purpose flour.
Once the dough has rested, you can form them into pretzels and boil them in a baking soda bath made from ½ cup baking soda and 9 cups water. Then bake them in a 400F degree oven for about 12 minutes.
4. Grilled Cheese
If you’re a grilled cheese fanatic, or just plain fond of it, you’ll already know that grilled cheese is one of the perfect pairings for chili. To jazz up your grilled cheese, consider making it a Pizza Grilled Cheese, or Grilled Cheese Sandwich w/ Cream Cheese, Roasted Peppers & Basil.
> To learn how to make the perfect grilled cheese and grilled cheese add-ins, read our post here.
Most any kind of rice such as white rice, brown rice, Mexican rice, Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe, Ann’s Dirty Rice, or whatever your favorite rice recipe is great to serve with chili. Rice in fact wins the turkey chili sides and as well as what to serve with chicken chili.
> Here’s a wonderfully easy slow cooker flavored rice recipe.
6. Skillet Nachos
Chili is naturally a food that compliments nachos and vice versa. Any kind of nachos that are loaded or not loaded for that matter is a naturally incredible side dish for chili. You might like to try classic pub style nachos that are made of tortilla chips topped with habanero cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro.
Or if you’re not too fond of a habanero kick, skillet nachos made right in the skillet and topped with taco seasoned ground beef, shredded cheddar, tomatoes, and sliced avocado are quite tasty.
7. Chips & Guacamole
Chips and guacamole is a simple casual side dish for chili. Pick up a bag of tortilla chips, along with a container of pre-made guacamole on your next grocery run and you’ll have yourself a delicious casual side dish for chili. People tend to like this one as one of the side dishes for white chicken chili, among other chili flavors.
Make your own guacamole using a fresh avocado, a tsp of minced garlic, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of onion powder, and 2 tsp of lime juice. Mix well, serve with your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy.
There are so many kinds of slaw. And we can’t think of one that we wouldn’t recommend with chili. Any fresh slaw such as Kale and Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw, No-mayo Carolina coleslaw, Apple carrot slaw, Campers’ Coleslaw, Vegan Coleslaw, Creamy Spiced Coleslaw, Cabbage and Apple Slaw with Honey-Lime Dressing, Shredded cabbage and sweet potato slaw, Tangy carrot slaw, Raw Beet and Fennel Slaw are all delicious.
The addition of slaw to your chili meal also provides a cool and light aspect in contrast with the chili.
> Here’s our recipe for cabbage slaw with dill.
If your chili is chili con carne, then you might opt out of using meat in your tacos. But that’s a matter of personal preference. Ground Beef Tacos, Portobello Mushroom Tacos Recipe, and Fish Tacos go well with a bowl of chili or most any soup.
> Here’s our recipe for fish tacos.
10. Baked Potatoes
There are so many ways you can make baked potatoes. Air fryer baked potatoes, oven baked potatoes, microwave baked potatoes, toaster oven baked potatoes, slow cooker baked potatoes, each create unique and delicious results. Don’t forget to top them with butter, salt, pepper, and any other goodies you’d like.
Red Lobster Baked Potatoes are one of the most delicious baked potatoes.
> Here’s our copycat recipe for Red Lobster Baked Potatoes.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes make a good side dish for chili. You might like Mexican sweet potatoes, Chipotle twice-baked sweet potatoes, or even one of our favorites, Aunt Peggy’s sweet potato souffle.
> You can find the recipe for Aunt Peggy’s sweet potato souffle here.
12. Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries are thought of as a common side dish for chili. Make them homemade or pick up a bag at the grocery store. Spicy Spiralized Sweet Potato Fries are also fun if you’re making them homemade. Just spiral slice the sweet potatoes, add your favorite spicy seasonings and bake them in the oven with a drizzle of oil until they’re done.
13. Cheesy Potato Skins
Cheesy potato skins are already baked potatoes that have been cut in half lengthwise and then scooped out. The insides are set aside, but the skins are reused to make this dish. Just sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and green onions if desired. Put them back in the oven until the cheese is melted and they’re heated through. Serve warm and enjoy.
14. Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes of any flavor or variety pair well with chili. Make garlic mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, red garlic mashed potatoes or cheesy mashed potatoes. For deliciously creamy mashed potatoes, boil the potatoes until tender, drain water, add heavy cream, butter, sour cream, and cream cheese and whip with an electric mixer.
> Our recipe for creamy mashed potatoes can be found here.
