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.
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.
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
- corn salad
You might like one or more of these toppings to serve with chili:
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!
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.
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.
Cactus Salsa isn’t one of the most common party appetizers you’ll find, but it’s super delicious, fresh, and easy to make.
Homemade croutons come from humble beginnings, but they can make your salad or soup shine with crunch and texture.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Consider one of these tasty options:
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
Give standard drop biscuits a spicy kick with this Cheesy Jalapeño Biscuits recipe, just the thing to pack your bread basket with flavor.
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.
Skip the can of refrigerated biscuits! You can make flaky layers all on your own with this easy recipe for flaky buttermilk biscuits.
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.
Irish Soda Bread is an easy quick bread to fill the bread basket with. It mixes up effortlessly and bakes up beautifully.
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.
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.
Bake up a batch of this Milk and Honey Cornbread. It’s lightly sweetened and delicious for breakfast or the bread basket.