20+ Toppings, Bases, & Sides

Chili is the perfectly frugal meal to feed a crowd. It’s make-ahead, freezer-friendly, and tastes delicious. But, what to serve with chili?! That is the question.

Let’s explore 20+ different options of what to serve with chili, from Milk and Honey Cornbread to Fritos to even homemade cinnamon rolls! There’s such a variety of side dishes and toppings to choose from.

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It’s always a good idea to serve chili. You can easily serve a crowd, make it ahead of time in the instant pot or slow cooker, and it freezes beautifully. Plus, most people love a bowl of red.

It can get a little tricky figuring out what to serve with chili, though. You’ve got your favorite chili recipe, but what else?

There are your standards of course, like Crockpot Chili Mac, Chili Cheese Fries, or Pepper Bellies (aka Walking Tacos), but what else? How can you make your chili night different yet delicious?

Why It Matters

When you’ve got side dishes and toppings ready to go, you can take a simple bowl of chili and turn it into something extra special. While maybe not a fancy dinner, it will be pretty spectacular, especially for a budget meal.

Let’s look at your options of what to serve with chili.


Chili is delicious served with a variety of toppings. Many of these, like sour cream or shredded cheese, can be purchased ready to go from the store. But others, like salsa or guacamole, might taste better homemade.

close up of a white bowl of quinoa chili topped with chopped cilantro, cubed avocado, and chopped red onion.
Quinoa chili is a great vegan option.

Consider the following toppings and scroll down for some easy recipes:

  • shredded cheese – Remember you can freeze cheese.
  • chopped onion
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped avocado
  • diced tomato
  • sliced jalapeño – Remember you can freeze jalapeño.
  • sour cream
  • salsa or pico de gallo
  • guacamole
  • corn salad

You might like one or more of these toppings to serve with chili:

Easy Homemade Salsa

If you’ve been buying salsa in a jar, it may be time to think about making Homemade Salsa. It’s cheaper and tastier than the commercial varieties. And so easy!

Check out this recipe

hand holding chip piled with salsa above a marble pestle of salsa.
Mango Peach Salsa

Enjoy a twist with your chips and salsa with this tasty Mango Peach Salsa. Instead of tomatoes, use peaches. It’s perfect for chips or topping grilled meat and fish.

Check out this recipe

mango peach salsa on a blue corn tortilla chip over a bowl of salsa.
Easy Guacamole Recipe

With just four ingredients this Easy Guacamole recipe is one that you’ll have memorized after your first batch! It’s so good for dipping and topping tacos, burritos, and salads.

Check out this recipe

bowl of guacamole surrounded by blue corn tortillas
Cactus Salsa

Cactus Salsa isn’t one of the most common party appetizers you’ll find, but it’s super delicious, fresh, and easy to make.

Check out this recipe

bowl of cactus with salsa ingredients unmixed
Homemade Croutons

Homemade croutons come from humble beginnings, but they can make your salad or soup shine with crunch and texture.

Check out this recipe

croutons on spinach salad as well as in small jar next to salad bowl, with dressing and fork on table nearby.
Easy Homemade Pico de Gallo Recipe

Pico de gallo is nothing more than a salsa made with fresh tomatoes, onions, herbs, and chiles. It comes together so quickly, you’ll wonder why you don’t make it more often.

Check out this recipe

dipping chip in white bowl of pico de gallo.
Corn Salad

Sweet juicy corn, crunchy pepper, and kicky green onion combine in a delicious corn salad you’ll want to enjoy all year long. Serve it as a side salad or as a topping for tacos or nachos.

Check out this recipe

overhead shot of large spoonful of corn salad held above a bowl of salad.


While dishing it up in a bowl is just fine, chili is pretty good served atop starchy bases like your favorite tortilla chips or sweet potato fries.

chili stuffed sweet potato and salad on dinner plate.

Consider the following bases and scroll down for some easy recipes, too:

  • chips (tortilla or Fritos)
  • baked potatoes
  • baked sweet potatoes
  • mashed potatoes
  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • cheesy potato skins
  • baked rice or rice pilaf
  • cooked macaroni or spaghetti
  • polenta or grits
  • onion rings or French fries
Sweet Potato Fries

These Sweet Potato Fries are super simple make, and they taste great! Bake up a batch in about 30 minutes with no fuss or hassle.

Check out this recipe

sweet potato fries on sheet pan
Crockpot Baked Potatoes

Recipes that let you “set it and forget it” are some of the best. These Crockpot Baked Potatoes are no exception. Come home to a pot full of baked potatoes all set for dinner!