What sandwich goes with chili? Quesadillas are a popular side dish with chili as they help to continue the Mexican flair throughout the meal. Black bean and corn quesadillas can be made on a soft burrito shell while adding finely chopped onion, black beans, whole kernel corn, salsa, and Monterey Jack cheese. Cook them in a frying pan with a bit of oil, until they’re golden brown.
16. Onion Rings
The deep-fried aspect of onion rings is one that many people enjoy as a good appetizer for chili. Buy them in your grocery store freezer section or make them homemade. Onion rings can be a favorite when it comes to what to cook with chili.
17. Fresh Salad
If you’re considering what to eat with chili that’s healthy, there are so many kinds and flavors of fresh salad to eat with chili. Here are some ideas.
Basil-Corn Salad, Caesar Salad, Easy Tomato salad recipe with homemade vinaigrette, Easy Broccoli Slaw Salad with craisins, candied nuts, and Vidalia dressing, Apple Salad, Basil and corn salad, Caesar Salad, Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad, Chopped Cashew Salad, Jersey Salad, Light and Easy Broccoli Salad, Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate, Japanese Potato Salad, Loaded potato salad and more. The sky’s the limit when it comes to salad.
Whether you’re looking for salad to go with white chicken chili or thinking about what to serve with chili and cornbread.
> Here are several ideas of salad to serve with chili.
18. Chips and Queso
Looking for an easy side dish for chili? We’ve got you covered. Why not have chips and queso. Or chips and cheese. Tortilla chips with a jar of orange cheese can sometimes be the perfect solution.
19. Fried Pickles
Have you ever had a fried pickle? If not, you’re in for a treat. Whether you make them oven fried, Air-Fryer Pickles, or deep fried, they’re kind of addicting. Fried pickles just might be one of the best appetizers that go well with chili and as a bonus they certainly qualify as one of the finger foods that go with chili.
To make fried pickles, drain a jar of pickle dill chips and mix 1 cup flour, ½ tsp garlic powder, a pinch of paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the dill chips through the dried mixture, and then deep fry them in oil until lightly browned. Or bake them on a baking sheet in the oven until lightly browned.
Serving fajitas along with a bowl of chili are another great way to maintain the authentic Mexican aspects of your meal. Chicken fajitas, steak fajitas, or even vegetable fajitas taste delicious and come together quite easily.
21. Taco-Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers
Prepare taco seasoned ground beef and use it to stuff mini sweet peppers along with all of your other favorite taco toppings such as cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, tomatoes, black olives and more. Bake them in the oven until tender and the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy.
22. Cheesy Chicken Taco Breadstick Dippers
Cheesy chicken taco breadstick dippers are delicious because it consists of breadsticks filled with taco flavored chicken. They’re perfect for dipping in your bowl of chili or using it to sop up the broth.
> Our chick bread recipe is a delicious and easy way to make tasty, braided chicken bread.
23. Pasta Salad
What salad goes with chili? Any kind of pasta salad such as tuna pasta salad, Mexican street corn pasta salad, vegetable pasta salad, or just simple pasta salad goes great with chili. And it’s relatively easy to pull together. Just boil your noodles, choose your favorite add-ins and add the sauce. Chill, serve, and enjoy.
> Here’s a great recipe for the Ultimate Chicken and Broccoli Pasta, a Cheesecake Factory copycat recipe that ranks as a best salad to serve with chili.
24. Cinnamon Rolls
Why not serve cinnamon rolls with chili? You might not think of cinnamon rolls as being bread for chili, but if you’re looking for a great recipe, we’ve got you covered. Cinnamon rolls are delicious to serve as a side to chili because they complement it so well as a sweet bread. Or as a shortcut, buy a tube of them in your grocery store refrigerator and serve them as one of your chili dinner sides.
> See the best copycat Panera Bread cinnamon roll recipe here.
25. Hot Dogs
If you’re trying to determine something easy in your decision of what to serve with chili, you’ll want to consider hot dogs, corn dogs, and hot dog tots which are mini hot dogs dipped in corn dog batter.
> See our better than frozen corn dog recipe here.
26. French Fries
There are so many kinds of French fries that go well with chili that it makes most all of them great appetizers to serve with chili. You can’t go wrong. If you’re having a big party or large group of people gather around your table, then French fries might be the perfect crowd pleaser to accompany your chili. You can make sweet potato fries, garlic parmesan fries, red skin potato fries, or zucchini fries.
> For our copycat Red Robin Garlic Parmesan Fries, see the recipe here.
27. Garlic Bread
Does garlic bread go with chili? Garlic bread is another kind of bread that’s perfect with chili. If you’re in a hurry you might make a run to the local grocery store and pick up a loaf from the freezer section. Or if you know how to make garlic bread, you can use a loaf of fresh French bread, slice it, and add butter and garlic. Toasting it until it’s brown can add to the wonderful flavor and texture. Garlic Bread Cheese Sticks are a great caveat to traditional garlic bread.
28. Homemade Biscuits
Homemade biscuits give that added feeling of warmth to any meal. Just add some soft butter, apple butter, or your favorite jam for a complete flavor. Some biscuit flavors that go well with chili include Cheddar Onion Drop Biscuits, Buttermilk Biscuits, Cheddar Biscuits, 2 Ingredient Yogurt Drop Biscuits, Sourdough Biscuits, Red Lobster Biscuits, and Bob Evans’ Biscuits.
> We’ve included our copycat recipe for Bob Evans’ Biscuits here.
29. Crackers and Cheese
Any of your favorite flavors of crackers and cheese are always a quick and easy side for chili. And the flavors and textures work well together. Use thinly sliced Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, Mozzarella, Swiss, Sharp Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Gouda, or Muenster cheese.
If you’re looking for an idea of what to serve with chili at a party, this would be a top recommendation. Crackers and cheese fit the category of best chili appetizers.
30. Chips and White Queso
An easy appetizer to go with chili is to make homemade white queso dip by heating 1 ½ cups evaporated milk, 1 tbsp cornstarch, ¾ lb white American cheese, ½ cup Mozzarella cheese, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and chopped tomatoes and cilantro if desired. Serve with tortilla chips.
31. One Pot Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Mac and Cheese
What good sides go with chili? The best recipe for one pot macaroni and cheese is Ultimate Mac and Cheese. Ooey-gooey cheese and pasta go hand and hand with a bowl of chili. There’s just no way around it. What goes with chili mac and cheese?
> Here’s the recipe for Ultimate mac and cheese.
Taquitos help to continue the Mexican theme throughout any chili meal and help turn it into more of chili dinner ideas. Taquitos, one of the perfect chili sides, are typically made from a rolled soft tortilla shell that contains filling such as beef, chicken, cheese and is then crisp fried or deep fried.
> Here’s a recommendation for a delicious taquitos recipe.
Crispitos are another type of crowd pleaser that are made from a tightly rolled flour or corn tortilla that includes meat filling, such as beef or chicken. It is a popular side dish for chili because it keeps in the tradition of Mexican themed foods. If you’re pondering the question what’s good to serve with chili, this one’s a bull’s eye win.
It’s also quite straightforward to prepare. Crispitos can be made homemade or purchased in the frozen foods section of many grocery stores.
> Here’s a recipe for the best crispitos.
34. Peanut Butter Sandwiches
A peanut butter sandwich might not necessarily be your go to side dishes with chili. However, why not consider a peanut butter sandwich when you’re thinking about what to serve with chili. After all most kids would opt for one and so would some adults.
> Wanting a new spin on a peanut butter sandwich? Check out our recipe for these fancy PBJ graham cracker sandwiches.
35. Homemade Artisan Bread
What bread goes with chili? Homemade Artisan bread can be a perfect accompaniment for your favorite chili recipe. Artisan bread such as White Mountain Bread has a good dense crumb for sopping up your chili broth. It’s also perfect for holding some delicious butter, your favorite jam or other desired topping.
> Click here to get the recipe for White Mountain Bread.
36. Pimento Cheese Sandwich
Eating a pimento cheese sandwich with chili is like a similar perfect combination just like grilled cheese and tomato soup. Only this steps it up a notch. Make a pimento cheese sandwich by mixing together 8 oz of cream cheese, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar, 1 cup shredded Gouda, ½ cup diced and roasted red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Spread it on bread as desired.
Is there any time when it’s not appropriate to eat bacon? We doubt it. And so, bacon is always a popular choice among people to contain on our list of chili side dishes. There are many ways to cook bacon.
> We’ve included a link to how to cook bacon on the grill.
38. Vegetable Skewers
Vegetables are most always a perfect side. But making veggies that go with chili, doesn’t have to be as a traditionally cooked steamed vegetable. Cooking Savory Roasted Root Vegetables, Roasted Vegetables in the oven or on the grill are also a possibility. Remember to soak your skewers before cooking the skewers especially if they’re wood.