Check out this recipe

A plate of salad and baked potato with toppings
Baked Rice

Learn to bake rice in the oven so that you have a quick and easy side dish without a lot of hassle. This method produces perfect rice every time!

Check out this recipe

with a fork fluffing the baked rice in the pan with steam rising.
Quick and Cheesy Polenta

Polenta is a delicious, easy-to-prepare corn dish, similar to grits. I love it for its quick prep time and creamy goodness. Try this quick and cheesy polenta recipe for a great dinner.

Check out this recipe

A plate of sausage and greens, with Polenta

Fill the Bread Basket

Often times the chili itself is a one-pot meal and all it really needs is a bread side dish for dipping, like garlic bread, an air fryer grilled cheese sandwich, and yes, in some areas of the US, a cinnamon roll.

black bowl of chili marked ENJOY on plate of chips on black table top.

Consider one of these tasty options:

How to Make Frozen Garlic Bread

Enjoy fresh garlic bread any night or day when you have a stash of this Easy Make-Ahead Frozen Garlic Bread in the freezer. So good and easy!

Check out this recipe

loaf of toasted frozen garlic bread, cut into slices on cutting board with scattered crumbs.
Garlic Herb Pretzels

Make your bread basket more exciting with homemade garlic herb pretzels. They are inexpensive at less than a dollar a dozen and so very tasty!

Check out this recipe

A tray of pretzels
Easy Garlic Bread Sticks

You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to bake these Easy Garlic Breadsticks yourself! You may want to make a double batch and freeze the extra.

Check out this recipe

Easy Garlic Breadsticks | Good Cheap Eats
Garlic-Parmesan Swirl Biscuits

Dress up your bread basket with these simple, but elegant Garlic-Parmesan Swirl Biscuits. Packed with flavor, they are fun to make and great to eat!

Check out this recipe

A basket of garlic parmesan swirl biscuits
Pumpkin Biscuits

Fill the bread basket with a batch (or two) of these easy Pumpkin Biscuits. You can make them in the oven or enjoy the ease and novelty of air fryer biscuits.

Check out this recipe

six pumpkin biscuits on parchment paper in air fryer basket.
Cheesy Jalapeño Biscuit Recipe

Give standard drop biscuits a spicy kick with this Cheesy Jalapeño Biscuits recipe, just the thing to pack your bread basket with flavor.

Check out this recipe

biscuits in a basket
Cheese and Herb Biscuits

Easy and elegant breads can make a party out of a ho-hum night. Enliven your supper time with these deliciously simple Cheese and Herb Biscuits.

Check out this recipe

Cheese and Herb Biscuits in basket
Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Skip the can of refrigerated biscuits! You can make flaky layers all on your own with this easy recipe for flaky buttermilk biscuits.

Check out this recipe

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits cooling on parchment-lined tray
Sourdough Rye Bread

You need just five ingredients to make the tastiest, no-fuss sourdough rye bread: sourdough starter, water, bread flour, rye flour, and salt. You’re all set, no kneading required.

Check out this recipe

baked sourdough rye boule on paper in dutch oven.
Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread is an easy quick bread to fill the bread basket with. It mixes up effortlessly and bakes up beautifully.

Check out this recipe

irish soda bread with cheese
Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Bake up this hearty Whole Wheat Beer Bread to fill your bread basket. It’s delicious alongside soup, stew, or chili, and tastes great warm with butter.

Check out this recipe

Whole Wheat Beer Bread | Good Cheap Eats
Cornbread Waffles

Celebrate a bright new day with these tangy buttermilk cornbread waffles. Gild the lily with a little honey butter or top them with Whipped Cream and blueberries.

Check out this recipe

close-up of waffles stacked on a plate topped with whipped cream and blueberries.
Buttermilk Cornbread

This Buttermilk Cornbread is so easy to make, super delicious — and it even passes muster with my Southern friends — even if it’s sweet cornbread.

Check out this recipe

A close up of pan of cornbread on a table
Milk and Honey Cornbread

Bake up a batch of this Milk and Honey Cornbread. It’s lightly sweetened and delicious for breakfast or the bread basket.

Check out this recipe

Milk and Honey Cornbread - Bake up a batch of this Milk and Honey Cornbread. It's lightly sweetened and delicious for breakfast or the bread basket.
dish of pepper belly with toppings on table.

Favorite Chili Recipes

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