39. Smoky Barbecued Corn
Use barbecue sauce and your favorite barbecue seasonings to spice up any corn to make it a part of your excellent chili dinner. Corn cooked on the grill, as well as boiled, oven roasted or however you choose is a perfect side dish to serve with chili. This is one of our favorite side dishes for chili cook-off.
40. The Best Frybread Elephant Ears
There are many ways to serve chili. Though this is probably not one of the most healthy sides for chili, it’s delicious and is a popular one. Fry bread is quick and easy with homemade bread, using a loaf of frozen bread dough, or with a tube of refrigerated biscuits.
> Here’s the recipe for easy frybread elephant ears.
41. Potato Chips
Homemade potato chips can be a great accompaniment to serve with chili. Air fryer potato chips are quite simple to make. And bake them in the oven for a lower fat, no air fryer option. If you’re short on time, a bag of your favorite grocery store potato chips will also work just fine.
42. Green Bean Fries
Green bean fries just might become one of your new favorite things to eat with chili. They’re quick and easy to prepare and are even more delicious when paired with the zesty dipping sauce. They can become a solution to the question what do you eat with chili.
> Here’s the delicious recipe for green bean fries.
43. Fried Chicken
Whether your chili recipe is chili con carne, you might still opt to include another protein in your chili dinner. Fried chicken is a great way to do that. Here’s our recipe for the best homemade fried chicken ever. It’s a southern classic.
> Here’s our recipe for the best homemade chicken ever.
44. Chex Mix
Continuing the southwest theme along with our chili, we recommend Chex Mix as a side to be served. It’s a great finger food as well as the fact that it carries on the savory flavor, just like the chili.
> Here’s our recipe for amazing Southwest Snack Mix.
45. Scrambled Eggs
Whether you prefer scrambled eggs, fried eggs, omelets, or boiled eggs, we’ve come up with 32 ways that you can cook your eggs as a side dish for your chili.
> Follow along for egg ideas here.
46. Easy pan-fried polenta recipe
You might be thinking about what to eat chili beans with and a great chili bean side dish is easy pan-fried polenta. Pan-fried polenta makes for one of the tastiest chili side dishes.
> Here’s the recipe.
47. Zucchini Bread
Zucchini bread is one of those sides for white chicken chili. But if you’re not a huge fan of zucchini, that’s okay. Feel free to keep reading and find what else to serve with white chicken chili.
> Here’s our recipe for moist sourdough zucchini bread.
48. Focaccia Bread
We have determined that serving chili with freshly made Focaccia bread is one of the best ways to eat chili. It is a hands off approach as far as preparation is concerned, so it makes it easy to put together. You’ll want to plan ahead, however to allow it time to rest before baking the bread dough.
> Here’s our great recipe for the Best Copycat Panera Bread Focaccia.
49. S’more Pizza
S’more pizza begins with a cookie like crust and then is topped with s’more toppings including chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallows and all your favorite campfire s’more ingredients.
>Here’s the recipe.
50. Copycat Mom’s Recipe Crumbl Cookie
What sides go with white chicken chili or any chili for that matter? Mom’s recipe Crumbl Cookies are a hit. They have just the right amount of sweet to top off your chili meal. So if you’re asking yourself what to serve with white chili, we’ve got you covered.
> Here’s our delicious copycat recipe for Mom’s recipe Crumbl Cookie.
51. Big Ol’ Brownie
This Texas Roadhouse copycat recipe is among the best desserts to go with chili. The sweet chocolately aspect is perfect to top off a delicious chili meal.
> Here’s our recipe for The Best Big Ol’ Brownie.
52. Lemon Supreme Pie
It’s practically a given that you’ll want to have dessert after chili. And since that’s the case, we thought it would be good to include this Ultimate Lemon Supreme Pie recipe in our list of dessert that goes with chili. It’s cool, light and delightfully flavored with sweet lemon.
> Here’s the link to our Ultimate Lemon Supreme Pie recipe.
Every good meal is paired with a perfect drink. And topping off your chili dinner is no different. Here are some favorite drinks to serve with chili.
> Chick-fil-A Sweet Tea copycat recipe
> Panera Bread Iced Green Tea copycat recipe
> Chick-fil-A Vanilla Iced Coffee copycat recipe
Best Chili Recipes:
Following are some of the most delicious chili recipes for your chili dinner menu and ideas.Whether you want to make a small chili serving or are planning for a party, we’ve got you covered.
What do you eat chili with? Leave us a message in the comments box below. We love to hear from our readers.